As I was taught, when we begin believing there are simple explanations for the happenings of the universe, we are in dangerous territory. Physics is not simple. The complex nature and enormity of the universe is not simple, the ecosystem is not simple and so forth. So when I hear a theologian or philosopher talk about how simple reality is, I know He’s not talking about anything God made. When you analyze God’s art, it is not simple, it is extremely complex. In fact, the more we know about our reality, the more we understand it’s infinite intricacy.
We like simple explanations of reality because we like control. We want to stuff the complexity of the world into our little minds because if we can hold it all in our minds, there is no mystery. But God did not give us control over the complexity of the cosmos. He gave us limited control over ourselves, and those whom it is appropriate we care for, children and so forth. We get to choose where we pee, for instance. And to some degree we get to choose where our children pee. What we don’t get to control is who goes to heaven and who doesn’t.
In my twenties, I thought I understood God. I read a book or two and then believed my limited knowledge of God was all-encompassing. I defended my understanding of God with passion and even anger. I’d associated my identity with my answers and defended them as though they were part of my redemption, part of the portfolio I’d eventually show God that might impress Him so He’d let me into heaven. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to believe I don’t know everything about God. And not only that, I’ve had to admit and confess my desire to know everything about God was really about control. God does not give us comprehensive knowledge about all things.
I’ve become very comfortable answering questions by saying “I don’t know the answer to that. God gives us limited information, but here is what He’s chosen to tell us….”
I’ve given this answer to very complicated and contentious questions about the afterlife, about whether people interact with God here on earth, about state sovereignty and too many other issues to talk about.
Do right theological answers matter to me? Absolutely. Do I believe there are right answers to hard theological questions? Of course I do. Do I believe God has given us the answers to all the tough questions? I absolutely do not. I think God has given us limited information, much like a father does His children, giving them more information as they need it for their stage of life. I’d consider earth a kind of infancy, to be honest. I don’t think we are given much.
The issue to me is, then, about trust. Do I trust God? Do I have faith in God? Do I love God?
I often meet people who trust their answers about God, but it doesn’t seem like they trust God. When they but up against the unknown complexities of life, they find security in their own answers. They love their own minds.
This is what I believe pure and simple.