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God's on record for doing a lot of things directly - causing floods, making humans, etc. etc. - but chose to have his word written through people instead of imparting his wisdom himself.

It seems like it opens the door for questioning authenticity, fidelity and so on, but I'm not seeing a benefit to counter that - what's the upside in going about it the way he did?

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Is this on-topic? I don't think this question is answerable, other than "Because he chose to". The only answers we can give are opinions, with nothing to back them up since Scriptures don't tell us why He chose to do it that way. –  David Stratton Sep 25 '11 at 0:44
Sorry, I can't resist a little humor based on parental experience here. it is just a joke: When God DID write the original 10 commandments, Moses smashed them. That reminds me of times I've cleaned my kids room only to have them mess it up again. What I've learned is that if I make THEM clean the rooms, they do a better job of taking care of it. Maybe God said "If that's how you're going to treat my word, YOU write it down." hoping we'd show a little more respect for it, and care for it better. –  David Stratton Sep 25 '11 at 1:35
I don't think it's off-topic at all, but I do question whether it's constructive or useful. Since there's no known (to me) fact-based answer to this, I can't see this being constructive. However, I'm leaving it open in case someone else knows of facts. –  Richard Sep 25 '11 at 2:46
I find it hard to believe there's nothing at all to reference in answering this question - this seems like a major decision on god's part and there's nothing accounting for what went into it? –  Samuel Hulick Sep 25 '11 at 7:41
I find this question interesting, and there might be a way to approach this from a philosophical or psychological angle. Would humans be disposed to hear and accept any OTHER method? –  Caleb Sep 25 '11 at 19:50

3 Answers 3

If you created a universe, and you wanted to communicate some important message to the people who lived there, how would you choose to do it? I can see two possible scenarios:

  • Give your entire message to one "prophet" to relay the message to the rest of the people.

    The obvious problem with this option is that the one "prophet" looks like a lunatic to everyone else, and is impossible to authenticate. We have such claimed prophets all the time, leading cults, or other sects. And they are usually considered lunatics, and impossible to authenticate.

  • Give the message to numerous people, over centuries, and have them each write part of it, in agreement with each other.

    This scenario adds a lot of credibility. If hundreds of authors, spread over geography and time, all share parts of the same message, and all agree with each other, then this is far more credible than a single prophet.

Of course there are a few other options, too, that I can think of:

  • Go in person, and deliver the message.
  • Make the message appear miraculously, so that it was unmistakably from you.

But then, the Christian Bible contains both of these, as well.

Your question suggests that this method lacks authenticity, but I can't think of any other way to deliver a divine message that could carry any greater weight of authenticity. How else would you have done it?

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It all goes back to fellowship, God is a relational God. He does what is impossible for man, but he also asks us to do all that we are able to do. God planted a garden, but he had Adam take care of it, because it was within the abilities God gave him to accomplish that. Man couldn't create himself, so God did( but then he gave them the ability to reproduce, so they did). Man couldn't flood the world, so God did (but man could build a boat, so man did). Man could write down what God spoke, so God let man do that. We are expected to do everthing we can to the best of our abilities, and God steps in to do the things we can't do, not the things we won't do.

The Bible wasn't written at one time, it was written by many men writting about the times they were living in and what God was doing at the time. If God would have written everything ahead of time, then man probably would have choose not to follow the historical events. If God would have written it all after Christ, there would be no Jewish nation for Christ to be born into. So we are left exactly as God had planed it. Each writer, inspired by the Spirit of God, wrote the events they lived, in the times they lived in.

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I love this question... questions like these really open the door for a better understanding of God's ways and a closer relationship with Him. Here are some points to consider.

Why not speak directly to us?

  • It is clear throughout scripture that God desires intimate, loving relationship with people and between people. (Matthew 22:37-40, Romans 13:10, 1 John 4:16, Ephesians 4:32, etc.)

  • In the beginning, man had a very close relationship with God. As a result, it would seem that there was no need for scripture in the Garden of Eden. God walked side by side with man, so why would it be necessary? If you had a question, you could simply ask Him! (Genesis 3:8-10)

  • After mankind fell from grace, there existed a separation between God and man. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

  • God attempted to reach out to humanity through the few men who would allow Him to use them, such as Noah, a "preacher of righteousness" to a world full of wickedness. (2 Peter 2:5, Genesis 6:5-8)

  • At times, God would attempt to speak directly to man, but this generally resulted in them becoming terrified and requesting that He not do that anymore. This is part of the reason Moses became such an absolute mediator between God and man in the wilderness. (Hebrews 12:18-21)

"All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, 'Speak to us yourself... but let not God speak to us....' Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid...' So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. (from Exodus 20:18-21)

(I can't help but laugh when I try to imagine that scene.)

Why speak through other people?

  • I think it is significant that God's design involves a man starting out in ignorance (as a baby), learning from his father and mother, and growing in understanding over time. This model has "dependency" written all over it. To me, this is one of many illustrations in scripture of God's design for community amongst His people.

  • We see it again in reference to "fathers" (in the faith), elders, etc. (Deuteronomy 32:7, Hebrews 13:7, 6:11-12, etc.)

  • We see it again in God's design for the functions within the church. (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, etc.)


  • People don't get quite so terrified when God is working through someone else, as opposed to interacting with us directly

  • It draws us closer to others as well as closer to God

  • The same God is working through each of these mediators. In a manner of speaking, this builds a strong witness from God's people for those who are seeking truth. (1 Corinthians 12:6, Proverbs 11:14, Matthew 18:16, Hebrews 12:1)

Hope that helps!

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