The invisibility of God: Here is an iron-clad complaint of empiricism: only that which can be seen or determined therefrom is real. However Christians celebrate the invisibility of God:
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
This of course is based in part on 1 Timothy 1:17 (ESV) “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Where then is God hiding? It is an interesting thing to see that the God of Scripture claims to hide in plain sight. For example, at the end of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts all that has taken place for Israel. He tells the people that despite all that they have experienced, they still do not understand:
2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. ….”
Deuteronomy 29:2–5 (ESV)
One wonders what story they told themselves which made sense of what they experienced. This run runs throughout Scripture. For example, the disciples had seen Jesus feed thousands with next to nothing, yet they did not see the miracle. For shortly thereafter, they see Jesus walk on the water and yet they cannot understand what is happening:
51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Mark 6:51–52 (ESV)
When look to other passages, we can see that God himself takes credit for his invisibility; even in the most obvious places. Thus, after Jesus rises from the dead, he walks along with some disciples who cannot recognize him:
15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Luke 24:15–16 (ESV)
Jesus even goes so far as to state a purpose of his work is to purposefully blind some to the truth while proclaiming it:
10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that
“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
Mark 4:10–12 (ESV). That does not mean that we are not culpable; it is equally our own desire for blindness which keeps are our eyes closed:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 1:18 (ESV).
This blindness is taken away by the Gospel, alone. The light is bright enough to be seen; it is the willful and supernatural blindness which causes the sorrow:
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (ESV)
It is only the gracious act of God which reveals his truth:
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Matthew 11:25-26 (ESV)
The invisibility of God does not lie in his absence but in the hardness of our heart, the malice of the Devil and the will of God.