“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
Genesis 3:4-5 reads: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:4-5 violates a fundamental reality of the natural moral law…coming from two directions.
First, God is slandered and mischaracterized by Satan in the most subtly deceptive way…through the character assassination of unsupported, untrue innuendo.
Second, Adam and Eve violated the natural moral law by not exercising commendably patient and inquiring faith, confidence, and reliance upon God and the truthfulness of His word…not giving God the benefit of the doubt…in essence calling into question God’s character and moral integrity.
Paul writes in Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…”
Salvation through Christ, and a subsequent Holy Spirit led faith-journey through life…solves our failing half of the Genesis 3:4-5 problem for all eternity…because it places our faith, confidence, and reliance in a person…God…who merits and can capably sustain the high quality of this trust relationship for all time.
It is the divine quality of the object of our faith and confidence…God…that solves our half of the fall in the Garden of Eden.
This helps us to clarify and to understand John 8:36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
A faith-journey that establishes a relationship with God…to know Him…protects us from the temptation of autonomous rebellion (Isa. 53:6) in the kingdom of God for all eternity…possessing forever after the free-will capacity and seasoned good judgment to follow the leadership of God…rather than disastrously going our own way.
The certainty of absolute knowledge produced by Jesus walking into the temple after His resurrection…for example…extending down through the centuries to modern times…does not support or equate into a faith-journey into the “all truth” of John 16:13…because we could still remain in self-sovereignty sitting atop the thrones of our lives…even while having this certain knowledge.
The possibility of success or failure within a journey of faith does not exist within knowledge that is certain (Heb. 11:1). Trust and faith generated within a personal relationship needs the uncertainty of lived experience…having risk…thus the need for a delicate balance of belief and unbelief.
In my own journey of faith following Jesus Christ, my problem is not that I do not have faith in God…my problem most of the time is that I do not have faith in myself.
My doubt…in the middle of a personal challenge…is that my own faults and shortcomings will sabotage God’s will and way for my life…that I can somehow manage to mess-up the straight and narrow way that I know is in my best interests.
There is therefore not only a delicate balance between belief and unbelief in the outside world as a whole…in accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior…but there exists also a fine-tuned, delicate balance between belief and unbelief in my personal journey of faith with God.
This is a zone of active inquiry…divinely set-up by God in a delicately balanced, dynamic relationship between two people…a person and God…wherein we can obtain a knowledge of good and evil that could not possibly actualize on the cheap by impulsively eating some fruit from a tree in the Garden of Eden.
Human nature strives to create stability and security in our lives. We want to work in one career…preferably for one company, build-up a “nest-egg”…saving enough money for retirement, live in the same home in a safe community, have a happy and stable marriage and family-life…within a long and healthy life-span free from external political turmoil, natural disasters, and the threat of foreign wars.
These are all commendable and praise-worthy goals in compliance with the commandment to “occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13)…but that can never generate the tension between belief and unbelief in our journeys of faith that will unearth the subtle issues underlying good and evil.
God does not reveal the entire details of His life-script for Abraham…in crafting Abraham into the father-of-faith for multitudes of people as numerous as the stars in the night sky…including the long wait for the birth of Isaac and the culminating challenge of faith on Mount Moriah.
God does this for the best and highest of long-range reasons…not out of malice or ill-intent.
The two dreams of Joseph as a teenager in Canaan (Gen. 37:5-10) did not specify…left out entirely…the thirteen-year period of apprenticeship for Joseph in Potiphar’s house and in Pharaoh’s prison…in preparation to capably become governor in Egypt during a great famine.
I would posit the notion that all of the narrative stories of faith in the Bible have this element of incomplete revelation of information… so that God can set up and maintain the tension between belief and unbelief in our relationship with Him.
This brilliantly and skillfully produces the delicate balance between belief and unbelief that will lead and motivate us into the discovery of all truth…a possession of individual discovery in joint-venture with God…of incalculable value we can enjoy forever.
If we have the entire program upfront…all of the details of the playbook…of our God-composed life-script…then the “leading” part of the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth (Mt. 16:13) falls downward a level into the unexceptional and unremarkable category of mere factual knowledge…a program of “paint by the numbers” self-works to earn salvation…rather than the eternally beneficial process of getting to know God…like Paul in Philippians 3:10…that will set us free from the temptation of autonomous self-rulership for all time to come.
Matthew 6:19-38, in the Sermon of the Mount, beautifully encapsulates the departure from worldly conventional normalcy that is the demarcation point into a “risky” zone of discovery…when Christians take up their cross to follow Jesus.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33)…is the core, basic root of every adventure of faith in the Bible. It is the diametric opposite of “seek ye first your own way” and take care of “me, myself, and I”…first before anything else.
This delicate balance between belief and unbelief in the practical, everyday working-out of the details in our personal walk of faith following God…again is a transcendent reality that validates the divine inspiration of the Bible…and a God-composed journey of faith. It is far outside of the reach of human creative invention and imaginative contemplation.
That this concept of the delicate balance of belief and unbelief…in the outside world as a whole and in our Christian adventures of faith…could or would be the product of a naturalistic explanation…is an issue worthy of exploration.
But in my opinion, any naturalistic causation here falls far short of a rational worldview…when taking into account our innate, transcendent capacity for moral reasoning.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.
For those interested…my book Inspirational Thoughts for Christians…a book making apologetic arguments for the divine origin of the Bible…is a free Kindle ebook on Amazon on Friday 1/11.