Guest / Limited Access /
God Behind the Veil
Image: Illustration by Jonathan Bartlett

I was sitting expectantly in the doctor's office, waiting for the results of some tests. I had convinced myself that there was nothing wrong. At worst, it was a hernia; at best, a pulled muscle. The doctor finally entered, and he gave me the news: "I am sorry to tell you, we have found a large mass by your right kidney, and it looks cancerous."

My stomach sank, my world spun, and I cried out to Jesus. Some further tests determined that I had a rare and deadly cancer for which there is no known treatment.

As a husband, a father of two young children, and a theologian, the news confronted me with the fact that life would change drastically. What would it be like for my kids to grow up without their dad? How would my wife handle all of this? Why would God allow this to happen to me, and where was God in the midst of this turmoil? As Christians, we all feel the gravity of life bearing down, and we all meet with trying circumstances that force such questions upon us.

Questions about God's presence—and apparent absence—hearken back to what Christians have traditionally called God's transcendence and immanence. Or, to use more biblical language, his apparent "veiled-ness" and "unveiled-ness."

Theologian G. R. Lewis writes of God's transcendence and immanence this way:

As transcendent, God is uniquely other than everything in creation. God's distinctness from the being of the world has been implied in . . . discussions of God's attributes metaphysically, intellectually, ethically, emotionally, and existentially. God is "hidden" relationally because [he is] so great in all these other ways. God's being is eternal, the world's temporal. God's ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Greatest Hits of N. T. Wright
The Greatest Hits of N. T. Wright
Why his new book is worth reading, even if you know most of the songs by heart.
TrendingThe 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
The 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
There is much to learn from some key trends in the last 100 years of church history.
Editor's PickDuck Dynasty Wife: The More Christians on Reality TV, the Better
Duck Dynasty Wife: The More Christians on Reality TV, the Better
How unexpected fame and quirky family has helped Jessica Robertson share her faith.
Comments
Christianity Today
God Behind the Veil
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.