9. Why can’t we call down fire from heaven? Again?

With hundreds of different religions, it’s difficult to know which one is true. This wasn’t much of a problem back in Elijah’s day, when the contest was really only between God and Baal. In order to settle that debate, God established some rules for the first official, no-holds-barred, who’s-really-a-god, sacrificial smack-down (1 Kings 18:20-40).

If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.
~ 1 Kings 18:21

The Contest Rules:

Rule #1: Prepare your sacrifice.
Make a pile of firewood and top it off with a nice juicy bull (gods love bull).  Water and trench are optional.

Rule #2: Ask your god to consume the sacrifice.
Petition your god to send down fire from heaven to consume your sacrifice.  (Sending down fire is a prerequisite for any god; if you can’t send down fire, you can’t be a candidate for God.)

Rule #3: Cheering and Jeering.
You’re allowed to shout, pray, sing, dance, cut yourself, sacrifice virgins, whatever moves your god to action. Other teams are allowed to taunt you during your rituals (1 Kings 18:27).

Rule #4: Determining the winner.
If your god sends down fire and consumes your sacrifice, you win! Congratulations! Now go kill the losing team (1 Kings 18:40)!

Why Not Today?

This may sound ridiculous, but why can’t we make such an appeal to God today? If God is the same today and forever, why not solve the same problem the same way?

Also, if God is not a God of confusion, you’d think He’d want to clear up our confusion, so billions could redirect their paths to the true path of righteousness.

So here’s my proposition:

  1. We rent out a large stadium.
  2. We invite representatives from all major religions and denominations.
  3. We have them petition their god(s) to send down fire to identify which religion/denomination is correct.
  4. We kill the losers (sorry, I don’t make the rules).

Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God.
~1 Kings 18:37

In the Beginning… God was a bit of a Pyromaniac

Elijah’s story isn’t unique, God used to send down fire all the time (apparently without destroying anyone’s faith). He consumed sacrifices from David, Solomon, Moses & Arron (1 Chronicles 21:26 & 2 Chronicles 7:1, Leviticus 9) and rained fire upon anyone who even looked at him funny (e.g. Genesis 19:29, 2 Kings 1:10, Numbers 16:35, Job 1:16).


So why don’t we hold such events today? I think, deep down, we all know nothing would happen. No gods would answer our cries. We’d all retreat to the same ol’ excuse: “It’s too important to have faith.”  BUT why was it okay for Elijah? Didn’t these people need faith, too? Why the double standard?

If anyone would like to sponsor such an event, please let me know.  I’ll bring marshmallows… just in case.  😉

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16 Responses to 9. Why can’t we call down fire from heaven? Again?

  1. Broipy says:

    I’m surprised no believer has taken a crack at this excellent question? Can it be that even they can’t torture logic far enough to account for why, in an age where God’s miracles could be documented and verified by billions, He opts out. Okay, I’ll answer for them: Because it says in the Bible that the path to heaven is narrow, and if you’re God and you go and make a pillar of fire it would convert every person on the planet to the one true religion and it wouldn’t be Heaven if everyone get’s in.

    As a nonbeliever the only heaven I can concieve of is one in which everyone gets in.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll take a crack at this question. Hebrews 1:1 tells us that God reveals himself to us through His son, who speaks to us in the pages of the Bible. We have God’s Word to reveal to us who the true God is now… As for heaven, believe it or not the Bible nowhere says people go to heaven when they die.

    • God's Woman says:

      In Luke 9:54, the disciples asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire from heaven, simply because they had faith that they could do that. Christians today have the same Holy Ghost on the inside that Jesus had. In Mark 4:1-9, Jesus told the devil , “thou shall not tempt the Lord thou God and Him only shall thou serve. Christians walk by faith and not by sight-signs and wonders. Blessed is he that believes and have not seen. We believe that Jesus died, was buried, rose again, and is now sitting on the right hand of God, in heaven.If we don’t faint, we will be caught up to heaven when the trumpet sounds (1 Thessalon 4: 13-18). I pray that God will help your unbelief.

  2. Antonio says:

    True, true, true. Why doesn’t He do that so more can be saved. In the first place, He “so loved the world”. Unless the word “love” has a different meaning to Him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Believe it or not, God is not trying to save the world now…When God does set his hand to save the world he will save it. But in the meantime, we (mankind) have some lessons to learn.

    • God's Woman says:

      For God SO loved the world that he gave every person self-will to make a choice between heaven and hell. At the judgment day, we will be sent to one or the other. Accept Jesus by repenting and accepting Him as Lord and Savior for the remission.of.sins. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believe not and reject Him shall be condemned. Many Christians remain constant because we have hope of eternal life and have no problem when we have to walk alone.

  3. Pingback: 32. Can prophecies prove the Bible is true? | 500 Questions about God & Christianity

  4. Anonymous says:

    Meh. We’ve worn that question out already…. it was pretty fairly answered by Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and many others.

  5. Bob says:


    • Howdy Bob.

      If I asked God to send fire from heaven, and then He did, I know I’d believe! And if dead people regularly visited us and witnessed to us about God, I’m sure people would believe.

      I don’t buy into the excuse that people wouldn’t believe if God provided modern-day evidence for Himself. In fact, billions of people believe without any solid evidence for miracles, so imagine how many would believe with a proper sign?

      But if there is no God, then we have to make excuses for why He used to provide signs, but no longer can.

      • God's Woman says:

        What we have to understand about miracles today are that they are happening. They don’t happen on a grandiose scale, because we as Christians have to fast, pray, speak the word, and exercise or apply faith. Applied faith is that mountain-moving faith, and believe that nothing is impossible with God. Elijah said to the people, if I be the son of God let fire come down from heaven, and it did. If I’m living a life that is pleasing to God, I can ask what I will and it shall be done. Thank you.

        • Anonymous says:

          God’s Woman: why is it that the miracles of today are so mundane, when compared to the miracles of 2000 years ago? Ever stop to consider that these “miracles” you speak of get smaller and smaller, as the discoveries of science grow larger and larger?

          I’m sure if a scientist were to travel back in time, dress like the locals, and presented those desert-dwellers with little oblong capsules filled with a mysterious powder to someone gravely ill, had them swallow two a day for seven days, and they made a full recovery… Everyone in the village would proclaim that to be a miracle!

          These days… We just call that taking antibiotics to knock out an infection 🙂

          Why won’t got heal amputees? Loss of limbs has been around as long as humans have been smart enough to use sharp edged tools (particularly against each other) but in all that time, I’ve NEVER heard of a single amputee growing their foot or hand back.

          Wouldn’t that be a great way for a supposedly omnibenevolent god to simultaneously show his power AND his love for his creation? Free will wouldn’t be an issue, people could STILL choose to not worship him (they’d believe he was real, but didn’t like the religion’s restrictions, like giving 10% of their paycheck for example… Since they already pay income taxes!)

          • Jeff says:

            FYI, there is something called the Miracle of Calanda, in which a young farmer in Spain in 1640 had an amputated leg restored. (Can we include links? I do not know how if we are permitted. Look up the article in Wikipedia.) As with any story from the past, documentation is questionable. Regardless, true or not, it IS a fascinating account.

  6. Pingback: 43. Did the Bible accurately predict the future of Tyre (Ezekiel 26)? | 500 Questions about God & Christianity

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