Skip to main content Accessibility help

Hiddenness, holiness, and impurity

  • BRENT G. KYLE (a1)


John Schellenberg has advanced the hiddenness argument against God's existence, based on the idea that an all-loving God would seek personal relationships. This article develops a reply to Schellenberg's argument by examining the notion of moral impurity, as understood by Paul the Apostle. Paul conceptualized moral impurity as a causal state that transfers from person to person, like a contagious disease. He also believed that moral impurity precludes divine–human relationship. The goal of this article is to develop these ideas into a problem for one of Schellenberg's key premises.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Allen, D. (2010) Theology for a Troubled Believer: An Introduction to the Christian Faith (Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox Press).
Bible, The (1993) The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (London: HarperCollins Publishers).
Flint, T. & Freddoso, A. (1983) ‘Maximal power’, in Freddoso, A. (ed.) The Existence and Nature of God (Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press), 81113.
Ginet, C. (2000) ‘The epistemic requirements for moral responsibility’, Philosophical Perspectives, 14, 267277.
Hayes, C. (1999) ‘Intermarriage and impurity in ancient Jewish sources’, The Harvard Theological Review, 92, 336.
Hayes, C. (2002) Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities: Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Jackson, F. & Pettit, P. (1990) ‘Program explanation: a general perspective’, Analysis, 50, 107117.
Klawans, J. (2000) Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Liu, Y. (2013) Temple Purity in 1–2 Corinthians (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck).
Newton, M. (1985) The Concept of Purity at Qumran and in the Letters of Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Priest, G. (1997) ‘Sexual perversion’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 75, 360372.
Schellenberg, J. L. (1993) Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press).
Schellenberg, J. L. (2005) ‘The hiddenness argument revisited (I)’, Religious Studies, 41, 201215.
Schellenberg, J. L. (2007) The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press).
Tozer, A. W. (1961/1992) The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins Publishers).
Wells, D. (1994) God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans).
Williamson, T. (2000) Knowledge and Its Limits (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Zimmerman, M. (1997) ‘A plea for accuses’, American Philosophical Quarterly, 34, 229243.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed