All the Answers

When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. ~Proverbs 11:2 

Another of the primary objections that many people have to religion in general and to Christianity in particular is the propensity to claim: 1) to know the truth; and 2) to have all the answers to life's problems and questions. I attempt to address the issues of exclusivity and truth in the blog posts Exclusive Jesus?, The Morality Argument, and Absolute TruthBut what is the difference between knowing the truth and having all of the answers? Is there a difference at all and do Christians even make these claims in the first place?  

There is a very definite distinction between "knowing the truth" in the Christian sense and "having all the answers".  I believe, for example, that the Bible is truth and that it is the living Word of God.  I believe that it provides, as God intended, a sufficient and complete foundation upon which we are to base our understanding of God, the universe, the world, human society, and ourselves. I believe this because I have a personal relationship with the author. I do not claim, however, that the Bible holds the answer to every specific question that could possibly be asked but that it instead provides the framework through which we approach those questions and evaluate the answers. God is the light by which the world is illuminated and the Bible is the lens through which the world comes into focus. The lens is of little worth without the light.

There is a very large difference between knowing the truth of God and claiming to know all truth. While most Christians will be the first to humbly admit that they do not have all the answers, many Christians, I am afraid, do make the claim to know "all truth that matters". There are times that Christians hold their doctrine or their religious teachings above the Word of God. Religion is simply the final stages of man working out what he thinks God has revealed. All religion is of man and not of God. When we hold our interpretations and doctrines above God's Word then we begin to fall into the trap of prideful legalism and human arrogance. (For a further explanation of the differences between doctrine, religion, and relationship see our section on theology here.)

Life on this earth is a journey of constant growth toward a destination that we will never fully realize. The Bible tells us the truth of that destination and also serves as the map and as the signs along the road to point the way. Our true destination is perfection in our relationship with God. Those who know God live with the truth and the hope that they will spend all eternity in a constant state of learning, of exploring the richness of all that God has created. 

People, both inside the church and outside, tend to forget the journey and instead look at this current existence as all there is. We begin to define ourselves by what we achieve and by what we know here and now instead of what we are called to learn next. We become blinded to the fact that, no matter how smart we think we are or what answers we imagine we might have, our current understanding and knowledge pales in comparison to what we will always have left to learn. 

While our beliefs are foundational and important, and while it is vital that we have a very good understanding of why we believe what we believe, we must be careful not to place the knowledge itself on the throne of God. Instead of allowing ourselves to become distracted and consumed by our rules, our doctrine, or our religion, we need to constantly remind ourselves instead to focus on our relationship with God, constantly taking the next step that He sets before us on our journey toward Him. The more we focus on listening to God throughout each day, the less susceptible we become to falling into the ditch of arrogant legalism or prideful superiority.

As a Christian, I don't claim to have all the answers. I do, however, know the God who does and I invite you to join me on my journey toward Him. If you don't know Jesus please take a moment today to stop and simply ask Him to show you the truth then listen to what He speaks to your heart. If you do know Jesus then remember that until He returns or calls you home your journey is never complete and there is always a next step that He is calling you to take. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey in this life, whether we are just starting out or have been on the path for a long time, God is calling us all to a next step toward Him and toward the relationship that we were created to experience. 

Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.  ~Isaiah 2:11

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