God Is Not Logical


Those of us who believe in God credit him with being in control of “all things”. And we mean it. He is control of absolutely everything. We run into trouble, though, when we start trying to piece that together logically. We try to add up the causes to equal the effect or lay out the events in sequence so that they make sense.?But God doesn’t always make sense. He is a puzzling being who often leaves us baffled and frustrated.

God is good and loving. He doesn’t do bad things. But he’s in control of bad things. So that means he is responsible for tragedies without being at fault for them.?Huh? That doesn’t make any sort of logical sense.?By our logic, 2+2 = 4 and anyone responsible for bad is guilty of it.

Those delightful debates over election and soteriology rest in the fact that God doesn’t make logical sense. God decides who will be saved and who won’t; He chooses His elect. Yet we’re all responsible for our own actions and face judgment for our sins. It doesn?t seem particularly good to judge people for actions that were predetermined beforehand. Or is it that each of has free will and chooses pour own way, and somehow God is sovereign over our liberty. Logically, that doesn?t make sense either. It sort of lets God off the hook, but it sounds dumb. Now I’m flustered. ?God makes no sense.

What if our seeking to ?make sense? of God is based in the wrong place? What if 2+2=4 isn?t the right system of thought for understanding God? We seek to limit God to something we call logic, but what if that isn?t enough?

God is not logical because logic is for the finite and the fallible. It is a structure created and given by God so that beings with limited knowledge cold solve problems and have a reasonable world. Logic is a framework for understanding created beings and their doings, but God is not created. He is not finite. And He is not bound by logic. What we see as the ultimate basis of understanding is not ultimate at all. It is a created thing too.

To say God is not logical isn?t to say he is illogical. No, God is beyond logic. He is, as the bible puts it, “inscrutable”. He is outside our ability to understand. What we understand of God is but a sliver of who is, revealed to us out kindness. He doesn’t fail to make sense. To accuse Him of such is blasphemous. We simply don’t have the limitless knowledge to understand him.

It is fair to say that God doesn’t make sense but not to say that God isn’t sensible. It is never fair or right to make a judgment of God based on a lack of logic. Think of a father who can stay up late, drink caffeine, and watch scary movies but doesn?t let his second grader do the same. Why is that ok? What?s right for the parent isn’t always right for the child. The child won?t understand this, may get frustrated at it, but must abide by it. It?s what?s best. In the same way (only infinitely more so) what’s right in the mind of the creator won?t be understood by the created as right all the time. It?s not that He is playing us; we simply cannot understand. It may be frustrating, but we must abide by it. It?s what?s best.

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What To Do When God’s Word Doesn’t Give Answers

I’m a kind of guy who likes answers. I don’t like ambiguity or gray areas. When I get sick, I want to know exactly what I have, which sometimes leads to me getting on WebMD and trying to do self-diagnosis. Getting on WebMD and looking up my symptoms is never helpful though. I always come away feeling confused and thinking that I either have a cold, liver failure, or some rare form of nasal cancer. But I keep going back because I want answers.

Sometimes I treat the Bible like the Internet, as if the Bible is God’s big book of answers. And that often presents a problem, because on a lot of issues, the Bible is silent. God doesn’t tell me exactly how election and free will work together. He tells me that he is perfectly just, but he doesn’t tell me how he will be just with people who haven’t heard the gospel. He tells me that he works all suffering for good, but he doesn’t take me behind the scenes to show me exactly how everything is working for good.

So what should I do when I have questions that God doesn’t answer? I find the words of John Calvin helpful here:

Let us use great caution that neither our thoughts nor our speech go beyond the limits to which the Word of God itself extends. For how can the human mind measure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little measure…? Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. But we shall be “leaving it to him” if we conceive him to be as he reveals himself to us, without inquiring about him elsewhere than from his Word. And let us not take it into our heads either to seek out God anywhere else than in his sacred Word, or to think anything about him that is not prompted by his Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from his Word. (Quoted in “Historical Theology”, pg. 155)

In other words, I need to let God be God. When he is silent on an issue, I need to be okay with that and not look for answers elsewhere. I need to shut my mouth, marvel at his glory, and humbly submit to him.