Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The elusive God

A more recent argument for atheism, the divine hiddenness problem, contends that if God existed, he'd make his existence more manifest. Consider the problem of unanswered prayer. Likewise, why doesn't God perform more miracles? 

i) As I recently noted, there are tradeoffs between divine intervention and stability:

God intervenes often enough to remind us that we're not alone, but not so often as to obliterate any continuity between past and future. He intervenes frequently enough to show us that the universe is not a snow globe. There's a greater reality beyond the physical universe. There's hope beyond the grave. But he doesn't obliterate the future by constantly resetting the timeline in answer to prayer.

ii) Job and Joseph are paradigm-examples where God is never more present than when he seems to be most absent. Joseph has two prophetic dreams, but after that his life goes haywire. From Joseph's vantage-point, God seems to be absent as Joseph suffers one misfortune after another. Likewise, at the low point of his life, God seems to abandon Job. In the midst of his ordeal, God is silent. In the midnight hour, where was God? Of course, readers know how the stories end. God as working behind-the-scenes all along. 

Or course, unbelievers don't think these are real-life stories, but that's not essential to the argument since the objection is about the consistency of certain ideas. Is the idea of God consistent with divine hiddenness? 

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