The Problems of Divine Hiddenness and Divine Inscrutability

In Graham Oppy & Joseph W. Koterski (eds.), Theism and Atheism: Opposing Viewpoints in Philosophy. Cengage (forthcoming)
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This is a forthcoming section for the book "Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy", edited by Graham Oppy, Gregory Dawes, Evan Fales, Joseph Koterski, Mashhad Al-Allaf, Robert Fastiggi, and David Shatz. I was asked to write a brief essay on divine hiddenness and divine inscrutability. I argue that theism is trapped between two opposite poles. On one end, we encounter an argument developed by John Schellenberg. God is understood as a being who, in virtue of God's perfect love, would have relationship with any of Her creatures who are open to loving relationship with God. If so, we would not expect there to exist non-resistant non-believers. Yet there are non-resistant non-believers. So, this sort of God does not exist. On the other pole, God is completely incomprehensible. But if God is incomprehensible, then this leads to a series of theological problems. For example, if God is incomprehensible, then it is difficult to understand how any human could rationally endorse God's existence. I argue that both poles are problematic for the theist and that it is difficult to see how to construct a road through the middle that would not inherit the problems of either pole.

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Dan Linford
Purdue University


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