Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I Do Not Feel Obligated To Understand God

I love RG -- whoever he is. From time to time he likes to leave comments about my blog that I occasionally find challenging. I don't think he liked my post, "Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Algebra." He thinks it is an indication that I am fixated on nudity and sex. Very perceptive! I'm not sure what that particular post had to do with sex or nudity, but I'm not sure I can argue with RG. Nor would I want to. A previous post admits it -- "Sex -- It's One Of My Favorite Hobbies."

But let's move onto something else RG said: "I find it extremely difficult to hear you call yourself a minister when you admitted on this blog you have no idea what awaits us after deat." He goes onto say, "Many millions of people are hurting every day. Young people to old. Some looking desperately for answers." He worries about such people coming to my blog for those answers.

RG, I don't have answers for everything, and I'm very comfortable with that.

But RG, I don't need to know all the answers. I feel a need to trust God, but I do not feel any obligation to understand God.

Heck, there are times when I can't understand my wife. I rarely understand my teenage son. Why would I think I could possibly understand God?

People do look for answers, but I don't have all of them.

I feel very much like St. Paul, who said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

Someday, I'll have all the answers. But for now, I need to be content to simply know "in part."

This is one of those verses that I like better in the King James Version. It speaks of "seeing through a glass darkly." I imagine one of those restroom windows. The big, thick block glass windows. You look through one of those windows and you may sense people walking on the street outside. You see shadows and movement, but you can't discern any detail.

I think about the writer of Ecclesiastes 7:23-24, who said, "I am determined to be wise"-- but this was beyond me. Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound-- who can discover it? Later, the writer talks about how we cannot comprehend God, adding, Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. (Ecclesiastes 8:17)

You are right when you say that I don't know what happens at death.

I know that when I die, I will be with God.

I know I will be in Heaven.

But I have more questions than answers. What happens to me between death and the Resurrection? What happens at Resurrection? Will the new me look like my body will look at death, or do I get my 18 year old body back? Do I get to play the harp? I can't play it now. If I don't play the harp, will I get to play the drums? Or can I just play baseball instead? Will I be able to fly like Superman? Will I be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with my Great Great Grandfather? Is there coffee in heaven? If so is it decaf? Will we take naps? What about art, music and literature. Do they have libraries in heaven? Movies? Do dogs go to Heaven? What about cats? Butterflies? House flies?

I don't have answers for any of this stuff, but that's OK. I don't need to understand God. I just need to trust Him.

I do know that there will be no sex in Heaven (Matthew 28:30). It may surprise RG to know that this does not bother me at all. Jesus said that at the resurrection there would be no marriage relationships -- I take that to mean that Heaven is going to be very much different from Earth.

I also know that there will be a lot of worshipping going on in Heaven, and I suspect RG and I will sit side by side. I also suspect he and I will get along just fine.

8 Comments:

Blogger Angelique said...

It seems lately that people have been using you like their own personal punching bag. Don't worry about it too much. That just happens in life and you can't make everyone happy. I like you and keep talking about sex it's so much better than my perverted stories, there is actually a lesson involved with yours. You don't claim to know everything and anyone who claims or pretends otherwise is a freaking liar. Your greatest qualities are your humanity and your humility and I see it everytime I read your blog. I can't be the only one who sees this?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Rev Bill said...

Amen to what angelique said! I like the fact that you don't have all the answers -- and that you are not afraid to talk about living the Gospel! I also like the fact that you are OK with the fact that everybody does not agree with you. It's ministers like you that keep me in the ministry -- and make me glad that I, too, am a Presbyterian!

9:47 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

I find it refreshing when a minister/pastor/priest says, "I really don't know." Ahh...thank you. Thank you for being human despite the pressure on you to be all knowing and all wise. There's only ONE of those and He ain't talkin' till the fat lady sings!

It's the mysteries in life that build our faith. Tell RC to chew on that one for awhile (and I mean that will all due respect.)

9:54 PM  
Anonymous steph fisher said...

You are an inspiration and we love your writing. Such honesty is rare and your humour and refreshing perspective on life is delightful. It's amusing that rg is so frightened of honesty that he hides behind anonymity. I hope that one day he bravely peels off that mask and learns to laugh at himself and be happy. I'm sure your teacher would chuckle if she read your blog today. I wonder if rg remembers being a child?

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

GREAT answers to something you know 'nothing about'

enjoyed this
be blessed :)

1:40 PM  
Blogger Ryan Baer said...

There is a great quote in the movie Rudy. Father Cavanaugh, a wise old priest, tells Rudy: "In 35 years of religious studies, I have uncovered two hard, incontrovertible facts. There is a God, and I am not him."

Keep up the good work, ApostleJohn. I'd like to echo my fellow commentors. Your honesty and humility are refreshing. You're an inspiration to this budding pastor.

Grace and peace,
RB

10:04 PM  
Blogger Paine Bible notes said...

Regarding what happens to us after death. . .I have always had many questions. I just finished reading the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, and, realizing his points are his, but exhaustively rooted in scripture -- this book has literally changed my life. At 75, with three previous heart attacks, this felt like a travelogue/book about the trip I am going to take.
I plan to start with a new, clean Bible, and go through "Heaven" again, noting the comments and the author's remarks, scripture by scripture.
If you read this book, I would be very interested in your comments.
God bless you, Abbott Paine

4:12 PM  
Blogger JoKeR said...

Mark Twain said there would be no laughter in heaven because we are told there will be no tears, and humor is based on pain, thus no laughter. Just one more thing we can't know.

12:58 AM  

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