Thursday, October 13, 2005

Why Might God be Hiding?

In modern life, as opposed to the miracle strewn stories of the past, we have no direct contact with anything we can call God. There are some who would disagree with this, though, and claim that they experience a true miracle or conversation with God on a frequent basis, but I certainly haven't and I think most people are like me. What then could be the reason that God, assuming he exists in some form, seems to be in hiding? Why is there no direct evidence for the existence of God?

Well, we could first deconstruct the idea of a "willing" God and suppose that God cannot choose to do anything. He didn't choose to go into hiding, he isn't really a "he" at all. Perhaps by the nature of what he is, he cannot make "himself" apparent to us.

On the flipside of this is the idea that the weakness is not in God, but in mankind. Perhaps God does act in the universe but in so transcendent and so subtle a way that our limited human minds cannot perceive it.

Perhaps it could be that the universe is too sensitive for such obvious interventions and like a soap bubble would be destroyed the moment such actions were tried. This is another argument for a "limited" transcendent God.

Perhaps God is not limited, nor transcendent in that way, but part and parcel of this universe and there are no such things as "miracles" as anything that happens at all is a function of this higher Existence Producer.

Then there are more provincial possibilities, but nonetheless worthy of mentioning:

Perhaps God is punishing humanity and leaving the world to work by itself free from Providential aid.

Perhaps God doesn't care about humanity. Either he left the universe in total or is focusing his attention on a distant part of it, but in either case allowing the world to operate on its own through disinterest.

Perhaps it is some sort of test of faith, or test of human determination, or human creation. Perhaps God needs to be absent to fulfil some mission that was planned for humanity.

Perhaps God doesn't exist as far as this question makes any sense. How can what doesn't exist hide?

I am sure there are also possible answers, but I'm just throwing these ideas out there.

9 comments:

DNA said...

you missed the typical frum, "we're not worthy..."

Anonymous said...

Thanks DNA, but the typical frum "were not worthy" is actually made up of a few of the above choices. Make points, not fun.

onionsoupmix said...

The typical frum answer that I've heard is that with God revealing Himself /herself, humanity would have no free choice. They would have to follow God's word and free will is what it's all about. This would be the "God is limiting himself for some existential purpose" response.

Prince Imrahil said...

onionsoupmix,
I don't know about a 'frum' response, but surely the provision of existential space as it were for Creation to proceed is essential. The same way we cannot speak of True and Complete Existence (because then we wouldn't be here to speak about it!) is the same reason there must be a veling or concealing of HaShem in Existence. Randomness (for instance the act of reproduction is built on randomness) is not a betrayal of purpose, but the deepest expression of the desire for Being. The tree of knowledge (Da'at) is what we eat, the tree of Life (existence) we don't have. Da'at is interpretation, relational, constructive interpretation. Doubt is built in to interpretation. Certainty is not possible at that level.
But within randomness there are emergent patterns that shine out. That is the crucial thesis of Purim. (can you see the Yom Kippur connection?) Cheers...

Mis-nagid said...

All your teruzim apply equally well to fairies. Why don't we see fairies anymore? They mad at us; we just don't notice them; they're invisible to our normal senses; their tinkly voices would drive us insane; etc. Just making up excuses for the nonevidence of the nonevidenced is meaningless.

Orthoprax said...

Onion,

"The typical frum answer that I've heard is that with God revealing Himself /herself, humanity would have no free choice."

Of course, I've heard that. But it doesn't really fly. If it's God the omnipotent one, then He certainly should be able to figure out a way in which his existence is known to all and that we also have free will. That is, also, the view of how the age of moshiach will be like.

Mis-nagid,

That's true, but nobody cares about fairies. I have a universe to explain here! I think that allows for consideration of some of even the more wacky ideas out there.

Do you have any ideas?

JC Masterpiece said...

The typical frum answer that I've heard is that with God revealing Himself /herself, humanity would have no free choice.

The problem i see with this is that Adam & Eve walked with God daily, still had free choice, and still chose to sin.

On the flipside of this is the idea that the weakness is not in God, but in mankind. Perhaps God does act in the universe but in so transcendent and so subtle a way that our limited human minds cannot perceive it.

I think that this is often the real answer, or a version of it. When Elija was on the run from Jezabel he went to the mount and waited. There was a great strong wind, an earthquake, and a great fire. God was not in any of these. However after these was a still small voice. In my experience God speaks through His scripture and His still small voice. We hear Him when we seek Him. This is a principle set forth numerous times in the Psalms and Proverbs. We find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart and we wait upon Him instead of expecting Him to wait upon us.

onionsoupmix said...

As far as I have been taught, the time of moshiach is not supposed to be a time of free choice anymore than olam habah is supposed to be a time of free choice. It's all over by then, basically. Another reason, why I don't understandt that God would bother to keep the world around then. What would be the point ? Anyway, the question about adam and chava is a good one. They still managed to sin and they had complete awareness of God. I will think on it.

Prince Imrahil said...

Adam & Chava and the Garden of Eden story is the macrocosmic story of the Creation we are living in. To say that they had free choice and still sinned is not a valid objection, they are we right now!
The better question is why and how did he sin? It is clear from the midrashic sources that his sin was the assertion of selfhood as a rejection of HaShem. The word 'Anochi' is used for the first time when Adam admits he ate - Anochi implies existential selfhood. He only could imagine his own self as a violation of Selfhood, as a breaking away instead of as a completion. Obviously, what we're saying is almost nil...