One may rightly question why a loving God seems to keep their distance. Are there plausible reasons why God is physically invisible and cognitively or emotionally hidden to many? The Bible doesn’t teach that all who don’t believe there is a Creator are simply suppressing what they know to be true deep down. Paul instead said “many knew God…they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God” (Rm. 1:21, 29). They believed God existed but sought to justify their wicked ways. Many don’t believe in a God or lack a passion for God, but this is not always for immoral reasons. I am confident all God-folks have such friends.
I am mainly writing to suggest if there is God, there might be plausible reasons or justification for God not revealing themselves more openly. Let’s suggest for the sake of argument there are those who are convinced there is a God and those who are convinced there isn’t a God. If you believe in a God, why do you not trust God to reveal themselves to others when deemed the best time to do so? Jesus didn’t require people kneel and express belief in God. Jesus respected everyone’s journey. Jesus only had an axe to grind with the religious of the day who implied for their own benefit that obedience is taught not caught. Jesus simply wanted us to know our Creator loves us and desires to empower us to be the unselfish people we deep down desire to be.
The nature of one’s relationship with their Creator, of lack of, may be impacted by understanding if there are rational reasons why God is so hidden. Loving parents makes themselves obvious to their children. As the story goes God was visible in the beginning with Adam and Eve. When the first couple went against God’s advice, it was humans that ran and hid from God. As rebellion continued (at least it does for me), God apparently decided it was in our best interest if God not continue to overwhelm us in person. Being in the presence of others we offend isn’t always initially conducive for lasting change. God wanted us to come to them on our own terms rather than out of feelings of obligation or awe. God wanted it to be all about us and not God. Loving parents desire their children freely reciprocate their love as opposed to feeling manipulated.
Miracles make God more obvious but don’t always lead to belief. God dropped manna from the sky to survive in the wilderness, but the Israelites turned on God when Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Miracles often lead to seeking only physical cures and not spiritual cures. A healed soul is far better than just a healed body. We parents tend to shower our children with gifts to avoid the painful realities of a free world, but interference can prevent growth and self-satisfaction resulting from making wise, independent choices.
Freedom is absolutely necessary for authentic relationships. Without freedom we could accuse God of not creating the very best world. When evil was chosen in the beginning and continues today, God’s constant interference and presence may prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of the moral development and improvement of free creatures. Also, God may know a person may reject them now as opposed to a time in the future – even after death – so one can best choose their destiny. God revealing himself after swearing to change can lead to more guilt. God may hide himself not out of cruelness but love as timing can be important in relationships.
Let’s not accuse those who believe as needing a crutch and those that don’t believe of being wicked and not knowing their feelings. If it is a sin to doubt God exists, then Christians sin if they doubt God in troubled times. 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. Some are taught growing up God is a sadistic torturer who burns people in Hell forever if they don’t believe in God, which is a direct contradiction of a loving God. People are not immoral because they doubt or don’t accept certain teachings without reflection. Readers know their own reasons for not believing and they are valid as reasons for believing.
Honestly, I can think of many reasons that we are better off with moral people that are less religious than others. I can understand why some may think the Bible teaches hierarchical relationship between the genders, though I would argue such a stance is a haven for abuse by men. But, most Churches don’t state interpretations are fallible and encourage sharing and considering one another’s opinions gracefully as God helps individuals work out their own convictions with as much consistency as possible. Churches encourage good morals but sometimes the message they give about God may not reveal what God is truly like. I wonder if we are better off sometimes with no message about God than the wrong message about God.
A parent, who has a child taken from them at birth, stills loves that child though that child may not know them or believe they even exist. We cannot assume that not feeling God’s presence means there is no relationship from God’s perspective. Nonresistant nonbelief is obviously plausible and reasonable if such a belief is not used to justify selfish behaviors. Spiritual discussions should only take place if both parties wish to discuss such matters for their own benefit. It seems to me as a God-person, to not have an open-mind what others are saying about themselves lacks faith in God revealing themselves to others if they trust exist. It seems to me there are rational reasons why God may not make their presence always so obvious.