Brent Kyle

Brent Kyle is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the United States Air Force Academy, where he teaches on topics ranging from metaphysics to military ethics.  He recently completed his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell University, focusing in ethics and epistemology.  Prior to that, he received a master’s degree from Yale University, concentrating in the philosophy of religion. 


Divine Hiddenness and Moral Impurity

If God exists, then he is hidden from many people. Indeed, many people lack belief in God through no fault of their own. J.L. Schellenberg has developed these claims into an argument against the existence of God. In this paper, I challenge Schellenberg’s divine hiddenness argument by appealing to an Israelite explanation for why God hides. On this view, God is forced to hide when communities become polluted by the moral impurity that comes from sinful actions. More precisely, by relying on the work of two biblical scholars—Jonathan Klawans and Samuel Balentine—I argue that ancient Israelites conceptualized moral impurity as something that can defile, or spread to, other persons via personal relations. And since God is essentially pure (or holy or perfect), it is metaphysically impossible for God to relate to anyone in a way that could lead to his defilement. So, God cannot be personally related to morally impure people—i.e. he must hide. Finally, I show that, if this Israelite view is correct, then a crucial premise in Schellenberg’s argument is false. I also show that a number of potential ways rejecting the Israelite view are unsuccessful.