Question 228:

Christianity and Islam both teach that God is almighty and above everything. And yet He does not show Himself to humanity, even though He could solve all questions about faith in one fell swoop. Is He shy?



The almighty, all powerful God of Christianity and Islam remains mysterious to us. Ultimately, He cannot be understood. Most people happily admit this. But strangely: When their thinking reaches such a limit, many become nervous. They then say: I cannot understand God, how can I make sense of it all, I can no longer believe in God! [...] These are false conclusions which don’t move us any further. It is precisely the other way round: If someone spoke of God as if everything was simple and without difficulty, he would surely have described God wrongly. Everything we can say about Him is only ever a little bit true. He will always remain an impenetrable mystery.

This is often met with the protest: What’s the use of a God who is so far away and cannot be comprehended? I don’t want just to sense a hint of Him, I want to speak with Him, love Him, be held in Him! The author Winfried Henze describes his own experience: I have experienced both: that God seemed remote and incomprehensible to me, and then again that I sensed Him very near. He was remote when I wanted to approach Him with clever thoughts, when I pondered and grappled with problems. He was near when I considered how He Himself spoke to humanity. I sensed: Just as He once called, for example, Abraham, He is calling me now. Sometimes I read the Bible and I am always gripped by the same thing: God is not remote. He speaks to us. He comes close to us. We can experience him.

So God called Abraham. Who left his house, his large property and who went into the desert. He gave himself to God. Only God was his hope and his security. He believed.

The Bible tells this kind of story of many people. They believed, and that means: They threw themselves into Gods arms. And so they felt His greatness and experienced His love [...]

That is why it is profitable to read the Bible. It tells of how God communicates with humanity, how He reveals himself. No-one was as close to Him as Jesus, His Son. He brought us very close to God. If everything the Bible tells us about had never happened, I believe then it would not be worthwhile to speak of God. Then He would always remain distant from us. Thank God He Himself wanted it to be different. He remains the never ending, the wholly Other, but He comes close to us. He Himself tore open the mystery (cf. W. Henze, “Gott ist schön. Ein katholischer Familien-Katechismus”. Harsum, 2001, p. 21-22).

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