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!
In my opinion, having been a Christian for 25 years until recently, I see things differently. I don’t see God as either the New or Old testament God. I see Him as a powerful and wise creator who gives us all we see and gives us the minds to study His creation. Speaking of creation, I believe both the Old and New testament are creations. Man’s creations. I have written several blogs recently explaining why I believe this. I see your point of view as one I used to share when I was a Christian. But we are using the Bible to defend the Bible when making these arguments. We need outside evidence or outside points of view to make the case for or against it. For example, you can’t use this blog post to defend this blog post because it would be your word against everyone else’s. One would need more information from other sources to see if what you say is true or not. Unless of course, you had eyewitness accounts to verify. For example, the Bible says 500 people witnessed Jesus after his Resurrection. However there weren’t really 500 verifiable accounts of these witnesses. There was but one. Paul. Paul said there were 500. Not one of those 500 said anything. Not one of those 500 have a part of the Bible that people can use to defend or refute their testimony. Therefore it becomes hearsay and the testimony of but one man. And that doesn’t hold up in any court. I know about taking things on faith, but sometimes faith isn’t enough to prove the Bible to be true. The Bible has a lot to say about this or about that. But without outside corroboration, it has only itself to defend its position. That’s why so many people reject it. ‘It’s in the Bible” is not a good enough reason to accept anything as truth. I know what it is like to want to believe it all. I did believe it. I believed it a for a quarter century starting at age 14. But I asked myself how did I “know” it was true? I knew, because I was told it was true, not necessarily because it was. I often wondered why God doesn’t speak to us like He did in the Old testament. Then when I discovered the truth of how the Bible was formed and how men voted on which books to include, I realized it was the words that man wanted, not what God wanted that are within its pages. If God wanted us to know Him through a book, He never would have left man in charge and allowed those words to change over the years, which they have. He would have made them perfect and unchangeable, but evidence has shown that the Bible has been changed numerous times and not just translation errors. But even translation errors show that man has influenced the message of a “perfect” and “unchanging” word. I’m just saying that I don’t believe God would ever allow His word to be changed in ANY way if it is what we are to use to guide us in this life. I apologize if this comes off as rude in any way. It is not my intent. I used to have atheists attack me when I wrote about Bible apologetics. Though I am not an atheist, I see that some of my views regarding the Bible can and will upset Christians. Not trying to do that. Just answering your question of what’s your opinion? Take care.
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I don’t think you come off as rude at all. There is a lot here to digest though.
You say you are not a Christian, but you see God as a powerful and wise creator. I agree with that statement, but I am confused. Do you believe in God, but not the Christian God? Or is it the bible you have a problem with exclusively?
As far as the bible being man’s creation, I wish I could say more on this. I am not very learned in the history of the bible. I wish I was, then maybe I would have more to say. I will probably read some of your articles. I can say this, my faith is not dependent on the bible. The bible is a supplement to what gives me faith – and that is God. I could know God and never read the bible if it is His will. In-fact, there have been times when I have quoted the OT in my writings and did not even realize it until later, because I am not learned in the OT. Real relationship with Jesus is not intellectually-based but spiritually-based, and His Spirit in me teaches me. That is one reason why I’m not always the best at backing up my own writings with scripture citations, but I know they are very scripturally based and will not conflict because I trust in the Spirit in me.
I do agree that most of what Christians today believe is tradition and is far from reality. That is a big problem that hinders the faith of many. Perhaps, had you been taught the truth instead of man-made bible interpretations, you would not have recently lost faith. And I suspect you have not lost faith in God, but in man. That is not a bad thing. The bible has been used to manipulate people for centuries, but that does not mean Jesus is not real, alive, and active today. I know that he is for a fact.
So, that’s why the bible is not the source of my faith, but rather something that I use as a tool of the faith. What does this do for you though? Personal experiences of others do little good for other people usually. I can tell you this, if you have any measure of faith, just ask God. He might lead you to a true teacher just as He did for me when I almost lost the faith.
I would just say that I agree with the fact you don’t need the Bible to have faith in God. I am living proof of this. No I don’t believe in the “Christian God” because there is but one God and we have already established He exists outside of the pages in the Bible He is the God of all. He is the God of Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and deists like myself. I don’t believe for a second that God sees one race or religion as being holier than another which is why I reject the Bible’s assertion that Jews are the chosen people. We are all His creations and we are all His children. None more important than the next.
Bible history was never that important to me until I started getting more questions than answers in my studies. I came across a biblical scholar named Bart Ehrman who, like myself, started out a young enthusiastic Christian who found out too much evidence against it to continue on in the faith. But there are many pieces of evidence of Bible alterations, omissions and lies that can be verified through studying the history of this book. Believe me when I say that I hated seeing evidence against what I was brought up to believe. I can’t refute it though so I had to move on. There is far too much evidence of this world having been created and being ruled by laws that couldn’t have come about by accident that I cannot say there is no God. Nothing will ever convince me that atheism is the way to go.
