Recognising Our Limitations
Why do we need to have everything nailed down? How is it that so many of us are uncomfortable with uncertainty? What is the place of mystery in seeking the balance between absolute certainty and a deep underlying uncertainty on biblical or theological matters? The reality is that as weak and fragile human beings, we need to come to the Scriptures with deep underlying humility. Yes, God has given us the Spirit to lead us into all truth, but we are required to recognise that we don't always get it right when interpreting the Scriptures or developing theological positions. Sometimes we impose our cultural understanding on a passage, which results in cultural distortion and a failure to get to grips with the scriptural author's intended meaning. At other times, we must choose between several possible meanings recognising that our personal or theological bias may push us in one direction rather than another. At the same time, others follow their own but different biases. Likewise, there are times when we need to appreciate that we are dealing with theological issues beyond our ability to comprehend and be comfortable with holding two apparently opposing truths in tension and, in the process, accept the mystery. In saying this, I am not suggesting the Scriptures are unclear, but that there are parts of Scripture that we need to work hard at understanding and also we need to be comfortable with accepting the mystery of that which is beyond our ability to reconcile. This perspective is not an invitation to be lazy or sloppy in our handling of God's word, but rather a recognition of our limitations and fallibility as weak and fragile human beings.