Re: The hiddenness of God

One of my goals for this year is to find a compelling explanation for the hiddenness of God. Particularly, I want to know why he’s more hidden now than he was at a couple of different times in the past. Here’s a bibliography I found that may contain a clarifying book or two. Meantime, here’s a bit from the epilogue of MacDowell’s Evidence that came up unexpectedly.

Though many people from all different philosophical and religious backgrounds like to talk about experiences they have had with “God,” one of the truths revealed to the prophet Isaiah is that God really is not out to win any popularity contests. Though his desire, as stated in 2 Peter 3:9, is that he is passionately “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” at the same time, he’s not out trying to reveal himself to everyone who comes along. As Isaiah records, “Truly You are a God, who hide yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” (Isa. 45:15). Isn’t that odd? Can you imagine God in hiding? Why would he do that? The answer is: he’s waiting. He’s waiting for those times in the lives of all people when they will be humble enough in their hearts to hear his voice and respond by opening the door of their lives to allow a personal relationship with him to begin. As Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Three times in the Bible it is explicitly stated (and many more times intimated) that God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).

tl;dr- God hides himself so that he will only be found by those proactively searching for him. I’d characterize this as an appeal to the demographics of nonbelief.

This proposition is at least untrue for some, like the apostle Paul, who were definitely NOT seeking God out but were chosen and acquired by him with all the subtlety of a ball peen hammer. However, it is still plausible as a partial explanation because Paul could be an exception that highlights the rule.

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22 Responses to Re: The hiddenness of God

  1. Littlebook says:

    Read the Bible and zoom out. The pattern is clear. God is distant because humans are evil. He doesn’t like us, but isn’t willing to destroy us all yet. Close involvement is the exception to the rule, for exceptional righteousness or specific purpose, and the resumption of distance is a merciful alternative to annihilation.

    American Christians have no need to ask why God is distant from them: He is currently driving them from the land of their inheritance, a clear sign of His displeasure.

    The degenerate unmen of postmodernity are nothing like the pastoralists and fishermen whom God favored with His presence.

    All this talk about God’s longing to save everyone is foolish. We saw His personality exactly in the life of Jesus, we know exactly how the balance of love and disgust went. There is no further need for abstraction. The thing Jesus repeated was not his longing to save everyone, but “How long will I be with this wicked generation?” People have only gotten worse since.

    The mistake humans make is thinking it’s about them. Reality does not revolve around humans, it revolves around the Throne of God. God isn’t pining like some beta orbiter by the phone. It’s not that He’s distant, it’s that we’re banished. He’s got plenty of company up there. Satan’s the one who’s here because he’s got nowhere better to be.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >Read the Bible and zoom out. The pattern is clear.

      I’ve read the Bible three or four times and I disagree.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      That said, what you’re saying here is my default hypothesis. The trouble is that it relies on theological reasoning and is difficult to justify directly from the Bible. It’s easier to justify the position that God is more glorified by mysteriousness than openness, possibly because the act of discovery induces reverence.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        E.g. Proverbs 25:2.

      • Littlebook says:

        No, it’s simpler than that. Jehovah appeared, Israel was nearly wiped out and replaced by Moses’ line. Jesus appeared, Judah was destroyed and dispersed. Distance reduces danger, and we don’t deserve contact. Plus Satan is strong here and interferes.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          It’s inconsistent to claim something is simple and also requires outlier high IQ to conclude it. You will have to give one of these notions up because they are mutually exclusive.

          • Littlebook says:

            I didn’t say it was simple, I said it was simpler than the muddled abstract handwavy justifications you’re giving. A lot of these theodicic agonizing can be skipped by just remembering the bloody history. For example, after the disgust of Genesis 6 and the Flood, God put the rainbow in the sky, but He also backed way off, and set man to carnivory. People remember the fall from the Garden, but that was the second fall. They forget that God didn’t change his evaluation of human nature afterwards:

            Genesis 8:21 “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

            He nearly drowned everyone like a sack of unwanted kittens. Cynical disregard is preferable.

