Godcast hiddenness excerpt transcript

Please let me know if I’ve made any errors or confounded the meaning of anything by my choices of where to put periods. This was created in a rush.

Context here.


From Exodus chapter 20 beginning in the 18th verse, this is right after God himself announces the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai: “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.’” 

Now, it is said in what’s called Deus absconticus, “hidden God”because there’s a concept called “hidden God,” “revealed God,” Deus absconticus, Deus revelatus. When you go to Isaiah chapter 45 in verse 15 the prophet even complains “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. All of them are put to shame and confounded; the makers of idols go in confusion together. But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.” So why does God hide? 

Well first off, in some senses he does and other senses he doesn’t. You’re thinking about audial (hearing) and visual hiding. That you can’t go to a cave on a mountain somewhere and see God with your human eyes or hear God with your human ears, physically. Why does God hide? Well, that part of Deus absconticus is just like we read in Exodus chapter 20, that we are not morally worthy to be in God’s presence. God does not tolerate the presence of sin. And is there a physical cleanliness aspect of it, “take off your shoes for this is holy ground,” in the Old Testament sense? Sure. But even in the New Testament sense if God were to just, boom, manifest himself right in front of you, you would do what Isaiah did in Isaiah chapter 6, you would fall on your face and scream in terror. You would do what Ezekiel did when Ezekiel saw God in Ezekiel chapter 1, you would fall on your face and scream in terror. We can’t tolerate the presence of angels. How much less could we tolerate the presence of almighty God? 

So, that’s part of Deus absconticus but there is also Deus revelatus. God does reveal himself in ways that we can understand, to understand that he is there, provided we’re actually aware of that. So there is the inner witness of God’s law in our hearts, Romans chapter 2 states that God has written his law into our hearts. That is an indication of the presence of God whenever you feel your conscience telling you to do or not to do something. God is revealing his will to you and revealing himself to you, that’s Deus revelatus. Whenever you confess your sins and you hear the word of God pronounced over you in the words of absolution that is Deus revelatus, that is God being right there with you as we understand when Jesus says “if two or more are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them.” In context Jesus says that in terms of the Office of the Keys. So when a pastor executes the Office of the Keys to pronounce forgiveness of your sins God is there, absolutely he is there with a very special presence. And we understand that God is omnipresent, yes, but sometimes he’s more present in one place than in another in a way that defies our understanding. 

So that’s just two of the ways that God reveals himself but also all of nature proclaims the glory of God as the Psalms say. So Deus revelatus also comes in our apprehension of the order of the universe, things that have a non-physical aspect to them: the laws of the universe, the music of the spheres (so to speak), the way that the sun appears to rotate around the earth. And we don’t understand how these laws work or why a physical thing would obey non-physical laws or edicts. Like why, when I drop my phone, it goes down. Nothing physical tells it to do that. But there’s something non-physical that forces that to happen. That’s Deus revelatus because that doesn’t happen without a sovereign god over the entire universe. 

So God does reveal himself to us if we are willing to listen, if we are willing to look for where he has revealed himself. But in the terms you’re talking about…that is something that happens at the end of days. That is an eternal state when you are perfected as Saint Paul says, beholding God face-to-face upon the resurrection when your sinful flesh is changed to be able to take the presence of God in a way that doesn’t result in screaming or death. Hopefully that answers your question, from the Lutheran persuasion anyway.

About Aeoli Pera

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1 Response to Godcast hiddenness excerpt transcript

  1. Pingback: Re: Re: Re: the hiddenness of God | Aeoli Pera

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