In last night’s Lent talk on BBC Radio 4 George Pattison,Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, reflected on positive the benefits of God’s absence when humanity no longer feels scrutinised by the eyes of God.
He talked about how unsettling it is thinking of God like this, with every move and dubious motive scrutinised from birth to death. Such an approach only gives us two responses – to choose between letting ourselves be crushed by this cosmic gaze or pulling down the blinds and shutting him out. It’s impossible to pass into adulthood without at least one moment of abandonment – and many of us only want God back when the going gets rough. Yet St Augustine reminded us that God is not a spatially extended being- a here ,there and wherever metaphor. Where we really see the face of infinitely distant God is in those who cry out for better justice, the immigrant, the widow, the oppressed. All mens face yet no mans face. We need a God who helps us make something better from ruins of what might have been. Someone who invites us to reflect on what we are doing with our lives, and if we could be doing better – a true soul friend. A God who may be absent or present in ways do not know.
To listen to the talk follow this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00j7526