By Aaron Brown, Crosswalk.com
Learning Scripture is like learning any subject in school. Practice makes perfect. But before you practice, you have to learn, and everything you learn begins with a question.
What happens when there is no answer?
As a Christian, asking questions should not only be allowed but encouraged.
Does the Bible have an answer to every question a believer could possibly think of? Spend enough time with even the most hardcore Christian, and you will soon discover that even they don’t have an answer to everything. Not having an answer is actually okay.
Faith is not predicated on having an answer, so says the Scripture:
For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Walking by sight means relying solely on answers to lead the way. Faith, therefore, allows for questioning.
The Christian faith does not rely on answers to every question. Belief in God means acceptance of not knowing everything, but still believing He is everything.
After all, the Bible describes God as mysterious (Job 11:7).
His Word offers insight into a lot of questions, just not all. The most important part of the Bible—the story of Jesus—highlights love for God and others as the most important commandments from the Bible.
Nonetheless, asking questions about other subjects can be insightful, too.
Solving a good mystery feels like a worthwhile task, but some mysteries will forever remain unsolved. No matter how you choose to interpret scripture, the following questions have no direct answers.
But not having answers is okay. Christians walk by faith, not by sight.
Here are eight things in the Bible that remain a mystery:
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1. Where Was Eden?
Life for Adam and Eve began so lovely. They had a relationship with God, a home with God, and they ruined their blessing. Their actions introduced the world to sin.
Where was the glorious home they were cast away from?
A river went out from Eden to water the garden. From there it divided and became the source of four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon, which flows through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. Gold from that land is pure; bdellium and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is Gihon, which flows through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, which runs east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. – Genesis 2:10-14
No one knows firsthand what they experienced in Eden. Not only that, but no one precisely knows where the garden was located.
The four rivers mentioned are the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates. The last two rivers are still around today, but not the Pishon and Gihon.
The Garden of Eden must have been in the Middle East based on the Tigris and Euphrates, but where is unclear.
2. Did Dinosaurs Exist?
Modern science has proven dinosaurs to have once existed, but the Bible does not talk about dinosaurs in the way education teaches.
There are two creatures mentioned in the Bible that seem not only monstrous in size but have almost supernatural characteristics when compared to animals today.
Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you. He eats grass like cattle. Look at the strength of his back and the power in the muscles of his belly. He stiffens his tail like a cedar tree; the tendons of his thighs are woven firmly together. His bones are bronze tubes; his limbs are like iron rods. He is the foremost of God’s works; only his Maker can draw the sword against him. – Job 40:15-19
The passage describes the creature in grand detail. This beast is to be respected and feared, especially considering only God’s sword can harm the creature. Is this creature a dinosaur, an elephant, or something else?
If this were a dinosaur, why is there only one? Where are the other dinosaurs?
Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: Thou brakest the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces; Thou gavest him to be food to the people inhabiting the wilderness. – Psalm 74:13-14
This reference of another beast is not as menacing as the Behemoth. Still, this creature is described as being multi-headed. Was David describing actual sea monsters, or something that modern science has since named?
Today, science explains that new animal species are discovered, while others become extinct. These creatures in the Bible seem to have otherworldly origins...but, then again, Earth has had some pretty strange animals like the Tasmanian tiger, the Okapi, and the Portuguese man o' war.
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3. What Happened to the Giants?
Giants were indeed mentioned in the Bible, though not in great detail.
The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. – Genesis 6:4
Why do people not grow to be giants now? Was this a specific race of people?
Other interpretations about the Nephilim describe them as the offspring of fallen angels. They appear in Scripture a very few times.
4. Where Is Evolution?
The Bible does not directly talk about the idea of evolution. While God created all life from man to animal alike, there is no direct description of the evolutionary process.
Evolution is by no means the main concept of scripture—a story of redemption—and thus, it remains a biblical mystery.
5. What about Those Atoms?
Similarly to evolution, there is no direct mention of atoms in the Bible. Science says that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.
The Bible offers no definition and has left the discovery of atoms up to modern science.
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6. Is There Life in Space?
“I want to believe,” was often said by Agent Mulder on the popular show The X-Files. He was obsessed with alien life, unlike his fellow Christian agent, Dana Scully, who held substantial doubt.
There are a number of what appear to be UFOs in Renaissance paintings. These images often depicted holy people or settings, including Mary and Jesus.
The Bible doesn’t offer answers about alien life on other planets. Though if life exists elsewhere, God has created them also.
7. Dating in Biblical Times?
Young Christians who are dating today look to the Bible for guidance. There are plenty of helpful tips for people to discern, such as loving others, expressing forgiveness, and fleeing sexual temptation.
Yet, the Bible does not focus on dating as modern society does. People in the Bible did not date for years before getting married. The culture of the ancient Israel seemed to consist of at least some prearranged marriages.
People in the Bible also married young. Men often had multiple wives. Virginity was valued.
The Bible does not offer any clear Scripture on whether or not arranged marriages are right or wrong, but there is plenty of Scripture to guide couples through the dating process even if those in the Bible themselves did not date.
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8. Why Did People Live So Long in the Bible?
Modern technology has allowed many people to live upwards of 80-90 years, and few live to see 100 or more. This doesn’t account for the people in the Bible like Adam who lived even longer.
And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. – Genesis 5:3
Of course, people tracked time differently before the modern era. Years in that time likely did not equate to what society now considers a year.
What Does All the Mystery Mean?
Having a question with no answer means that God has chosen to keep some knowledge a mystery. Remember that Adam and Eve ate from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They learned information they were never meant to know.
Maybe knowing all the intricacies of the universe would be too much for our human minds. We struggle with sin already.
Maybe God wants us to spend more time loving Him, others, and ourselves, as opposed to trying to solve all of life’s mysteries.
Questions do not mean you should give up your faith. If we could simply find answers for everything we asked, there would be no need for God.
Ignorance, or not knowing, leads us to rely on Him and His will. Where we don’t know, let us each lean on to Him for guidance and understanding.
Sometimes He will reveal. Sometimes He won’t.
Either way, our faith will grow and not be shaken.
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