Monday, October 12, 2009

On Life: When the Bible is Silent


As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and He has put in there guiding principles for me to live my life by. I’m often amazed at how God uses the Bible to speak to me concerning a situation I’m dealing with, or a choice I have to make. Sometimes it’s a direct commandment, sometimes it’s a guiding principle, sometimes I have to discern what to do from the examples of other people’s lives recorded in the bible, sometimes it’s not my choice but my motives that I am reminded to examine. Several times I might have even made a decision and I just read the Bible to know if God approves or not.

But sometimes I know we face choices that the Bible is silent on. Perhaps it’s a situation that is peculiar to our modern society that did not exist in biblical times. Sometimes it’s a cultural thing, something that the Jewish people did not agree with, but it’s acceptable in our own culture. Sometimes the Bible doesn’t always give us the answers in black and white and we have to find other means of arriving at our own conclusions.

The other day, I was watching a TV programme about space travel. The scientists on the programme were talking about how much time and money has been spent by the US government on the Space Programme and how Russia, China and some other countries were also dedicating mind-boggling sums of money to space exploration so that they can claim territories on the moon and other planets. There was an argument afterwards as to why we human beings have not finished solving the problems we have on Earth, but we are going to space. Someone mentioned that if we dedicated a fraction of the amount of money we have spent on space travel to humanitarian causes, we can end world hunger and world poverty. So where does the bible stand on this? Should we be exploring other frontiers, or should we solve one problem before we go and look for more?

I was listening to the radio a few days ago and the speaker was talking about the choice between burial and cremation. Apparently some Christians have been torn between buying expensive land for burials and choosing cremation as a cheaper option. The bible is silent on this topic, but in biblical times, the Jews placed a big importance on burial. Meanwhile the Greeks, Romans and other cultures cremated their dead. The speaker was saying that if we were faced with such a choice today, will the Bible be a conclusive reference? Should we go by the Jewish culture or should we ignore that, especially now that the world is a crowded place and burial land is now at a premium?

Then there are other personal issues like whether or not to have children. The bible does say that we should “go forth and multiply” but nowadays there are more and more couples that make the decision not to have children for valid reasons. Should we say they are wrong? What about the genotype of your future partner, if you find out that you and your fiancée are both sickle-cell carriers? What about the choice between keeping a pregnancy that resulted from abuse or getting rid of it? What about the issue of a choice between staying in a bad marriage and opting for a divorce? What about culture versus Christianity on the issue of polygamy? (Yes there are some Christians that defend polygamy. I was shocked when I found some books and resources where some people argued that many of the great men in the bible were polygamous and God still blessed them). So if that was not God’s plan, why is the bible silent on such a major topic?

Sometimes the issue is not even that the bible is silent, but it seems to contradict itself. There are many passages that suggest the exact opposite of each other. We then have people split into factions, each side quoting the bible to support their stand. Many churches have been split up over issues that the bible does not have a clear answer, for example: female church leaders, polygamy, eating certain foods, what to do with church leaders that sin, and many more. These generate countless questions that we can debate for hours and years but ultimately we have to come to our own conclusions.

I feel that if I come across a question or a choice that the bible does not adequately address, I have to then go to God directly and ask Him what to do and what to believe. I know don’t have all the answers, I don’t have the full picture and I certainly can’t solve all of the world’s problems. I have one way of knowing if I’m taking the right step: peace. If I feel at peace with my decision, then I’m confident that I’m in God’s will. Now it’s not my place to impose my own view or my own choices on other people for what works for me is not necessarily what will work for everybody. Only God sees all and knows all. I’ll let Him be the judge.

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:41 pm

    Good write up dear. God bless you. There are issues like incest which i have often wondered about too. In biblical times they married their cousins, family members. but at the same time incest was condemned( ammon raped his sister). At the end of the day clarification to prayer and feeling confident in our decision is the way to go. God bless.

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  2. EXACTLY!!!
    You captured some of the things I have been contemplating as a young christian and now I know there are no universal answers to these things that is why I sort of think Walking with God is highly personal and driven by our individual contexts. God bless you!

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  3. The world is changing everyday into something else. I really know that we are in the last days, may God keep us as we all make decisions, miss ya blog. How are you doing? Hope all is well.

