“God is imaginary”? Really?! Part 42: Listen when God talks AND Realize that a “hidden God” is impossible

It’s nice when people cab actually string two similar ideas together, like Marshall Brain does at his website “God is imaginary”. Proof 42 and proof 43 deal with the nature of God by saying “Listen when ‘God Talks’” and telling us to “Realize that a ‘hidden God’ is impossible”.

In Proof 42, Marshall begins with his usual incredulity:

If you know a group of devout Christians, you will frequently hear them say to each other (and even to people outside the group) things like this:

    My husband and I are not sure what to do in this situation. We are going to pray to God and see what he tells us to do.

According to televangelists and ministers, God also frequently talks to them as well.

I agree, that is the claim that many “televangelists” and a lot of people who call themselves Christians make. It has become a broken record, but he continues,
In other words, Christians believe that God transmits divine messages to his followers in response to prayer. Christians actually believe that the almighty, all-knowing creator of the universe is talking to them personally and guiding their decisions.
Um, I would have used the term “some”, but that’s just me not making a hasty generalization, but as I’ve said here and here, there is good reason to believe that God answers prayers. But let’s just consider another paragraph featuring his incredulity,
Now think about this. Let’s say that the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe was going to transmit personal messages to Christians. Wouldn’t you expect the people receiving these messages to blow the rest of us away in every intellectual endeavor? Wouldn’t you expect someone who is directed by God to be a genius? Wouldn’t every Christian student get a perfect score on every test simply by praying to God for the answers?
Uh, no. The reason why,
Do your best…(2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)
The King James Version, renders the verse as such:
Study to shew thyself approved…(2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
Now, while that particular verse is aimed at a young pastor to present himself as one who can handle God’s word aright, the key element isn’t that his mentor, the Apostle Paul, is telling him to “pray” or to “meditate”. No, he’s telling young Timothy to study. If Timothy wants to “hear” God’s voice, Paul is telling him to study the Scriptures. Likewise, if a person wants to get a perfect score on a test, the best thing is to study, or they will not pass. That’s simply common sense. God is not some cosmic butler who sits on pins and needles until we call. He is the Sovereign Lord of the universe, and while he will intercede on the behalf of his people, he despises the lazy. That’s why I believe that it was important to address this particular straw man along with “proof” 43.
In this “proof”, Marshall raises one of the greatest arguments for non-belief, what is known as the problem of divine hiddenness. He begins with this,

Here is a line of reasoning that Christians will frequently use to try to rationalize the complete lack of evidence for God’s existence. In the book “The Case for Faith,” the author Lee Stroble interviews Peter Kreeft, Ph.D. Dr. Kreeft says the following:

    “Scripture describes God as a hidden God. You have to make the effort of faith to find him. There are clues you can follow. And if that weren’t so, if there was something more or less than clues, it’s difficult for me to understand how we could really be free to make a choice about him.”

Clues? Hidden? According to the Bible God incarnated himself. He created an entire human body named Jesus. That is not a “clue” — that is a huge, obvious piece of evidence. It is very hard to “hide” a 170-pound human being who is running around performing miracles on every street corner. Then you collect the stories of those miracles and publish them in a book. Where is the hiding in that?

Well, first of all, Christians do not believe that “God incarnated himself”, Oneness Pentecostals, or modalists, believe that, not orthodox Christians, who believe that the Being of God is shared by Three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. The Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Father the Spirit, nor the Spirit the Father, and neither is the Spirit the Son, nor the Son the Spirit; Three Persons, co-equal, co-eternal, a discussion on that can be heard here and Dr. James R. White’s The Forgotten Trinity, is a great resource on this, and Dr. White explains the problem thusly,
[We] need a short, succinct, accurate definition to start with. Here it is:
 Within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
First, the doctrine rests completely upon the truth of the first clause: there is only one God. “The one Being that is God” carries within it a tremendous amount of information. It not only asserts that there is only one God— the historic belief, shared by Christians and Jews known as monotheism—but it also insists that God’s “Being” (capitalized so as to contrast it with the term “persons” found in the next clause) is one, unique, undivided, indivisible. As you can see already, there is a lot packed into each phrase….
Second, the definition insists that there are three divine persons. Note immediately that we are not saying there are three Beings that are one Being, or three persons that are one person. Such would be self-contradictory. I emphasize this because, most often, this is the misrepresentation of the doctrine that is commonly found in the literature of various religions that deny the Trinity….
Thirdly, we are told that the relationship among these divine persons is eternal. They have eternally existed in this unique relationship. Each of the persons is said to be eternal, each is said to be coequal with the others as to their divine nature. Each fully shares the one Being that is God….
White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (pp. 26-27). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
So, yet another straw man misrepresentation of what Christians believe.
Even Jesus addressed the issue of God’s hiddenness:
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 ESV)
God’s hiddenness makes him unrepresentable. In Deuteronomy 4:11-12(ESV), when Moses is reminding the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the promised land, those who would have been old enough to remember their time at Sinai were sternly warned,
And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice.
Further Marshall seems to be confusing God’s acts of power, performed at a particular place and time for a particular purpose, with his hiddenness, as evidenced here:

There are examples of God’s desire for publicity throughout the Bible. The best known is God’s parting of the Red Sea in the book of Exodus, chapter 14:

    Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

That is impressive, and it is utterly obvious. Thousands of Israelites witnessed this event. There are many other events that are equally obvious: manna from heaven, the Ten Commandments carved onto stone tablets, the Passover massacre and so on. All of it is described in the Bible, which God wrote so that billions of people can read about these events and experience them vicariously today.

It is pretty hard to hide something that you do in front of thousands of people and then describe and publish in billions of books. Clearly God is not a hidden God.
I have to ask, “hidden” in what way? Yes, God acts in time, but no one actually ever sees him working, only the results of his work. The Apostle John, in his gospel, put it this way,
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:18 ESV)
The apostle demonstrates the fact of the relationship of two of the persons of the Trinity, God the Father, who is hidden, who operates behind the scenes, and his spokesman, God the Son, who, though for the moment is hidden like his Father, did not stay distant, but stepped down into time, into one of the darkest times in history, to live as one of, to make clear exactly why he was here, the pay the debt that we have incurred due to our sinful rebellion.
I think that the Apostle Paul gives us a pretty stark statement to capture Marhsall’s incredulity,
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:19-23)
Marshall seems to have a pretty good image of God, but it’s the wrong God. The God that Marshall wants is the cosmic bellhop that comes when he snaps his fingers, doesn’t have anything to say about how he is handling the life that was given to him, and goes away when not needed. That’s not the God of Scripture. These “proofs” only continue to prove that Marshall has a huge pile of straw and a box of matches.

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