Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy and director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at University of Notre Dame
“Divine Hiddenness and Divine Love”
Divine hiddenness—the unexpected ambiguity of our evidence for God’s existence, the elusiveness of God’s comforting presence when we are afraid and in pain, the palpable and devastating experience of divine absence and abandonment—is hard to reconcile with the idea, central to the Jewish and Christian scriptures, that God is deeply lovingly concerned with the lives and emotional and spiritual well-being of human creatures. The philosophical problem of divine hiddenness, one of the two most important arguments against the existence of God, depends on the idea that divine love is an idealized version of the best form of human love. In this talk I argue against this idea, and I show that the hiddenness problem can get no rational purchase on us by way of philosophical reflection on our ordinary understanding of the nature of love.
Michael Rea is Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 2001. He is also a Professorial Fellow at the Logos Institute for Analytic & Exegetical Theology at the University of St. Andrews. His research focuses primarily on topics in metaphysics, philosophy of religion and analytic theology. He has written or edited more than fifteen books and nearly fifty articles, and has given numerous lectures in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Russia, China and Iran, including the 2017 Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews.
About the Series
For centuries, philosophers and theologians debated the question of why God, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, is hidden, absent or silent in the face of human suffering. In our lecture series, we are inviting prominent scholars from a range of disciplines and from different parts of the world to address and help us understand an array of topics pertaining to the problem of Divine Hiddenness.