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.