Thursday, September 01, 2016

Why Does God Hide?

Why doesn’t God reveal himself so plainly that no one could doubt the truth of his essence? Why are there so few clues to God? Why are they so obscure? Why does God hide?

Blase Pascal was a seventeenth century physicist and mathematician who had some thoughts, or "Pensees", on these questions.

In Pensees 149, Pascal states, "If [God] had wished to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, he could have done so by revealing himself so plainly that they could not doubt the truth of his essence…This is not the way he wished to appear when he came in mildness, because so many men had shown themselves unworthy of his clemency, that he wished to deprive them of the good they did not desire. It was therefore not right that he should appear in a manner manifestly divine and absolutely capable of convincing all men, but neither was it right that his coming should be so hidden that he could not be recognized by those who sincerely sought him. He wished to make himself perfectly recognizable to them. Thus wishing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart and hidden from those who shun him with all their heart, he has qualified our knowledge of him by giving signs which can be seen by those who seek him and not by those who do not. There is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary definition."

In Pensees 235 he states, "Jesus came to blind those who have clear sight and to give sight to the blind; to heal the sick and let the healthy die; to call sinners to repentance and justify them, and to leave the righteous to their sins; to fill the hungry with good things and to send the rich empty away."

Peter Kreeft, in his treatment of Pascal's great work, Christianity for Modern Pagans, Pascal's Pensees Edited, Outlined & Explained, states about Pensees 235, "...that same light that fulfills some threatens others; that the same divine nature, the same justice and righteousness and holiness, the same unselfish love and self-surrender and willingness to suffer that is heaven to the saints, is hell to sinners. Christ does not deliberately and delightedly hide from the wicked or blind them. He can't help it, just as the sun can't help shining...He blinds sinners simply by being what he is."

In Pensees 234 Pascal says, "God wishes to move the will rather than the mind. Perfect clarity would help the mind and harm the will."

Peter explains, "Here is one reason God hides, that is, does not reveal himself more clearly. If he did, we would have more knowledge but less humility and thus less wisdom."

Pensees 236 begins, "There is enough light to enlighten and enough obscurity to humiliate them. There is enough obscurity to blind the reprobate and enough light to condemn them and deprive them of excuse."

Peter states, "He gives exactly the right amount of light. If he gave less even the righteous would be unable to find him, and their will would be thwarted. If he gave more, even the wicked would find him, against their will. Thus he respects and fulfills the will of all...If we don't want to believe, we don't...[The] Christian believes two things: that only those who seek God find him, and that all those who seek God find him...God, who alone knows hearts, knows who seeks him and who does not."

Don't take my word for it, read the book, don't wait for the movie.

Have a little hope on me, Roger

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