It's a very basic issue: Do you think God owes us the answers to all our questions? Philosophers, taxi drivers, professors, bartenders, little children, and even politicians raise questions about life every day: important questions, valid questions. Is God obliged to answer them? Or is there some reason that God conceals certain things from us?
It's a perplexing matter, and one which produces, in every generation, angry atheists, honest doubters, and quite a few confused believers. Whether considering questions of cosmology, or the horrors of history, or the mysteries of everyday life, the most common questions asked by people of every age, and in every condition are, "how?" "why?" "when?" And, of course, "why not?" Well, should God answer those (and similar) questions, or is there some reason for Him to keep silent?
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, says Solomon (Proverbs 25:2). Well, why should that be? Why would God want to hide the truth, or the facts, from the very creatures - - - human beings - - - who He created as rational, curious, and inquisitive? Is He playing cat and mouse with us, enjoying our ignorance, and (in the words of my generation) "just messing with our heads?" No; in fact, He's not doing any of these things. He's not that kind of God. Herewith, a few thoughts on the matter.
In the first place, God has revealed so much to us, in so many ways, that we can never fully grasp it all. He's a God Who glories in revealing the truth, in any number of ways. He's revealed Himself, and His ways, and His thoughts, in a propositional way, in the Bible, using words, because He's created us as verbal beings. He's revealed Himself in nature: not just the grand and glorious things, like the sunrise or the springtime, which are symbols of Jesus' resurrection, but in little ways, too. When we laugh at the antics of puppies or kittens, or even human infants, why are we amused? Because they (and we) were created by a God Who has a sense of humor, who has an antic side to His Personality. A kitten tangled up in a ball of yarn may never have struck you as a revelation of God, but it is: it tells you something about the kitten's Creator, and yours. At the other end of the spectrum, the majesty and infinite grandeur of God are revealed in nature, including that tiny part of the universe that we can see at night: The heavens declare the glory of God, says David, and the firmament sheweth his handywork (Psalm 19:1). God has revealed so much to us, we can't even comprehend it all. We really have no cause to complain if there are things He chooses to conceal.
Furthermore, we should consider, with great reverence, that just as each of us is an individual, so is God an Individual. Do you have any secrets? I don't mean "bad" things, although we all have those; but do you have certain facts that you keep to yourself, for perfectly legitimate reasons? Of course you do. You have experiences and habits and opinions that are entirely yours; you can share them with others if you choose, but you're not obligated to do so. I can ask you who you voted for in the last election, but if you choose not to tell me, that's your right. I can wonder what my boss thinks about one of my co-workers, but I don't really need to know, because it's simply none of my business. And there are things that are nobody's business but God's: The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29). God has revealed a great many things to us, but He has His secrets, too; and (I say it reverently), we would be well advised to respect His privacy, just as we respect one another's.
Very often, God conceals things from us for our own good, because He knows that they would cause us pain, or hurt us in some way. God knows the day of your death: do you really want Him to tell you? That might be comforting if He told you that you have another fifty years; but what if you're going to die before your grandchildren are born, and you'll never see them? What if you're going to die with tasks unfinished, and loved ones unprovided for? Would that knowledge satisfy you, or haunt you? If your child has been injured and is in a vegetative state, or if you're in agonizing pain, would you want God to tell you that the condition will last for another thirty years? In some cases, by giving us "answers," God would be robbing us of all hope.
Another reason God conceals things is to remind us of our limitations. After all, the great sin of the human race is pride: as a race and individually, we think we're pretty hot stuff. We have our technology and our philosophy and our "religions" and all of our other toys, and sometimes we think we know it all. Then something happens that shatters us, and we immediately start asking God "why:" why did my aunt, who seemed to be such a godly woman (and who probably was), get throat cancer and die? Why didn't the husband or the wife come home from Afghanistan? Why did You let me marry the wrong person? Or, if God really wants to remind us of our limitations, He can interrogate us, as He did Job: Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding (Job 38:1-4). God hits Job with 35 questions like that, one after another, in a single chapter of scripture: and Job realizes, as our modern intellectuals do not realize, that his "understanding" is very limited indeed. Sometimes - - - often, as a matter of fact - - - we need to be reminded of that. So, God simply conceals the facts: little things like the date of our death, or the reason for a tsunami, or the cure for cancer. From the Garden of Eden to the present, man has been boasting about how smart he is. So, sometimes God withholds a certain fact, and says "Very well, you figure it out." God does not appreciate our pride, however much He may tolerate it at the moment.
God also conceals the truth, or the facts, from people who really don't care about the answers, or who are insincere. The world is full of men and women who say, "If God just explained this one certain thing to me, I'd believe in Him, and follow Him." But they wouldn't, and God knows it. They're simply throwing up "intellectual" barriers to avoid bowing the knee to God. The age-old whine is, "If God would just show me a sign, I'd believe" - - - but God knows they wouldn't, because they've already disregarded countless signs that He's already shown them. Remember the rich man in Hell, who was worried about his brothers? He begged God, through Abraham, to send one of the righteous dead back to earth, to warn his brothers: Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:27-31). And, sure enough, when Jesus returned from the dead, people didn't believe, and still don't. That's why Jesus wouldn't perform a miracle for Herod (Luke 23:7-11); Herod was looking for entertainment, not truth. It's why Jesus wouldn't answer all of Pilate's questions (John 18, 19); Pilate was insincere. As can be seen from the King James Bible (but not in modern versions), Pilate did not ask, "What is truth?" In fact, he sarcastically said, "What is truth," and didn't wait for an answer (John 18:38). God knows if you're sincere, and if you're not, He won't reveal anything to you.
In the life of a Christian (or a non-Christian, for that matter), God will also conceal the truth, temporarily, to prod us on to further study. If we don't understand a thing, and we're not too lazy, God will make us work for our knowledge, our revelations. This comes in the form of studying - - - really studying - - - the Bible, and it requires time. But is God unjust in this? Does a human teacher, in any discipline, simply give the student a list of answers, or does the teacher require that the student dig in and learn the facts by study? So why should God be any different? Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little (Isaiah 28:9, 10). We want God to spoon-feed us the facts, or the doctrines, or the truth: but He wants us to study. The King James Bible says, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). The new versions omit the word "study" - - - but God doesn't omit it.
Finally, there is one time when God conceals something, and His doing so is an unspeakable blessing. The man or woman who has received Christ, according to John 1:12, has had his or her sins covered in the blood of Jesus Christ. God sees them no more; He's concealed them from Himself. Other people might find out about it - - - or, oftentimes, God will prevent even that. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (Proverbs 28:13). We dare not try to conceal our own sins, at least from God; but God Himself conceals them, if we confess and forsake them.
What a glorious concealment! It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, indeed!