I’ve always wondered why did God stop his direct intervention with the Israelites? Many times the bible demonstrates God’s direct intervention with his people such as sending Manna, parting the red sea, setting up a cloud during the day and light during the night…but then no more direct intervention. Instead we have people sent by God to deliver the message.
I would appreciate your help answering this question, as I have a few atheist friends who come up with that statement when we talk about the existence of God and how they differ the God from “the old testament” to the new one.
@oscarranza25 He didn’t - He sent Jesus. That’s about as direct as it gets However, many people do struggle with what is often called the problem of God’s hiddenness - why does God not reveal Himself more directly? Below I offer a few points to keep in mind and links to two threads discussing God’s hiddenness that I think you will find informative.
God is still working directly today - in the lives of His followers by His Spirit. In fact, perhaps more directly than before Christ since He lives in us.
Jesus makes it clear in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus that the roots of unbelief go so deep that even if a man should rise from the dead, that will not heal it (Luke 16:19-31). Miracles cannot heal unbelief - they cannot make us believe that God exists and rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Think about it - if God made Himself obvious by doing miracles people could just say it was aliens - or that you had some secret technology - or that you were a super hero or some kind of demigod. People could believe whatever they wanted to in order to avoid the real God.
the Exodus was a very, very unique event in the history of the world and in the Bible. If we look at Scripture, God generally intervenes in the most miraculous fashion when He is doing a new thing - establishing a covenant with His chosen people or establishing the New Covenant in Christ. So it is not uncommon for there to be long periods when God does not intervene as directly - like the 400 silent years before Jesus came.
God is not a tame God (as Lewis points out) - He does not perform magic tricks so that we will believe in Him. People who perform experiments by praying, showing that it does not come true and then encouraging unbelief misunderstand the nature of prayer and of God entirely. Prayer is not a way to get our wish list - it is a way to worship the living God and to be made more like Jesus as we are filled with the Spirit of Christ.
I hope this information provides a useful starting point for thinking through these issues. Christ grant you wisdom
Pascal’s Approach - God has given exactly the right amount of evidence
Pascal’s approach to the concept of God’s hiddenness is my favorite. In “Christianity for Modern Pagans” Peter Kreeft examines Pascal’s work. One argument Pascal makes is that God gives exactly enough light for the righteous to find Him and for the wicked to reject Him.
"He gives exactly the right amount of light. If He gave less, even the righteous would be unable to find Him, and their will would be thwarted. If He gave more, even the wicked would find Him, against their will. Thus He respects and fulfills the will of all.
If He gave more light, the righteous would not learn humility, for they would know too much. If He gave less light, the wicked would not be responsible for their wickedness, for they would know too little."
Some conversation starters on this topic from another thread:
If God revealed Himself to the world right now - and He really is a holy and all powerful God - what do you think would actually happen? Do you think the nations of the earth would accept His authority? What would happen? Maybe God is being patient with people to give them a chance to repent?
What would God have to do to prove to you that He exists? Do you think once would be enough?
If God revealed Himself to you in an undeniable way would you feel that you had a choice to love Him or would you feel forced by His mere existence to obey even if you did not desire to do so? Maybe God is giving you a chance to choose Him freely?
Why do you think that if God exists He would choose to make Himself obvious? Do you think there might be good reasons to not make Himself obvious?
Have you ever had any experiences that led you to believe that God might exists?
Do you think that God could choose to reveal Himself to those who seek Him while hiding Himself from those whose hearts are not sincere towards Him? Jesus said that the pure of heart will see God.
If God Himself came to earth and lived among us would you consider that sufficient reason to believe?
What makes you say that God is not obvious? What if all of creation, right now, is testifying to His glory? What if He came to earth in the form of a man and shared His teachings with us?