young-hypochondriac: I know we can’t expect to understand everything about the Bible and God, and that it’s best to just have faith. But over the past few days I’ve been beginning to believe that although the Bible can contain spiritual truth, it doesn’t contain all truth. I believe that because the thought of eternal damnation of people who haven’t accepted Christ clouds my view of God.
My faith seems messy and I’m terrified that I’m getting this all wrong. I’m terrified that I’m ignorantly rejecting truth in order to help me sleep better at night - that I’m creating a faith that caters to my own needs instead of being truthful, and this makes me panicky. I know this is long, and I’m sorry, but these thoughts are like eating me alive, and I think you give great advice, so please deal with meeeee.
Unka Glen answered: Okay, breathe, I’ve you on this. Believe it or not, this is closer to being a good thing than a bad thing. Your walk is progressing beyond a mere pretending to believe a set of doctrines, and choosing to believe nothing more than what you can live with. That’s actually a good thing, as long as God Himself is in the process.
So let’s take this step by step, shall we?
“I know we can’t expect to understand everything about the Bible and God, and that it’s best to just have faith” Actually, no. When we don’t understand things, the virtue we’re looking for is wisdom, not faith. After all, you have to know what it is you’re supposed to have faith in, and how do you know, unless you ask these kinds of questions?
“The Bible…doesn’t contain all truth” Well, of course there are many more specific truths that the Lord would like to tell you, about the world, about yourself, your calling, about His great love for you specifically, etc., than what’s written in the Bible. and again, how are you to hear those things unless you engage Him in conversation?
“The thought of eternal damnation of people who haven’t accepted Christ clouds my view of God” Nobody goes to Hell because they haven’t accepted Christ, the Bible is talking about people who knowingly reject Christ. That’s a huge difference. In fact, the Bible even talks about people who never have a chance to hear the word of God, but they follow God nonetheless, because they follow the things that God puts on their conscience, and “they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts” (Romans 2:14-15).
So obviously God isn’t sending those people to Hell.
“I’m terrified that I’m ignorantly rejecting truth in order to help me sleep better at night” Well, it is a fact that one does not arrive at the truth by staring into space and deciding what’s true. Two plus two equals four. Believe it, doubt it, it’s still four. However, in this case the truth is easy enough to sleep on: Your concern that God is a) bound by a technicality of Scripture, b) less understanding that you, and c) less compassionate than you, turns out to not be the case.
“My faith seems messy and I’m terrified that I’m getting this all wrong” What’s wrong with messy? Messy is good. Messy is REAL. And what, exactly, are you terrified of? You came to a place where you weren’t willing to believe something that turns out to not be true. That’s a good thing as far as I can tell.
In fact, if I could say one last thing about all this, it would be to take these concerns and doubts, and build them into your walk with God. To present them, one at a time, and listen for His answers. (That’s what I do).