Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 12: What to Do with Doubt
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Many, especially those who are young in the
Christian life, are at times troubled with the
suggestions of skepticism. There are in the
Bible many things which they cannot explain, or even
understand, and Satan employs these to shake their
faith in the Scriptures as a revelation from God. They
ask, "How shall I know the right way? If the Bible
is indeed the word of God, how can I be freed from
these doubts and perplexities?"
God never asks us to believe, without giving
sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His
existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word,
are all established by testimony that appeals to our
reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has
never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith
must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those
who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those
who really desire to know the truth will find plenty
of evidence on which to rest their faith.
It is impossible for finite minds fully to comprehend
the character or the works of the Infinite One.
To the keenest intellect, the most highly educated
mind, that holy Being must ever remain clothed in
mystery. "Canst thou by searching find out God?
canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper
than hell; what canst thou know?" Job 11:7, 8. [p. 106]
The apostle Paul exclaims, "O the depth of the
riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways
past finding out!" Romans 11:33. But though "clouds
and darkness are round about Him," "righteousness
and judgment are the foundation of His throne."
Psalm 97:2, R.V. We can so far comprehend His dealings
with us, and the motives by which He is actuated,
that we may discern boundless love and mercy
united to infinite power. We can understand as much
of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and
beyond this we must still trust the hand that is omnipotent,
the heart that is full of love.
The word of God, like the character of its divine
Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully
comprehended by finite beings. The entrance of sin
into the world, the incarnation of Christ, regeneration,
the resurrection, and many other subjects presented in
the Bible, are mysteries too deep for the human mind
to explain, or even fully to comprehend. But we have
no reason to doubt God's word because we cannot
understand the mysteries of His providence. In the
natural world we are constantly surrounded with
mysteries that we cannot fathom. The very humblest
forms of life present a problem that the wisest of
philosophers is powerless to explain. Everywhere are
wonders beyond our ken. Should we then be surprised
to find that in the spiritual world also there are
mysteries that we cannot fathom? The difficulty lies
solely in the weakness and narrowness of the human
mind. God has given us in the Scriptures sufficient
evidence of their divine character, and we are not to [p. 107] doubt His word because we cannot understand all
the mysteries of His providence.
The apostle Peter says that there are in Scripture
"things hard to be understood, which they that are
unlearned and unstable wrest . . . unto their own
destruction." 2 Peter 3:16. The difficulties of
Scripture have been urged by skeptics as an argument
against the Bible; but so far from this, they constitute
a strong evidence of its divine inspiration. If it
contained no account of God but that which we could
easily comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could
be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not
bear the unmistakable credentials of divine authority.
The very grandeur and mystery of the themes
presented should inspire faith in it as the word of God.
The Bible unfolds truth with a simplicity and a
perfect adaptation to the needs and longings of the
human heart, that has astonished and charmed the
most highly cultivated minds, while it enables the
humblest and uncultured to discern the way of
salvation. And yet these simply stated truths lay hold
upon subjects so elevated, so far-reaching, so infinitely
beyond the power of human comprehension, that we
can accept them only because God has declared them.
Thus the plan of redemption is laid open to us, so that
every soul may see the steps he is to take in repentance
toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,
in order to be saved in God's appointed way; yet
beneath these truths, so easily understood, lie mysteries
that are the hiding of His glory—mysteries that overpower
the mind in its research, yet inspire the sincere
seeker for truth with reverence and faith. The more [p. 108] he searches the Bible, the deeper is his conviction that
it is the word of the living God, and human reason
bows before the majesty of divine revelation.
To acknowledge that we cannot fully comprehend
the great truths of the Bible is only to admit that the
finite mind is inadequate to grasp the infinite; that
man, with his limited, human knowledge, cannot
understand the purposes of Omniscience.
Because they cannot fathom all its mysteries, the
skeptic and the infidel reject God's word; and not all
who profess to believe the Bible are free from danger
on this point. The apostle says, "Take heed, brethren,
lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief,
in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12. It
is right to study closely the teachings of the Bible and
to search into "the deep things of God" so far as they
are revealed in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:10. While
"the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,"
"those things which are revealed belong unto us."
Deuteronomy 29:29. But it is Satan's work to pervert
the investigative powers of the mind. A certain pride
is mingled with the consideration of Bible truth, so
that men feel impatient and defeated if they cannot
explain every portion of Scripture to their satisfaction.
It is too humiliating to them to acknowledge that they
do not understand the inspired words. They are unwilling
to wait patiently until God shall see fit to reveal
the truth to them. They feel that their unaided human
wisdom is sufficient to enable them to comprehend the
Scripture, and failing to do this, they virtually deny
its authority. It is true that many theories and
doctrines popularly supposed to be derived from the Bible
have no foundation in its teaching, and indeed are [p. 109] contrary to the whole tenor of inspiration. These
things have been a cause of doubt and perplexity
to many minds. They are not, however, chargeable
to God's word, but to man's perversion of it.
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