Thanks for the compliment!
I agree with the ~75% of your post, you were preaching to the choir if anything. The rest I mostly agreed with. To start, let me clear up the, “hiddenness” concept. I was referring to the theological notion of the, “hiddenness of God”, pre-Schellenberg. That is to say that God appears hidden from plain sight, or absent, silent, etc., as is often expressed in scripture, especially the Psalms.
Of course I don’t believe nature to be operating apart from God, as I’ve stated here many times, nor do I see God hidden (apart from in the classic theological sense). With your above points taken and agreed with, you simply cannot exclude the possibility that God, “initiated the physical paradigm to unfold, exploiting contingency, to create complex biological entities to exist in a habitat where they will necessarily endure physical, emotional and spiritual struggles which would cause some of them to reach out to Him so that they might, through His son’s sacrifice, become his adopted children”. Your usual way to explain my view of Nature with Leibniz’s, “clock-work” universe is woefully inadequate, theologically and scientifically.
Where we really disagree is in theology. Happily I don’t know enough to change my view! Also, our views of nature are really so close that I’ve not the motivation to spend the time and/or energy to do a study justice in determining if my view is inconsistent with proper biblical exegesis. That said I’ve read the passages you’ve put out to support your view of nature and I found them unpersuasive. Note that our operating theories or presuppositions are the same - that God works through His creation to accomplish his ends. I see God in nature and the workings of nature as much as anyone. I also see it with an inbred intelligence to evolve the universe and eventually man. I as well believe that God answers prayers by working through the creation in undetectable ways.
Some might ask, (and some here have), "Why would a Christian want to believe that God didn’t deliberately make a comet hit the earth or instantiate the first, “cell”? Firstly, I think our study of God’s creation supports my view of nature. In addition, I think my view of nature best takes away stumbling blocks and/or excuses for potential (usually young and knowledgeable) converts and phony Dawkins-esque reasons to not believe.