The fine-tuning of God’s hiddenness

Devotional thoughts for March 2021

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9, NIV)

People complain that God doesn’t show himself boldly enough and often enough to warrant belief in him. I do not agree. God is omniscient, omnipresent and just. So, what we see of him now is — according to the only being who could possibly understand what the optimum amount of revelation for every individual throughout time would be — perfectly balanced to his will and perfectly balanced to our circumstances. It is not merely fine-tuned; it is perfectly tuned.

If this proposition is true, we should take the lesson rather than complain. His revelation isn’t merely sufficient, it’s perfect. It’s the perfect balance of God’s desire to be known and our desire to know him.

So, where has he revealed himself? In the Bible, of course! But Scripture is just one of God’s revelations. Granted, it’s his “special” revelation; it stands alone as his written revelation (Psalm 119:105; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16). But he reveals himself in other ways, too.

He gave us a salvific revelation in the Gospel (Mark 16:15; John 3:16; Acts 16:31), a living revelation in Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 4:13-14; 1 John 5:11-13), a spiritual revelation in the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; Romans 8:14; Revelation 2:7; 22:17), a general revelation in the created universe (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:18-20; Hebrews 11:3), a philosophical revelation in human intelligence (Isaiah 1:18; Romans 1:20; James 1:5), a moral revelation in the human conscience (Jeremiah 31:33; Matthew 5:48; Romans 2:14-15), a metaphysical revelation with eternity written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and an ontological revelation in our free will, self-awareness and human agency (Joshua 24:15; Galatians 5:16-17; Revelation 3:20).

Now, that’s nine ways he reveals himself — and I’m continually discovering more! So I agree with Paul that people are “without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) They should be seeing his power, his deity and his provision. But it’s not so much that they are “missing” God. They are dis-missing God. That’s a whole other animal… and that one’s not on God.

You see, God understands that we will have seasons of ignorance (Acts 17:23, Hebrews 9:7). That’s part of the human condition. He established the Church to help overcome that. But dismissing God is not ignorance — it’s arrogance… and the penalty for ignoring God’s revelations is as severe as it gets (Mark 3:28).

So, here’s what’s at issue: if God were to reveal himself more overtly — so that no one would dismiss him — then faith would no longer be faith. But he didn’t do that. This is why Jesus spoke in parables. There was a category of people who chose not to hear God under any circumstances, and Jesus said teaching them was like “casting pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6).

This is where Jesus drew the line — and for good reason. All the Father did was draw the line in the same place. It’s just that he just did it proactively, variously and on a bigger scale.                     

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20210301 The fine-tuning of God’s hiddenness).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com)