Why doesn’t God just talk to us in person or least make themselves or their guidance more evident? As the story goes God did that in the beginning. When Adam and Eve went against God’s advice it was humans that ran and hid not God. God sought the first couple out to have a conversation after not following God’s lead. Thereafter, God apparently decided it was in our best interest if God not continue to overwhelm us in person. There may be loving reasons that God does not reveal themselves until the best time.
God’s ways are really only guidance in becoming the kind of person deep down we desire to be. Our instinct seems to be to run and hide from God when we fail to act in our best interests. Being in the presence of others we offend isn’t always initially conducive for lasting change. God may have felt at least not being in God’s physical presence would be easier for us come to God on our own terms rather than out of feelings of obligation or overwhelmness. People may come to believe in God for the wrong reasons. God wanted it to be all about us and not God.
God respect for our human freedom translates into certain actions on God’s part. Jesus didn’t attempt to overwhelm as well. Miracles were not the norm perhaps for good reason. Besides, miracles did not necessarily convince others Jesus was God. Jesus wanted a lasting friendship and not just an initial “shock and awe” relationship. I don’t know of any human parent who brings children into the world not desiring their children freely reciprocate their love as opposed to feeling manipulated. Jesus didn’t demand obedience for we must move at our own progress.
God can’t force true love; love must be freely chosen. Parents can tell us until blue in the face what is best for us, but we only have a chance of heart when acting on our own accord. Fear of punishment doesn’t prevent us from finding a better way to hide it next time. God’s presence can lead to more fear and awe than love and respect. As children mature parents desire obedience out of respect and understanding, so wise decisions are made when parents are not around. Relationships based on fear can lead to temporary changes, not lifelong transformations. God doesn’t manipulate us to do anything we truly don’t desire for our own good.
God didn’t cause evil that lead to so much suffering in the world, but when we rebelled God responded different to suffering than us parents. God disagreed with Job that God should immediately reward good and punished evil in a rebellious world. Besides, God didn’t want us to act simply to avoid pain for instant gratification. If we shower our kids with gifts why do they really choose a relationship with loving parents? It is harder to not interfere than to spare my children of any pain, but interfering keeps them from feeling good by making their own choices.
Free will is surely understandable as only terrorists think controlling or destroying free, moral decisions results in true love. Without freedom we could accuse God of not creating the very best world where only true, authentic relationships can develop. God’s interference may prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of the moral development and improvement of free creatures that cannot be created initially. If freedom and determinism are compatible, then a loving God could have created a world in which all persons freely did only good at all times. Our character developed here on earth may empower us to see no good reason to do wrong here and in heaven. A loving God reveals themselves at the right time.