Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Why does God allow the Bible to be so "unclear" at times?

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  • Why does God allow the Bible to be so "unclear" at times?

    I'm a Catholic questioning my faith for the first time and beginning to genuinely consider the validity of atheism, and this question came to me. I brought this same question up to a Catholic Forum, and these being Catholics, they explained how my questions work against sola scriptura. Most responders talked about how important the Church is to interpreting the faith. One explained how God's Divine Law is said to use both Scripture and Sacred Tradition to infallibly teach it.

    Most responses I've gotten so far explained that God gave us the Church, only one Church, and other denominations are just considered to be due to human weakness. They say these other denominations have formed because they don't have the Church to interpret Scripture. I'd assume questions related to why God allows us weakness in this important aspect would be answered using free will as justification. This one Church was given by God before the Bible was written, and one person justified the variances within the Bible by explaining how the different authors had different perspectives and fields of knowledge.

    I felt like this would be a good question to bring to Protestants, which would assumedly give me a much different theistic answer. Here was my question (unedited):

    "Unclear" may not be the best word to use in the title, but I didn't really know how to condense my thoughts.

    I know Christians/Catholics don't consider the Bible to have any contradictions, and regardless of whether this is true, why does God allow to Bible to seem like it could have contradictions? Why does God allow the Bible to be left up to so many interpretations that there's multiple denominations of the Christian faith?

    If the Bible is to be the infallible Word of God, why didn't God make it clearer?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Balaco View Post
    If the Bible is to be the infallible Word of God, why didn't God make it clearer?
    Do you like rockets?

    I really like reading about rockets. There is a famous algebra equation called the 'Rocket Equation' that describes in simple terms the relationship between the weight of the empty rocket, the weight of the fuel, the speed of the exhaust and how fast it can go. The Rocket Equation is simple enough for any High School student to use and an excellent tool for getting answers for calculations starting and ending at relatively low velocities.

    The problem with the Rocket Equation is that it does not represent reality. At the speeds we typically deal with, the error is so small that it cannot even be measured. In reality, as the rocket travels faster, it's mass increases so that as it approaches the speed of light, the mass of the rocket becomes infinite.

    This is all simple math and physics.

    So what happens when we move from something simple like physics, to something complex like God, the creator of Physics ... who is himself, not bound by the laws of physics that He created.

    So there are truths in the bible that are like the Rocket Equation. They are easy to use and understand and are useful for dealing with the 99% of the time where we normally live. I do something wrong and I know it and I want to know what to do to not feel so wrong any more ... the answer is in there and it is clear. It is NOT one of the things that we need to wonder about or debate. What does GOD say? Is it clear?

    I think so.

    However, God is also the creator of quantum mechanics and relativity. There are things in the Bible that touch on truths too deep for any man to understand. They are not placed there so we can never understand them. They are placed there so that when someone needs to understand them, the Holy Spirit can open your eyes to one of the deep things of God.

    If you want a simple religion, written by one man to appeal to men, I suggest Confusionism. If you are looking for Truth, a glimpse at the infinite mind of an infinite God, then I respectfully submit that some confusion just goes with the territory. The fact of the matter is that nothing important is confusing, and nothing confusing is essential.

    If you have specific questions about specific verses, ask. If someone can explain it, then it was time for you to learn that. If you can't understand, then God says that you don't need that information yet.


    When I was first learning scripture, I would just take note of those verses that I didn't understand and if God didn't explain before I get to heaven, I'll just have him explain it to me.
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    • #3
      This might sound like a cop-out to some people, but I don't necessarily believe we are meant to understand everything. In fact, it runs the risk of being slightly arrogant to think we could possibly comprehend the infinite wisdom of an all-knowing God. Which is not meant as any kind of criticism of you at all, Balaco. We all (I think) wrestle with understanding His will sometimes. Ultimately, it's all a matter of faith and trust anyway.
      Comment>

      • #4
        Welcome to the forum Balaco.

        Originally posted by Balaco View Post
        "Unclear" may not be the best word to use in the title, but I didn't really know how to condense my thoughts.

        I know Christians/Catholics don't consider the Bible to have any contradictions, and regardless of whether this is true, why does God allow to Bible to seem like it could have contradictions? Why does God allow the Bible to be left up to so many interpretations that there's multiple denominations of the Christian faith?

        If the Bible is to be the infallible Word of God, why didn't God make it clearer?

        I believe, as do many others, that the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word of God (scriptures) 1 Corinthians 2:14. By reading the Bible, we actively seek him and by repetition and commitment we can understand most of the content in the Bible with confidence. Yes, there is division over scripture within the church, but just because people are flawed this does not even hint that the Word of God is fallible.

