Does God Hide?
“If God exists, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself?”
This objection, often posed by atheists, raises two questions:
What do we mean when we say God is hidden?
Is God truly hidden?
Perhaps the so-called “hiddenness” of God is not as difficult of an objection as we may presume, once we take the time to delve into the implications. God is a spiritual, transcendent being. That being said, there are aspects of God which are inevitably “invisible.” After all, God is not a material being like you and me.
We often try to think of Him as such, which is a mistake known as anthropomorphism. This is just a fancy way of saying that we try to attribute human characteristics to God, which cannot be done. In fact, Scripture speaks on this very issue. God says in the book of Psalms, “You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). In Isaiah, God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is not like us, and therefore, we should not expect Him to reveal Himself in the same way.
There is definitely an aspect in which God must be approached through a lens of faith. But it is important to remember that the Biblical view of faith is not “blind faith,” such as belief without reason. Rather, Biblical faith is putting our trust in that which we have good reason to believe. There are strong, solid arguments for the existence of God.
Even so, just like wind, oftentimes we do not see God Himself; rather, we see His effects. The “effects” of God are permeated throughout our lives. From the complex design of the carefully constructed universe, to the mind-blowing amount of intelligence and information within just one strand of DNA, to the very existence of morality; God’s fingerprints are covering the world around us. The aforementioned aspects of the world in which we live could not exist unless God existed. So, is God truly hidden? I do not believe so. It may be that many of us simply do not want to find him.
Scripture tells us these things are so. Romans 3:11 clearly tells us that no one seeks God. Many spend their entire lives running from God. But God’s existence is still visible, even so. Romans also tells us that His divine attributes are clearly evident, so much so that people are without excuse as to whether God was fairly revealed.
“But why can’t God just reveal Himself in a blatantly evident way, so that more people would believe?”
God did reveal Himself to people in a blatantly evident way once. God came to the earth as Jesus, and people killed Him for it.
So, it may be that, out of the wickedness of our fallen hearts, we would not believe God even if He did reveal Himself in the ways that we wish. God wants us to have the choice to obey Him or reject Him. Forced belief would not be loving; it would negate our free-will.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegard told a parable of a mighty king who fell in love with a peasant. He desired that she love him for who he was, rather than for the fact that he was a mighty, powerful, wealthy king. So, he disguised himself as a peasant as well, in order to woo the woman so she would love him. He did not want her to feel as though she were forced to love him.
Likewise, God approaches us in the same way. He is a mighty king who came in the form of a man just like you and me. He did this so that He could meet us right where we are. He then died a brutal death on a cross, which wiped clean our transgressions against Him.
God is approachable, and rewards those who seek after Him (Hebrews 11:6). Still, we must be willing to soften our hearts first.