Long ago, Blaise Pascal wrote in his Pensees, “God being thus hidden, every religion which does not affirm that God is hidden, is not true; and every religion which does not give the reason of it, is not instructive. Our religion does, all this: Vere tu es Deus absconditus.” Truly you are a hidden God, he says. The argument from divine hiddenness is at the forefront of philosophy of religion discussions. Although the argument has been around for awhile, its force has been reinvigorated primarily through the work of J. L. Schellenberg. In more popular circles, the argument is often misunderstood. So, we will first seek to understand the argument. From there, we will look at one recent response.
The Argument from Divine Hiddenness
Schellenberg puts the argument like this:
(2) If there exists a God who is always open to a personal relationship with any finite person, then no finite person is ever nonresistantly in a state of nonbelief in relation to the proposition that God exists.
(3) If a perfectly loving God exists, then no finite person is ever non resistantly in a state of nonbelief in relation to the proposition that God exists (from (1) and (2)).
(4) Some finite persons are or have been nonresistantly in a state of nonbelief in relation to the proposition that God exists.
(5) No perfectly loving God exists (from (3) and (4)).
(6) If no perfectly loving God exists, then God does not exist.
(7) God does not exist (from (5) and (6)). 
It is an “argument from above,” an argument that begins from the concepts involved.  The argument is largely built on God being a perfectly loving person. Patterned on the idea of perfect love, especially parental love, openness to relationship seems to follow quite naturally. Nowadays, Schellenberg sees (1) as simply self-evident. 
The hiddenness argument in general goes beyond this, though. Michael Rea splits arguments from divine hiddenness into different aspects and claims. As to the doxastic aspect, Rea sees three different theses: 
REASONABLE NONBELIEF. Some people inculpably fail to believe in God.
NONRESISTANT NONBELIEF. Some people nonresistantly fail to believe in God.
Rea notes that INCONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE is “fairly uncontroversial” while the two NONBELIEF theses are “very controversial.”  One might think that Rea would attempt to attack one of these theses. However, he is willing to concede the truth of all three theses for the sake of argument.
Then there is the experiential aspect. Rea proposes the following thesis: 
Rea affirms this thesis.
While many would think the argument follows straightforwardly from the concept of God and one of these theses, Rea argues that this is not the case. How does he respond to the problem of divine hiddenness then?
Why the Argument Fails
Rea has a couple reasons for thinking that the argument fails. The main argument is that religious language is analogical, so that should temper our expectations. A second argument hinges on understanding love and personhood. We will look at both of these in turn.
Rea wants to contest the “violated expectations” aspect of the divine hiddenness argument. This is at the heart of the argument. The point is that the facts on the ground are at odds with what we expect of God. So, if our expectations about God’s actions need to be rethought, then the argument collapses. That is, if we think properly about the subject matter, then there are no violated expectations and thus no argument.
Rea believes the reason our expectations are violated is because we are not thinking through the topic rightly with regard to the Christian God. Rea summarizes,
The important attribute that should frame our understanding of divine language is God’s transcendence. Rea canvasses various views of divine transcendence. These views are along a continuum. Since most of us are inclined to light views of transcendence and this is the view of transcendence that the argument from divine hiddenness depends on, we will look at Rea’s points on this view.
A light view of divine transcendence notes that while God is different from and beyond human comprehension in certain respects, still certain attributes like love, goodness, and so on,
Simply put, our language applies to God straightforwardly and just as it is. We are same speakers when speaking about love for both humans and God. Equivocal language uses the same word in different ways. Analogical language uses the same word in similar ways. Univocal language uses the same word in the same way.
Here is the first argument against a light view of divine transcendence: the argument from divine hiddenness. As Rea observes,
Rea also thinks those who are reasoning from Scripture should reject light transcendence. Here it is important to remember that the proponent of the divine hiddenness argument is attempting to argue against God’s existence. For the Christian, this would include reasoning Scripturally about God’s attributes. He notes,
This does not force one away from the light transcendence, but this is the typical move taken historically speaking.
