“You Would Not Seek Me If You Had Not Found Me”—Another Pascalian Response to the Problem of Divine Hiddenness
One version of the Problem of Divine Hiddenness is about people who are looking for God and are distressed about not finding him. Having in mind such distressed God-seekers, Blaise Pascal imagined Jesus telling them the following: “Take comfort; you would not seek me if you had not found me.” This is what I call the Pascalian Conditional of Hiddenness (PCH). In the first part of this paper, I argue that the PCH leads to a new interpretation of Pascal’s own response to the problem, significantly different from Hick’s or Schellenberg’s interpretations of Pascal. In short: for any person who is distressed about not finding God, and who (for this reason) seriously considers the Argument from Hiddenness, the PCH would show that their own distress constitutes evidence that God is in fact not hidden to them (because this desire for God has been instigated in them by God himself). In the second part of the paper, I set aside the exegetical question and try to develop this original strategy as a contemporary response to one version of the Problem of Divine Hiddenness, which I call the “first-person problem.” I argue that the PCH strategy offers a plausibly actual story to respond to the first-person problem. As a result, even if we need to complement the PCH strategy with other more traditional strategies (in order to respond to other versions of the problem), the PCH strategy should plausibly be part of the complete true story about Divine Hiddenness.
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