Why is God So Hidden In 2019?


(Elizabeth Hall) #1

This is the question I struggle with most I’m sorry if it is difficult to answer.

Why are God, angels and miraculous events so evident in the Bible and yet we don’t see anything like that in today’s world?

I understand that God is “evident in creation” and “proves Himself to us in the Bible” and such but I mean why does He not reveal himself like He did to people in scripture? Such as sending angels to speak to people or appearing in gusts of wind or sending down fire when we ask God to prove himself.

One of the verses that really frustrates me is 1 Kings 18:36-40 where Elijah asks God to prove himself and He sends down fire on a sacrifice to prove He is God. But if we were to ask God to prove Himself today we get nothing. It just makes me worry that God isn’t real since none of the crazy things that happened in the Bible happen now. I actually remember reading an article recently of a woman who crashed her car trying to prove to her children that God was real and He would protect them from the car crash. She was thrown into prison for that but luckily her children were not harmed too badly. That story really shook my faith because it seems like God would have proved himself in that situation especially so the children would believe.

Sorry for the long post. Thank you so much for reading.


(Micah Bush) #2

Don’t forget that even when God did reveal Himself in spectacular ways, the results were rather underwhelming. After watching God part the Red Sea and deliver them from the Egyptians, the Israelites still lacked faith that He would provide for them in the desert and fight for them in Canaan; Elijah called down fire from Heaven that consumed even the water he used to douse his sacrifice, yet Israel continued in its apostasy and was ultimately delivered up to the Assyrians for judgement; and the religious leaders of Jesus’s day witnessed miracles that could not be faked (ex. the restoration of a withered hand and healing of a man born blind), yet they did not believe.

I too struggle with this question, especially when I read passages like Mark 11:23 or James 1:6 and remember some of the foolish extremes I’ve seen some take on the issue. (For instance, my grandmother believed that with enough faith and declarations of victory, my uncle would be healed of leukemia, but he died of it; later on, before succumbing to cancer herself, she could never be trusted to give an accurate account of her true condition because she believed that even acknowledging the present illness would display a lack of faith that Jesus had already healed her.) I look forward to reading further responses on this topic.


(SeanO) #3

@Zenshii I believe we all struggle with God’s hiddenness. One thing I might say is that the Bible records many of the times when God was most active in history in miraculous ways, but actually there are long stretches of time when God was not parting seas or bringing fire down from Heaven. Israel experienced 400 years of silence before the Exodus and before the time of Christ. Abraham actually only spoke with God a limited number of times in his life if you read Genesis - not every other day. It is easy when reading the Bible to forget that these spectacular eras actually only lasted for short spans of time - Jesus’ life and those of the apostles spanned one generation.

Formally this is known as the ‘Problem of Divine Hiddenness’. In essence, this argument states that because a relationship with God is the highest good and yet there are people capable of having that relationship who do not because of a lack of evidence, God must not exist. In my opinion this argument is fundamentally flawed in a few important ways:

  1. It makes the assumption that there exist people who have had no opportunity to respond to God

  2. It makes the assumption that God will judge all people by the same standard, whether or not they had the same level of knowledge

Regarding (1), Romans 1 is clear that all mean are aware of God’s existence and have an opportunity to respond to Him in some way.

Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Regarding (2), it is not clear from Scripture that God will judge all people the same. In fact, it appears clear that those who know more will be held to a higher standard. God’s judgment is fair - it is not impossible that those who have not heard may yet enter into relationship with God if they responded to what they knew as best as they were able. It is clear from Scripture that people are held accountable for the light they have - for example, Jesus says the men of Nineveh would rise in judgment over the Jews who saw Jesus and yet rejected Him, for the Ninevites responded to a much lesser light.

Matthew 12:41-42 - The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

Pascal’s Approach - God has given exactly the right amount of evidence

Pascal’s approach to the concept of God’s hiddenness is my favorite. In “Christianity for Modern Pagans” Peter Kreeft examines Pascal’s work. One argument Pascal makes is that God gives exactly enough light for the righteous to find Him and for the wicked to reject Him.

"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 He gave more light, the righteous would not learn humility, for they would know too much. If He gave less light, the wicked would not be responsible for their wickedness, for they would know too little."

Ravi on Hiddenness of God

William Lane Craig on Hiddenness of God

Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:


(Tim Ramey) #4

@Zenshii
Elizabeth, if you back to the thread, your question reminds me of my post called “Healing while Jesus on Earth.” It follows some of the same line of thinking as yours. Many answers were related to healing but my big question was why life as a Christian so diverse as it was in the New Testament. I still grapple with the issue but you may glean some things from the answers that were given to me. It’s not very far back under the Daily Evangelism heading.

