Some may wish to talk about spiritual matters, but explanations we give about how God’s goodness and evil can co-exist for example stifle such discussions. Certain answers about God’s role in suffering can alienate or draw us close to our Creator. “Why, me!” can sometimes turn into “why God do you not love me.” Lack of answers can make tragic times worse. It is often proclaimed in trying to understand and know God better that God is a mystery; we aren’t capable of understanding God; or God’s morality isn’t our own.
Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches that God is a mystery. God may be said to be incomprehensible because one’s characterization of God isn’t plausible based on what a loving God should be like. Claiming God is a total mystery doesn’t invite investigation by those who may be seeking God. Why did God even bother to communicate to us through the Bible if we can’t possible understand Him? Isaiah 55:8-9 is used frequently to defend that God’s character or ways are a mystery and incomprehensible to the human mind. The context though only declares our ways aren’t always as great or moral as God’s ways: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…. so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches that God says that we have the brain of a clam. God, like human parents, doesn’t say this if desiring a relationship with their child. God didn’t tell Job to shut up and sit down because he can’t possible understand the Creator. Job was questioning God’s justness and why He did not intervene sooner in in his undeserved suffering: “Why must those who know him look in vain for such days” (24:1)? God wasn’t declaring He cannot be understood by mere mortals. God said to Job: “Would you discredit my justice. Would you condemn me to justify yourself (40:8)? God defends He isn’t unjust because the righteous suffer and the wicked may prosper for a time here on earth. Job eventually acknowledged: “I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (42:2). Job acknowledged He was incapable of overseeing a universe where freedom is allowed.
Some suggest we can’t understand God because the Bible teaches God’s morality is not the same as humans. God doesn’t have to play by our rules. For example it is said the Bible teaches selective election where God elects certain individuals for eternal life, thus foreordaining millions of humans to eternal damnation without any choice. Earthly parents would be accused of immorality if they showed similar favoritism toward their children. There is not a quota on God’s love. God does not ask His children to be impartial (James 2:1) and yet God shows such favoritism. A parent who tells a child “do as I say not as I do” is not going to have much of a relationship with that child or inspire them to follow their guidance for their own good.
God doesn’t think we are all “wretches to save.” How can we get close to a God who is portrayed as thinking we are totally worthless? The Bible doesn’t say that since God is perfect and we aren’t to simply count your blessing and shut up. God desires a relationship and like human parents – for our own good. Humans have a concept of perfect love because we are made in our Creator’s image. God’s love and perfect human love are one in the same. God’s desire for us and what we desire deep down for ourselves are inseparable. Let’s have discussions that don’t deter but enable considering if one’s beliefs about God hinder from feeling closer or more intimate with their Creator.