Are there subjects that even Holy Scripture does not fully explain? If so, why does God allow this?
It is tempting to think that, because it is a revelation, the Bible is a book in which what is revealed is also fully explained. After all, if it leaves you with questions and uncertainties, why do we call it a revelation, right?
However, the idea that Scripture is a complete revelation and leaves nothing unexplained is an overstatement. It is important to affirm that the things that are recorded in the Bible “were written down as warnings for us” (1 Corinthians 10:11), but above all they are so “you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
We understand from this that the human authors of Scripture strove for this ultimate goal (belief in Jesus as Saviour) to be achieved above all. Sometimes, however, we find descriptions or statements in the Bible that are not fully clarified in the way that the contemporary individual would expect.
Here are some examples. We are not told the reasons why evil arose in a perfect world. We do not know how there was liquid water on the surface of the planet when the sun had not yet been created (Genesis 1:2) and the temperature must have been far below zero degrees Celsius, so the Earth should have been wrapped in ice.
We are not told where the light came from on the first day (Genesis 1:3) before the creation of the sun on the fourth day. It is not clear who is the angel of the Lord who appears in the Old Testament and who seems to be a divine being, distinct from God the Father (Judges 6:22; 13:21-22). We also do not know why God took some people to heaven (Enoch, Elijah, Moses). We don’t know why innocent people also die in disasters. We do not know how conception by the Holy Spirit occurred in the case of Mary (Matthew 1:18,20). Scripture is silent about the day of Christ’s second coming (Matthew 24:36).
Why does God allow there to be unanswered questions? There are at least three reasons.
The first reason is pragmatic. We must say that the lack of explanations such as those referred to in the previous paragraph does not prevent Scripture from presenting God to the reader in such a way that the latter comes to believe in Him through Jesus Christ. It seems that the underlying theme is what matters first. Before everything, Scripture was written for practical purposes.
It is important for people to transform on the inside, to change their perspective, to come to believe in God on a practical level, that is, to trust in Him under the circumstances of life. They must be aware of their immutable condition (“the wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23]) so that they can appreciate complete salvation (“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” [Romans 6:23]).
The second reason is cultural. The Bible is written for an audience with a different worldview and perspective on life. For example, the Eastern perspective on time means that those listening to Jesus were not confused when He promised to come but did not specify a date and time. It frustrates us, because we live in the post-clock age. But Scripture is written in accordance with the cultural richness of the first recipients.
The third reason is spiritual. The authors of the biblical books make it clear that God likes to be shrouded in mystery and that we, humans, will always be faced with things that we do not have access to. In Deuteronomy 29:29 we read: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
Not even Solomonic wisdom is enough: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings” (Proverbs 25:2). Non-discovery or the lack of an explanation for all things is meant to require trust in God and dependence on His wisdom. These favourable attitudes towards God are not devoid of substance. They are based on the biblical promises that God is loving, omniscient, and just.
Laurentiu-Florentin Moţ completed his doctoral studies in the field of the New Testament at AIIAS (Philippines). He is a university lecturer and rector of the Adventus University in Cernica, Romania.