You think that your post is long - wait til you see some of mine!


(Elizabeth Hall) #5

@MicahB - Thank you very much for your reply. That is certainly true about God revealing Himself in the Bible and people still didn’t believe. I guess even if God did reveal Himself in a miraculous way today people would just dismiss it as aliens or some form of a hoax. I also know that God gives us free will and doesn’t want to force us to believe so He wouldn’t really show up in the clouds and command for us to worship Him right?

But as for your uncle and grandmother…I’m so sorry to hear that…see, that’s something I struggle with…like, why wasn’t your uncle or grandmother healed because of your grandmother’s faith? It seems like God would have healed her so others around her would have witnessed the healing and their faith would be strengthened…Or it would even bring someone to know Christ…

@SeanO Thank you very much for your answers, the articles to read and the videos to watch. I really appreciate the time and care you put into answering my question. I have watched the 2 videos and they are very informative.

@Tim_Ramey Thank you! I have actually looked at your question and in a way this is something I also struggle with. I just cannot understand why God is so silent and distant in times of need. It seems like God would want to heal those who have strong faith in him…that’s what makes me so anxious about if He is really there at all.


(Carson Weitnauer) #6

Hi @Zenshii,

I would also encourage you to look for academic research into the occurrence of miracles. For instance, I think you would enjoy Craig Keener’s two volume work on miracles. Here are some reviews:

Here’s an interesting quote from an interview Craig Keener did:

BA : OK, so, as we bring the question closer to our time, you’ve mentioned various miracle accounts happening today: so what other kinds of reports are we hearing, and are there any examples that you want to give that may be notable?

CK : Sure, just to start by setting the stage for this, there was a survey done in 2006 by Pew Forum, and they surveyed Pentecostals and Charismatics in 10 countries, and if you take the number of—well, the projected number, based on the survey—of those who claim to have witnessed or experienced divine healing, the number comes out in those 10 countries alone, and among Pentecostals and Charismatics alone, to about 200 million. But what is more striking is, from the same survey, that about 39% of Christians who did not claim to be Pentecostals or Charismatic, in those 10 countries, also claimed to have witnessed or experienced divine healing. Now that’s just 10 countries. They didn’t even include China, where about 10 years ago some information from within the China Christian Council, suggested that nearly half of all new conversions from the previous 2 decades had come from what they called faith healing experiences. And some other surveys put the figure even higher. Now, I don’t know how we would figure out more precise data, you know, like what the percentages actually are, or so on, but in any case, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of people who make these claims.

What I wanted to do in the book was to go interview some people and find out what kinds of claims these could include. My wife is from Congo-Brazzaville, she has a PhD from the University of Paris, and her brother who also was one of my informants also has a PhD from the University of Paris—he’s a science professor. We went to Congo and I interviewed mainly people from the mainstream Protestant church in her country—just people that she and her family knew, close family friends—and was astonished by the reports that I was getting in these places. One of them I’d heard of before I went, and that was the story of my sister-in-law, but I interviewed my mother-in-law to get more details, because my wife actually hadn’t been born yet when this happened, this was when my sister-in-law was 2 years old. She cried out that she was bitten by a snake, and when my mother-in-law got to her, she found her not breathing, at least, so far as she could tell by any means available to her. She strapped the child to her back—there was no medical help available in the village so she ran to a nearby village where evangelist Coco Ngoma Moise was doing ministry. He was a family friend, and so she asked him to pray. He prayed—Therese, my sister-in-law, started breathing again, and the next day she was fine. So I asked ‘how long was it that she wasn’t breathing?’, so my mother-in-law thought about, well, how long it takes to go up this hill, and down that hill—she had to think about it because she hadn’t really, it wasn’t really a concern to her how long it was, but she stopped and thought about how long it took to get from one village to the other, and concluded ‘about 3 hours’. And I was dumbfounded, because, I mean, 6 minutes without oxygen the brain is irreparably damaged. I wasn’t expecting that. I mean, in principle I believe in miracles but I wasn’t expecting this to be 3 hours. And in subsequent—also I checked with Coco Moise, who was still living, and he was able to confirm the story that my wife had heard growing up (she simply hadn’t heard how long it was), and then we also, erm, other people that I interviewed before I left Congo, in three weeks of interviews I got a lot of different kinds of accounts, but I got seven eye-witness accounts of people being raised from the dead, one of them a girl who certainly had to be dead given the condition she was in physically, and was reportedly dead for 8 hours. So these are some dramatic incidents that took place, often on the cutting edge of the gospel going forth in these areas.