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  4. Your last paragraph says it all. Peace with God and live and let live. Nice post and very insightful.

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  5. I loved reading this post. I've always felt a strong conviction in my heart that we are not meant to judge people in anyway but to strengthen them with prayers wherever we may feel that we disagree. Unfortunately a lot of the Church family don't do this, there are always people who are judging you or looking down on your choices or trying to force their choices on you. I believe the journey for each person's soul is different and God uses us all for different purposes at different times. I wish more people will respect this a little bit more.

    I always say to people, don't shove your doctrine down my throat, don't stiffle me with it, but please pray for me and if truly the God I serve is the the God you serve and my God is MAGNIFICENT, your prayers of good will manifest in me.

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  6. I loved reading this post. I've always felt a strong conviction in my heart that we are not meant to judge people in anyway but to strengthen them with prayers wherever we may feel that we disagree. Unfortunately a lot of the Church family don't do this, there are always people who are judging you or looking down on your choices or trying to force their choices on you. I believe the journey for each person's soul is different and God uses us all for different purposes at different times. I wish more people will respect this a little bit more.

    I always say to people, don't shove your doctrine down my throat, don't stiffle me with it, but please pray for me and if truly the God I serve is the the God you serve and my God is MAGNIFICENT, your prayers of good will manifest in me.

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  7. IMO, this proves that we should not base our faith on the 'letter' of the Book but rather on the 'spirit' of it.

    If we do, we will discover that GOD is not fixed in time but rather moves before even those things we consider as advancements in time.

    Our spiritual life should be a continuous walk with GOD, an ongoing conversation rather than being based on a set of postulates that are fixed in time.

    Talk to GOD, He's always current.

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  8. I agree with N.I.M.M.O.
    When we are spirit-led, answers are found and things fall into place.

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  9. wow..nice one o..
    these thots go in in most of our minds..there are guiding principles which might not address an issue head-on but will definetly help in 21st century decision making...
    ..but ur last paragraph is the best we can do..cos He has given us the chance to come to Him..and the ability to hear from Him..
    theres nothing like that peace..

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  10. What you said is key "I feel that if I come across a question or a choice that the bible does not adequately address, I have to then go to God directly and ask Him what to do and what to believe..."

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  11. I like your conclusion on going to God directly if the bible doesnt adequately address an issue. Sometimes if I cant find a direct answer in the bible, I pray and let God's peace direct me.

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  12. To start with, the bible discussed all issues partaining to life and Godliness. There is nothing new under heaven only that the issues may not appeared as it is recorded in the bible and this is the reason why the help of the Holy Spirit is required at all times when there is need for decision making on important issues (we need to learn how to hear Him. King David always enquired from God before making any move or a decision.(We all need a personal relatioship with the Holy Spirit to enjoy this privilege). Asking too many questions about some things in the bible may lead to someone losing his or her faith. I believe you understand what i'm trying to say here, you dont query God about his decisions. As concluded by you, a personal understanding of how God speaks to every individual is what is important in individual's walk with God. Good write up and May God continue to bless you.

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  13. To start with, the bible discussed all issues partaining to life and Godliness. There is nothing new under heaven only that the issues may not appeared as it is recorded in the bible and this is the reason why the help of the Holy Spirit is required at all times when there is need for decision making on important issues (we need to learn how to hear Him. King David always enquired from God before making any move or a decision.(We all need a personal relatioship with the Holy Spirit to enjoy this privilege). Asking too many questions about some things in the bible may lead to someone losing his or her faith. I believe you understand what i'm trying to say here, you dont query God about his decisions. As concluded by you, a personal understanding of how God speaks to every individual is what is important in individual's walk with God. Good write up and May God continue to bless you.

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  14. Hi Tolu!
    Got on your blog today dn loving it! Your 25things about me in your about page has some similarities with me sef, I looove going to new places!

    On this post, I blogged on what should guide uson grey areas recently. Twas an issue of kissing before marriage.
    1cor 8 and Romans 14 actually spells out ways for us to know what to do.

    Here's the link:
    Enjoy ma'am

    http://www.imperfectlyperfectlives.com/straightening-the-grey-areas-on-kissing-before-marriage-a-sin-or-not-a-sin/

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I welcome your comments! Thank you.