I spend too much time considering the nature of God. Is God good? Is God in control? Is God sovereign? Is God the author of evil? It was interesting when I went to a bible search engine, typed in “God is good”, and couldn’t readily find many passages, perhaps one or two in Psalms. I type in sovereign, and there are a lot more entries, but I wonder what the word sovereign means. Does it imply that God is so sovereign the He is the author of evil? I am not sure. I often wonder if sovereign was the closest word writers and translators could come up with when attempting to describe God.
For over much of my life, Christianity was never about whether or not I was going to heaven. I have always had a peace about that part of my spiritual journey. I can never really remember doubting my final destination. I have always found debates over justification and the exact role of grace and faith interesting, but for me it was never a big deal. I have always seemed to know that I was covered by God’s grace, even if the exactness of how the theology works may be debatable.
No, for me, my questions have always concerned the nature of God, and the nature of God’s interaction with me. Is God good? Is God love? If God loves me, why did He allow my life to be so complicated? Is God just? If God is just, why does He seem to reward those who did evil against me, and why does He put up with so much injustice in the world? If God is sovereign, does that imply He is the author of evil? If He is the author of evil, do I really want to have faith in that kind of God. Why are “acts of God’ (tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes) so arbitrary, destroying both the sinner and the saint?
I look to the Bible, and clearly I am not the only person in history with this struggle. The story of Job is really about the nature of God, and the nature of God’s relationship with those who follow Him. The wise Solomon in Ecclesiastes debated these questions, and never seem to come up with an answer. If Job and Solomon never develop a concise answer, who am I to question?
Where else do I go in the Bible? When Moses asks God his name, all He says is “I am who I am”. When Jesus, the son of the Father, speaks, He says little about the exact nature of the Father. Jesus spends a lot of teaching time on describing the relationship between the Father and the Son, but little about the nature of the Triune God itself. The gospel of John starts with a wonderful statement about the Father, Son, and Spirit being present at creation and being actively involved in creation, but it never really spends any effort describing the exact nature of God.
If the Saints of old never had a clear answer, and the Bible itself doesn’t seem to present a concise answer, than who am I to understand? Am I so arrogant to believe that I can do what no one in history has been able to do? Being a Christian is for now accepting my own weakness and depravity. Being a Christian is accepting that I will never understand while in this world the nature of God. I get glimpses as I walk through this life, but they are only glimpses. For now, I must be content with the glimpses.