Is God Hiding?

I often hear atheists and skeptics raise the “lack of evidence” objection to the possible existence of God. I’ve rarely–never, actually–seen any take time to consider how it would feel to be right there, presumed imaginary, then dared to “prove” their existences.

Think of your most intimate, vulnerable, secret self, the one you would only allow your most trusted lover to see. Or maybe you’ve never let anyone see it. Maybe you hardly let yourself look that deeply at the unclothed, raw, tender you.

Now visualize yourself putting that deepest, most sensitive part of you on display, Exhibit A atop the evidence table in a courtroom, you the defendant in a case against your own existence, with skeptical, judgmental eyes surrounding you, looking for reasons to declare you a fraud.

What makes us think that God faces anything less vulnerable in revealing herself to us? Why would it be less fragile a moment than that first, tentative disrobing of a virgin by her lover? Why would God reveal less than her most delicately sensile side to us?

God might be omnipotent or unassailable, but none of the ancients claimed that she is impervious, let alone insensitive. These aren’t the brutal days of Moses and Pharoah and burning bushes. These are days when, according to Jesus, God and her children move like an exquisite, gentle breeze–warm and soft as breath.

Think about that the next time you wonder where God is hiding. Maybe we should think more about why God hides than where. And maybe we’d do ourselves a favor to consider whom God is hiding from. Like lovelorn lads, pining and hunting for the “right one,” heads spinning with all that she will be to them, rarely do we wonder what we will be to her.

What is the prospect of contact with us like from God’s side? God might love us; but does she want to? Maybe that’s the rub: maybe we’re afraid of what we are and what we’ll prove to be under God’s gaze. Maybe we’re afraid how she’ll react if she sees us naked, with nowhere to hide. Maybe that’s why no one can see God and live–not because glimpsing the divine image kills, but because the prospect of being exposed to her penetrating, consuming scrutiny mortifies us to literal death.

Maybe  God graciously hides from us until we can bear the encounter.

One thing is clear: while God hides, we cannot see her, we cannot know her, and we cannot know of her. We might hear of her, but we’ll remain blind until further notice.

On the other hand, if God came out of hiding and revealed herself to you, how would you respond?

I can hardly get a straight answer to that question from skeptics and atheists. It’s as if they’re afraid to consider the possibility. In fact, it often seems like they’re dead set against allowing it, let alone honestly facing it.

If God revealed herself to you, what difference would it make? Any? Or would you chalk it up to delusion, consult a doc, and pop a pill?

Maybe there’s good reason for God to hide.

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About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
This entry was posted in Bible, God, Inspiration, Life & Death, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality, Truth & Rumors and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Is God Hiding?

  1. God isn’t hiding at all. First, there is the assumption that God must always take on some form to be revealed to us. God doesn’t have a form like carbon-based life forms that we’re used to. Everything we know in physical space has a beginning. That would have to be different for an infinite, eternal Being. Second, there is the very question of existence that begs an answer. We know that anything designed has a Creator. The design in the universe begs for a Designer. Third, there is the resurrection of Jesus. We know that people die, and don’t reanimate themselves. With Jesus’ resurrection, something outside of normal events occurred. It was a supernatural event brought on by a powerful Someone, who has the power to change the laws of nature. There is also the Bible’s miraculous survival over the ages, with a myriad of prophecies pointing to a particular supernatural Someone, Jesus. Should God appear in a physical state to everyone, everywhere, at all times? He is already obvious. He is available to be known to anyone who wants to know Him.

    • Jason, Hello! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      I agree with you. I don’t think that God is hiding either. But I didn’t always think that way. And I know a lot of people I care about who insist that they have “no evidence” of God. There’s a baby there I don’t want to throw out with the bathwater of the problems with the way they misconstrue “evidence.” It’s too easy to dismiss their reports of lack of evidence by blaming them for their own “blindness.” I was blind once, too. I remember what it feels like. It sucks.

      I want to find ways to show people how to see. My Christian teaching basically told me that it happens by magic. “By the Spirit.” Well, here’s the thing. The Spirit ONLY works though the Body. I’m a member. So, until I know how to awaken people and give sight to the blind, the Spirit might find others to work those miracles through, just not me.

      I do notice that the examples you gave involve conclusions we arrive at through rational thought. There’s also a huge other aspect to this, which I tried to evoke in my piece: real time experience of God. In all the arguments over God’s existence, and I’ve read, written, and discussed the question for nearly a half century, there’s a GLARING lack of reference to experiential contact with the divine.

