Maybe God Wants to Be Left Alone

Here’s a little double bind to contemplate: if we do not know the will of God, or whether he exists, and yet we nevertheless seek to discover answers to these questions, we might be annoying God.


Because God may not like people inquiring into his will or existence. Maybe his will is to remain hidden. As a fragment from a now lost play of the comic poet Philemon (c. 361 BCE-262 BCE) puts it:

God wills not you should know Him—what He is;

Then impious you,

Seeking to know Him, that would not be known!

In other words, the person who seeks the will of God, and whether God exists, may be classed among the most impious scoundrels to ever walk the face of the earth. And the person who goes through his or her day giving no thought to God at all—either to his will or existence—may be, by God’s reckoning, among his most pleasing and fragrant vessels, inadvertently sending a sweet incense, as it were, up to heaven.

Think about it.

Philemon quote source: F.L. Lucas’s Greek Tragedy and Comedy (Viking 1972, p. 445). Image: pool steps in Southern California, summer 2010 (Santi Tafarella).

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Maybe God Wants to Be Left Alone

  1. teo says:

    Thinking… thinking… yep, it makes a lot of sense, Santi, as usual 😉 (seriously, I’ve often had the same thought) So, I’m going out for a walk 🙂

  2. andrewclunn says:

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, then he decided to go do something else.

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