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Thinking Hard about God April 27, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Quotes, Random Musings.
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Joe,

One of the most enjoyable parts about our men’s retreat last weekend was the time to talk with brothers around the table at meals and during breaks. I was struck by, and deeply grateful for, how these men were asking tough questions of the Scriptures and seeking to press in deeply to know the Word of God. I was asked questions such as, ‘What is limited atonement?’ ‘In what way was Jesus made perfect in Hebrews 5:9?’ and ‘If God has planned all the details of the universe out so that none can thwart Him, how is He not the doer of evil?’ None of these are easy questions to answer, but I was so happy to hear people asking them.

Not all people think that asking such questions are a good thing. It seems that many people within the Church today are skeptical about pursuing answers to these tough questions. They say that God is infinite and there are mysteries that we just cannot and should not seek to know. They frequently appeal to Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” Or they point to Jesus’ words about becoming like children to enter the Kingdom, and say that theirs is a simple, childlike faith. This is the kind of faith that God values, not the kind that is always seeking to understand the deep and mysterious.

While there is a seed of truth in that thinking, I believe that people who press this image of ‘childlike’ faith are making a big mistake. When Jesus talks about becoming like children, He surely is not saying that we should be simple or naive in our thinking. We know this because Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20).

In the name of childlike simplicity, many people are robbing themselves of the precious joy of beholding more of the glory of our great God and Savior. John Piper describes this situation well with these words, which are more than thirty years old now:

“If we may compare God’s wisdom to a ragged mountain and our growing understanding of it to a slow assent, I do not have the slightest fear that during some midnight meditation I may (by the grace of God) attain some new ridge and all of a sudden find I am on the peak of the mountain with no more cliffs to climb. On the contrary, for every newly attained height of insight there stretches out an ever more glorious panorama of manifold wisdom. And one can only pity the poor souls who, for fear of finding out too much, never approach the sacred mountains but stand off and chirp ironically about how one should preserve and appreciate mystery.”

I especially like that last part: one can only pity the poor soul who, for fear of finding too much glory in the pursuit of God, never approaches His unsearchable riches, but stands far off and talks about the beauty of simplicity and appreciating mystery. There is certainly going to be mystery in the pursuit of God. He is infinitely wise and glorious, and we are not. But let us not, in the name of childlike faith, stand far off from God and never humbly come before Him seeking to search out the glorious mysteries of the Kingdom. For as the rest of Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “…but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Larry

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