The Problem of Evil and Free Will in Christianity

The problem of evil is an idea seemingly at odds with Biblical Christianity; if there is an omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly moral being that exists, why is there evil in the world? Does such a being not have an obligation to prevent any and all suffering and evil that might occur? The problem of evil is classically stated as follows:

“Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both willing and able? Whence then is evil?”

This has long been thought to be an irreconcilable problem for the theist and specifically the Christian theist, and at first glance it is a seemingly formidable problem. If it is possible for a maximally good being (henceforth referred to as God) to eliminate evil, it follows that if he doesn’t he is cruel, because no perfectly moral being could permit evil to exist. This becomes a problem, because there is obviously a good deal of evil in the world. Why is this? Why does God not simply prevent it?

There are a couple of thoughts to note here before we delve into such a theodicy. Firstly, it is clear that God desires the best possible world to be the actual world. The best possible world is one where the maximum amount of good can be brought into being, and the maximum amount of good can only be brought into being if it is real good. For it to be genuine, real good, it must be freely chosen, and for it to be freely chosen mankind must have the ability to also choose evil. Actual good must be freely chosen and not dictated; otherwise it simply becomes robotic morality which is of no real value, since a genuine choice cannot exist if there is only one kind of action to choose.

The first and most obvious reply to the problem of evil is that God may have overriding moral reason for creating a world that contains evil. Perhaps we would not even know what good was unless there was evil. But such a model seems limited, and seems to be more of a cop-out than an actual explanation. For a more thorough examination of the problem, the free will of man must be taken into account.

Free will here does not refer to spiritual free will, since in Christian thought mankind’s will is held in bondage by sin. Free will here refers to the ability to make morally significant choices; the ability to choose to perform a moral or immoral act is the definition of free will used in this argument.

St. Augustine put forth one of the earliest attempts to reconcile the problem of evil with man’s free will:

“Such is the generosity of God’s goodness that he has not refrained from creating even that creature which He foreknew would not only sin but remain in the will to sin. As a runaway horse is better than a stone which does not run away because it lacks self-movement and sense perception, so the creature is more excellent which sins by free will than that which does not sin because it has no free will.” (“The Problem of Free Choice)

This statement forms the core of most theodicys; for there to be genuine value in moral actions, there has to exist the possibility of choosing both good and evil, otherwise humankind is reduced to automatons with no ability to do other than what they were programmed to do. This reduces the value of moral action and removes the possibility for genuine moral good, which is more valuable than robotic actions.

It can be see that on this view, the problem of evil is not a fault of God, but a fault of mankind using free will to make real moral decisions, good ones as often as good ones. Simply put, there has to be the possibility of genuine evil for there to be the possibility of genuine good and for this purpose God has given man a moral free will with which bad and even tragic moral decisions can be made.  Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame makes this observation in his Free Will Defense:

“A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all. Now God can create free creatures, but He can’t cause or determine them to only do what is right. For if He does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; thy do not do what is right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, He must make them capable of moral evil; and He can’t give these creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so. As it turned out, sadly enough, some of these creatures God created went wrong in the exercise of their freedom; this is the source of moral evil. The fact that free creatures sometimes go wrong, however, counts neither against God’s omnipotence nor against His goodness; for he could have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil only by removing the possibility of moral good.” (“God, Freedom and Evil.”)

This is the crux of the argument; evil is not caused by God, it is caused by creatures using free will wrongly.  The problem of evil all but evaporates with the above arguments in mind. To allow the maximum amount of actual good in this world there must also be the possibility for actual evil.

To create a world in which only good was chosen by its inhabitants would require a world bereft of genuine free will, and since a world containing free creatures is a world in which the maximum amount of good can be brought forth, the only logical option is to create an actual world of free creatures, despite the obvious possibilities for misuse of said freedom.

C.S. Lewis offered a similar argument to Plantingas Free Will Defense above:

“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata — of creatures that worked like machines — would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

“Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. Perhaps we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on. If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will — that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings — then we may take it is worth paying.

