The corollary of this is however not a lessened faith or increasing doubt that he exists or is good. Rather, Wright says that his love and trust of God have deepened at the same time.
He lists some different forms of ‘not understanding’ things about God:
– Things that leave him angry or grieved – like evil and suffering
– Things that are morally disturbing – like the Canaanite genocide
– Things that are puzzling – why did God do it that way?
– Things that fill him with gratitude – like the cross
– Things that fill him with hope – like the new creation
And that it is OK to admit this and live with it rather than pretend or mask genuine questions. The Bible itself is full of people asking such questions.
What sort of questions about God do you have, or hear, most often? The ones I get asked most tend to be more philosophical than biblical and they tend to be the ‘morally disturbing’ or ‘angry at God’ type. These are the sorts of questions that threaten faith. Wright’s other types aren’t really threatening.
– ‘Why if God knew unimaginable suffering was going to be unleashed, did he bother to create us and our world?’
– ‘If hell exists would the possibility that one person go there not negate all reason to create in the first place?’
One that I have is of the ‘why this way?’ type – why the long wait for final redemption after the victory of God at the cross and resurrection? Like the first Christians, our cry remains “Marana tha, Come O Lord!” yet it remains unfulfilled.
Wright holds together robust questioning and a deepened faith. This is not easy to do. Is there is a pastoral limit to questioning God? A limit that when transgressed becomes destructive?
But the opposite can be the case as well. When is it destructive NOT to ask questions about God and faith? And what are the results of such ‘dangerous questioning’ being shut down?