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[If a Christian-type God exists it must be His will to remain largely hidden. For if God wanted His existence to be self-evident and beyond controversy, then presumably He would have revealed Himself in such a way that doubt was impossible. But since doubt is possible, God must want His existence to be open to doubt: and it is not hard to think of reasons why. If God was to reveal Himself to us in all His glory, we would then enjoy the beatific vision, and that would be tantamount to going to heaven. It would be the end of history, and perhaps even the end of the world. But such self-revelation on God’s part would call into question the whole purpose of history, not to mention this vale of tears we call the human condition: “Why,” we would ask, “doesn’t God place souls in His presence from the moment of their creation?” The most obvious objection to such a course of divine action is that spiritual growth or development implies the freedom and cooperation of the individual soul; and that freedom can only exist in the sort of world we presently inhabit, a world in which God leaves enough hints and traces of His existence to be perceived by receptive souls, but a world without the kind of evidence which would compromise the freedom of souls that don’t want to enter into a relationship with Him. According to C. S. Lewis: ‘The Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of God’s scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless.’]

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