“When we have understood about free will, we shall see how silly it is to ask, as somebody once asked me: ‘Why did God make a creature of such rotten stuff that it went wrong?’ The better stuff a creature is made of — the cleverer and stronger and freer it is — then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong. A cow cannot be very good or very bad; a dog can be both better and worse; a child better and worse still; an ordinary man, still more so; a man of genius, still more so; a superhuman spirit best — or worst — of all.”  (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

This echoes the aforementioned theories; it truly is only a valuable world if it is a free world, and it is only a free world if there exists the possibility of genuine good and genuine evil, and since both good and evil exist in this world, this is ultimately the most valuable world, or the best of all possible worlds.

Is free will so vital that it can only be the best of all possible worlds if free will exists? Based on the arguments above, the only reasonable conclusion would be yes; any other option would simply be a world of moral robots, which would ultimately have little or no value, as a decision is not genuine if it is forced or the only option presented.

Therefore, the Christian worldview, in which a creator God endowed his creation with genuine moral free will, is the most coherent given our actual world. This does not make the problem of suffering go away or any less intense, nor is it expected to. The realities of evil, pain and suffering are still an evidential problem, but not one that can be used to argue against the existence of God. Indeed, most major philosophers reject the thought that the problem of evil in any way discredits God in a logical form and instead frame the problem around an evidential and not logical framework.

The evidential problem of evil become more tricky; instead of postulating that the idea of God is illogical given the state of the world, it is often stated that God is simply unlikely, which is admittedly a stronger proposition than simply declaring the idea of God incoherent. Given that there is a great deal of evil in the world, is it then unlikely that an all-good, all-powerful God exists? Despite the change in framing, the question still doesn’t pose a large challenge to the theist, and there are a variety of answers to such questions.

The first and most obvious reply would be to state that perhaps God has overriding moral reasons for allowing certain evils to befall. This is not utilitarianism, as God does not cause the evil, but rather through such evil brings out more good. This was Augustine’s view:

“God deemed it to be more befitting His power and goodness to bring good out of evil than to prevent the evil from coming into existence.” (City of God XXII.1)

It can be seen that this is not communist-style utilitarianism, a la ‘the best for the most’, but rather an all-good God bringing out of seemingly bleak situations good that would not have been realized had the evil not come into being. On first glance this may sound cruel and utilitarian, but that would only hold if God was the cause of the evil, which as we have seen with the arguments presented here, he is not, and therefore Augustine’s idea holds firm.

There are of course many other defenses along these lines, but Augustine’s is the most coherent given all the factors which have been shown and demonstrated here. The evidential problem of evil is therefore dealt with in a sufficient manner; out of the evil which comes as a result of our free will, God can bring into being more good than if there was simply no evil at all. We can thus see that even framing the problem in an evidential manner is not a sufficiently coherent case against God.

Given the Free Will Defense and what I will call Evidential Defense, it can be seen that the arguments from the problems of evil pose no significant problem to the logic or coherency of an all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing God.

The problems of evil at first glance appear to be formidable, and on an emotional level they certainly are convincing and convicting. But seen without the veil of emotion, a much different picture emerges, and once the problems are deconstructed in the light of logic it is shown that they are appeals to emotion, pure and simple.

With this in mind and to begin concluding, it has been shown that:

  1. Free will must exist for any possible world to be valuable
  2. Free will entails that good and evil are possibilities
  3. The existence of evil allows for maximum good.
  4. Maximum good being brought into being would make this the best possible world.
  5. There is both good and evil in this world which demonstrates we have free will.
  6. Therefore, since evil allows maximum good, and maximum good is what the best possible world requires, this is the best possible world.

Thus, the problem of evil is adequately answered in both its logical and evidential forms.

 

 

Sources——————————————————————————————————————————————

 

 

Augustine. The Problem of Free Choice. Barnes &Noble E-book.

 

Augustine. The City of God. Barnes & Noble E-book.

 

Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom and Evil. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1974. Print.

 

Lewis, Clive Staples. Mere Christianity. Zondervan Publishing House. 1952. HarperCollins edition 2001. Print.

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The Apostle of Ireland

 
 
 

‘For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death, and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, and in whom we believe. We look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.’

