"When, for instance, we give the name of 'God' to that transcendent hiddenness
, when we call it 'life' or 'being' or 'light' or 'Word,' whet our minds lay hold of is in fact nothing other than certain activities apparent to us, activities which deify, cause being, bear life, and give wisdom."(83)
Westhelle, however, argues that the double sense of hiddenness
found in Luther does not represent "alternative options for interpretation" (p.
Finally, after some rather crabby remarks about the distinction between sex and gender, van Inwagen goes on to acknowledge the problem of gender-laden language when discussing God and ends his discussion of the hiddenness
of God with a lovely analogy involving the abilities of women.
In his germinal article on the topic, Rahner presents mystery as a "nameless" and "ineffable" reality.(116) By tracing the apophatic tradition of the Greek Fathers, beginning from Gregory of Nyssa, through Denis the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor, and continuing down to Thomas Aquinas in the medieval Latin tradition, Rahner reaffirms the essential hiddenness
of God, which can be called "inexpressible darkness" or "bright incomprehensibility.(117) This ineffable mystery is utterly transcendent: "It is there in its own proper way of aloofness and absence; it bestows itself upon us by refusing itself, by keeping silence, by staying afar."(118) However, this transcendent mystery is at the same time wholly immanent.
Gerrish points out in an influential essay, in Luther's theology God's hiddenness
has two forms.
But it is also a dualism of God's love and God's wrath, a dualism in God's own essence and will, which has to do with Luther's way of understanding the "hiddenness
" of God, the polarity, the connection between Deus absconditus, the hidden God, and Deus revelatus, the revealed God.
Cloth, $60.00; paper, $22.00--This is an interesting, sophisticated collection of philosophical essays on the hiddenness
of God, in the specific sense that God (if such there be) has not made his existence sufficiently clear.
Luther spoke of the hiddenness
(seeing the back side) of God since the crucified Son did not appear to manifest the power of God.
Heidegger places Plato at an early, though not the earliest, stage in what he calls the history of Being, a stage at which truth was still recognized as belonging primarily to the disclosedness of things, which had to be sought against the grain of certain tendencies to hiddenness
, and at which there was an implicit understanding of Being as presence, although its involvement with temporality was not recognized.
Some of the essays discuss the merits of natural theology and the role of religious experience as an epistemic category; a couple of them touch on the hiddenness
of God, which is intended to move us beyond the limited sphere of reason to matters of the will and the heart.
For Arendt, hiddenness
is a crucially necessary dimension of life, linked to her account of privacy, and Hejinian's emphasis on hiding in her notebooks gives an unexpected valence to her recent writing on appearance--for example, in the declaration that a character "might not appear." If Hejinian is thinking with Arendt, when a character does not deign to appear, it should be possible to read this as a resource or reserve, alongside thinking of non-appearance as a liability or lack--as something that does not "happen."
In his Pensees, Pascal writes about the tension God maintains between his revelation and hiddenness
, so that those who desire him may find him and those who do not want him would not be forced by bludgeoning evidence into believing against their will.