      Also, God might not be hiding from you or me, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t hiding from someone else. I’ve never heard an atheist admit the possibility that they see no evidence of God because God has hidden it and Her/Himself from them. I thought it was a good thing to make a point of. 🙂

  2. Interesting post, Millard! I would like to focus on what you said in the following: “And maybe we’d do ourselves a favor to consider whom God might be hiding from.” It made me think of Isaiah 45:7, where it says: “Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I [am] Jehovah, doing all these things.’” (Young’s Literal Translation) So, my question becomes, why would God need to hide from anything that is contained in His/Her creation? Is it not the duality and contrast that operates as a universal principle in driving our learning and growth?

    I think we should not be afraid of the darkness, for it teaches us many things, and with light shining upon the darkness, it will be elucidated and confronted, but it is a constant struggle that requires our overcoming. If there were nothing to overcome, then, there would be nothing to face so that we could discover/learn and grow.

    • chrisnamastephys11, Nice! Very insightful. Thank you! 🙂

      I agree. A recent experience I had talking with some spiritual-but-not-religious folks who meditate and talk a lot about ego and “letting go” of “attachments” echoes what you wrote about darkness. I pointed out that their energies seem directed at avoiding, eliminating, containing, or neutralizing darkness (mostly the “darkness” of anxiety/fear/worry/internal conflict, etc.) I realized that I do exactly the opposite. I dive into the darkness, roll around, muck around, sort things out, separate out what seems legitimate from illusions, etc., and don’t feel like I’m done until I’ve located the crux of the matter. Kind of like finding the darkness projector.

      It always turns out to be vestigial trauma from abusive past experiences. Once identified, there are decisions to make and processing to be done to realize that what actually happened did not really signify what it appeared to signify at the time. Simple example: that slight that hurt so deeply was the result of a whole lotta things that had nothing to do with me. Overall, the incident might have had very little at all to do with me. At the time I couldn’t see that. Now I can. That recognition enables me to reintegrate the experience in a functional way, instead of hiding from it or burying it as a problem I’m overwhelmed by. I think that’s a profound example of discovering the truth that sets us free. The realization itself, not some effort or energy I apply to the problem, is what liberates me.

      As to God hiding, I realized that we dismally neglect the heart and feelings of the Almighty. There’s no reason to think that invincibility implies insensitivity. I was just exploring divine delicateness a bit in that piece. I don’t think that God’s meekness/shyness/delicateness/reticence is limited to the question of God’s “existence.” I think it’s fundamental to ongoing interaction with God in real life.

      A lot of my thinking about it comes from experience with creative processes. There is a whole set of psychological processes which are not conducive to creativity, lots of which are destructive to creativity. Compulsion, force, violence, obligation, responsibility, coercion, fear, etc. Creativity killers all.

      There doesn’t seem to be a corresponding set of psychological processes that inspire creativity, though. That’s odd. Mostly, creativity seems to be a function of trust-meets-experience. When we’re safe, secure, feeling well, not stressed, and at leisure, and then we turn our minds to something interesting–a person, a sunset, a walk in the forest, a hunger pang, a frightening experience–creativity seems to happen spontaneously. That’s probably because we allow our minds to play with unlikely possibilities.

      I think that creativity is the natural result of our innate programming/wiring. We’re wired to play. It doesn’t take particular or deliberate effort to stimulate it–it just happens on its own when conditions don’t prevent it. We’re already inclined that way. Abuse notoriously beats playfulness/creativity out of us. There are plenty of people who have studied creativity and found ways to evoke it in spite of inhibiting or even antagonistic conditions, like Edward de Bono and many more since him. Noticing all this led me to ask why we put up with inhibiting or antagonistic conditions in the first place.

      I think that experiential contact with God is very much like experiential contact with playfulness and creativity. God withdraws in much the same ways that playfulness and creativity withdraw in the face of abuse. In the same way that our hearts or spirits tend to retreat inwardly when we’re confronted by violence or anger, for example, I think that God’s spirit retreats into God, distancing itself from the dissonance. Not to say that’s all that happens. But in terms of connecting/contacting/experiencing God as a friend, an intimate soul-mate, I think that’s what happens. Kind of like floating pepper on water and then touching the surface with a bar of soap. So, in that sense, I think that God hides.

      God has a strong side, of course. I’m exploring that, too! 😀

  3. Going to a poetry reading tonight. I’ll read this as one of my pieces. Not exactly poetry, but the venue will dig it, I think. Made some changes, fyi. Wish me well! 😀

  4. Kevin Taylor says:

    Hi Millard –
    I’ve been thinking about you. Please drop me a line or call me so that we can talk. (503)390-3637
    Kevin

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