We were created with the free will to choose or not choose God. - This is the reason for the passion. This is the reason why the passion had to occur. This is what the Prodigal Son parable is all about. See if you can follow this…:
Free will is not an absolute. As an example: None of us, or few of us “choose” our sexual orientation - that is thrust upon us.
God gives us free will to not choose him. That’s a gift. And the first thing we did with it was to not choose him. At that point, there’s an obvious fork in the road - God can either leave us with our free will and were are be-damned OR he can take away our free will in this regard and we are saved. That’s the two obvious choices - but instead God chooses a 3rd more complicated choice. Thru the passion he provides a way back to him without us losing our free will.
In the Gospels Jesus does not put a gun or sword to us and then tell us how or what to believe. Instead he coaches us and teaches us how to seek the truth. All of Matthew chapter 8 is about that. He wants us to find our way back to him under our own impulses. That’s what the Prodigal Son story is all about. It is each of us’s biography told from God’s perspective. Each of us has to make the journey out and the journey back in. It is more important that we do that, honestly, than anything else. So there’s nothing wrong with anyone being an atheist - it just says where they are on their journey - and hopefully they find their way back. But God doesn’t put a gun to the head of anyone.
What this analysis says about the Passion is stunning. The reason for the passion is not just to save us - God could have done that simply by taking away our free will. What the passion does is allow us to be saved AND keep our free will.
Think about what that means for a moment. God so loved us that he gave us free will AND a way back to him - but that required him into humbling himself into a man’s body, then having himself tortured & humiliated and murdered in the most humiliating way. So free will is important. Atheism is aggravating. In the Prodigal Son story, the father remains troubled the entire time the son is gone, hoping he will return. But apparently tolerance of it and all manner of free with is so important that God put his only begotten son through the meat grinder.
This to me explains the hidden God problem. Not only can we not prove there is a God, we can neither prove that there isn’t a God. Because one or the other would affect our freedom to choose. So science advances, theology advances, knowledge advances but maybe wisdom advances too - and that wisdom is that we cannot prove whether or not there is a God because God wants us to make the choice for him or not for him. Let me save you some anguish. We will never fully be able to prove God exist or does not exist - by design, no matter how advanced our knowledge becomes, and its that way for a reason. The reason is so we can have free will.
To that extent, the proof that there is a God is that we can neither prove or disprove him and that the story of Christianity is all about that.
Now if there is a devil, he is against this project. He wants to deny all the above. And if you dig into it you’ll realize that Islam is all about that. Islam is not about doubt & faith (the lack of certainty provides wiggle room for us to have free will): it is about certainty - creation is evidence of a creator. Islam labors to take away humanity’s freedom of choice, thus the death for apostasy & the beheading of infidels/kafirs. Islam does not deny that there is a God, it just labors to deny us the love of God as manifested in Christ and his sacrifice for us. Islam doesn’t deny God, it just attempts to thwart God’s plan and in that attempts to deny Christ. Islam doesn’t deny Jesus existed, it just attempts to deny the Passion of Christ. Islam then is patently anti-Christ. You don’t have to wonder who the Anti-Christ is, it is Mohammed.