by Dr. Randy White | July 24, 2023
The evangelical faith commonly depicts God as an active and present force in our world. The Holy Spirit is believed to guide believers and empower them to execute God’s will on Earth. However, what happens when our understanding of God’s engagement with the world comes into conflict with the realities we observe around us? What if we rethink the ways we understand God’s work in the current dispensation?
The Poignant Paradox
The belief in an active and responsive God provides comfort and direction. However, it also poses challenging paradoxes. If God is the orchestrator of every positive event, how do we explain the pervasive suffering, injustice, and evil in the world? The doctrine of God’s sovereignty suggests that God is in control of everything. Yet, there are countless happenings that contradict our understanding of His will.
These contradictions can lead to confusion, frustration, and at times, even a crisis of faith. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider our perspective and consider the Doctrine of the Silence of God.
Exploring the Doctrine of the Silence of God
The Silence of God Doctrine suggests that in this age, God operates subtly through His Word and Spirit, rather than through conspicuous interventions. This doesn’t mean God is inactive or uninvolved, but that His mode of operation has shifted to be less immediately perceptible.
This is Not Deism
This doctrine doesn’t advocate for Deism, which portrays God as a distant, non-interventionist creator. Instead, it recognizes that God’s work primarily occurs through His Word and Spirit, not miraculous intervention. It is distinct from Deism, which rejects all divine activity across all ages.
This is Not An Absence Of God
The doctrine of the Silence of God should not be mistaken for an expression of divine absence. This silence instead indicates a shift in God’s *modus operandi* during this dispensation. God maintains a constant presence, although His involvement is more subtle and less overt. This silence reflects God’s respect for human free will and His commitment to a less interventionist role.
This is Aligned with Scripture
Throughout history, God’s silence has not been uncommon. Significant periods have passed where God’s intervention was not explicit, such as from the death of Cain through Noah, Noah to Abraham, Joseph to Moses, and the time between Malachi and Matthew. This totals to around 65% of recorded history. So, why are we shocked at the idea of God working silently in our time?
Implications of the Doctrine
Embracing the “Silence of God” doctrine could address some critical dilemmas:
- The Problems of Evil: With this doctrine, these problems are attributed to human actions or natural occurrences, not to God’s absence or indifference.
- Knowing God’s Will: Believers can discern God’s will by studying the Scriptures, interpreting them literally, and distinguishing one dispensation from another.
- Prayer: This becomes a way of expressing our desires to God, with the understanding that He respects the free will of all humanity.
- Acts of God: These natural events are not directly related to any individual or humanity’s collective activity. They are not “acts of God” in the literal sense.
- Economic Downturns: These are seen as the result of human decisions, not divine intervention.
- Miracles and Supernatural Events: These are understood as highly rare circumstances that come together by human or natural forces rather than by divine intervention.
While these positions may challenge conventional evangelical perspectives, they offer an alternative interpretation that could resolve the paradoxes that these traditional beliefs often present.
For more on this subject, read The Silence of God.
In the spirit of open dialogue and understanding, we invite you to explore this perspective and engage in respectful conversations about the nature of God’s work in our present age.