CARM Newsletter 05-13-04

Not knowing

My daughter approached me with questions about the invisibility of God. She wanted to know why God does not reveal Himself more plainly in our lives. She wanted to know why our prayers seem to go unanswered. She wanted to know why God often works slowly. I realized that her questions were the result of deep contemplation. She had come to her father, the spiritual leader of the house, and was asking to know the answers.

I told her that she had asked the same questions theologians, Christian philosophers, and pastors have been trying to answer ever since the Christian Church began. I told her that the questions were very good.  I told her that God does make Himself known to us very often, but not always in the ways that we want.  If God responded to what we wanted, then how would He be God?  We talked about the mystery of God's ways, of how it is good that He does not answer all of our prayers -- since what we sometimes want turns out to be a bad idea.  We talked of how He is in control, of how He knows so much more than we do, and how we need to trust in Him by faith. I told her that I sometimes wondered the very things she was asking and though I have some answers I could give her, I told her that we can't really know for sure why God is so mysterious sometimes.  I told her that God's ways are not our ways, that we need to humble ourselves before Him and trust that not knowing the answers to the questions is OK.

She looked at me and I could tell from her expression that she did not fully appreciate my answer. She was hoping that her father would be able to give her a definitive response that would make complete sense.  So, I gave her some standard answers centering around God's foreknowledge, sovereign plan, and mercy.  I told her that in the many years of studying the cults, one of the things that I have learned about them is the comprehensibility of their gods.  In other words, you can comprehend them because they are man made. The gods of the cults, the gods invented by the minds of people are not paradoxical.  They teach simple things about the gods they promote and have gods designed to satisfy their curiosities and questions.

I then told her that if we were to encounter the true God of the universe, it would make sense that we would discover things about Him we cannot comprehend. This is because God is so much greater than us that there would necessarily be things about Him that we cannot understand.  Again she looked at me. This time her expression seemed a bit more satisfied.

"It is okay not to know the whole answers to those questions," I told her, "because the God that we serve is so far beyond us that we will have questions that we cannot answer as well as we'd like."

She smiled and said that that made sense.

At that point I could not help but remember one of the greater pieces of wisdom I learned in seminary. A professor went to the chalkboard and pronounced to the class that he was going to write on the board a truly wise and profound theological truth. Intrigued, I paid close attention. He then wrote these words: "There is a God. You are not Him."

Over the years, that simple truth is echoed in my mind. God is so much greater than we are and there is so much about Him that we do not understand. He truly is incomprehensible, infinitely wise, incredibly wonderful, and even paradoxical. When we enter heaven I am sure that without the blinders of sin, we will have many answers revealed to us. Until that day, it is okay to not have all the answers.  Therefore, the words of Habbakuk 1:13 ring true:  "The just shall live by faith."


Memorization Verse
Psalm 100:2,
"Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.," (NASB). 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.