As I was sanding down an old cot this morning, in preparation for our first grandchild, my mind started to wander.  Afterall, sanding is boring. I reflected on the fact that the older I have become, the less certain I DSC_0432am of many things.

Views that I had held solidly in the past, now, were not as concrete as I thought.  I hasten to add that my faith, belief in God and Scripture are not among these uncertainties although interpretations of some key ideas are.  Some of these uncertainties may include interpretations of Scripture, but others are social and environmental. I was very conservative when I was younger but now I realise that I am on the left of many of my friends. Subtly and imperceptibly I have shifted over time.

I can think of a host of examples where my thinking has changed or mellowed. Whereas once I was a staunch supporter of the 6 twentyfour hour day version of creation – now I see many more (Biblical) possibilities. The role of women in church, the environment, my political views are just some more examples of where my black and whiteness has morphed into something far less concrete and certain.

Being certain has a comfortableness about it. I miss that. In many areas of life I can no longer say with unwavering confidence, “This is the truth and if you don’t believe it, you must be wrong.” You may have a point after all (Michael).

As I was sanding down the frame I wondered why this had happened.  Is it that the realities of life have washed over me?  Is it that now I see some many more complexities though simple experience?

I came to another conclusion although the above might also be true. I think it is mainly that my God is far bigger and more majestic than I ever imagined  60 or even 30 years ago.  The God of Scripture, the universe and life itself has a complexity and omnipotence that cowers my certainty.  His Word has a depth in which I often feel out of my own depth! My brothers in the past said with utmost certainty and conviction that the world was flat and at the centre of the universe.  What do I say now which must cause God to laugh at my puniness and ridiculousness?

That is why I am more uncertain than ever before – and in a way – I am content to be so.


Categories: christian, Christianity | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Uncertainty

  1. I was actually thinking about something remarkably similiar to this today. While I really like to know things for sure (i love math because the answer is the answer), Ive realized that the only thing I really know for absolute certain is that God is almighty and magnificent and unfathomable and if, when I get to heaven, he tells me Id been wrong about something I believed my whole life, well thats alright by me as long as I’m there with him!

  2. mickqhs

    Have to comment on this one! Somehow it is easier for me to identify with someone who admits doubts or uncertainties than with someone who claims full knowledge of Truth. As you, Pieter, said long ago, one of the biggest challenges in life to a thinking person is the paradoxes that life presents. It is the task of holding seeming opposite Truths in constant tension, and being ok with our Creator about this.
    Perhaps a quote from one of the saints may help. ” Do not seek understanding that you might have faith; seek faith that you might understand.”

    • Thanks Mick. That was a quick reply. There is at least one certainty! Yes, I am far more content with the tensions now than earlier. I think of dad’s violin. The strings only made a beautiful sound when held in tension.

  3. I can really relate to this. But above it all, you find that when you hold on in faith, it all makes sense, whether we understand it or not. We just don’t see the whole picture from our little corner of the world.

  4. Kees Wierenga

    I think the path you have trod is quite normal, and am pleased at your conclusion. Better than other conclusions I have seen, which vary from ‘It’s all too overwhelming, I give up” to “It probably doesn’t really matter” to “God can be understood, defined, as long as you excise significant portions of Scripture (the man made stuff)”
    There must be things we can’t know, or be sure of, if God is omnipotent.

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