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Divine Hiddenness: Michael Rea Lecture

Trinity CommunicationsMarch 13, 2012

Michael C. Rea is professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. On March 14, he will be the speaker for the Scripture and Ministry lecture series sponsored by the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding.

The lecture will be held in A.T.O. Chapel, and is free and open to the public. It will be live-streamed.

Refreshments will begin at 12:45 p.m., followed by the lecture at 1:00 p.m. (with Q&A to follow).

The topic of the lecture: “Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence.”

Divine silence—or, as many think of it, divine hiddenness—is the source of one of the most important and widely discussed objections to belief in God.  It is also one of the most important sources of doubt and spiritual distress for believers.

Many people face brokenness by divine silence in the midst of their own suffering or the suffering of others, or simply by the ongoing and unsatisfied longing for the presence of God. In this talk, Michael Rea explains why divine silence poses a serious intellectual obstacle to belief in God, and then goes on to consider ways of overcoming that obstacle.

After considering several ways in which divine silence might actually be beneficial to human beings, he argues that perhaps silence is nothing more or less than God’s preferred mode of interaction with creatures like us. Perhaps God simply desires communion rather than overt communication with human beings, and perhaps God has provided ways for us to experience God’s presence richly even amidst the silence.

Rea concludes by considering the possibility that biblical narratives and the liturgies of the church are the vehicles by which God’s presence is mediated to us.

Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson, © Universal Press Syndicate

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