The Presence in the Absence

There is a strange aspect to the presence of God in the world around us. That aspect is His apparent absence. I read with fascination (because I am no philosopher, much less a scientist) the discussions surrounding “intelligent design” and the like. I gather that everybody agrees that the universe is just marvelous and wonderfully put together (I can’t think of a better universe). But then begins the parting of ways as one sees God everywhere and another sees Him nowhere. Reason surely need not deny Him, though reason does not seem forced to acknowledge Him. I have spent most of my life around these arguments – one place or another. I can stand in either place and see both presence and absence.

But as the years have gone by, I have come to see something I never saw before – the Presence within the Absence. I don’t mean to sound too mystical here – only that I see in the hiddenness of God a revelation of His love. The Creator of us all draws us towards Himself and knowledge of Him, with hints and intimations, with seen and yet unseen signs.

The strange deniability that He leaves us is the space in which love is born. Love cannot be forced, cannot be demanded. It must come as gift, born of a willingness to give. To give God trust that what I see is indeed evidence of the wisdom in which He made all things is also a space – one which God fills with Himself and the echo, the Yes, that the universe shouts back to us.

It is where I grow weary of the arguments – not because they need not be made – but because it becomes hard to hear the silence in the noise of our own voices – a silence that invites us to hear the sound of the voice of God that rumbles all around us.

There’s more to say – but not now.



  1. Daniel Wilson says

    In like manner, Father, cannot something of man’s “glory” be intuited from his “depravity” which we see everywhere?

  2. Doug C. says

    I no longer see God’s absence in things or people. I see Him everywhere: in the rising of the sun every day, showing me the Ressurection of our Lord daily. In the falling of leaves and decay of winter leading to the glories of spring, showing me death trampled down by death – leading to life. In the joy exhibited by the most impoverished children, unhindered by the weight of adult doubt and fear. In inmates in prison who at moments show their humanity amongst the “worst” people and conditions. I feel Him guiding me and leading me to love those around me and elsewhere, even when I have no so called “attachment” to them. I am finally understanding my salvation intwined with those around me.

    I no longer enter into the debate over intelligent design/creation/evolution as God does not need me or others to decide His capacity or method of creation. It is enough to pray. It is enough to accept my own inability to understand the universe and the God who created it. It is enough to not say more, and to be quiet in the caucauphony of life and to listen.

    Thank you Father for this post!