March 10, 2015
I get it! I finally get it! It has taken way longer than I would have expected. It could be that I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree. But at last I understand. Finally, finally, finally… Oh, what am I talking about? Sorry. Simply this, I HAVE GOD FIGURED OUT. Isn’t that great?! All those years, with all those questions and at long last it came to me. I can’t believe it has taken this long. You must know what a relief this is to finally comprehend it all, to have an answer to the mysteries of the Universe.
Go ahead, ask me something… anything. A question that you have grappled with regarding the faith. Something that has kept you awake at night. I will offer you tranquility. I have the answer! The question is what? Where did God come from? Why don’t you ask a hard one? But I’ll answer that: I don’t know, it’s a mystery. There you go. Next question.
What? “Foul,” you cry. “That’s no answer!” Well actually, it’s THE answer. The truth is this: If we are not comfortable believing in and worshipping an incomprehensible God of mystery, then we are in the wrong faith. Don’t get me wrong, there are surely things about God that we know. Maybe the most significant is that God is a personal God of love. But God is also mysterious, not fully knowable and infinitely complex. And frankly, I find that to be a really exciting part of our faith.
I suspect in our world of ego-centrism and personal control, we want to believe in a God who is predictable, who we can fully know, and who we can manage. So the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not very appealing. He is His own Being if you will. Not bound by the whims or the desires of His creation. That’s not what most of us signed up for. But think about this for a moment. If we knew or could know everything about God… well, there is no such thing as faith then, is there? It’s just us in control.
But look at these two passages briefly:
Romans 9: 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (It would probably help if these verses were read within their entirety, i.e., read the whole chapter.)
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
You need to continue reading further in Job. The short of these passages from Romans and Job is this: Who are we in our humanity and “createdness” to question God? And especially who are we to demand answers? We are simply clay in the hands of the great Potter. Does this mean that we should avoid trying to know more of God? Of course not! But let’s be careful we are not arrogant about it. And let’s keep in mind that there are many things we will simply not understand because God is God and we are not.
Many years ago when I was new in the faith I recall a conversation with a mentor. I was asking many of the difficult questions regarding Christianity. He would answer them as best he could on this side of “mystery” and I would say, “Yes, but….” Finally he said to me, “There is no ‘yes but.’ You either embrace God as He has been presented to you or you do not. You cannot know everything.”
I said a moment ago “But God is also mysterious, not fully knowable and infinitely complex… And frankly I find that to be a really exciting part of our faith.” In the last book of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis entitled The Last Battle, Lewis employs a wonderful visual picture to describe the ascension into heaven. Those who are on the journey are said to be going “inward and upward.” That’s the faith my friends. A journey going “deeper and higher,” “inward and upward.” Do not despair because there are unanswered questions and issues that confound you. Join the club and don your spiritual hiking boots.