For us to have a robust free will, there must be an amount of divine hiddenness, or what John Hick called “epistemic distance.” Divine hiddenness is the teaching that for humans to act out of free will, God’s existence (or presence) can’t be too obvious. Not surprisingly, this is a doctrine that many Christians misunderstand and over which skeptics howl. Many Christians ask, and even sometimes complain, that God should make His presence more apparent. Skeptics complain that if God really loved us (in other words, if God were really a good God), He would make His existence unmistakable.
But the Lord absolutely doesn’t want to do that. Why? Because the Lord doesn’t want us to feign loyalty. As Clay Jones wrote in his book, Why Does God Allow Evil?, God could have designed the universe so that when we looked up, even if we were indoors, we would always see a Giant Flaming Sword, and if anyone rebelled against God, that Giant Flaming Sword would immediately cut him in half! Omnipotence could easily do such a thing. But how many people would be Christian in such a world? All of them! Everyone would, at the very least, feign loyalty. But how many true worshippers would you get in such a world? You don’t get true worshippers in that world. Worship, like love, must be uncoerced.
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