          • Littlebook says:

            I don’t actually care that someone can achieve a perfect reading comprehension score. What I care about is that he tries and in the process discovers his limitations. Either he overcomes them or he learns humility. Instead every idiot blathers on thinking his verbal opinions are mathematically correct, because he doesn’t even know what a verbal error is.

            It’s a rule similar to the one about how every man has to fight, as a basic part of his education. Everyone has to get his verbal reasoning punched in the mouth.

        • fgth says:

          >Distance reduces danger, and we don’t deserve contact.

          Why does your heart condemn us? We have confidence in Yah. I do, do you?

          ‘Therefore subject yourselves to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.’

          ‘Beloved, if our heart should not condemn us, we have confidence toward God, 22and whatever we might ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and we do the things pleasing before Him.’

    • fgth says:

      >The pattern is clear. God is distant because humans are evil.
      >Close involvement is the exception to the rule, for exceptional righteousness or specific purpose

      No, that’s not what scripture tells us. Since the comforter was sent to all those born again in Christ, Yah literally lives within you, but only if you walk as the messiah walked. If you think He’s distant, then He isn’t with you, you don’t need to be exceptionally righteous, just do what messiah did, be obedient. He’s with me constantly, and I am not evil, because I walk as the messiah walked, righteously, without sin. Once again you contradict scripture. Here, read this:

      ‘Everyone committing sin also commits lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5And you know that He appeared, so that He might take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6Anyone abiding in Him does not sin; anyone sinning has not seen Him, nor has he known Him.’

      ‘And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we should keep His commandments. 4The one saying, “I have known Him,” and not keeping His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoever may keep His word, truly in him the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6The one claiming to abide in Him ought also walk just as in the same way that He walked.’

      If you’re sinning, you won’t have Yah with you, and you’re not saved, not reborn, not a Christian, not walking as the messiah walked.

      To the OP, Yah has never been closer to those in whom he abides, I regularly (every month or so) have a supernatural experience, a sign from Him, a miracle, something. It makes life joyful, peaceful and brilliant.

      Re Paul, Yah knew his heart, that once he was shown the truth about messiah, he would use his zeal to further the kingdom. A heart for accepting one’s own ignorance and being open to Yah showing you His wisdom is all Yah seeks, and then He uses you.

  2. Obadiah says:

    [‘Tism]

    Nagatoro: MM
    Senpai: TT

    That’s all I’ll say

    #nohomo

    [/’Tism]

  3. Heaviside says:

    >I’d characterize this as an appeal to the demographics of nonbelief.

    None of these academics bothered to contest the characterization of Buddhism as non-theistic?

  4. Obadiah says:

    >tl;dr- God hides himself so that he will only be found by those proactively searching for him. I’d characterize this as an appeal to the demographics of nonbelief.

    I was not searching for God per se–I was merely searching for the truth as best as I could perceive it and ended up at God. Intellectual honesty is in no small part my default saving grace (meanwhile my interpersonal honesty has increased significantly since religious conversion). I was basically a Venkateshian “sociopath” (i.e. autonomous moral actor) starting out from the exact position of religious dissatisfaction described by Rao in the Gervais principle; however, God talked back when I had ripped all the masks off the idols and got to the end (via solar eclipse, psychic connectivity w/ Aeoli, etc). (Rao’s “Sociopath’s Journey” is merely the inverted version of the Hero’s journey where instead of the hero finding God/meaning he descends into nihilism)

    Jesus was definitely “standing at the door knocking” since before I was born (birthdate/Ophiuchus zodiac archetypal traits/bloodline/psychic unconscious genetic pre-loading type stuff; etc). I just had to get a good session with the Shaman in before I had the stones to answer the door.

    Will write a lot more about all this stuff at some point.

    And yes God doesn’t just kick down the door and force you into subservience; He makes Himself less-than-obvious, assuming the guise of a lowly human and simply knocks at the door, giving you full control over the choice to let Him in; this further reinforces the point of Genesis: humans have actual moral autonomy.

  5. Aeoli Pera says:

    fgth, I will not be approving comments directed at Koanic.

  6. Pingback: Uncontroversial biblical example of God’s hiddenness | Aeoli Pera

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