And there’s a case that I saw myself many years ago—I could give other accounts but this one certainly got my attention—this was when I was involved with a nursing home Bible study in Mason, Ohio, and a woman there named Barbara would always say ‘I wish I could walk, I wish I could walk’. And one day, the Bible study leader, who was a seminary student at the time, got up and walked over to her, took her by the hand and said ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk’. She looked horrified—I was horrified, I was afraid she was gonna fall on the floor. If faith is a bias I can’t be accused of it in this case because I was really scared. He walked her around the room, and from then on Barbara could walk. Now, skeptics may explain that in various ways. You know, they can say ‘well maybe it was psychosomatic—she just thought she couldn’t walk’. Well, she certainly didn’t think she couldn’t walk, and afterwards, she certainly could walk! If it was just psychosomatic, Don, the Bible study leader, had no way of knowing that. But, in any case, there are lots and lots of accounts like this from eye-witnesses, and cumulatively I find them quite persuasive.

I personally continue to hear astonishing miracle stories from friends that have a reputation for being intelligent, thoughtful, and trustworthy. So, I am inclined to think that God continues to be incredibly active in our world today.

At the same time, sometimes God does not intervene. I was friends with Nabeel Qureshi and I cannot give a full explanation why his cancer was not healed and he is no longer with us. Certainly many were praying fervently for a miracle in this situation, yet, it was not to be.

If anything, this keeps me from confusing miracles with magic. God is not a great power who can be summoned by the casting of spells, but a good Father who knows all, and to whom we share our requests in a sincere and trusting way.


(Tim Ramey) #7

@Zenshii
Elizabeth, my bottom line is not seeing a lot of poof and glitter but are we losing out in something that Jesus has for us? I am a paraplegic. If the Lord has a use for me being paralyzed - praise God for I live for Him and not for me. But if I’m wheeling along thinking that this is what He wants for me but He wants to heal me, then I’ll gladly leave my wheelchair behind. But the issue isn’t me - it is Him. Are we closed minded to something, as a body, He wants to uncover so that we live in the fullness that He has for us that will give HIM the glory?


(LaTricia J.) #8

This is a valid question and it’s something that many struggle with. I remember Francis Chan talking about this in his own life. He wanted to call on God to work miracles in spectacular ways like was done in biblical days. If I remember correctly, Chan ended up saying something like if all of that was to happen now, it would be overkill. And I think he spoke about selfishness in relation to it as well; meaning what are the real motives for requesting such and wanting such a huge spectacle to be made.

When I think of the miracles of the bible, the angels visitations including any time there was a Christophany, and even the miracles that happened in the early church - I do my best to keep it all in context. Sometimes I think today, we want to see these types of things happen just so we can see the happen, so that we can be awed by the grandeur of it all. When I reflect on the context it’s like @SeanO pointed out, there could be hundreds of years between miracles and even what we have in the bible are the highlights. The Gospel of John points out that there were many more miracles that Jesus performed and that were witnessed but there simply isn’t enough room to write about them all.

God’s purpose for doing the really big things no matter when they are doing is usually much more than what we can come up with. We don’t see the far-reaching implications, we don’t know how He has planned to use those singular moments in time. We simply don’t know because that is a mystery to us. We also can’t say that there are no angelic visitations happening today. Any one of us could have entertained angels and we simply wouldn’t have known it.

In the instance of the woman crashing her car with her children in it, I have no intentions of being harsh, so please don’t think that I am, but that was a senseless and foolish test of God. We are admonished against doing that type of testing. It pains me that anyone would put themselves in harms way to simply test God’s mercy or healing ability, or as a way to prove that He is with them. It reminds me of how Satan did his best to temp Christ in the wilderness. Christ had an answer for everything that Satan brought up and used in order make Christ fall. Satan failed. I wonder if in instances like that of this woman who crashed her car, if she and others like her aren’t being tempted by the enemy. What ends up happening in the end is that non-believers (not all, but as a generalization) who hear about these types of things end up mocking believers even more - “Where was your god, then? Why didn’t your keep you out of jail or from being harmed?” The irony is that even in our foolishness, God can still be glorified. I praise God for His mercy in keeping them all from dying. He still showed up, just not how she wanted Him to. Which also points to the fact that God doesn’t work according to our dictate, we work in according to His. So, I’m mindful of asking Him to ‘perform’ for my sake.

