God knows I can be skeptical. In the time I’ve known Him, He has graciously fielded hundreds, if not thousands, of questions from me. Sometimes, Christians will admit to me that they’ve had certain questions or doubts. I always encourage them to ask away. The questions I’ve been most afraid to ask God have always yielded the best answers from Him.
God isn’t threatened by questions. Part of being in God’s image means handling questions with confidence. This doesn’t mean we have all the answers. It means we’re comfortable enough with God and each other to ask.
That said, there’s something about questions I’ve been, well, questioning. Some Christian writers I’ve read pepper the reader with questions. Their intent is to destabilize the certainty of some established belief, doctrine, or practice of the church. This brings the reader to a place of confusion and insecurity. After that, no alternative answer is given. A lot is implied but the reader is basically left with a tangle of irreconcilable perspectives. If we’re honest and humble, the authors conclude, we’ll accept this. Certainty is arrogant.
So I’ve been thinking about questions in the Bible. Here’s the first one: “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). This is the infamous question that led to the fall. Notice how round about the enemy is in his approach. He doesn’t say anything definitive but implies a whole lot. (Mainly, that God can’t be trusted). He brings confusion and conflicting perspectives.
Jesus asked a lot of questions, especially when talking with the Pharisees. He had no problem upending man-made religious traditions through a series of questions. But Jesus’s questions always led to firmer ground. His questions assumed an answer (usually Himself!).
We need to question our questioning. Do our questions lead to solid ground or a sand pit? Are we building up Jesus’s bride or kicking dust in her face? Do we love to lift Jesus up or do we just get off on knocking things down? Are we questioning because of God’s answers or infecting people with our own lack of conviction?
A question is a winding road that leads to a point. At the risk of challenging popular wisdom, it’s *not* just about the journey. The destination matters. Questions for their own sake are spiritually useless. Jesus was the Answer before questions existed. Any question that doesn’t lead to Jesus as the answer probably isn’t from God.