“Dad, you don’t know everything.” I remember hearing this more than once from my kids as they were growing up. As parents, we want to have all the answers — or, at least, appear that we do. When it comes to theology, we often do the same thing. Since God’s Word is our authority, and we know it is true, we would like to say that we can answer all questions. Can we?
This past Sunday, we attempted to answer some questions that lingered during our “We Believe” series on our doctrinal statement. They were excellent questions, and some were very difficult to answer. We’ll always have questions about theology. I hope you do, because we should be driven by a thirst for knowledge of God and His Word.
But here’s a takeaway from our Sunday of trying to answer deep theological questions: I don’t know everything. You don’t know everything. Only God knows everything. We should be okay with that.
We can’t answer every theological question that arises. If we could, we would be God, and we’re not. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand difficult things. The scriptures are replete with admonitions to seek knowledge. For instance, “The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15). Realize two truths that live in tension: We should seek the answer to every question; we won’t get the answer to every question.
Here are a few things to remember.
The fear of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). We must always start with a proper view of God. An appreciation of His holiness should draw us to thirst for, and seek out answers to things we don’t understand. We must do our best to understand the scriptures and difficult questions that arise. The Bereans are our example in this as they were “examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Humility. We must be willing to admit when we can’t find an answer. This is a simple admission that we are human and finite. Why do we hate to admit that we don’t know something? Pride. Pride is the temptation to think or pretend that we have, or can know all the answers. This is not wisdom, but folly.
Tension. Be prepared to live with tension. When I was younger I thought I had to answer every question that came my way. Time has humbled me to understand, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). It doesn’t diminish God to understand that we cannot know certain things, it exalts Him.
There is mystery about God that cannot be comprehended by us mere mortals. There will always be things that God knows that we do not. In fact, I have recently pondered the truth that even in heaven we won’t know everything. People often say they look forward to having all their questions answered in heaven. If God is God, there will always be things too great for us to understand, even in heaven. In this mystery, He is best worshiped; in the things He has revealed and not revealed about Himself.
Next time you are frustrated that you can’t find an answer to a theological question, having done your best to search the Scriptures, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” In fact, when you don’t know, it’s the truthful answer. If we could know the answer to every question, there would be no faith. Instead, focus on what you do know. When we stick to what we know, we are always on solid ground. It’s okay to ponder the imponderable, but be prepared end up on your knees praising God from whom all blessings flow.
“Dad, you don’t know everything.” Yes, but I know Someone who does.