Necessity of Divine Hiddenness

The Necessity of Divine Hiddenness poster

Research Authorship:

Daniel Riggins

Faculty Mentor:

Kyle Hodge | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies


Divine silence – or how many perceive it, divine hiddenness – is the source of one of the most important and broadly discussed objections for belief in God. Dr. Michael Rea, philosophy of religion professor at the University of Notre Dame, made the claim that divine silence is one of the most important sources of doubt and spiritual distress not solely for those contemplating belief, but also for those who already believe in the existence of God. For some believers, the silence of God can be reconciled while for others it is only evidence of either a God who lacks the trait of omnibenevolence or further proof that we are alone in the universe. In Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence, Rea provides arguments supporting the notion that the silence of God is for our own sake. The hiddenness of God, Rea argues, is necessary for preserving the freedom and integrity of our own responses to God and if God were to reveal himself openly, we could be coerced into submitting into a relationship with God. The relationship would lack authenticity due to the coercive nature of God’s revelation of his existence to his creation and God would not want such an inauthentic relationship. By virtue of being God, God possesses the trait of omnibenevolence and by being omnibenevolent God would not violate the free will of his creation, thus God must remain divinely hidden. My aim will be to weigh Rea’s arguments against the oppositional views and demonstrate why divine hiddenness is absolutely necessary for the benefit of humanity.

2 thoughts on “Necessity of Divine Hiddenness”

  1. Daniel, really nice poster, great cartoon! I’m curious, are “divine hiddenness” and “divine silence” the same?

    1. Dr. Mattice, thank you so much for the kind words. Dr. Rea uses both “divine hiddenness” and “divine silence” interchangeably in his paper to argue the same point; so yes, they are the same thing.

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