Engage Magazine: Embrace I Don't Know
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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

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Embrace I Don't Know

04/13/2017

“I don’t know.”

Have you ever considered the dualistic nature of those words? They both free you and unflinchingly hold you in their grip.

I hate saying those words. When I admit that I don’t know something I am acknowledging there are gaps in my knowledge. I know everyone has gaps and there are areas of ignorance in everyone’s mind but no one likes admitting it, and that is definitely true for me.

There is a fascinating mind video on YouTube that discusses what happens when the connection between the right and left brain is severed. But what I find fascinating begins around 1:00.

If you don’t have the time or ability to watch the video, basically he says you have two brains, the must right and the vocal left. In experiments where people have had the connection between the right and left brain severed, the right side is told to pick up an object and place it in the left hand. The left brain has no idea why right brain picked up the item but comes up with a story. For instance, right brain picks up a Rubik’s cube and places it in his right hand. (Left brain controls right hand, right brain controls left hand.) Asked why he is holding the toy, the subject says, “I always wanted to learn to solve it; I guess?”

The point is we don’t like admitting when we don’t know something. When asked a question we have no clue how to answer we will try to conjure up an answer, change the topic, or make a joke. Anything but admit we have a gap in our knowledge.

This is not that big of a deal until we bring this truth to Scripture and our knowledge of God. Christians have a good and righteous desire to know and understand God. He is our Lord, our King, and our Kinsman Redeemer. We love and want to know Him better each day. But there are things we do not and cannot know about Him.

We can know that He is one God in three Divine Persons (Doctrine of the Trinity) but how does that work? How is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but One God? The best way we can describe it was done through the Athanasian Creed.

That is man’s best attempt to explain the Trinity, but we still cannot truly wrap our heads around this reality. We simply have to come to it with faith.

Again, God has birthed in every Christian a good and right desire to know Him. But as with just about everything else in this world, we humans can take a good thing from God and make something bad out of it.

There is a danger inherent in pursuing to know God. Without realizing it, we can turn Him into nothing more than an intellectual pursuit or an exhibit to studied but never known. When this happens, Scripture becomes a textbook and prayer turns into a cold monolog.

But it can also be a source of pride. When we feel we know God better than the guy next to us, we stand proud like the Pharisee praying to God, thanking Him that he is not like the tax collector bowing on his knees (Luke 18:9-14).

It can also lead to despair. When we look at heroes of the faith such as George Muller, Elizabeth Elliot, or Richard Allen, we can feel hopeless that we will never know God the way they did. When we peer into the lives of the patriarchs or prophets, we can think God will never reveal Himself to us as He did to them. When we read how David convened with God, we can believe we will never have that level of intimacy with the God of the universe.

While there are many things we do not and cannot know about God, one thing we can know of Him is He will give us as much of Himself as we desire. A.W. Tozer once said, “You can have as much of God as you want, and in fact you already do.”

Rather than focusing all our efforts on what we do not or cannot know about God, spend time focusing on what we do know: He is good, He is the God of gods, He alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. All of those come from Psalm 136. Read that chapter and meditate on all the wonderful truths we can know and rely on about God.

When we come to something in Scripture about God that is beyond our understanding, refuse to let that bring discouragement, but stand in awe of the God who is above and beyond all has revealed Himself to you.

Besides, if we served a god we could fully understand, that wouldn’t be a god at all.

 

 

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