– St. Patrick

 

The Justice of God

 

‎’Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. ‘He is good’, he says, ‘to the evil and to the impious.’ How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong: I choose to give unto this last even as unto thee. Or is thine eye evil because I am good?’ How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it, and thus bore witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!’
[I, 51 from The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, translated by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, 250-251]

God’s justice is not subject to our understanding nor our conceptions of justice; indeed, nothing of God is subject to our understanding. God is ‘wholly other,’ and in His essence is beyond our understanding.

Universalism, Origen and Biblical Christianity

  

 

Universalism at its most basic is the idea that all people will be eventually reconciled to God, in direct contrast to the traditional view of biblical Christianity which states that there will be some who are reconciled to God eternally, and some who are not. The fate of those who are not is never explicitly described; images of hell stay within the metaphorical but the images of eternal condemnation are painted quite powerfully if not clearly.

Universalism more or less rears its head with Origen (who lived from approximately 185-254 A.D.), an early Christian writer who was eventually condemned as a heretic:

“So then, when the end has been restored to the beginning, and the termination of things compared with their commencement, that condition of things will be re-established in which rational nature was placed, when it had no need to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; so that when all feeling of wickedness has been removed, and the individual has been purified and cleansed, He who alone is the one good God becomes to him “all,” and that not in the case of a few individuals, or of a considerable number, but He Himself is “all in all.” And when death shall no longer anywhere exist, nor the sting of death, nor any evil at all, then verily God will be “all in all” (Origen, De Prinicipiis, 3.6.3).

Origen was influenced by Gnostic thought, which emphasized “secret knowledge” known only to a few and rejected large portions of Scripture as un-historical, un-reliable or simply allegorical, rejected the physical resurrection of Christ and as such had his teachings condemned as anathema by the early church. Such teaching, though certainly comforting, simply does not fit in with the revelation of the Bible, which explicitly states that not all will come to salvation:

Mark 9:47-48 

47And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.”

 

John 3:16-18

“16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

It is clear that Jesus himself did not teach universal reconciliation, but the opposite. Reconciliation is available to all, but not necessarily effective for all, as illustrated in the above verses. Eternal consequences are the theme of many of Jesus’ teachings, and though pictures of hell as spoken by Christ are often metaphorical, their eternal nature cannot be denied.

Origen’s rejection of Christ’s physical resurrection is a key reason for his condemnation;

 

We now direct the discussion to some of our own people, who either from want of intellect or from lack of instruction introduce an exceedingly low and mean idea of the resurrection of the body. We ask these men in what manner they think that the ‘natural body’ will, by the grace of the resurrection, be changed and become ‘spiritual;’ and in what manner they think that what is sown in weakness will be ‘raised in power,’ and what is sown ‘in dishonor’ is to ‘rise in glory,’ and what is sown ‘in corruption’ is to be transformed into ‘incorruption.’ Certainly if they believe the apostle, who says that the body, when it rises in glory and in power and in incorruptibility, has already become

spiritual, it seems absurd and contrary to his meaning to say that it is still entangled in

the passions of flesh and blood. (On First Principles 2.10.3) 

 

Paul of Tarsus in his letter to the Corinthians makes it clear that the resurrection is THE crucial element of the Christian faith:

 

1 Corinthians 15:13-19

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

 

1 Corinthians 15:50-54

 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 

Paul seems to anticipate teaching such as Origen’s and makes it clear that without the resurrection, the faith of the church is pointless and futile, in typical blunt Pauline fashion. Origen appears to be using skillful rhetoric to distort and change the basic ideas Paul is trying to convey here.

The conclusion reached is that Origen, while both gifted as a writer, speaker and thinker, ultimately preached ideas and views that are contrary to the written revelation in the Scriptures; Paul, predating Origen by nearly 200 years, gave a clear, simple answer to that type of theology:  “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

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Works Cited

Origen. De Prinicipiis. Print.

Quest Study Bible. NIV.Michigan. Zondervan. 2003. Print.

N.T. Wright on C.S. Lewis

An interesting take on one of the great thinkers of our time.

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=20-02-028-f

 

‘The third part of the book, titled “Christian Behaviour,” is the most professional, and there is a reason for that. As well as teaching English literature, Lewis had at one stage taught philosophy. He knew his way round the classic discussions of the virtues and vices and how they operate. He also submitted himself to regular, serious spiritual direction, and as well as knowing the intellectual framework of behavior, both classical and Christian, he was deeply alert to the nuances of motivation and action, able to articulate moods and behavior patterns that for most people, in his day and ours, remain a mystery.

