Announcer: Hello and welcome to the Taco Tuesday Theology Show with your host, Danny Powell! For many of us, going through life in an increasingly secular world is proving a challenge to navigate. Each week, we take your questions about modern life and answer them using the lessons revealed in the scriptures. Now, grab yourself a taco, and let’s get to this week’s question!
Question: Hey! This is Tyranny from Hot Springs, Arkansas, my question is, “Why does God seem so hidden when He has the power to show Himself?”
Danny: This may be the most difficult question I have been asked so far. I rewrote the script for this podcast 3 times already. The problem is that I personally do not think God is hidden! I see Him clearly everywhere I go, and I hear him all the time. The first attempts to answer this question got bogged down in a discussion of Intelligent Design but the question does not ask about the existence of God, but rather why He appears to be hidden.
When a Russian cosmonaut returned from space and reported that he had not found God, C.S. Lewis responded that this was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle looking for Shakespeare. If there is a God, He wouldn’t be another object in the universe that could be put in a lab and analyzed with empirical methods. He would relate to us the way a playwright relates to the characters in his play. We, the characters, might be able to know quite a lot about the playwright, but only to the degree, the author chooses to put information about himself into the play.
As humans in a physical world, we experience and interpret everything through our five senses. That makes knowing and experiencing God limited to what we can perceive through those five senses. The issue with that is that we cannot directly see, taste, smell, hear, or touch God in the physical sense. An analogy I’ve heard before to describe our experience with God is that you can’t see the wind, but you know what the wind is by what it does. You can look at the effects of the wind; you can hear the roar of the wind, feel the wind touch against your body, smell scents from other places because of the wind bringing them to you, and I suppose if something blows into your mouth, you can taste it too!
The Bible states:
Scripture reading (Rachel): “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves; who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:18-25, WEB)
Danny: We can see the evidence of God through observing His creation. The human brain is one of the most complex “machines” in the universe, yet the world would have us believe something this complex came about through random chance and not by design. I could rattle off a bunch of probabilities of the possibility of life forming or if the measure of gravity were one degree different in one way or another the world could not exist or tell the story of putting all the elements of a watch in a box and shaking it for a billion years, but the skeptic has already heard those arguments and rejected them. They genuinely have exchanged truth for a lie.
We can disagree on who God is (Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Thor, etc.) or what His nature is, but I cannot understand how one can doubt whether He (or them, etc., just for the sake of keeping this civil!) exists at all. What makes life? There are currently 115 known elements in the universe. Everything we encounter, including each other, is made from combinations of these 115 elements. What is it that makes human beings alive when chemically we are not all that different from a shopping cart? Or to take it even further, what is different the instant after we
die? Chemically our bodies are the same pre or postmortem.
At the risk of sounding like an ignorant religious nut, I’m going to say the answer is in the very beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:3 reads, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and BANG! there was light.” If you ever look at a living cell under an electron microscope, you will see the most fantastic thing. You see little sparks of light between the individual atoms. What is the source of this light?
Forgive me for quoting a new ager:
Imagine you’re standing outside on the grass looking towards the sky. Hold your hands in the air and feel the heat of the sun, the movement of the wind brushing over your skin. As the wind touches your hand, it deposits molecules of every chemical needed to create life. As the sun warms your face, it radiates all the energy that generates life. We are nothing more than these chemicals, this energy, but with one tremendous difference: An invisible principle holds you together.
What is this invisible principle? Quite simply, God is this Invisible Principle. Because of this invisible principle, you were created out of the whirlwind of atoms that fly through the universe. Instead of being scattered inside a galactic dust cloud, your body has organized itself into thousands of precise operations. With every breath, you inhale hundreds of millions of gaseous molecules, and within a tenth of a second, the ones that sustain life, primarily oxygen and hydrogen, enter your cells to create enzymes and proteins.
How do they know to do this? They don’t. The oxygen in your blood is no more alive than the oxygen in a diver’s tank; the sugars in your brain are no more intelligent than those in a sugar cube. Yet the whirlwind turns into life somehow; the invisible principle causes this transformation.
Although the principle cannot be seen nor weighted, it possesses certain qualities:
- It is intelligent – Omniscient
- It is conscious of itself
- It has power – Omnipotent
- It can organize things, creating complexity out of simplicity.
