Skepticism bothers many young Christians. The things that we do not or cannot understand are the things that Satan uses to attack our faith with doubt that the Bible is God’s word. Questions haunt their minds about whether the Bible is really God’s word, and if it is, then they wonder how they can silence and free themselves from the uncertainty and doubt.
God has never asked us to believe without question or without giving us evidence to base our faith on. Things such as His existence, His character, and the validity and truth of His word are all begin with proof and evidence that is logical and understandable. However, God has not removed the possibility of doubt from entering our minds. Evidence must be the foundation for our faith, not speculation, theory, or popular opinion. Those who want to doubt have plenty of freedom to do so, but those of us who persist towards the truth will find plenty of evidence to support our faith.
With this said, it is impossible for us as limited, created beings to completely understand the mind of our Creator. The smartest, most intelligent, most educated people in the human race will always have questions about God. “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld—what do you know?” (Job 11:7-8).
Paul tells us “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!” (Romans 11:33), and the psalm says, “Dark clouds surround Him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Psalm 97:2). We can see the things that He has done for us throughout the record of history, and we can begin to see and understand some of the grand, limitless love and mercy that He has displayed for us to see. We are only able to see and understand the plans both history and our lives that He has determined would be best for us to know, and with details beyond this, we need to trust Him that He loves us and has our best interest in mind.
The Bible, like the character of God, includes mysteries that we will never be able to fully understand, because we are limited beings. Things such as sin entering our world, Jesus Christ becoming human while still being fully God, how we can be restored and made clean from sin, how Jesus died and came back to life, among many other topics are things that we cannot fully understand as humans. However, simply because we cannot fully understand something does not mean we need to doubt it. For centuries, the smallest forms of life have puzzled philosophers, and as science progresses, we are consistently finding new pieces to the puzzle of our world. Everywhere we look, we can see things that are beyond our knowledge or understanding. Why then, are we surprised that the spiritual world is even more complex and masked in mystery? Our minds are limited and narrow. God has shared with us, through the Bible, sufficient evidence of His character, and spiritual truths, and just because we cannot fully wrap our minds around the concepts, does not make them false.
Peter tells us that, “the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16). There are some Bible skeptics who try to take the fact that the Bible is hard to understand and twist it into an argument that God did not inspire the Bible. However, because the Bible is above our comprehension, this makes a stronger argument for it being inspired by God. If the Bible simplified the greatness and awesome nature of God into something that we could understand as humans, if it were even possible to do so, then the Bible would not have the mark of God in it. The mystery surrounding themes that we do not understand present a better case for our faith that the Bible is the word of God.
What is amazing about the Bible is that it presents truth to us in such simple ways that touch our hearts. Even some of the great thinkers and highly educated minds throughout history have been amazed and astonished at how it allows the least educated and humble reader understand the awesome gift of salvation. With this simple message though, are truths that extend beyond what our minds can grasp, and all we can do is trust and accept them because God has said they are true. The gift Jesus has offered us is presented clearly, so that everyone may see the steps that we all must take to return to God, and have lasting faith that leads to trust in and leaning on Jesus Christ. Behind these truths is the mystery of God’s character, and a mystery that is beyond our comprehension, and a love that inspires us to dig deeper and learn more about God’s truth with love, amazement, and faith. The more we study the Bible, the more our understanding grows and we are convinced that it is the word of God.
To admit that we cannot fully understand or grasp the extent of the truth that is contained in the Bible is simply admitting that we as limited humans cannot understand God. Humanity, having been created by God, cannot understand all the nuances of the Creator.
Skeptics, and proud people looking for an excuse to reject God’s word, use the fact that because they cannot understand all its truth, that it cannot be from God. Even if we believe the Bible, we must not allow temptation to cause us to stumble on this point. The apostle says, “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12). It is ok for us to study the teachings in the Bible in order to understand God. “His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.” (1 Corinthians 2:10). “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that He has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Satan is hard at work distorting the truth presented in the Bible, and he instead wants us to become comfortable with our current level of understanding and let our investigative muscles and curiosity weaken. Satan uses pride mixed with curiosity so that when we are unable to understand a passage to our likeness, we feel impatient, irritated, and defeated. We then feel humiliated that we are unable to understand, and we might give up altogether. The pride mixed with impatience makes us unwilling to wait patiently for God to reveal the truth we are looking for in His time. People with this determined pride choose instead to rely entirely on their own human, and therefore limited, brainpower to understand the Scripture, and because they are unable to succeed in their efforts, they deny that the Bible has any authority or merit.
Next week, we will continue looking at doubt and the subtle influence it has on our lives when we choose to entertain it in our minds.
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!