Is God different in the New Testament than in the Old Testament? Why did miracles stop?
In the Old Testament, God is seen destroying cities, flooding the world, and leading the Israelites in battle. He is very active, and directly shaping the world and having direct effects on it. He parts the sea for the Jews to escape slavery, and even summons flame from the sky to help Elijah prove his existence to non believers.
The basic point is that miracles were everywhere, and God could be seen through those miracles and direct actions. My main question is why have these miracles stopped, in the New Testament and beyond?
Jesus’s birth and resurrection are the main miracles, with some Jesus performs himself directly. Other than that, there’s no more direct actions like that. Especially after Jesus returned to heaven, God has never done events like that again.
What do you feel about this?
I think the reason is probably because it is not necessary for God to do these things in order for His plans to be fulfilled. The OT was about setting apart a people that would bring about the Messiah while providing lessons for those who would follow Jesus in the future. For example, when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was first to show God’s hate for wickedness but also His mercy for those who do good. He spared the women and her family who helped God’s messengers*. That event is also a foreshadowing of the second death which all will experience who do not follow Jesus.
*Correction: The woman referenced is Rahab and the city destroyed in that case was Jerico (Joshua 6). In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was Lot and his family that were spared. In each case, those spared showed kindness to the messengers of God and were proven to be righteous.
As for the flooding, the massive flood in the days of Noah was a one time thing. God said He would never destroy the earth by flood. Again though, we see God’s wrath on the wicked and mercy towards the obedient. This also is mentioned in the NT as something that foreshadows the tribulation period that will come before Christ returns.
As for leading the Israelite in battle, I think there are a few things we can see there. For one, God had ordained that He would create the nation of Israel and he used them to defeat wicked people. This was also some of many lessons to God’s people that they should trust in Him.
I think the same themes are true for most of the OT miracles. God hates the wicked, has mercy on the just, and those who are His should trust in Him. All things are meant to create a full picture that teaches us who God is, who the Son is, what He wants from us, and what we can expect to come in the future.
Why did these miracles stop? Because once Christ came, it was not necessary. The coming of the second covenant was a huge turning point for the creation because through Christ, we have access to God in a profound way. He can live within us through the Spirit. That was not done before, though His OT prophets were anointed by the Spirit. With God living inside us, the greatest miracles of all are present and have not stopped. We have the power to overcome sin in a tangible way. That is something we could not do otherwise. The OT law proves this. Some of those OT miracles foreshadow this too — just as Moses parted the red sea and lead his people out of the wilderness, through Christ, we are lead out of the wilderness of sin and lead to the “promised land” which is the kingdom of God.
So really, miracles have not stopped. They just changed into what the OT miracles were shadows of. We are told that the OT laws and prophets are shadows, which on the surface might seem pretty incredible, but they pale in comparison to the miracles of redeeming the whole of mankind to their Creator.
I’m not very learned in the Old Testament (I’m working on that, but have a long way to go). So, I’d love to hear what others think about this question. Feel Free to Comment Below!