As to the hiddenness of God, for me, it isn’t something that I usually struggle with in regards to my faith. I think what helps me most with that is I don’t see Him as hidden so much in the sense that He’s hiding Himself from me. Since I’ve been walking with Christ, God has shown up in so many ways. He’s touched and pricked my heart in countless ways and I pray He continues to do so. What He’s done in me, I can’t but help know that He is real and active. No, he’s not showing up giving me hugs or holding me when I’m feeling a little blue, but that’s where the body of believers come into play. When I look at the goodness and love of the believers who won’t let me go, who come searching for me if I haven’t been in contact for awhile, who encourage me when I’m far off - I know that’s God revealing His presence. When I hold prayers in my heart that I’ve never shared with another human being and yet they are answered or things work out far better than I could have ever imagined when my prayer isn’t answered in the way I thought it should be or the way I requested - I count that as God revealing Himself.

For me, I look more at the seemingly small things that God did in the bible. The ways He comforted those in crisis and how He showed up within all seemed lost. That hits home more for me. With that, I do say He reveals Himself in some of that same ways that He did in scripture. He also reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit, which was not within all of His followers in the OT. We have the Holy Spirit. That excites me.

I don’t know if any of this helps you in anyway, but I hope in some way it gives you more hope and something more to consider.


(David Kilborn) #9

This is something I think about and have discussions about regularly. I have witnessed what I believe to be miracles. My Dad had a massive heart attack 20 years ago and the doctors didn’t believe he would make it more than a few days and didn’t want to bother doing surgery on him because it was pointless. By week 5 or 6, the doctors reconsidered, did successful bypass surgery and he lived another 15 years. Is that a miracle? I believe it was. Others will say it’s luck.

However, many others I’ve talked to have witnessed miracles as well. A friend from Africa said he saw many miracles there and a missionary friend also has witnessed miracles. I’m very interested in reading Lee Strobel’s The Case for Miracles as well. This is a good trigger to purchase it.

I guess what I’m saying is miracles are still happening but sometimes we take them as luck or medical technology or great doctors.


(Micah Bush) #10

@Zenshii I think the best answer regarding questions such as “Why didn’t God heal ___?” is that God is concerned with a much bigger picture than we are. That said, we can sometimes work out some basic answers if we consider the alternatives. My grandfather died of cancer, probably in part because of the hazardous chemicals he dealt with as a farmer. Would I really want to live in a world where bad choices (like spraying our food and soil with toxins) don’t have consequences? Not really. Or would it really be better if God, in response to faith, extended earthly life indefinitely rather than calling us to the next? Probably not; I’d rather be in the Lord’s presence, and I daresay that indefinitely extended life would only promote greed and worldliness. Anyway, both of them had lived full lives, so I can hardly call their deaths tragic. As for my uncle, I cannot say what God’s motive was for not healing him, especially since he was young and full of promise. One day, when I see the bigger picture, it will make perfect sense. In the meantime, I must learn to trust that God has all of our best interests at heart and try to discern how He would work through me to respond to a world laced with tragedy.


(Devon ) #11

Hello Zenshii,

I have actually thought about this before myself, more specifically why do we hear about miracles in other coubtries more then in our own at times. I was recently reading in the Gospels About When Jesus only did a few miracles in His Hometown, because of the people’s unbelief there.

It All comes down to our Heart condition, and what we are willing to recieve and what we need to receive. I have heard many modern stories of People asking God for proofs and signs and miraculois evidences, and then recieving those things. Maybe not always in the way that that they pictured or that they wanted, but it was in the way that they needed.

God could preform A miraculous sign to Richard Dawkins, but that may do nothing for Richard Dawkins Belief or Faith in God if His Heart and Mind are not in the right place. God doesn’t just want us to believe, He wants a relationship with Him. So if a Miraculous Sign only brings Belief but No Commitment, then it may not be right fpr that Person.

Check your heart and Mind, why do you seek a Sign? Be Honest with yourself and to God. And then if you desire it rightly ask God for it, but trust His Choice. He Will help you and show you wonderful things, it just may be in a different way then you pictured.

God Bless Zenshii, and Know that God desires tp help guide us to The Truth in Him.


(Jessica Fogel) #12

@Zenshii I’m so glad you asked this question and I am so sorry you have not seen God move in your life or in others’ around you. God is real and He is moving in big ways today! Are you familiar with The Last Reformation? I strongly recommend anyone questioning God to see the book of Acts actually happening today in these documentaries and get activated yourself! God uses me as a conduit of his power to heal others and show them that He is real and that He loves them, that He is here and ALWAYS has been and that He wants to use them as well to bring the multitudes to Christ! Do you live in the U.S.? Have you heard about the event called “The Send” that is happening in Orlando in a week and a half? Look into that and any “Kickstarts” that may be happening near you. God bless and, any of you, feel free to reach out with any questions​:heart::pray:
Jessica


(Chelsea Casali) #13

Hi @Zenshii! I completely understand your feelings with this question. I actually recently made a post about the hiddenness of God too. These are all excellent points, I also received a lot of helpful responses on my post.

