Do you ever get frustrated because there are things in the Bible that you don’t understand? I mean, how did God really make the universe? What’s up with the Trinity? So many questions surpass our ability to understand, and those are always the questions unbelievers home in on. So how do we answer questions that we don’t know the answer to? How do we answer questions no one knows the answer to?
Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 29:29.
The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.
When I found this verse, it took a huge weight off my shoulders. Maybe that sounds silly, but it’s true. If you think about it, it makes sense. Of course, God is going to have secrets that no one else knows about. And, no, He’s not keeping them secret out of malice; if He hasn’t told us something, that means we don’t need to know it. Eventually we’ll know it, but not yet.
But as a person who always tries to have an answer for every situation, this verse is a freeing concept. We don’t have to have all the answers. We just have to know what we believe and believe it.
How can we be accountable to answer questions about God’s secrets? If God hasn’t seen fit to explain those answers to us, we’d better not even try to explain them to someone else. How presumptuous is that?
I got to visit Exploration Place yesterday. It’s a huge science museum of sorts in downtown Wichita, a really cool place, and they had a really awesome exhibit there. I think it’s probably a permanent exhibit, but it’s called “Kansas in Miniature.” It’s a giant table of tiny little buildings filled with tiny little cars and tiny little people, all designed to look exactly like Kansas landmarks and famous Kansas buildings and businesses. There’s even a NuWay hamburger shop somewhere.
It was arguably the coolest exhibit there (arguably because currently the main exhibit is a traveling Star Wars exhibit, and that was awfully cool too). But I got to thinking about this miniature exhibit when I read this verse today because it’s very much like us and God’s secrets. We bustled about in our busy little lives and think that this is all there is and this knowledge that we have is all there is, but the truth is so much bigger than us. The truth is that compared to God and what God knows and what God has planned, ours lives exist in miniature.
How can a little miniature person half an inch tall comprehend what a full-size person knows about the world? That’s what trying to understand God’s secrets is like. God functions on a level so far above us that we can’t grasp everything about what He knows. And trying to is not only arrogant … but it’s dangerous. Because the moment you cross that line and say you know everything there is to know about God and that you understand everything there is to know about Him and His secrets, you’re just a step away from saying you know better than He does. You’re saying you can be like Him.
And let’s be clear. No one can be like God. We can copy some of His characteristics, the moral ones. We can imitate His choices. But there is no one like Him. Someone tried to be like Him in the far distant past and got kicked out of heaven for His pride.
God is God. And while we can mimic Him, we can’t be like Him.
However, God has given us specific answers in Scripture about how to live, about how to treat people, about what is right and what is wrong. God has revealed truth in the Bible, and this verse specifically says that we are responsible for everything that He has revealed to us. Christians, that’s why we have to study Scripture. That’s why we have to know what the Bible says. How can you be accountable and responsible for something you haven’t bothered to learn? How can you know to do what is right if you don’t know the difference between right and wrong?
So the next time an unbeliever (or a believer) asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t stumble around it. Tell them you don’t know. And study it. Look it up. Ask another Christian brother or sister. And if you determine that the answer isn’t known, answer them truthfully. We don’t know all the answers. But God does. And some day we’ll know everything, but not today. So until that day, we have to trust that God knows what He’s doing and we have to be honest with each other, especially those people who don’t believe.
Don’t pretend to know everything. It doesn’t do anyone any favors.