‘Why might God choose to be obscured from us if proof of the Divine would enable people to believe?’

While some people find comfort in a Creator God who keeps watch over us, others may not see it this way – particularly if they think their (mis)behaviour is deserving of Divine judgement.

Of course, our understanding of God and His nature has changed down the centuries. For primitive people who did not understand what caused lightning strikes and thunder, they interpreted these events as indicators that God was displeased with them. Conversely, bountiful harvests, good weather and living to a ripe old age were understood as blessings from God. Thinking which is quite at odds with what followed with the idea of a Watchmaker God who winds up the universe then sets it in motion, never to interfere with it again – which in turn resulted in some believing that God is distant and detached from Creation – rather like the Divine Being encountered in the film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ who inhabits a room on the edge of the universe waiting for humans to visit.

But if God is not in hiding, playing hard to get or bashful, why is the Divine obscured from us? Moreover, what might be God’s reason for doing this? One possible explanation comes from the nature of the Divine in regard to the necessity of…

Human freewill 

The thinking goes something like this:

  • For God to truly love humans, He must facilitate an environment which enables them to accept or reject His advances if they so choose.
  • This means God cannot be physically visible or humans wired in such a way so as to be predisposed in their response to loving God.
  • With no trump card to secure human love, God must ‘woo’ humanity through their environment at the risk that some will reject/miss this offer.
  • Although God may not like the outcome of human rejection, He accepts it so that humans can continue to be free in the choices they make.
  • And of course, God facilitates individual decisions even when these go against Him (and put the person at risk) such is the nature of Divine Love.

So, drawing the strands together, one reason why God might be obscured from His Creation is to do with the nature of His Being that facilitates an environment in which humans possess freewill. An environment that allows humans to makes decisions that run contrary to God’s desires for them which (in turn) may have consequence for themselves and God.