I suspect that one of the great appeals of his book, then and now, is that it gives one a grammar of everyday morality, enabling one to understand and speak a highly useful and indeed mellifluous language most of us didn’t know existed. Some of his moral discussions are small classics.

He is superb on generosity. He sticks a small but sharp pin into the system of usury on which the entire modern world is based. He is fascinating and fresh on sex (though of course even more deeply unfashionable today than then); and his reflections on marriage, despite his bachelor disclaimers, are worth pondering deeply (especially his final comments about it being important for the man to be in charge of what he calls the couple’s “foreign policy”).

He is clear and challenging on forgiveness, spot on in his analysis of pride and its centrality, and shrewd and helpful on the fact that charity is not an emotion but a determination to act in a particular way, and that to our surprise we find that when, without anyfeelingof love towards someone, we actas ifwe loved them, we discover that the feelings bubble up unbidden, so that we end by feeling in reality what before we had merely determined to do.

At this point, of course, we come up against Lewis’s implied soteriology, and I suspect that others have challenged him on this point. Several times he insists, effectively, on the priority of grace: We can’t save ourselves, but God does it, takes the initiative, rescues those who couldn’t rescue themselves. But equally often he speaks as though it’s really a matter, as with Aristotle, of our becoming good by gradually learning to do good things, and with Jesus coming alongside, and indeedinside, to help us as we do so. Salvation, and behavior, are caught by infection, by our being in Christ and his being in us.

I suspect that Lewis never really worked all this out; and I suspect, too, that the outsider looking in doesn’t need to, either. I know that’s heresy in some circles, but I think it’s important that we are justified by faith: not by believing in justification by faith, but by believing in Jesus Christ. Obviously a clear understanding of justification would help a great deal, but I don’t myself regard that as the first thing to explain to a potential convert. Sufficient to draw them to Jesus.’

The Book of Job

Of all the books in the Bible, Job is the most unique. Its poetry surpasses any other poetry in the Bible, even David’s masterful lyricism in the book of Psalms; its philosophy is deep enough to make Plato blush and its subject matter of the utmost importance, even to this day.

There are a few things to note before delving into Job, though. It is most likely not a Hebrew work, as there is no mention of any of the staples of Hebrew literature: Abraham, Moses, the Exodus, or Yahweh; indeed, while all the characters in the cast of Job are monotheists, the monotheistic religion present is likely just a literary device, since the portrayal of God here differs from the majority of Hebrew scriptures.

Various other factors point to the non-Hebrew origin of Job. The numerous references to nature the various allusions to mythological creatures as well as allusions to various creation-myths all point to someone who was quite familiar with other cultures view of mythology and religion.

The dialogue between the characters of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zohar, Elihu and Job is an almost Greek-styled dialogue, but still brimming with metaphor, poetry and dialectical fire.

But there is an important point to make her about the genre of Job, one that is perhaps the most important note one could make of the book. Job is not intended as a theological treatise; it is wisdom literature, and not intended to be taken absolutely literally. Wisdom literature relies on metaphors, poetry and other devices to get a point across, and not to demonstrate the literal goings-on of whatever is in question. Other examples of Wisdom Literature include Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, as well as ancient non-biblical sources such as Aesop’s Fables. They all consistently seek to convey an idea for understanding, not necessarily a literal fact for academic dissection. To read Job as a literal theological study of a dialogue between Satan and God or how God punishes or rewards people is not the intent here. Faithfulness is the subject here; the absolute faithfulness of Job, and the absolute faithfulness of God.

Having contextualized the book somewhat, we can now begin to delve into the meat of the story. The overall story is well enough known; Job is a righteous man who is the victim of Satan, acting with God’s permission because God knows that Job is a completely upright man. Disaster after disaster is heaped on Job, his unhelpful friends try and convince him that his problems are the result of a hidden sin, and in the climax of the story, God speaks from a whirlwind and sets Job straight. It is God’s speech to Job that I wish to focus on here.