This invisible principle is God. While you and I can argue about the attributes of God, and we can debate about His (or her or it’s) nature and about our relationship to our deity, if we are honest with each other, we cannot argue that there is or isn’t a God. That anything is alive is such a calculated impossibility that there must be some designer. God operates in all life, and one cannot extract Him. There are just too many things that must happen just right:
(One More Reality To Go (article) by Deepak Chopra)
I said earlier that this question is difficult for me personally because I don’t think God hides. I have a friend, Bill Ruhl that says,
God is only hidden to those who refuse to see. God is only silent to those who refuse to listen. ~Pastor Bill Ruhl
God only appears to be hidden to those who do not actively seek Him out.
Throughout the Bible, it teaches us to seek God. From Deuteronomy 4:29
Scripture Reading (Rachel)“But from there you shall seek Yahweh your God, and you shall find him when you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Danny: And from the book of Jeremiah:
Scripture Reading (Rachel) “You shall seek me, and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (Jerimiah 29:13)
Danny: The Scriptures teach us to search with our souls and heart. He says if we seek Him, we will find Him. Jesus taught us:
“However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming.”
In John 16:13
And that the Holy Spirit resides in the believer:
“the Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive; for it doesn’t see him, neither knows him. You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you.” From John 14:17.
He lives with you and will be in you. …IN YOU… I looked that verse up on multiple translations, and in every one of them, it reads, in you! How far do we need to look for God if He is IN us?
Now, while it’s true that God has equipped the church with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, we are not to rely wholly on them. We are to seek God with our own heart and soul, not to have someone else find God and then tell us about Him! If anything, we are to question what others teach us about
God. Paul once applauded a group for researching what he taught them.
Scripture reading (Rachel): “Now these were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Danny: One of my former pastor’s laments is that so many people have become complacent in their spirituality. Many roam from church to church looking to get “fed.” He says that if the only time you eat is once or twice a week, you’re going to starve. Too many of us are content to have someone else spoon-feed us the Truth about God rather than consult with Him ourselves by studying His Word and spending time with Him in prayer and meditation.
I mentioned in the episode “How Do I Know I’m Hearing God and Not Myself” the way to know God is through my Pastor Martin’s favorite expression, “Worship, Word, and Prayer”. Not only will those disciplines help you discern whether you are hearing from God but they will help you seek the Lord.
A great place to start your journey to know and understand God is to study the Bible. Reading the Scriptures are a great start. As you read the text, get a couple of commentaries to read along with the text. The main reason for reading commentaries is for the historical and cultural knowledge gained from the scriptures. Knowing the culture of the society that existed in Biblical times brings the language and expressions used in the translations alive, and often carries a more precise understanding of the words I am reading. I also tend to read multiple translations. There are some who disagree with that concept (taking their preference for any particular translation to the point of idolatry…IMHO), but when you do word studies on any passage of Scripture, you will see how many different ways any individual sentence is translated. My usual choices for studying a passage of Scripture are NKJV, NASB, ESV, and NRSV. In my library are 20+ other translations and on my computer, I have even more translations. I’ve used many different methods of studying over the years
In the book of Hebrews 11:6, we read that it is impossible to please God without faith. We can’t depend on empirical evidence to prove either the existence of or evidence of God. Astronomer and Physicist Robert Jastrow wrote in his book, God and the Astronomers:
Reading (Cindy Hyde): At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. ~Robert Jastrow
Danny: C.S. Lewis was correct when he stated that looking for God in space was like Hamlet looking for Shakespeare in the attic of his castle. Hamlet can only know what Shakespeare wrote into the play for Hamlet to know. God has written Himself into our world in the form of His Son, Jesus. If we want to see the nature of God, all we have to do is look at Jesus. The only way we can do that is to read His book (Bible) and spend time with Him. It’s one thing to have me tell you how great God is. It’s quite another for you to experience it yourself.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to this episode of Taco Tuesday Theology. If you have a question, you’d like us to answer from a Biblical world view, please go to our website, www.tacotuesdaytheology.com, and click on the “Send Message” button. You can send the message right from your smartphone or computer. Maybe next week, we’ll answer your question. New episodes post every Tuesday afternoon. Until next time, keep praying and pass the guacamole!
 20 The Reason For God By Tim Keller A Review. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.desiringgodchurch.org/dgcc/reasonforgodreview.pdf