Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is God Hidden?

"Where is God?" asks the skeptic. "If God exists, why doesn't he reveal himself to me right now?"

The eager Christian apologist replies, almost bubbling over with arguments for the existence of God and the historicity of Christ, "But God has revealed himself! Just look at creation--the sun and the stars, the complexity of design in the human eye. Don't these evidences of design indicate an intelligent designer? What about the moral compass within our very beings or the person and work of Jesus Christ? Surely, these are compelling evidences for God?"

And yet, the evidence is not enough for some. God, they say, is too hidden. Why doesn't God just reveal himself to everyone and be done with it, they wonder? Is God, to a certain degree, hidden? If so, why does he hide?

Blaise Pascal writes in Pensées, "If there were no obscurity man would not feel his corruption: if there were no light man could not hope for a cure. Thus it is not only right but useful for us that God should be partly concealed and partly revealed, since it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness as to know his wretchedness without knowing God" (446/586).

If God were fully revealed, human beings would not be left to contemplate their lives and their fallen condition. But if God did not reveal himself by shining his light of truth to some extent, neither could humans see hope for a cure for their condition. Pascal argues that there is "enough light" to find God and "enough obscurity" (236/578) to help us realize our condition and, thus, our need.

I once heard Dr. William Lane Craig mention in a lecture that God could have made himself clearer by perhaps inscribing the words "Made by God" on our DNA or placing a giant neon cross in the sky for all to see. As Craig pointed out, though, it is important to remember that God is not so much interested in our knowing he exists as he is interested in a personal relationship with us.

Yet, clearly belief in God must come before a relationship with him, so the problem of the hiddenness of God remains an obstacle to be overcome by some. Still, we have "enough light" to know God exists, but what will we do with this light and how long will we have to make a choice? It is better to seek the hidden God that we might "grope for him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:27, NASB).

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