If this way of coming to know God is as important as you
suggest, the complete silence of Scripture about any examples of it is
How about all of those non-Israelites or those
> before Abram? How did they come to believe?
Like who? God _speaks_ to Cain & Noah - one can think through
other people. (Thus Luther on Gen.4) Who's arguing from silence now?
The Bible _doesn't_ say they _weren't_ converted by contemplating the
starry heavens, so they were? Everybody in the Bible who believes in
the true God does so because God addresses him or her, mediately or
through the preaching of others. "Faith comes from what is heard, and
what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ" (Rom.10:17).
>Consider the story of Jonah. He
> went into a non-Israelite city, reluctantly, and with little enthusiasm
> announced God's judgement. The whole city converted! Do you really think
> that Jonah's witness was all there was?
Waiving for the moment questions about the historicity of the
Jonah story - Yes! The apparent absurdity is part of the technique of
the story. Jonah doesn't want the Ninevites to repent. He finally
carries out his commission in minimal fashion by proclaiming the message
once - five Hebrew words. And it works because God wants it to work.
"It is a remarkable thing that no canonical writer ever used
nature as a proof of God's existence. All set out to convince
us of it. But David, Solomon, and the rest never said: `There
is no void; therefore there is a God.' They must have been
cleverer than the cleverest of their successors, every one of
whom has used this argument. The fact is worth pondering on."
Pascal, Pensee #6.