Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Quote: Blaise Pascal on God's Hiddenness

"What can be seen on earth indicates neither the total absence, nor the manifest presence of divinity, but the presence of a hidden God. Everything bears this stamp."

- Blaise Pascal, Pensées (449) / 142

7 comments :

Lee said...

"but the presence of a hidden God"

If true, is this the Christian God? Why would a loving God hide?

Lee

Mrs Ruth Ferez said...

Especially the flowers.

Brian said...

Isaiah 45:15

Why should God have to prove himself to those unwilling to seek Him?

Ex N1hilo said...

Exodus 33:20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live."

God is merciful. To see Him in His glory, as Moses requested, would kill us. When Christ returns, those who know Him as their Savior will be qualified by Him to "see Him as he is."

Until then, it is the privilege of every man, woman and child on this Earth to perceive God through the things He has made.

We all know Him as our Creator and our Judge.

Michael Baldwin said...

Great quote Brian, I personally love the following one from J. P. Moreland, "God maintains a delicate balance between keeping his existence sufficiently evident so people will know he's there and yet hiding his presence enough so that people who want to choose to ignore him can do it. This way, their choice of destiny is really free."

Mark said...

Michael,
I like J.P. Moreland's comment too. I just wish that it was balanced more toward making his presence evident to those who are searching, because those who are searching (like me) may not always see the evidence.

Ex N1hilo said...

Michael,

In my view, Dr. Moreland is wrong on this point.

In Romans 1, Paul makes it perfectly clear that all human beings know God through the things He has made (that is, as Creator), Romans 1:19; as Judge, Romans 1:18, 32; and that they actively suppress this knowledge, Romans 1:18.

It is for this reason that, when we encounter someone who claims to “lack belief in God,” or claims that they have not seen enough evidence to conclude there is a God; we can know that they are lying. Lying to us, to God, and most likely to themselves as well.

This is why I am convinced that the traditional theistic proofs are of very limited usefulness in Evangelism and Apologetics (E&A). Jesus and the Apostles never presented arguments for God’s existence in their E&A encounters in the Gospels or in Acts. They proclaimed His existence; man’s sinfulness and condemnation; and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As to man’s “choice of destiny” being “free;” it is anything but. When a man sins, he chooses hell, Romans 6:23. And those who have not believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ do nothing but sin, Romans 14:23.

Jesus said that men are slaves to sin, John 8:34. That those who do not believe on Him will die in their sins, John 8:24. That only those who are of God can hear the words of God, John 8:47. That God’s words can find a place in you only if the Son (Jesus Himself) sets you free, John 8:36-37.

Salvation is not a matter of choosing rightly. It’s a matter of God bringing the dead to life through the preaching of the gospel and the power of the Spirit; freeing us from our bondage to sin and making us slaves of righteousness. And it is God's prerogative whom He will free from the bondage to sin. As Paul writes:

Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

It is our responsibility to believe the Gospel—not the bare fact of God’s existence; all men believe that. And those who do believe the Gospel must give thanks to God for opening their minds and hearts. They must never give themselves credit for making the right choice. Left to our own devices, none of us will.

The idea that one can determine one’s own eternal by choosing to either believe or disbelieve in the existence of God—which point this quote seems to be making—is false. Perhaps the context of the quote would change its apparent meaning significantly. I would hope so. The bare quote sounds very pelagian to my ears.

Romans 6: 20-22 (ESV) For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

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