by Sam Morse
I was halfway through a Sunday sermon, roughly two decades ago, and I remember a preacher simply reaching a conclusion that he truly believed to be sound and God given. My thought immediately in that moment was, “That’s either completely wrong or I don’t like this God he is telling me about”. The guilt of that thought swept over me like an ocean wave. I realized that I did not like the God that was being presented to me. What was worse, was this thought was now in the universe and I truly believed that He knew everything that crossed my mind. Then the bargaining game begins. I pleaded with this unseen holy figure to please, please disregard that thought. Do not damn me to an eternity in hell because of my doubtful misguided thoughts. I didn’t mean it.
I was fully aware deep down, however, that I absolutely meant it.
I have no idea if this is more of a personal story or a shared experience, but I was completely and utterly terrified of the God of my childhood. No matter how many times someone would point a rainbow out and declare, “There is the promise that God will never destroy the earth again with a flood. Isn’t it beautiful?”, (as per the story of Noah) I would still automatically remember that this was still the God who at his core had the capability of the massive destructive flood based on the disappointment he felt towards what he created. I felt he demanded and required my complete respect…and fear. The only thing separating me from salvation, is my broken and flawed predisposition. I also felt I would most likely never meet this God due to my sceptical hidden thoughts. As I grew in education and capability, I studied the Bible thoroughly, and my doubts had only increased. He must be aware of my doubts. He must have already realized that my professions of love and commitment are only to secure my eternal salvation.
The problem I reached as a young Christian in the church is that once these ideas creep into my mind it just started this unending cycle of guilt and shame. Now that I am older, I am not afraid to ask these questions anymore. If God exists then he is already fully aware of what I am thinking. Also statistically (in a world of 7 billion people of which 2 billion recognize themselves as Christian) I am not even close to being the only one to have thought and internally grappled with these questions and doubts. I have reached a healthy place asking these questions, because if God is all powerful and all knowing then it is pointless to hide them. Also if God gave consciousness to his creation then the most natural aspect of that ability is to ask questions. Questions lead to the best aspects of humanity when used with love and understanding. When we meet new cultures and ask honest questions to understand them more (instead of invading with violence) we connect and become closer. When a doctor is faced with a new disease, the more questions he asks the patient and himself the more likely he is to get to root cause of the ailment. When a scientist is faced with an unknown anomaly in our world the stronger the question (or hypothesis) the more likely he is to make a break through discovery.
I believe that the God who created the ability for us to ask questions must love questions. If questioning our environment only leads to breakthroughs and discovery, then perhaps questioning Him will only lead us to a deeper understanding and a richer relationship. Everyday scientists are constantly reminded of the never ending complexity of our universe. If God is the creator of this Universe...then perhaps we don’t even fully understand the complexity of this amazing creator. Guess we have a lot more questions to ask, don’t you think? I do.