When God Hides His Face

Michael Purcell

in The Experience of God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225187
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237135 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

When God Hides His Face

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God does not usually present Himself as an object to be experienced. Far more common, for mystics as well as for the faithful in general, is a complete lack of experience in prayer. We sense nothing, we feel nothing, and we wonder if any contact is made with the deity. In time we accept that this absence of affect is the condition of a mature life of prayer, and we link it with a wider theology of God. Christianity does not teach that God first hid Himself and then revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ. Not at all: the revelation of God irreducibly involves a reveiling of God. This chapter explores the hiddenness, or inexperience, of God, focusing on the Psalms rather than the Gospels and taking into account the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas rather than Martin Luther. Phenomenology is brought into conversation with scripture and faith; and, since this chapter follows Levinas in prizing ethics over theory, we are placed in the midst of prayer for the Kingdom of God.

Keywords: God; experience; inexperience; Psalms; Emmanuel Levinas; phenomenology; scripture; faith; theology; Kingdom of God

Chapter.  7220 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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