Robert Alter, translator and biblical scholar, makes this point about Job:

“The third – and, ultimately, decisive—level of poetry in the book is manifested when the LORD addresses Job out of the whirlwind. Here, too, the Job poet’s keen interest in nature is evident, but in an altogether spectacular way that, one might say, trumps Job in the game of vision. The poet, having given Job such vividly powerful language for the articulation of his outrage and anguish, now fashions still greater poetry for God.” (“The Wisdom Books,” 2010, W.W. Norton and Company)

Even as a non-Hebrew, the Job poet still is aware and reverent to the idea of an almighty being, so much so that his greatest poetry is reserved for this being. It is the content of the speech to Job, however, that have caused much discussion over the centuries. After two chapters of majestic, breathtaking imagery and poetry, God says to Job;

“And the Lord said to Job:2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” (Job 40: 1-2)

To which Job withers and gives an appropriately self-demeaning reply; however, there is no real answer to Job’s problem given, and it is this fact that has sparked controversy for hundreds if not thousands of years. Again though, Alter answers:

“Many readers over the centuries have felt that God’s speech to job is no real answer to the problem of undeserved suffering, and some have complained that it amounts to cosmic bullying of puny man by an overpowering deity. One must concede that it is not exactly an answer to the problem because for those who believe life should not be arbitrary there can be no real newer concerning the good person who loses a child (not to speak of ten children)   or the blameless dear one who dies in an accident or is stricken with a terrible wasting disease. But God’s thundering challenge to Job is not bullying. Rather it rousingly introduces a comprehensive overview of the nature of reality that exposes the limits of Job’s human perspective, anchored as it is in the restricted compass of human knowledge and the inevitable egoism of suffering.”

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Sources:

Quest Study Bible. NIV.Michigan. Zondervan. 2003. Print.

Alter, Robert. The Wisdom Books. New York.  W.W. Norton & Company. 2010. Print.

More Thoughts on the Hiddenness of God

‎’If God does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him.’
– C. S. Lewis

 

‘If this religion boasted of having a clear vision of God, and of possessing Him plain and unveiled, then to say that nothing we see in the world reveals Him with this degree of clarity would indeed be to attack it. But it says, on the contrary, that man is in darkness and far from God, that He has hidden Himself from man’s knowledge, and that the name He has given Himself in the Scriptures is in fact The Hidden God (Is 45:15). ‘

– Blaise Pascal

‘A religion which does not affirm that God is hidden is not true.’

-Blaise Pascal

Why does God hide Himself? Wouldn’t it make sense to perform one Grand Miracle, for all the world to see so that everyone would know that there is a God, instead of deliberately hiding Himself from humanity?

Perhaps it would; perhaps it wouldn’t. Belief in God, however, doesn’t seem to be the general aim of Christianity – though it no doubt is a part of it, and indeed a necessary part. But mere belief simply doesn’t seem to be the end of Christianity. Even the demons believe that there is a God…

If simple knowledge of God were all that Christianity was about, it would be nothing more than gnosticism (being saved by what you know). But this is patently NOT the central ideal of Christianity – one is not saved by what one knows but rather by what someone else did. If I’m trapped in a burning building, I certainly am aware that firefighters are paid to rescue me from this situation – I may even know what kind of equipment they use. But simply knowing that does nothing – I’m not out of the fire until I’m rescued by a fireman.

So if the central aim of Christianity is not simply knowing that there is a god, what is it? It is to be united with Christ – and to be united with someone requires a close, intimate relationship. The New Testament paints a picture of a God who loves us closely, in a deep and personal way – not in an individualistic way, but in a personal way that in uniting us with Him unites us with all others who are united with Him as well.

But what has this to do with God hiding Himself?

‘You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.’
-St. Augustine

We have within us a genuine need for God – a God-shaped vacuum, to paraphrase Pascal. God wants us to seek Him. He has set eternity in the hearts of men – all men have in their deepest being a longing for something not of this world. But we are not alone in searching for God.

‘The genuine seeker of God will find that he is also sought by God.’
-Ravi Zacharias

But make no mistake – this is no subtle form of Pelagainism – a denial of mans sinful nature. We don’t simply of our own willpower seek or even want God – the very act of seeking God is indeed an act of God in itself. We are indeed free to resist God – as one is free to resist a fireman trying to save one from a fire. But we cannot come to God on our own account.