Agnosticism and the hiddenness of God:
An agnostic is somebody that does not know whether a god exists or not. Many people who consider themselves atheists are actually agnostics. Any honest atheist will admit that they cannot be sure that God does not exist. It is impossible to prove a universal negative, therefore it’s impossible to know universally that God does not exist. The only way to prove a universal negative would be to show that it’s a complete contradiction. For instance, we know there are no married bachelors. We do not know if there are rainbows on other planets. It is because the possibility goes far beyond our scope of knowledge. For the atheist, it is possible that the existence of God lies outside the scope of their knowledge.
If one person has the knowledge of something and another person does not have the knowledge of that thing, it seems reasonable that that thing really exists. I have never seen China, but I know that many people have. I don’t have any reason to doubt these people, and there are far too many to consider it an illusion.
There are 3 things that the atheist and agnostic need to admit and consider. 1, they cannot be sure that God does not exist. 2, it is possible that God exists in a gap in their knowledge. 3, many people see and experience that God does exist. This should stir any open minded person to research and seek his possible existence.
17th century mathematician Blaise Pascal has one of my favorite quotes, he said “there are 2 types of people one can call reasonable, those that serve God with everything they have because they know him and those that search for God with everything they have because they don’t know Him”. The significance of the question of whether God is real should spur the reasonable person into serious research. The believer cannot go unchanged after realizing who God is. The non believer cannot reasonably stay satisfied in not knowing who God is, if there is a God.
I am willing to say that the proposal of God’s existence is the most significan claim in human history. The true answer to this proposal changes everything about our existence. Never mind the start of our existence, the purpose of our existence changes drastically depending
on the true answer of that question. An agnostic should not approach this question with a strong bias toward God’s non-existence. No one should be satisfied with searching for 1 day, 1 month, 1 year and not discovering the true God. I will make a second bold claim, that the discovery and knowledge of God is the most joyful and significant discovery in human history. With this in mind, an agnostic should not quit in the endeavor to discover whether or not there’s a god. I am not saying they should be dishonest and try to admit there’s a god when they really don’t think there is. They should, however, seek diligently in hopes of discovering the knowledge of God. If a person has lost a child out in the wilderness, they don’t look for 1 hour or for 1 day and then quit because they did not find their child. If there is any chance he’s out there, then they’ll seek after that child day and night with everybody they can round up to help, and not stop until they find answers. This is how any person that has the knowledge of God hidden from them ought to seek after the knowledge of God.
Why does God seem to remain hidden to many people? There are a few reasons that the Bible informs us of. The first and maybe most obvious reason for the hiddenness of God is that God is described as invisible. John 1:18 says that no man has seen God at anytime. First Timothy 6:16 says that God the Father has not been seen and cannot be seen. If we are to know God’s existence we will have to use criteria other than physical tangibility. This means we must acknowledge the spiritual realm.
The second reason that God remains hidden to some people is because of suppression of the truth. Suppress means to hold back or stop an action from running its course. Romans 1:20 says that people do not have an excuse for not believing in God. Creation is the evidence of God. People’s failure to glorify God in this area causes their thinking to become nonsense and causes their minds to be darkened.
The third reason that God remains hidden to some people is because of their satisfaction in their sin. There is no regret over sin and no urgency to have the problem cured. Isaiah 64:7 says that no one calls on the Lord’s name (and associates this with iniquity). It is due to this iniquity that the Lord hides his face from people. In Jeremiah 33:5, God does the same thing; He turns his face away from an evil people. If God did reveal Himself to people while they embrace iniquity, that would imply that God is affirming their iniquities. If God is completely against sin then actions like Him turning his face from us must take place in order for him to demonstrate His disapproval toward sin.
The fourth thing to consider about the hiddenness of God is that he hides things for his ultimate glory. In Matthew 11:25 Jesus praises the Father for hiding truths from the supposedly wise people and revealing them to babies. The big message of God’s redemption, the story of the Bible, was hidden as a mystery for a long time. Colossians 1:26 and first Corinthians 2:7 talk about this hidden mystery that has just been revealed. God has deep and elaborate ways of using hiddenness and mystery for His will and His glory. His great knowledge becomes evident. His rule over time and space is seen through the revelation of previously hidden things.
Finally, God does not turn away those that diligently seek Him. This means a person must do what it says in Jeremiah 29:13- “you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”. This means that the agnostic should not be content in his agnosticism, but should commit his heart to knowledge of God. Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says to continually ask seek and knock because the door will be opened. However, this knocking should not be done in a spiteful, mocking, or close minded manner. The seeking needs to be sincere.
To conclude this, any honest atheist is an agnostic. Agnostics leave the door open for the possibility of God’s existence. If it’s possible that God exists, and God is the most significant discovery a person can make, then the agnostic should dedicate themselves to diligently discover knowledge of God. If they die without ever discovering the knowledge of God, they have lost nothing, but have dedicated themselves to a reasonable endeavor. If they do discover the knowledge of God, they have a great gain because they have learned the most significant thing in existence.