I have had good biblical teachers that taught me many things. I have yet to find a good teacher who can teach me about God without using the Bible however. Without the Bible, these teachers have nothing to go on besides what I now have. The nature and the majesty of the creation. You said yourself, you don’t need the Bible to believe. If the Bible was never made, we wouldn’t know about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We wouldn’t know about Moses parting the red sea. We wouldn’t have known about the pillar of fire. We wouldn’t have known about the 10 plagues of Egypt. And we wouldn’t know of the creation story given to us in Genesis. My question to you would be, without any knowledge of the biblical stories, would you believe them? If someone came up to you and said, “Bob just jumped over a 10 story building without even having a running start!”, would you believe it? If you saw it happen, as unlikely as it is, you would believe wholeheartedly. Otherwise, it is hearsay and you would likely dismiss it as being too unrealistic. That’s my objection to the Bible. These stories are only contained within its pages and are given to us thousands of years later. It’s not second or third hand either. It was orally passed down year after year, generation after generation. Hearsay is one thing. Seeing it yourself is another. This is where faith comes in, but faith based on what? Stories found nowhere else in the world from thousands of years ago.
Again, I get it. I felt this way myself for a long time. I had faith. I believed it all. I believed even when one part contradicted another part. Why is Matthew different from Mark and Luke different from John when describing the story of Jesus on the cross? Who was there at the crucifixion is different. What he cried out before he died was different. The criminals on the cross next to him? They’re not in each gospel. So when Jesus says, “today you will be with me in paradise”, that isn’t in each gospel account and it’s a verse so many use to prove you go to Heaven when you die. Who was in the tomb on Sunday morning? Again the gospels differ. So the Bible stories that we base our faith on cannot be trusted as they contradict, even though we are told it is the inerrant word of God.
I apologize for the length of this comment. I just have a lot to say on this subject I suppose. Again, I don’t want to offend. Nor do I want to try to sway you one way or the other. I know what it is like to both have faith in Christ and then to not believe the story. It was a natural progression in my life. It was not intended, nor welcomed. I never wanted to stop believing. But here we are.
Can you provide a link to your articles or website? I cant seem to access it.
Sure. My WordPress address is: https://wordpress.com/view/learningwhogodisandwhoheisnot.wordpress.com
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No need to apologize. I appreciate that you took the time to comment.
God is the God of all, yes. But, Jesus is the only way to eternal life. No race is holier. We are all sinners and deserving of death, but Jesus is the only way to escape death. No other religion provides that escape as he does. That is one of my fundamental issues with Christian tradition. We are not told that Jesus will actually free us from our sins in a tangible way. I believe that the purpose of God’s creation is to raise up sons, and it is all according to His will – not because we are better than other people – and this goes for all races. That was what Jesus brought: redemption for the whole of the creation by restoring every nation under Adam to God.
As I said about the bible, my belief in the scriptures does not come from the bible, but from the Spirit of God who has proved them to me. I would like to learn more about that history though. I can imagine it was hard for you to see that evidence pile up, and I wish I could say more to help you there. You do see that there is a God, so that is good. But, failure to understand that Jesus is the only way to God will be a problem for you. Many today try to tell us that all paths are acceptable to God, and that is something I strongly disagree with.
The proof of God without the bible, in my option, is the best proof. I love the scriptures and study them, but they are not what keeps me going. It is personal interaction with God by and through Jesus. Pondering over whether I would believe if the bible was never made is a moot point, because it was made. I do know that oral tradition was used for years, and I expect that would be the case. Would I believe oral tradition? I think so. If it was God given because faith starts by hearing the word of God spoken by another believer, not necessarily reading it. As I also said, I believe God because I have experienced myself the power of God. So, I saw the man jump the 10 story building, as you put it. Faith that is given by God and not imposed by man-made traditions leads to tangible evidence of Jesus as the Savior. For me, it will always be absolutely irrefutable and is not based on hearsay, but on personal relationship.
Also, the bible does not truly contradict itself in any meaningful doctrinal way. Our traditions contradict with the truth. The differences you mention actually make the bible more credible, I think. As when many people recount an event, there will be slight differences if they are telling the truth. Crime scene investigators know this. If everyone says the exact same thing, it is suspicious. That, and if they were more concerned with convincing people than telling the truth as they saw it, don’t you think they would sync up their testimony better?
Also, I do not believe we go to heaven when we die. We are conditioned to read that into the scriptures. When he says “today” he means “this day, I am telling you.” I have written something on this recently.
For now, I would hope you will consider why Jesus is the only way to God. If you are interested, you might read this article and the two that follow:
Thanks again for your thoughtful response.