So, Rea proposes the following view of divine transcendence:
If God is transcendent, then “God is not wholly characterizable in literal, univocal terms.” 
This view is merely an example. Rea believes that any proper account of trascendence will strike the right sort of balance between dark and light understandings of transcendence. That view will have two implications: (1) no concept of an instrinsic attribute of God is fully transparent and non-revealed; and (2) we should have humility about violated expectations; that is, no violation entails, justifies, or makes probable that sentences predicating a property of God are not true.
Since Schellenberg’s argument is an argument from above, one that sees divine love as univocally patterned upon the best forms of parental love, then his argument is a failure. Schellenberg fails to properly grasp God’s transcendence. As an argument for atheism, then, the argument is a failure. “In the present case, the solution on offer is, in effect, that we are not entitled to conclude that God is unloving from the fact that the existence of divine hiddenness appears to involve a failure of love.”  Even if one does not buy into this line of argument, Rea has another that undermines the divine hiddenness argument.
Love and Personality
We can get at the same point by thinking about what it means for God to be a personal being. Moral sainthood is a person “who is maximally committed to improving the welfare of other people or of society as a whole, to the exclusion of the promotion of her own interests or welfare and even to the exclusion of the promotion of other competing goods.”  Start with two ideas. First, it is good to embrace love for goods for their own sake or for personal well-being instead of simply because they contribute to the well-being of others. Natural beauty, art, sports, etc. would be examples. Second, it is good to devote resources to developing these loves and personal endeavors.
Given these two points, then moral sainthood is not a desirable form of love. It is good to not be a moral saint as defined above. If that is so, then part of being fully personal includes God having aims and desires of his own. In fact, he can cultivate these aims and desires even when they are in conflict with promoting the well-being of others.  So, if God is fully personal, then God can be good in pursuing his own aims and desires in a way that excludes promoting the well-being of others. God’s love, then, is not the idealized form of the divine hiddenness argument. Therefore, since the divine hiddenness argument depends on seeing God’s love as an idealized form of human love, the divine hiddenness argument is a failure.
“If this is right,” Rea argues, “then there is no incoherence in supposing that God loves human beings perfectly but nevertheless permits divine hiddenness or various other things that cause human pain and suffering for reasons that have nothing to do with the promotion of human goods.”  Yet this can strike us as wrong. I want God to have my well-being as the utmost goal of his. I want my own well-being to be the highest priority of his. My well being should be more important than anything else to God.
Thus, we have two different lines of argument that undermine the divine hiddenness argument. First, if God is not simply lightly transcendent, then our language must be analogical with regard to properties like love. Therefore, Schellenberg’s argument from above that patterns God’s love on an idealized form of human love is undermined. The violated expectations part of the argument goes out the window since we should precisely expect that our violations will be violated if God is transcendent.
The second argument is based on God being fully personal. Since he is fully personal, then he has aims and projects of his own. God can be wholly good in pursuing these over the well-being of others because it is good to have love for goods that do not promote well-being and to devote resources to these loves. Therefore, since God is wholly personal, then God’s love is not of the idealized and maximal form of human love. The divine hiddenness argument, however, is built on exactly this assumption. Thus, the divine hiddenness argument is faulty.
Even though the divine hiddenness argument is defeated, the problem of divine hiddenness is not over. After all, Scripture calls God our father, pictures him as a loving mother, and views God as concerned about the birds of the air and the lilies. While there is no logical argument from divine hiddenness to God’s nonexistence, one could still see other images of God as more apt. Perhaps he is the watchmaker who winds up the watch and then walks away. Maybe he is the king who leaves the kingdom in order to focus on his own pleasure. The last few chapters of the book attempt to undermine these negative images in order to show that the positive images of God as our loving Father are still accurate.
Finishing the Case
Rea intends to finish his defense against the divine hiddenness argument by supporting traditional images of God as our loving Father over negative images of God as a neglectful Father or distant King. He does this first by showing that there is widespread and experientially available communication of God’s love and presence. While Rea does not have a compelling argument for his view, he offers it for acceptance because of the solution it provides to widespread religious experience and because he does not need to prove his case in order to undermine the negative images.
