Why is God unseen? Yesterday I read a passage by Gerald May, a psychiatrist and teacher, on why God is not fully manifest to us in this life. In his book, “Addiction and Grace,” he holds some views I do not, but in other places, he writes beautifully on human freedom and how the grace of God is the only means of being released from our attachments. The thought is familiar, but he says it so well.
Most of the time, God remains somewhat hidden from us. Why? For one thing, God in immanence is already too close to us, too intimate, too much at one with us to be a clear-cut object, and God in His transcendance is too great to be apprehended (Exodus 33:20).
More importantly, however, I think Paul’s words about the unknown God indicate another reason for God’s hiddenness; full and freely chosen love for God requires searching and groping. What would happen to our freedom if God, our perfect lover, were to appear before us with such objective clarity that all our doubts disappeared? We would experience a kind of love, to be sure, but it would be love like a reflex. Almost without thought, we would fix all our desires upon this Divine Object, try to grasp and possess it, addict ourselves to it. I think God refuses to be an object for attachment because God desires full love, not addiction. Love born of true freedom, love free from attachment, requires that we search for a deepening awareness of God, just as God freely reaches out to us. (p.94)