Why doesn’t God make his presence more evident to those who are open to knowing if God exists? Divine hiddenness has been a reason many have questioned if there is a God or if God truly is loving. Parents don’t hide from a child who is seeking their love and comfort. Before we consider reasonable reasons why God may seemingly stay more hidden, we need to counter some common assumptions among those who already believe in God.
It is argued the Bible says those who don’t believe there is a God are simply being rebellious to what they know to be true. The first chapter of Romans is used to suggest that all people that don’t believe in God are simply suppressing what God has clearly revealed to them. This passage is referring to those ignoring God so they could continue in their wicked ways. Many people live moral lives but for their own rational reasons cannot believe in an invisible God. There are many explanations for unbelief than accusing people of lying and not knowing their feelings.
A traumatic experience such as being raped by one’s father can keep one from wanting to have anything to do with God their Father. One may have been taught growing up God is a sadistic torturer who burns people in Hell forever if they don’t believe in Him. Many understand such an explanation of God is a direct contradiction of a loving God. People are not immoral because they doubt or don’t accept certain teachings without reflection. Jesus was toughest on the Pharisees for misrepresenting God that they claimed to know. Skeptics or those who may question God are not claiming or acting like religious elitists that got Jesus’ dander up the most.
There are individual, loving reasons God may not reveal Himself totally to those not ready to believe in God. God may know a person may reject Him currently as opposed to a time in the future under different circumstances. People may also come to believe in God for the wrong reasons if God shows Himself at the wrong time. God revealing himself to me in in what I perceive to be very real ways isn’t always comforting. Afterwards, I swear to God that I will change and don’t. Such experiences lead to guilt and discouragement. God may hide himself not out of cruelness but because He loves us and timing can be important in relationships.
There may also be societal benefits for God not revealing Himself always. The truth is those who claim to know and love God sometimes have less of a positive impact on others than those who don’t play the God-card. If we assume most people don’t have a close relationship with God, they may be more positively impacted by those who don’t wear God on their sleeve. The Bible suggests a genuine relationship with God isn’t based on certain beliefs or what one says but how one lives their life. Some are turned off by those who claim by the grace of God they were cured. I guess God didn’t give a crap about a loved one who died of the same kind of cancer.
God showed Himself when history began in very tangible ways. There may always be a need for the first time, but is God not loving by not continuing to reveal Himself in similar ways in each future generation? God’s chosen people had manna dropped from the sky to survive in the wilderness, but they turned on God when Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. God even came in person but Jesus’ presence and miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding. A parent, who has a child taken from them at birth, stills loves that child though that child may not know them or that they even exist. We cannot assume not seeing God’s presence means there is no relationship.