Does God respond in words?
That I hear in the air? No. But sometimes, say, as the voice of my mother? Yes.
To clarify, I'm not asking theists if you hear words out loud exclusively. They can be in your mind. Or I suppose they can even be words in a book, song, or movie it feels like God is drawing your attention to at the right time.
Do you mean God sometimes speaks in your mind with your mother's voice?
No. Like I pray to know which job offer is His choice and my mom tells me a story about my first "job" at 4 years old that makes God's answer clear.
Is it just a feeling or emotion, like a wordless sense of wellbeing or reassurance?
Yes, but not always. Sometimes He isn't pleased, and you can feel the distance and displeasure between you.
As it should sound. It is a serious thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
Like a rumble-of-thunder moment. Do you know immediately when you're doing something that displeases him?
Yes. Most times, before I do it.
To ask a further question, how complex can God's messages be while still remaining understandable to the human mind?
Far more complex than human language can be. Often times I find that He has answered questions I have not asked yet, or has already answered a question whose answer I am waiting for. Often, by His answers, you see how small and short sighted your questions were.
Suppose I am a god and I want to give some very personal guidance to one of my children. For instance, I want to say, "Laura, you must stop choosing men who treat you as poorly as your father did. You have the strength to break out of this cycle of self-abuse. Value and respect yourself. Don't be afraid to live independently of a controlling possessive partner. Stop defining okay and not okay by whether an abuser in your life is placated or angered. Take the new job offer, move out of Rick's apartment, and do not thrust a bad father upon your future children. I believe in you, I love you" etc.
Does God send messages this full or detailed?
Sure. But you're still thinking of God as if He is a life coach. God attacks the problem and not the symptoms. Laura's problem is not daddy issues or self-confidence. Her problem is that she doesn't know who she is. And she doesn't know who she is because she doesn't know who Jesus is. One good look at herself in the glorious light of her creator and her daddy issues and confidence problems would fall away.
This doesn't seem like something that can be expressed with a wordless divine feeling.
Because today, your exposure to Jesus and Christianity is mediated by hollywood, by people who don't know Him, and in fact hate Him.
Or would God not send a message like this because it's simply too heavy-handed?
It was kinda cheezy and family hallmark movie of the week, but I got your drift.
Is any sufficiently complex message something God would rather you realize for yourself?
I don't think complexity is an issue for a God who had His salvation plan completed 2,000 years ago. If it takes 10 years, God will patiently work with you on it.
If so, how do you overcome it?
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing come by the word of God.
What do you mean? By reading the Bible? Or listening to the gospel preached?
It is Romans 10.17. It means knowing the word of God. In Luke 17.5, the apostles asked Jesus how to increase their faith. Observe Jesus's answer. I bet you've never heard an answer like that to such a question.
Is there a quality to "God's voice" that is immediately and fundamentally distinct from your own inner voice, so that you can always tell when it's supposedly God and when it's just your own mind?
Yes, but you must learn to recognize it, because your voice and God's voice are not the only voices in you vying for attention.
Are you referring to the Adversary?
Yes, but not only him. Satan is blamed for far more than he does. There is a part of me that wishes to rebel and oppose God.
- For the good that I will to do,
I do not do; but the evil I will not to do,
that I practice.
- Now if I do what I will not to do,
it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
- I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
- For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
- But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Jesus saves us first from ourselves.