The Hiddenness of God
The famous mathematician and atheist, Bertrand Russell (co-founder of analytic philosophy), was asked about what he would say if he had to stand before God one day to give account for his unbelief. His answer:
“Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?”
In a survey of the top reasons that skeptics tend to reject God, in the top three, is the challenge embodied in Russell’s complaint:
“God, if you are there, why are you so hard to find?”
In theological or philosophical terms, this dilemma is called The Hiddenness of God.
Perhaps the most quoted of all skeptics, Friedrich Nietzsche, also fired salvos against Judaism and Christianity with similar attacks. He wrote there should be “a Duty of God to be truthful towards mankind and clear in the manner of his communications.” In other words, WHY isn’t God more clear, more obvious, more open in His dealings with mankind?
This is really, imho, the reason Intelligent Design of God-made artifacts is rejected while human-made intelligent design is easily accepted. God doesn’t make His existence obvious. I wrote of the problem here:
I cringed when I heard an IDist say something to the effect, “we use forensic science all the time to infer design, and this same science demonstrates an Intelligence made life”. The problem is forensic science identifies designs made by humans (or something human like). People generally believe some designer made Stonehenge because they see humans making comparable designs all the time. Many IDists don’t seem to appreciate invoking a never-seen designer poses a challenge for accepting design in biology.
Even if God created life, because we don’t experience His presence in the same way we experience a human designers’ presence, many find it hard to accept the idea a Creator exists. If God exists, as far as every day human affairs, He appears absent, non-interactive, invisible, silent, hidden, indifferent, concealed etc. In human terms, then, like the tooth fairy, the concept of God in the modern day among the educated, seems irrelevant at best, false and harmful at worst.
For someone to accept God as creator, he must come to terms with the problem of God’s lack of obvious interaction in every day life. Why the silence, and concealment? Were it not for the Design argument, I’d almost be right there with the GNUs saying how stupid theism is.
Bill Dembski wrote:
Masters of stealth intent on concealing their actions may successfully evade the explanatory filter. But masters of self-promotion intent on making sure their intellectual property gets properly attributed find in the explanatory filter a ready friend.
If the Christian God is the Designer of Life, He has chosen to use a lot of stealth.
If you saw God making miraculous appearances like those claimed in the book of Exodus, would you find ID in biology more believable? The major problem of believing ID in biology vs ID in man-made artifacts is either the Designer doesn’t exist or that he uses a lot of stealth to conceal His workings. We are relegated to making educated guesses about events that we cannot repeat in the lab or field.