His argument hinges on philosophy of perception and God’s intentions. Our experiences have some sort of cognitive component to them. With this in mind, God could use everyday, normal events in order to reveal himself by the person he is communicating to contributing the right sort of cognitive component. Therefore, two people could experience the same event and perceive God’s presence differently based on this cognitive aspect. What makes the perception of God’s presence veridical or not, then, is that the cognitive component is the right sort to line up with God’s intention to communicate through the event. Part of this cognitive component is honed through engagement and openness to God, as well as openness to seeing the world as God’s world. Just as the ornithologist can hear sounds and tones from birds that completely escape me, so it is with the saint.
So, experience of God’s presence and love is widely available. In fact, it is even available to the person who has not had such an experience, “But insofar as my account implies that simply looking at one’s circumstances through a certain kind of theistic lens can suffice to provide a person with an apparent awareness of God’s presence, it seems quite plausible to think that, if the account is correct, that sort of experience is widely and readily available to people who have the relevant lens and who persist in trying to have that sort of experience.” 
Rea’s next concern is with those whose relationship with God is severely conflicted. “The problem is that they seem to have in some sense legitimate grievances against God and, as a result, have no path forward in a positively meaningful way in their relationship with God.”  Based off Job, Lamentations, and the lament psalms, Rea argues that God takes our grievances seriously. He validates them as reasonable and acceptable. This does not imply endorsement, but it does mean that, given our cognitive scope and events that occur, “lament, protest, and outright accusation against God are sometimes reasonable responses on the part of people who love their fellow creatures and love the good insofar as they are able to understand it.”  Since he takes our grievances seriously, those who have these portrayals are able to positively engage with God in the midst of their severely conflicted relationship.
The final chapter then argues that anyone who can participate in a personal relationship is able to try to participate in a relationship with God and even does so simply by trying. This is true whether the person has the Christian concept of God or not. Rea’s argument basically goes like this. Suppose something is a concept of God if God is the content of the concept. So concepts like the creator of the universe, the highest being, and so on would be concepts of God. Given that, someone can search for God even if one cannot entertain the concept of God as normally thought (omnipotent, omniscient, etc.). Everyone, then, who is capable of a personal relationship is able to seek God.
Now let us say that someone is “receptive to finding God just if she is not indifferent to finding God, is disposed to welcome it (at least under certain circumstances), and has not consciously ruled it out as something to be resisted, avoided, or for all practical purposes not to be sought after or pursued.”  So, a person can seek and be receptive to God even if they cannot entertain the normally understood concept of God. “Moreover, a person receptive to God can count as trying to seek God simply by trying to take steps that she believes, rightly or wrongly, to be directed toward finding something that she (knowingly or not) conceptualizes by way of a concept of God…In fact, a bit of reflection reveals that simply trying to seek God—given that trying to seek God implies receptivity toward God—will itself count as seeking God.” 
Here is the upshot:
Combine receptivity and desires with mutual action toward the goal of bringing about friendly interaction and you have sufficient conditions for participating in a friendship. The person who is able to participate in personal relationships, then, is able to participate in a relationship with God. In fact, one can participate in a relationship with God without knowing it–indeed, without even believing that God exists.
Schellenberg’s argument is an argument from above. It patterns divine love univocally upon parental love. Rea argues that once we take into account God’s transcendence and God being personal, then the violated expectations part of the argument fails. While the argument is a failure, this does not mean the problem of divine hiddenness is solved. One might still be pushed toward negative images of God’s relationship with creation and humanity. The second part of the book, then, argues against these negative images. It does so by “tell[ing] reasonable stories that cultivate skepticism toward the idea that divine love is more aptly understood by way of negative analogies than through positive ones, and cultivate both hope and optimism that, at the end of all things and in the wake of the ultimate defeat of all evil and suffering, we will see that even the most positive analogies that have been used to characterize God’s love fall far short of capturing its greatness.”  Because God is transcendent, this is all one can hope to do.
Truly God is the hidden God, “though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27, NLT).