Why Does God Hide?

images-2Philosophers like to talk about the problem of divine hiddenness. Usually the problem is couched as a threat to God’s existence: If God existed he would make himself obvious. God is not obvious. Therefore, God doesn’t exist. I don’t think the argument succeeds. The fact is that God has revealed himself sufficiently for those who are open to an honest appraisal of the evidence. (The problem isn’t a lack of evidence, rather it is a moral problem—we all have what Thomas Nagel calls “a cosmic authority issue.” Perhaps Christian philosophers could be more creative, more imaginative, when developing theistic arguments. Still, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, the evidence is everywhere.)

In this post, I’ll assume God exists and that He hides and ask the why question: Why God, do you hide from us?

It is important to note that divine hiding is a normal part of the Christian life. All the great Christian leaders throughout history have experienced both times of God’s manifest presence (and at such times, there is to be celebration, joy, and encouragement) as well as times of God’s absence—where God was silent and prayers don’t seem to rise above the ceiling. Why does God hide from his children? Does God’s hiding mean God doesn’t love or care for us after all? J.P. Moreland, in this talk, lists two reasons why God sometimes hides:

First, in times of divine hiding, God matures, deepens, and stabilizes our souls. If we must have God’s presence, then, argues Moreland, we risk becoming addicted to experience and our faith will not deepen and stabilize. If you want to be a deep, mature follower of Christ, then you must learn to lay hold of God even in the midst of His felt absence.

Second, sometimes God withdraws His presence from His people to give them an opportunity to seek Him with all their heart. For example, in Hebrews 11:6 we learn that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (ESV, italics added). But, we can’t seek something unless it is lost to some degree. The only way we can seek the Lord is if He is in some degree absent. Thus, we find in divine hiding further expression of God’s love for us: He knows that our hearts are prone to wander, and in love, He hides just enough so that we might pursue, seek, wrestle with, and find Him and then love Him with all of our heart.

 For more on this topic, check out these videos from Ravi Zacharias and Doug Geivett:

 

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to Why Does God Hide?

  1. Pingback: God Does Not Care for Me: The Case Against God | Paul Gould

  2. Pingback: The Evidence for God is Widely Available and Easily Resistible | Paul Gould

  3. Kate says:

    Good article.

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