Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Are There Questions Which God Finds Unanswerable?

"Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable." C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.

There are questions that are unanswerable. For example, my friend Mitch used to tell his wife all the time to not ask questions for which there are no answers.  Women expect men to answer whether or not something looks good on them.  Yet, really men are damned either way.  Either they are not telling the truth or they are patronizing.

To use a little bit more serious example, can you remember a child asking you an unanswerable question? You know the answer, but it is impossible to explain because they do not have the proper framework.  They simply will not understand even when you explain it.

There are questions that we can ask God that are unanswerable. It is not that we stump Him, it is that we do not have the framework or sufficient knowledge to understand the answer.  In Isaiah, it says,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9.
While our thoughts may be significantly higher than a child's, the difference between God's thoughts and our thoughts is infinintly greater.  As Christians, we have to be willing to live with the realization that God will not explain everything to us. And we should appreciate that fact because a God who was completely understandable would not be worthy of worship.

Not that God does not want us to ask questions; faith is not irrational.  God can handle all of our questions; we just cannot handle all the answers.  It can be uncomfortable, but it is a matter of faith to be willing to continue the journey without necessarily understanding.    


  1. Job is a classic test case for this. There was nothing wrong with his questions and God doesn't scorn him for asking them. His point with Job is one about understanding the vastness of the things he questions. God reserves sharper scorn for the "friends" who only made matters worse by opposing Job instead of comforting him. Still, in the end, he meets God.

  2. Yes, Anthansius! I think you are exactly right. You may enjoy something I posted on my other blog: Thanks for reading.