As Christians who have, for the most part, grown up in the Western tradition, we desire certainty in our lives. In other words, we want a doubtless knowledge of both the validity of our Christian faith as well as for our future experiences in life. I am not nearly qualified enough to answer the first part of this desired certainty, so I will ignore it and skip to the less tricky second part. This second part deals with our inability to see into our own future and have indubitable knowledge of what will happen. We yearn to have certainty about our future, whether it be who we marry, what career we have, or where we live. The only problem is, we cannot possess this knowledge. From this, we are often flooded with anxieties. The root of these anxieties is our incessant craving for omniscience (all-knowing). I want to argue that this type of certainty and desire for omniscience is contrary to the Christian life, and that the Christian should fight for joy amidst the unknown.
To begin with, God created Adam and Eve with limited knowledge. Adam and Eve had many certainties, but God did not give them perfectly complete knowledge. They certainly knew God in a deeply relational way, but their relational certainty with God did not equate to an all-knowing certainty about truth, the world, or the future. This all knowing certainty about truth, the world, and the future was and is reserved for God.
The Creator is always greater than the created. And in this instance, God’s omniscience is a mark of his divinity and power above his creation. This is an important truth. Mankind was not created for the purpose of perfect omniscient certainty, but for the purpose of perfect relationship with God. God’s purpose for man was for his own glory to be demonstrated through intimate communion. Now, what does that mean for us? It means that our desire for omniscience is not just foolish, but it is an idol that we have created in place of knowing God. This may seem obvious, but think about all of the times you have struggled with this temptation.
In fact, this struggle is not peculiar to our present generation. Lack of knowledge is exactly what Satan used to tempt Eve into disobedience. With sly words, the snake tempted Eve with the ability to acquire God-like knowledge. The knowledge of good and evil. Eve was willing to rebel against God’s created purpose for her to obtain a knowledge that God had not given to her, nor created her for.
We fall into the same temptation as Eve. We wrestle with our humanity and lust after knowledge that we cannot have. Eve’s disobedience took the form of eating an apple. Our disobedience takes the form of anxiety and prideful living (living for own glory).
I hope I have made it clear that future certainty is not only contrary to the Christian life, but that it is unnatural for man. The next question then is, how do we fight back against the temptation to let our unknown future lead us to anxiety and not joy? I believe we must simply humble ourselves to our role as created image bearers of God, and recognize who God is.
We are not completely independent agents made for our own purpose. No, as stated before, we are made for the glory of God, and were created to live with complete dependence upon God for everything. Thus, recognize your God-designed frailty. God created us to be dependent upon him, and part of that dependence means trusting him for our future. Our chief pursuits need to be rooted in our fellowship with God, and not in our anxious thoughts about the future. It is in intimacy with God where we can find the certainty that we were made for. The certainty of God’s benevolent, good, gracious, loving, and sanctifying will for our lives. We can take heart in God’s character. We can trust him to lead us by his sovereign hand. Act, fight, serve, and rest your heart in God’s faithful covenantal relationship with you. It is in this way that we properly live in peace and joy amidst uncertainty, and serve our Creator and King. So, in a sea of uncertainty, we can be certain of God’s great desire for us.