“No game of hide and seek lasts this long.” It’s an objection to Christianity brought forth by many skeptics. Let’s take a deeper look into the heart of this challenge.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post called “The Search For Evidence.” It wasn’t an attempt to give evidence, rather it was an exploration of the heart of the demand. In the post, I pointed out the fact that most simply do not want God. This is based on the countless objections to Christianity such as the Old Testament genocidal texts and the Bible’s endorsement of slavery, in addition to a plethora of other objections. Richard Dawkins, for example, once said that “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.” If God were to reveal Himself, one who holds to these objections would be obliged to reluctantly believe and follow Him or remain in rebellion and start an attack. If we disobey authority figures today, what makes God any different?
With that stated, the claim that God is hiding comes pulling a few other objections.
1: Those who state this first claim that there isn’t enough evidence for God.
2: Those who state this claim that God is cruel for making His creation seek after Him in the first place.
I won’t go too much into number one as the sciences aren’t really in my area of expertise, but many apologists such as William Lane Craig, J. Warner Wallace, and John Lennox, already offer more than satisfactory reasons based on the scientific evidence we have to conclude that belief in God is most reasonable. What I can answer, however, is the second objection to this claim.
Firstly, it is worth noting that God’s hiddenness is not inconsistent with Scripture and Christian doctrine. Exodus 33:20, for example, says, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” God’s hiddenness is consistent with who He is, and it reveals the unique distinction between the creator and the creation. A holy God and unholy man.
Secondly, this cruelty is largely dependent on a fundamentalist view of Hell, which I don’t ascribe to. You can see this post for a complete view. In understanding the reality of Hell, we can then understand our need to seek redemption in the person of Jesus Christ (who, because of His mercy, first sought after us) to cover sin’s ascribed shame. To command God to seek us today is to say that we are more deserving of honor than Christ. It violates the very principle of a creator-creation relationship in which man bows to God. It becomes: God bows to man.
Thirdly, as already stated, it goes deeper than just appearing. To appear to those who don’t want Him would violate man’s free will and would either lead to an obligatory surrender (which, if you know the Christian life, would lead to an angry rebellion anyway) or straight up rebellion.
Finally, in all my study of atheism and its beliefs, I’ve found they have created quite the mess when it comes to the demand of evidence. Let me explain with a few questions.
When met with the demand for evidence, the first question to ask is, “What kind of evidence are you looking for?” During a debate with William Lane Craig, Dr. Lawence Krauss was asked by a member of the audience, “What would make you believe in God?” His answer was something along the lines of the stars spelling out, “I Am Here.” In other words, a miraculous event.
This can be followed by the question, “Why would that count as evidence?” A miracle by definition is something that cannot be explained by science or reason. In other words, it’s a gap which they fill with God. This is called the god of the gaps, and it’s widely held as an inappropriate argument.
If asked, “Is the god of the gaps a reasonable argument?” they’ll most likely answer with a no, thus we realize nothing can ever count as evidence unless one is open to looking at God as a serious possibility, yet as already mentioned, God is held as a very unfavorable option, so an philosophical committment to naturalism is the only other option.
This is one of the reasons I began studying apologetics. I hope to open the door to the desire of God and to clarify everything that makes Him seem undesirable and ridiculous. While the hiddenness of God is consistent with who He is, it is also based on man’s reluctance to look at the possibility of a creator above him. A revelation of the true God can change this, but it needs to begin in the hearts of you and I before it can ever be seen in our words.