The Questions God Won’t Answer

March 11, 2013 at 4:15 am Leave a comment

Questions 1It had to be a frustrating experience for the disciples.  They wanted Jesus to answer what they thought was a perfectly appropriate and critically important question:  “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)?  This question seemed fair enough.  After all, when the disciples pose this query, Jesus has already risen from the dead and has been periodically appearing to His in a dazzling demonstration of His dominion over death.  And now that Jesus has conquered death, the only thing left for Him to do is to usher in the utopia of God’s kingdom.  But Jesus gives His disciples a less than satisfactory answer to their question about God’s kingdom:  “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority” (Acts 1:7).  Jesus says to His disciples, “God’s kingdom is coming, and My Father knows when it’s coming.  But He’s not going to tell you.  It’s not for you to know.”

The refusal of God to provide satisfactory answers to all the questions Christians ask has been a conundrum that has frustrated the faithful for millennia.  Questions that range from the mildly curious – “When did the dinosaurs go extinct according to the Bible?” – to the direly critical – “Why does God allow evil to continue to rage in world?” – are left unanswered, at least in toto – by what God reveals in holy Writ.  Yes, there are partial answers these questions and to others like them, but there are not complete answers.  And this leaves many discouraged and despondent.

Like many other countless Christians throughout the ages, Martin Luther too struggled with why God did not answer everything everyone might want to know.  After much reflection, Luther came to this conclusion:  “Whatever God does not tell you, or does not want to tell you, you should not desire to know.  And you should honor Him enough to believe that He sees that it is not necessary, useful, or good for you to know.”[1]  Luther was willing to trust that God knew – and knew how to manage – what Luther himself did not.

Perhaps the reason God does not tell us everything we might like to know is this:  a lack of knowledge compels trust.  In other words, when we do not know something that God knows, we are compelled to trust that God knows what He’s doing even if we happen to be left in the dark.  Our lack of a comprehensive answer to every question we might have can actually be used by God to increase our faith!  And growing in faith is far more important than growing in mere knowledge.

And so, what would you like to know about God?  God may not give you every answer to every question, but you already have His answers to the questions that matter most.  Does God love you?  Yes!  Can you be redeemed by the blood of Christ?  Yes.  Can you trust that God knows what He’s doing and has your best interest at heart?  Yes.

How much more do you really need to know?

[1] Martin Luther, What Luther Says, Ewald M. Plass, comp. (St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959), §209.

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