I like the bible. I like that almost each time I read it I am amazed at how precisely the author has captured the truth and complexity of being human. I like the counsel, wisdom, scenes of glory and insight into knowing God. I love the winsomeness of Jesus. But mostly, I am comforted that my humanity is fully known and therefore can be fully redeemed.
I have recently come to love the Bible in a new way because I no longer worry about how to synthesize the stories. In fact, I don’t the think the Bible makes sense in the normal way a book might make sense. A novel will raise a paradox, but will in the end give the satisfaction of resolving that paradox. The dilemma’s found in scripture seldom transcend the opening line- “in the beginning God…” and do not bring a resolution to seemingly contrary portrayals of God.
So as inconsistent as I may be, when confronted with what appears to be opposing and irreconcilable truths-
I believe both.
God answers prayer in miraculous and spectacular ways
Some people linger in darkness, pain and death while crying out for God
Job survived the test of God, and was blessed with 10 times what he had before
Job’s family was wiped out as part of this test, kind of sucked to be Job’s kid
God knows everything
God is surprised when I ignore him
Grace has released me from having to try harder
Healing has come as I worked the 12 steps
I am a glorious, beautiful child of God
I am petty, small and jealous
God is powerful and present
God is absent
Church is at it’s best when it is organic, spontaneous, and slightly chaotic
Church functions well when it has order
Perhaps you have heard stories of grieving parents being told, “don’t cry, your baby is in heaven”. Or a newly divorced dad being reminded “all things work together for good”. I have yet to hear a single woman wanting to marry and have a family that felt better being told Jesus would be her husband. In fact, almost any scripture in a moment of crisis might cause more harm than good.
But aren’t these scriptures true? Yes, I believe them to be completely true.
But I also believe that horrible moments and grave injustices are unexplainable and even inconsolable. I believe that God is powerful and God either withholds His power or is unable to do some things. I believe God is pure love, and I believe at times I experience a God who seems cold, even callous.
My conclusion to centuries of theological debate:
heresy occurs when we are certain we can make it all make sense.
My remedy- believe both.