The belief that God can’t be known has only been around for 50 years and is known as the “Godless Christianity Movement”. Here’s the explanation:
"Before the Christian church goes into eclipse anywhere, there must first be the corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?” Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind." -AW Tozer ("The Knowledge Of The Holy", 1961)
AW Tozer warned the leaders of the church in America that not being able to specifically and accurately explain God's Nature would lead to the church going into decline as it did whenever church leadership tried to rationalize why they couldn’t know or explain God’s Nature.
AW Tozer died May 12, 1963. CS Lewis died November 22, 1963. Six months later, CS Lewis' final book ("The Discarded Image") was published. His main focus was to warn us that we needed to create a Model that specifically explained our beliefs...or suffer a decline
Near the beginning of "The Discarded Image", Lewis wrote:
"In speaking of the perfected Model as a work to be set beside the Summa and the Comedy, I meant that it is capable of giving a similar satisfaction to the mind, and for some of the same reasons. Like them it is vast in scale, but limited and intelligible. Its sublimity is not the sort that depends on anything vague or obscure." (Page 12)
Near the end of "The Discarded Image", Lewis concluded:
"An expression such as 'the curvature of space' is strictly comparable to the old definition of God as 'a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere'. Both succeed in suggesting; each does so by offering what is, on the level of our ordinary thinking, nonsense. By accepting the 'curvature of space' we are not 'knowing' or enjoying 'truth' in the fashion that was once thought to be possible." (Page 218)
By 1964, two famous theologians had died and both used their last words to warn the church to be able to objectively explain God's Nature with an intelligible Model. Two years later...
Time magazine's April 8, 1966 cover asked "Is God Dead?" The story was titled, "Toward a Hidden God". This was because atheists were making a convincing argument that God either never Existed or didn't currently Exist. Their argument was fairly simple: If God Exists then why is there evil in the world?
When ANYONE attempts to give an explanation to this question, they immediately must deal with two issues:
Church leadership couldn't answer these questions without stating God was less powerful than evil OR that God didn't Exist (because they couldn't give a non-contradictory definition for God's Nature).
How did our "leaders" respond? Our "leaders" wouldn't respond by "replacing God"...would they?
In 1969, the leaders of the church in America stated they would go without an orthodox explanation of God. They would become more vague and obscure when it came to talking about God! The belief was if they couldn’t understand God then no one could. The following excerpt was from the April 2009 Newsweek cover story: "The End of Christian America" that explained this decision:
“The term was popularized during what scholars call the "death of God" movement of the mid-1960s—a movement that is, in its way, still in motion. Drawing from Nietzsche's 19th-century declaration that "God is dead," a group of Protestant theologians held that, essentially, Christianity would have to survive without an orthodox understanding of God. Tom Altizer, a religion professor at Emory University, was a key member of the Godless Christianity movement, and he traces its intellectual roots first to Kierkegaard and then to Nietzsche. For Altizer, a post-Christian era is one in which "both Christianity and religion itself are unshackled from their previous historical grounds."
The "leaders" confessed they did not know who God was! They did not know God's Nature! The "leaders" of the church in America replaced God with an abstract definition...an obscure image...an idol!
Did this decision to go towards a “hidden God” allow God to judge our nation for our benefit?
This is when the “Jesus Movement” began. Basically, our “Leaders” couldn’t explain God, so they focused everyone on Jesus, which actually made the problem worse. When it comes to God, you only need one definition. Now with the focus on Jesus, and Him being fully man and fully God, we need two definitions (“man” and “God”) and we need these definitions not to contradict each other!
Every person who has become a leader after 1969 thinks we have always gone without a knowable explanation for God’s Nature.