I’m not a very deep thinker. When I was growing up in Dallas, there was a D.J. on WRR named Jim Low. One of his tag lines was “even nonconformists conform to nonconformity.” It made sense, but wrapping my young and simple mind around it gave me a headache. I feel the same way about some articles I’ve read recently about the existence of God.
On April 6 Christian Piatt posted a blog called “The Problem Isn’t God; It’s Certainty.” His first sentence really made my head hurt:
Uncertainty about the existence of God is not the same thing as certainty about the non-existence of God.
He went on to talk about radical theology, firmly rooted theology, and addictions to certainty. He also talked about the danger of intellectualizing God out of our thinking and whether or not the unknowable can be known or even exists. I think what he’s saying is that it’s impossible to describe an infinite God with finite words and concepts. Since certainty in itself is a finite concept, uncertainty is required when contemplating the existence or non-existence of God. I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree with what he’s saying – you might say I’m uncertain. But that’s just modern philosophical talk, right? Not exactly.
Paul encountered this kind of philosophical atmosphere in Athens.
“the Athenians…seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.” Acts 17:21
They were deep thinkers, but they were uncertain about God. The city was filled with idols and shrines, but just to be sure they had all their bases covered, there was one to “an unknown god.” Paul used this “unknown god” as a platform to explain God. Some scoffed at his beliefs, but some were so fascinated they wanted to continue the discussion. I’m sure their reasoning would have given me a headache.
And then I read the April 29 devotional in “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Chambers is not exactly what you’d call a modern philosopher, but the title of the devotional is “Gracious Uncertainty.” His point is that, although we can be certain of God, if we’re fully surrendered to Him we might be uncertain of what He will do next. Another thought that makes me think more deeply than I usually do.
But there’s hope for simple-minded people like me. In 1 Corinthians 1:27 Paul said “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise,” and Jesus himself said in Matthew 18:3, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We visited a church last Sunday where Christian was preaching, and as we entered the sanctuary, I saw a little boy with a patch over one eye. He was carrying a stick with suckers attached to it, and as he approached each new person, he offered a sucker and said, “Jesus loves you and so do I.” I think I can be certain of that.