        I just ran across a cool, little guide to studying the Bible that might help. It said we should, before reading, prepare ourselves to take in the Word, which itself is living Hebrews 4:12. When we read or study, there are a few things we can ask ourselves:

        1. What is the literal meaning ( if there is one)
        2. what is the historical significance
        3. what is the context
        4. what in the Bible relates or is compatible with what's read
        5. Does what you are reading relate to Christ
        6. What is it's application in modern times


        -I know the Bible appears to have contradictions, but when you genuinely seek the truth you can make sense of these "contradictions."


        -It is also wise to consult those whom are more mature in their faith then you that they might also guide you in scripture.


        -Be careful however, people love to twist scriptures and take them out of context e.g. prosperity gospel. This is why it is so important you read the Bible often for yourself.
        Comment>

        • #5
          God doesn't simply "allow" things to be unclear at times, but makes them unclear to outsiders:
          • Mark 4:11-12 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

          Compare to:
          • Exodus 4:11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
          • Deuteronomy 29:4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            And I just want to say, that believing another whether the Catholic church or our favorite commentator is no substitute for believing, and understanding God's Word for ourselves. If we cannot see for ourselves .... but must rely on a seeing eye dog than we are still blind. And I do not mean that there is not a place for the office of teacher.

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Balaco View Post
              If the Bible is to be the infallible Word of God, why didn't God make it clearer?
              So we would work though the challenges and it would sharpen us. I just finished this short book. Worth reading just for understanding the how we got the Bible: How the Bible Came to Be (Ebook Shorts) by J. Daniel Hays — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post
                And I just want to say, that believing another whether the Catholic church or our favorite commentator is no substitute for believing, and understanding God's Word for ourselves. If we cannot see for ourselves .... but must rely on a seeing eye dog than we are still blind. And I do not mean that there is not a place for the office of teacher.

                God bless,
                William
                The person I trust least in fully understanding God's word is myself. I agree we must see it for ourselves but we must also guard against a superficial reading and remember that teachings in our youth can influence our thinking. We all need help from others in furthering our understanding. Otherwise this forum would be pointless. That is not to diminish the work of the HS. Still, it requires work on our part.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  God has given us something better than answers. He gave us a person. He gave us THE Answer.

                  Jesus had this to say to those who thought that they would find life in comprehending texts. They they would not come to the Author.

                  There are many intellectually satisfying answers to the apparent contradictions, but if you knew them all it wouldn't help you. Our trust rests in a person.

                  "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    So basically, don't get so hung up on reading that you don't establish the personal connection? I do think sometimes that excessive regimentation and organization can actually get in the way of finding true spirituality. The Bible might be the Word of God, but organized religion is man-made and as such is flawed. Not saying that churches don't serve a valuable purpose, but ultimately it's about you and Him, in your own heart.

                    Christ said wherever two people gather in His name, there He is.
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                    • #11
                      As I think Brian was hinting we read to become closer to him. The word became flesh and dwelt among us John 1:14.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by William View Post
                        God doesn't simply "allow" things to be unclear at times, but makes them unclear to outsiders:
                        What do you mean by "outsiders"? Non-Christians? Wouldn't this just sway people away from the faith, as the Bible would come off as contradictory and unreliable?
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Balaco View Post

                          What do you mean by "outsiders"? Non-Christians? Wouldn't this just sway people away from the faith, as the Bible would come off as contradictory and unreliable?

                          Read the Scriptural references I provided. And many do turn away from the faith Read John Chapter 6.

                          William
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Balaco View Post
                            I'm a Catholic questioning my faith for the first time and beginning to genuinely consider the validity of atheism, and this question came to me. I brought this same question up to a Catholic Forum, and these being Catholics, they explained how my questions work against sola scriptura. Most responders talked about how important the Church is to interpreting the faith. One explained how God's Divine Law is said to use both Scripture and Sacred Tradition to infallibly teach it.

                            Most responses I've gotten so far explained that God gave us the Church, only one Church, and other denominations are just considered to be due to human weakness. They say these other denominations have formed because they don't have the Church to interpret Scripture. I'd assume questions related to why God allows us weakness in this important aspect would be answered using free will as justification. This one Church was given by God before the Bible was written, and one person justified the variances within the Bible by explaining how the different authors had different perspectives and fields of knowledge.

                            I felt like this would be a good question to bring to Protestants, which would assumedly give me a much different theistic answer. Here was my question (unedited):

                            Because none of them understood that they need to hear the voice of God and obey his commandments before being led to the truth. They search the scriptures without knowing God or ever hearing his voice so this leads them to their own conclusions to what they think the scriptures are telling them.

                            Revelation 3:
                            20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
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