Misunderstanding God is Good

I see no point in believing in a God who I understand completely.

I’m not implying that it’s cool or okay to believe in something that makes no sense at all— that would be absurd.  But we have a tendency today to want to put everything in a neat little box… and God just doesn’t work that way.

Think about it.  By most people’s understanding, “God” is thought of as this all-knowing, all-powerful being.  So it would be fair to say that an all-knowing, all-powerful being is greater than us humans, right?  Then wouldn’t it follow that God, if He exists, is just too big for us humans to ever fully understand?  Wouldn’t it be sort of—well— pathetic, if we could just read a book and then say we know everything there is to know about God?  We won’t ever know God completely.  A God that can be contained in the human mind is no God at all.

This doesn’t mean that it’s useless to study God or to seek to understand Him more deeply.  Certainly, people spend years and years of their lives seeking to know God and do come to a profound knowledge, and love, of who He is and how He works.  But no one will ever fully know God in this lifetime.

I don’t mean to discourage by saying this.  On the contrary—I mean to encourage.

Many people today are down on Christians who cannot completely and/or immediately explain why the Bible says what it says, or why Christianity teaches what it teaches.  But as Christians, we believe that Scripture and the Christian faith are as big as God Himself.  To me, this is very liberating.  If I could meet the non-believer’s demand to explain the Christian faith in its entirety (essentially, to explain God), then God would not be God.  The point would be completely moot.

This is why I think obedience is so beautiful.  Non-Christians are really put off by this notion of “obedience”.  You should know why you do what you do.  I agree with that, to an extent.  But of course, even the non-Christian has to acknowledge that knowledge is something that has to be fostered.  But truth is always truth.  We don’t explain to 3-year-olds why they are not supposed to run with scissors, yet we still expect them not to run with scissors.  In time, they grow and learn why that rule exists.  But just because they won’t understand the reasoning behind the rule right away does not mean the rule isn’t valid.

In the same way, God sometimes calls us to do things, or not to do things, for reasons we don’t always comprehend right away.  There are answers to every question out there about God, but we have to seek Him in order to even begin to understand them.  And in that time when we lack understanding, we have to acknowledge that He is God and we are not.  We have to learn obedience to the one who created us— He who knows us better than we know ourselves.

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe but yourself”

-Saint Augustine