I’ve heard it said that God is love, God is good and God is just. I’ve also heard the opposite; that God is jealous and wrathful. That God is unfair and unloving. After all, how can God be loving and good when children are abused and neglected, even to the point of death? How can God be just when the innocent are exploited every day and there is so much injustice in the world?
Is the answer a simple one? Could it be that we’ve pushed God away and now we’re left with the consequences?
Or perhaps, the world is what we make of it and we really haven’t done too great a job?
The age-old question remains, however: Why does God allow bad things to happen? One might argue that without challenges to overcome, we never grow or learn. One might also argue that it’s our own human nature that creates the bad things. I mean, let’s face it, we’re not all that skilled at getting along.
Grasping the un-grasp-able
In the Bible, God reveals himself to man through incomprehensible images. A burning bush that doesn’t burn. A pillar of cloud and fire. A baby born of a virgin. In each case, God reveals Himself in a form of duality, as more than what we perceive and can comprehend, yet in each case, God states clearly: “I AM.”
It is narrated in the Quran that God says it would not be possible for ‘man’ to perceive Him, but to look upon the mountain and see Him in it. While such a description is as cryptic and difficult to comprehend as a bush that burns yet is not devoured by the flame, perhaps it is also the key to grasping the unattainable.
God is more than we understand. It’s that simple AND that complex.
“THE ONLY TRUE WISDOM IS IN KNOWING YOU KNOW NOTHING.” ― SOCRATES
What We Know
Mankind is many things. We are brilliant…yet we are close-minded. We are compassionate and, still, we are cruel. We’re creative and destructive; inspirational and devastatingly monstrous. We have the capacity to explore the distant realms of space and time, yet we struggle with the simple concept of recycling. We have discovered the intricate workings of the body and can protect ourselves from disastrous outbreaks, yet we quibble over wearing a piece of cloth.
Some might say what we know far exceeds what we don’t know about the world around us, while others might offer that we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can discover. I believe the latter.
We know only as much as we choose to know.
We learn only what we allow ourselves to learn.
We comprehend only what we open ourselves to understand.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”- Jesus speaking in Luke 18:17 NIV
“Honesty is the first book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind”.- Albert Einstein
“To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” –Confucius
What Socrates, Jesus, and Einstein have in common
Whether you’ve made a career out of studying the great minds of philosophy or have taken only five minutes to research the concepts of wisdom and knowledge, the truth quickly becomes a glaring light in the shadows.
We don’t know everything.
The human ego likes to boast about all the things we know, but the simple fact is, for everything we know there are at least three things we don’t. Or, in scientific terms, for those of you who prefer numbers to words:
The Universe is: *
The Possibility of Possibility
Learning happens when we first accept that we don’t know something and open ourselves to an idea we’ve not considered before. In other words, if we want to understand something, we first need to accept that we don’t. Then, we must allow ourselves the freedom to consider the possibilities.
The possibility that there’s more to life, the world, and the universe than we comprehend.
The possibility that, like dark matter and dark energy, there are worlds within worlds and secrets to the cosmos we cannot perceive.
The possibility that there’s a universe of unknown possibilities despite the fact that we cannot discern it.
String Theory suggests there are Ten Dimensions in the known universe. Each dimension embodies what we can or cannot comprehend. In the tenth dimension, everything possible and imaginable is covered. Hidden. Unknowable. Imperceivable.
Understanding the Nature of God?
Perhaps to truly understand the nature of God, we simply need to accept that we cannot understand the nature of God.
Perhaps this is the true test of faith, to believe in something without proof.
To accept the possibility of the possibility because we know we don’t know.
To humble ourselves and allow the universe to be as incomprehensibly spectacular as IT IS.
Photo by William Farlow
*Quote by Ethan Siegel