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09/16/2014

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Elisa Freschi

Thank you for this very interesting post, Helen. I have argued on this blog (http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2014/02/would-not-a-better-god-have-endowed-us-with-free-will-but-with-certain-limitations.html) that there is a further reason a God might have had not to completely reveal Himself or Herself, namely that S/He might want to be freely loved or revered. And it would be difficult not to at least revere a benevolent God if we were sure there were one. A similar argument is made by Dostojevskij's Great Inquisitor.

Walter

This isn't my area, so my comments are those of an interested outsider. I find this research very interesting. My question is about the link between the research and the problem. I guess I assumed the problem was caused by God's awesomeness, in the sense that God's full splendor (or even a little bit of it?) is stunning to us in some way. I don't know -- resplendent to an astonishing degree, in some moral sense? This sort of thought makes me wonder if someone's pre-revelatory understanding or idea of a hidden God, even one that is loving and forgiving, would match up well with their post-revelatory understanding or idea of the same God made visible, standing before them (however that works!). I guess we might say "yes, the ideas will be close at least, due to the limits of the human mind"?

Helen De Cruz

Hi Walter: Thanks for your comment - The position you describe is something Aquinas describes in his idea of the beatific vision, which is based on the phrase in 1 Cor that we now see in a mirror/lens darkly, but then we will see God face to face. According to Aquinas, postmortem and after the final judgment, those who are saved will see God directly without any intermediary. God will first boost their intellect, so that it is capable of apprehending something so great. The beatific vision, this direct apprehension of God, surpasses reason and even faith (since faith always has some element of imperfection). But even with our pre-resurrection minds, God might still have chosen to make his/her presence more unambiguously known. And even if that were not possible, one might then ask why God built those limitations in our minds. It seems possible for God to create beings before their final, resurrected state, to know him. Those who work on the problem of divine hiddenness, like Michael Murray, thus think the main problem is to explain why there is at least temporarily (our mortal life on Earth), God's existence isn't just plain evident to us.

Walter

Hi Helen. I think I see. There is a lot of room between hidden and fully revealed, on a variety of dimensions. So there may be a point between these extremes where we know, without question, that God exists, but we don't know what God really is (or something like that). Or is it better to make some sort of distinction between types of knowledge, e.g., acquaintance and propositional or by description or some such?

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