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All the Answers

I don’t know all the answers.

I don’t even believe that it’s possible to know all the answers. I’m still young, but as I’m growing older I have a growing respect for those brave enough to say “I don’t know”.

There was a time when much of my religion was based on a logical system of facts and principles. “Belief” was about mental assent to the proper propositions. “Faith” wasn’t much faith at all, but rather the assumption that what I believed was the only correct thing to believe.

It seems to me that a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to find all the answers and figure everything out, as if faith was somehow dependent on knowing everything. Sometimes I even feel that way. Sometimes I’m afraid to tell somebody about my relationship with Jesus, because I don’t have all the answers.

Because I can tell you about Jesus, but I can’t tell you…┬áIf God doesn’t want people to be gay, why does He keep creating gay people? Do we really have free will, or just the illusion of free will? Does prayer really change God’s mind? Why is there evil and pain? Why did God give us the choice to sin if He knew we’d sin? Is the Genesis account metaphorical or literal? Is Heaven extratemporal?

That used to scare me, as if somehow I was expected to have an answer for all that stuff. But as my father-in-law says, if the wisest philosophers and theologians haven’t figured out the answers to those questions over many centuries, why should I think I can understand them now?

I think this is having a profound effect on my spirituality.

There was a time a few years ago when I almost let those questions overwhelm me. I was about to quit God, because I didn’t understand how the entire universe worked. But my faith isn’t about knowing everything. It’s about trusting something that transcends knowledge.

I believe that the words written in the pages of Scripture give us only glimpse at the enormous, incomprehensible reality of the God who is. I believe that mystery, even doubt, are a deep part of the human experience. I believe that there is so much to be experienced that can never, ever be understood.

And slowly, I’m ok with that.

“There are those who, seeing, have believed.
Blessed are those who believe without seeing.”


published November 2, 2012

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