Evolution and Variants of a Theological Concept
Ancient Egyptian and classical Western mystery religions can be said to rest upon the inscrutability of deity, but a concept of god as partially knowable yet ultimately inaccessible by any sort of mediation is the fruit of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Variously detailed by different theologians as early as Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150–215), notions about god as hidden, or Deus Absconditus, generally take their biblical warrant from Isaiah 45:15, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself.” Old Testament injunctions against seeing or looking upon god and New Testament recapitulations (e.g., “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared Him.” John 1:18) may also have influenced discussions of deity’s purposeful invisibility. But the crafting of theology based on the hiddenness of God would not occur until the Protestant Reformation.
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