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Why did God institute a natural order so that His presence would be hidden. I know so many people who are hopelessly convinced of the scientific perspective that the world is basically a machine running eternally on its own and that man evolved randomly from self-replicating molecules.

Wouldn't it be better if He showed some open miracles sometimes so that those who are really seeking the truth can choose to go in His ways? (such as Yisro who was one of the very few truth-seekers who converted due to hearing of the miraculous exodus)

(the obvious answer is to give man free will. but perhaps a few rare miracles would not alter free will so much)

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Any miracle at all would destroy the ability to have the free will to dis-believe in God. –  Ariel Mar 22 '13 at 9:14
    
@Ariel Don't think so -- see SethJ's answer below. It would not achieve anything -- same people would claim same things. –  gt6989b Mar 22 '13 at 15:46
    
@Ariel, are you saying that when we did get miracles, people didn't have free will because of it? Or are you saying that that was then and now would be different? –  Monica Cellio Apr 5 '13 at 15:08
    
@MonicaCellio If we had clear miracles people would have no choice except to believe in God, which means there is no free will to believe or disbelieve. For then things are the same, but at some point God has to get things started and make clear miracles, so at least for the generation of the giving of the Torah things were different. –  Ariel Apr 5 '13 at 19:41
    
No miracles today? I awake each morning and the complex machinery of my body, way beyond human capability to invent, works. I have a mind that can both reason and marvel. I live in a world where people sometimes seem to beat impossible odds and survive diseases, natural calamities, and man-made accidents that should have crushed them. No miracles? Really? –  Monica Cellio Aug 4 '13 at 15:33
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6 Answers 6

The Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos explains that Hashem's hidden-ness is the only vehicle for fulfilling the purpose of the world. He writes that the purpose of the world is to reveal Hashem's singularity and unity, and he writes that this attribute can only be attributed through the negation of the apparition of its opposite. There is required to be a world in which it looks like not everything is a result of Hashem's direct guidance and exactly in accordance with His will in order to fully appreciate what it means that everything is under His control.

Siman 38:

הנה מה שאנו צריכים להבין הרבה, הוא ענין החסרונות האלה הנמצאים בבריאה, ענין הרעות הנמצאות בה, שהם ענינים שלא כחק שלמותו ית', וכמו שביארנו, אשר על כן נכשלו בם הפושעים, איש לפי דרכו הרעה, וכמו שביארנו לך למעלה; כי ודאי לפי שלמותו ית' לא היה לו לעשות אלא טובות לבד. אמנם עתה אבינך הכל על בוריו בס"ד. הנה כשאנו אומרים שהקב"ה הוא יחיד, הלא אנו מבינים שאין זולתו, שאין הפך לו, שאין מונע לו, ולאפוקי מכל אותם הסברות שזכרנו. נמצא, שלא די לקיים בו ית' הטוב, אלא שצריך לשלול ממנו ההפך.

So the natural world is a prerequisite to revealing the depth of Hashem's ייחוד.

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I think the answer is that it is obvious that there is a God from the point of view of intelligent design as as scripture says "from my flesh I shall see God" Job 19:26 and the Shaar Yichud concludes in ch.10

Therefore, you should exert your mind until you know the Creator through the evidences of His works and not strive to know Him in His glorious essence. For He is exceedingly close to you from the side of His deeds but infinitely remote in any representation of His essence or comparison with it. As already stated, we will never be able to find Him in this way. When you arrive at the stage where you abandon (trying to find Him) through your thoughts and senses because He cannot be grasped in this way, and you instead find Him in the evidence of His deeds, as though He were inseparable from you - this is the pinnacle of knowledge of Him which the prophet exhorts us on in saying "Know therefore this day, and consider it in your heart, that the L-ord He is G-d in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else" (Devarim 4:39).

When one sees an intelligent design, he must assume there was a designer unless there is proof otherwise because this is by far the most likely explanation and also the obvious explanation.

Random evolution theory has confused people into thinking in the opposite way. i.e. maybe life forms evolved from random processes has become the established explanation and the burden of proof falls on the obvious plain and most likely explanation that there was a Designer.

so now you have people going so far as to propose maybe aliens planted life on planets as in here (a comment there by our good friend doubleaa even proposes an infinite regress of aliens!). the possible maybes that the mind can conjure up are endless and these maybes have become an established "mindset" or paradigm that there was no Intelligence involved in the origin of life.