Peter the apostle wrote, “all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for instruction in righteousness,”So that we may be complete in God he says. And able to be furnished so that we may walk in good works. The reason that we need the inspiration of the word of prophecy, hey so that we may be more finally tuned into God’s Holy Spirit and guidance. By looking at the “majesty of nature” as this man says, we can have adoration for God; by reading the actual counsel from the holy God who created all things, when they learn to be holy and transformed in character.
That is the difference: some are willing to admire got from a far without conversion, others are willing to be transformed by the renewing of your mind as we read in Romans chapter 12 verse one : “I beseech you therefore my brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” If it stop there, the man might say that’s enough we don’t need to read the word. But if we read the rest of the first, we learn more: ” and be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, but you might know what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
So you see that we cannot know the perfect will of God by relying upon our own understanding. In Proverbs we read, “my son, despise not at the chastening of the Lord, neither being weary at his correction, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path’s.” Specifically, we are told, ” lean not on your own understanding.” That is our carnal nature. We naturally inclined to lean toward our own opinions our own subjective reality, even this man, pretending that somehow he can somehow escaped the subjective reality of his opinions by saying we don’t need scripture. The only way we can have an objective reality is to read scripture, because the Holy Spirit which was the direct agency provides the wisdom and insight and perspective which allows us to be transformed into the fall character of God and transportable into heaven, which allows us to be safe for eternity so that we would not play Kevin with our selfishness and our pride in our egotistical and independent judgment.
The catastrophe of 6000 years of sin has revealed to us what independent judgment and opinions and prejudices actually need to. The apparently compassionate interest in the stroking of one’s own ego, and the Exaltation of one’s own subjective opinions is the very problem of Lucifer what Spond of the problem of independence at the fragmentation and division and distraction in society.
Sorry that was voice to text and I didn’t correct it!
I appreciate the comment. Are you replying to my comment, or to Created to be Different’s comment? I agree with most of what you say in either case. However, reading scripture does not keep us from leaning on our own understanding. People do this all the time with the bible. I do agree that we need the Holy Spirit in order to understand the bible and not lean on our own interpretations. Many of which cause us to forget that God is in control of all things, including those who can accept Him and who cannot.
Amanda that’s true that the word of God is distorted and corrupted even, often by sincere people. The only safe guard is prayer in connection with the reading of the world. David in the Psalms says, “in your light we will see light…” That light comes from our experience, as the man says, and as you say, it comes from looking at the glories of nature, and it most glorious leave and specifically call use through the reading and of Scripture. The right reading of Scripture is reading by faith, and prayer prepares the heart to receive the word. As we read in Proverbs, “the preparations of the heart of man, and the answer of the time, or from the Lord.” I agree with you that the transformation of our character is the one objective ; We become aware of others we become tender hearted and kind and thoughtful when we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us to become holy vessels for service of love.
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Miracles still happen today as I have experienced them.
It is important to understand the Old Testament because it not only foretell of the New but many quotes from Jesus, the disciples and Paul are in reference to the Old Testament.
A great Bible to use is the Amplified Version. It explains many of what the verses mean and give a deep insight and understand to them.
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Thanks for your comment, Joseph. Yes, miracles certainly do happen. The greatest miracles come when our natures are changed into conformity with Jesus. I hope to see more of that miracle in my life, and I expect to! I’ve never used the Amplified version, but thanks for the tip.
The Bible claims to be the Word of God and is good for ‘everything’, 1Tim 3:16. No one has been able to refute that. far greater minds than mine have sought to disprove the central tenet of the Bible, resurrection, but all have failed; there are many books that show this. Even now we have Lee Strobel’s ‘Case for Christ’ in film, on DVD.
In the Bible we have Jesus claiming to be the Son of God, that’s why they murdered HIm, so as the Bible is the best verified ancient book in the world, and Jesus is the best-attested figure in history, it is hard to see how anyone can sensibly go against this; but of course they do
But yes, there needs to be more to faith than this in the awful confusion that is everywhere. This is caused by far too many churches who have not demonstrated a Biblical faith for over a century; that’s why we have so many people like ‘Created to be Different’.
But God says that if we truly seek Him we will surely find Him; millions have done that. More, Jesus also says He seeks men and women to follow Him and for 20 years this has been happening in new and remarkable ways, so much so that the fastest growing church in the world today is in Iran.
While we are happy with the way we are, we will not have a desire to follow Jesus, this is why so many try to refute the Bible and try to ignore God when they see the inadequacy of so many who call themselves Christain; this has been the greatest problem because it is those who preach the gospel yet do not practise it, who do far more damage to the gospel than all the atheists put together.
It is only when we see our own great need that we realise that Jesus is the answer to our deepest needs; go and see the folk at Teen Challenge and this will be quite clear!.
Thanks for the comment! I agree.