“I don’t know.” Why is this simple statement so challenging for many of us to say? While I strongly encourage continuing to ask tough questions and expand our knowledge and its applications, I believe there will ultimately be a limit to our knowledge and understanding in many deep and important areas of study. Meaning, that all of us will eventually have to say that 3-word statement. But, can we say we truly and fully know or understand anything?
To answer this question, I believe we must have a strong foundation or starting point. Just like in any math problem, one can not attempt to answer the problem without some initial information to start. Similarly, without a strong foundation, we can not fully know or answer most of the deep and important questions in our lives. Attempting to answer these questions without a clear starting point produces incomplete conclusions and misunderstanding.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7, ESV). This is the starting point needed to provide full knowledge in any subject. For example, look at the debate between Creationism and Evolution. When one considers the Big Bang theory in the absence of God, one is only encountered with further questions that have no clear answers (such as Spontaneous organification). However, starting with God as the source for “the bang” of the universe, many of the subsequent questions can be fully explained and understood. Does this mean a Christian has all the answers to life’s questions?
Unfortunately, even this starting point doesn’t prevent times one has to answer humbly, “I don’t know.” I know I’m not the smartest person (as anyone who knows me will unequivocally agree with that statement!), but I often have to admit the inability to fully explain or provide conclusive answers to deep questions. However, that’s to be expected; it even says this in the Bible. “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us (Deuteronomy 29:29, NLT). In other words, we should acknowledge that many answers in life are fully known by God alone, and it’s not our job to answer them. It’s our job to acknowledge, respect and love Him, trusting He will bring together “all things for good” (Romans 8:28). This, I do know.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NIV).