The Views of Schellenberg, Hick, and Swinburne to the Concept of Divine Hiddenness

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Holder in Theology‚ Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of the Philosophy of Religion‚ Tehran University, Iran


The Divine Hiddenness concept is one of the main existing arguments for atheism. The article at hand sets out to examine the viewpoints of three contemporary philosophers of religion about the Divine Hiddenness, namely John Schellenberg, John Hick, and Richard Swinburne. Schellenberg deems the Divine Hiddenness inconsistent with the Divine Love and believes that as a requirement for the former, God should provide enough evidence about his existence for the capable people who have no shortcoming in this regard. The availability of such an evidence means that God is not hidden. However, as Schellenberg asserts, God has not done so and therefore, there exists essentially no God. From Hick's viewpoint, in order to protect our epistemic and moral freedom, it is necessary for God to be hidden. Swinburne holds that the hiddenness of God permits us to choose our destiny. Therefore, in the eyes of Swinburne, the hiddenness of God is necessary for the fulfillment of our wholesome destiny choice. The findings of this article reveal that the Divine Hiddenness cannot justify atheism. Meanwhile, the freedom-oriented reasons put forth by Hick and Swinburne for the justification of the Divine Hiddenness cannot prove that the nonfulfillment of the Divine Hiddenness contradicts humans' freedom of choice.


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