Living with Unanswered Questions, Part 1

I have a lot of unanswered questions.

As a person who loves to study and teach the Bible, it’s probably inevitable that some of my questions come from trying to makes sense of what the Bible teaches.

Questions about the Bible and Human Experience

Sometimes I wonder about how what the Bible teaches relates to our human experience.

For example, how does the goodness and love of God (which the Bible proclaims) relate to the fact of evil and suffering in the world?

Why would a loving God allow such massive suffering—some of it related to human evil (such as the trafficking in sex slaves—many of whom are young girls—in countries around the world today)?

And then there is the so-called “natural evil” God allows (like terminal diseases and horrendous earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and tsunamis in Asia, which take a massive toll in human suffering).

Questions about the Bible and Modern Science

Some of my questions are about how what the Bible teaches relates to the findings of modern science.

For example, how does the evolution of life on earth—prior to human beings—relate to the biblical idea that evil arose with human beings? Doesn’t the pervasiveness of death that evolution assumes contradict the biblical idea of the human origin of evil?

Or maybe biological death isn’t itself evil; after all, the Old Testament notes that certain saints lived a long full life and were gathered to their ancestors in peace. Maybe Paul is right that the sting of death is sin (1 Cor 15:56), which suggests that without sin death might not be regarded as an evil.

I am actually coming to the position that biological death, animal predation, and natural disasters are not technically “evil”; they are simply part of the wildness of the glorious cosmos that God made. I plan to post on that another time.

Questions about the Bible’s Internal Consistency

Some of my questions have to do with seemingly blatant contradictions between things the Bible teaches and other things the Bible teaches, that is, internal contradictions, within the Bible.

For example, how does the command—supposedly from God—to his people (Israel) to utterly exterminate the Canaanites relate to the purpose for which these very people were called—that is, to bring blessing to the nations? Isn’t extermination the opposite of blessing?

In my next post I’ll comment on questions I have about the church’s mishandling of the gospel.

3 thoughts on “Living with Unanswered Questions, Part 1

  1. I too, have recently been challenged by the finding from modern science of death which predates the origin of humanity. Yesterday at youth group as I was walking my teens through the creation-fall-redemption story of the Bible, and I had a hard time being “intellectually satisfied/ at peace” with suggesting that all was “good” when there was likely death prior to humanity and that evil arose through humanity when death seemed to be going on long before. I look forward to your future posting on the subject.

    I also continue to wrestle with the supposed command from God to exterminate the Canaanites seems to fly directly in the face of God’s on-going restorative mission in the OT through the people of God. After giving this much reflection, I am still at a place where I think the best answer I can give is “I don’t know.”

  2. Pingback: The Church’s Mishandling of the Gospel—Living with Unanswered Questions, Part 2 | CREATION to ESCHATON

  3. Pingback: The Role of Doubt in the Journey of Faith—Living with Unanswered Questions, Part 4 | CREATION to ESCHATON

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