Here are some helpful takeaways I had:
The Rich Man and Lazarus story in Luke 16:19-31 is very helpful to look at. Lazarus was asking Abraham from hell to warn his brothers so they wouldn’t end up there too. Abraham said “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” So even if God were to do more, who’s to say that people would respond? And the Bible says we will be judged based on what we know so maybe it is God’s mercy that He doesn’t reveal Himself more to people- then they would be held to a higher accountability.

Your question also really resonates with me:

“But as for your uncle and grandmother…I’m so sorry to hear that…see, that’s something I struggle with…like, why wasn’t your uncle or grandmother healed because of your grandmother’s faith? It seems like God would have healed her so others around her would have witnessed the healing and their faith would be strengthened…Or it would even bring someone to know Christ…”

I have a hard time when I hear these stories too. But as @MicahB stated, it really comes down to faith. This is a link to a helpful response I received on the matter of faith in relation to this question:

https://connect.rzim.org/t/why-doesn-t-god-make-himself-more-obvious/11689/12?u=chelsea_casali

I definitely struggle with questioning God in these ways. In fact, I have been on my knees praying hard for my family’s salvation every day for a long time. I have felt much frustration in why God hasn’t seemed to answer the prayers completely yet. But then I think back and feel guilt because I see how greatly He has worked already. He has worked massively in my family, even if they are not quite there yet, I believe He will save them. I have to remind myself to choose to focus on praising God for the great work He has done rather than doubting God. I don’t see the big picture, but He does. He is actively working, sometimes it’s just about taking a step back from our fear & doubt and reflecting on what He has done in our lives. I also find reflecting on passages about God’s character in relation to our prayers helpful. Here are some good ones:

-Luke 18:1-8 (Parable of the Persistent Widow) -“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? "

Matthew 7:11- “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Philippians 1:6- “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

James 5:15-17- " And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years."

I found great comfort in 1 John 5:14 years ago when I was struggling with frustration over not seeing God’s response to my prayer for my family. A pastor read me that verse and then quoted 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” He told me by seeing God’s desire in that passage, my prayer for my family’s salvation is within God’s will. That encouraged me to be able to pray in faith.

Reading the gospels, you can clearly see that Jesus responds to prayers made in faith that are within His will. I know all of these Scriptures are awesome until we hear about someone who prayed in faith and then the healing or whatever they were asking didn’t happen. In this case, I believe we need to focus on trusting in God’s perfect will. We need to trust that if God didn’t respond in the way we were hoping, there is a better reason. We should keep praying and not lose heart- for God will respond in the best way He sees fit- out of His loving, merciful, just and perfect character.

I hope these thoughts help! God bless!


(Babang ) #14
 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were,
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.
Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
“Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.
 Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20: 24-29

Thank you @Zenshii for opening up, I had the same struggle too when the Lord called my mother in 2014 as she succumbed to her sickness for over 13 years. It really hit me hard when seemed all my prayers for those years accounted to nothing. Healing my mother would be an easy job to God, but how come God went silent? That was especially hard when the year I started to earn income to bring her to better medical treatment or treat her for holiday for much deserved break; however now that she was gone, I had no chance anymore, even till now, at times I cried to remember that. She was so sicked that I could see all her bones. Seeing her like that, I felt like there was knife cutting my heart especially when I felt I could not do anything. She was so dear and meant a world to me.

But eventually, a surprising turned out happened to me. As I seat down quietly and reflected back, I could even see the presence of God stronger in through out the year she was sick. You see, she had been sick for 13 years, but she never really complained, every night I saw her praying in her room and I was so sure I was in her prayer. She woke up in morning to help preparing food for us, she still went to farm field whenever she felt strong enough even though the harvest might not be good. I cherished the moment we shared together on that farm field and how she advised me to not complain when time difficult. She said that for whatever God gave us, no matter how little, learned to accept, but His Grace was suffice. It took me years to digest and to understand it, but now I realized the presence of God was even revealed stronger in her sickness. And it was miracle how in her condition still managed to send her three childred to university till we were graduated. Our financial was barely to meet daily food, while it seemed impossible for human, God would show the way!

Although I still wish her alive now, but now I accept that there is simply question in my life I would ask God directly on the day He call me, till then, I pray for strength to walk in faith not by sight.

I hope it helps, May God bless you and grant you wisdom sister.