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How does this answer the question? And I never even say the word alien in that thread... –  Double AA Apr 11 at 13:58
    
He is not hidden. just appears that way due to confusion from the atheists –  ray Apr 11 at 15:10
    
So what about free will? –  Double AA Apr 11 at 15:23
    
free will exists because it is indirect evidence. a person can still choose to escape into endless maybes. –  ray Apr 13 at 12:49
    
Who is posting all of the negative votes today to the answers and question here? Please give a constructive reason for the down-votes. –  Bruce James Apr 14 at 1:27
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When my children were young and we'd go shopping sometimes they'd wander off and I'd follow them from afar keeping watch over them. When they started getting scared or other people would come near them I'd catch up to them. I wanted them to have the free will to realize that they NEEDED their father's protection. Is it not so with Abba? He calls us to be near, we choose to stray... He is not out of relationship with us, but we are out of relationship with Him.

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What a great question for preparing for Shavuos! I think there are many answers, but I think the best answer is two-fold:

(1) G-d cannot reveal Himself yet because we are not spiritually prepared. Long ago, at Mount Sinai, G-d actually spoke to the Jewish people when He gave them the Decalogue. It was more than they could handle. Our ancestors told Moshe, "speak to us, and we will listen, but do not let G-d speak with us, lest we die." Exodus 20:16; see also Deut. 5:20-24 (Moshe's summary of the event). As high in spirituality as that generaton was, it was still overwhelmed by the Holiness of G-d that they experienced at that moment, and deemed themselves unworthy. Ramban's commentary to that verse offers the point that G-d's personal revelation to the Jewish people posed a great challenge to them and the concept of preparing ourselves to receive the Divine revelation remains a challenge to us today; a challenge that requires us to achieve higher levels of holiness.

(2) G-d appears to be hidden because He wants us to seek Him out. Isaiah 55:6 states, "Seek Hashem where He is found and call Him when He is near." The Targum Yonasan paraphrases: "Seek fear of Hashem while you are still alive, pray to Him while you still can seek Him and while you can still call Him, not after death when it is too late." This is closely related to the first point -- seeking G-d requires that we elevate ourselves spirtually, repent, humble yourself before Him, love Him and fear His wrath. Rav Nachman (the Tanna) held that the opportunity to seek G-d in this manner to be during the 10 days of Repentence between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Yevamos 49b.

I believe that when one prepares himself to meet G-d, and seeks Him in prayer -- especially during the High Holy Days -- G-d's existence becomes increasingly real and more and more apparent in nature, in events affecting our lives, and in the eyes of our teachers. And when I go to the beis midrash on Shavuos night, hearing the cacaphony of the bachurim arguing over pages of Gemara, I think I can make out the Voice of Hashem; and then it is not scary at all.

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Perhaps if the person were truly a truth seeker they would be moved by the knowledge of the event rather than the experience of the event. The experience has a temporary impact that overwhelmes the emotions of the person. However, the knowledge of the event is what can be lasting. The event of the Egyptian experience demonstrated God's existance and control over the universe, his providence, awareness of particulars, prohpecy, his unity etc. This event is remembered in perpetutity to support these philosphical truthes. That is why it is so central to many comandments we have such as Tephilin, Mezuzah, the requirement to mention the exodus twice a day, on Shababt, the Kiddush. It is so vital because it confirms and teaches us these fundemental truths. It is the ideas that the true truth seeker would be moved by, not just the WOW experience of the miraculous.
Furthermore, if miracles were constantly happening, then there would be no pattern or natural law for us to study. What makes us unique and human is our ability to think and reflect on the world around us (Rambam). To be able to study the laws of nature, there must be a consistency and a patern to be able to uncover what the universal concept is that explains their particular behavior. If God was constantly breaching these laws and producing on going miracles, we would not have the natural world to study and use our intelect to understand.
The above ideas regarding the events of Egypt are based on the Ramban on "On Hashem took me out from Egypt" (Shemot Chapter 20, Verse 2) and his commentary on "Uletotafos" by Tephilin (Shemot Chapter 13 Verse 16).

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Any open miracle would still be questioned. 'Amalek did not fear G-d when they attacked. Billions of religious people agree that G-d exists, but they don't agree on whose version of G-d (or service to G-d) is the correct one. Having rare, open miracles would not alter this reality. There are what some would consider open or nearly-open miracles that occur every day. And yet the people who observe the miracles, even the people affected by the miracles, come up with their own interpretation of them.

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yes, exactly. but the true truth seeker would take notice. so why not do it for them –  ray Mar 22 '13 at 14:40
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@R.Sebag everyone is a truth seeker. But they don't always agree on what they are looking at. –  Seth J Mar 22 '13 at 14:41
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@SethJ I think this is my new favorite quote from the Internet. –  Charles Koppelman Mar 22 '13 at 15:50
    
@SethJ I once heard Rabbi Leff say that in the time of the Rambam people were seeking truth and talking philosophy was beneficial, but in our times the biggest question in people's minds is whether to put ketchup or mustard on their hotdogs. –  ray Mar 23 '13 at 19:43
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