"Does God love the Devil?"
That question came to me from my son back when he was very, very small.
As a formal student for 16 years and a formal educator for 9 years, I expect questions to have answers. That's the nature of test, quizzes, and exams. In fact, naturally a question without an answer seems useless to me.
But is it?
Not to say that there is no answer to such questions. But sometimes the answer is not known, or at least not clear.
We speak of rhetorical questions and recognize their utility. But although such questions are not necessarily answered overtly, the answer is usually obvious or implied.
But perhaps sometimes the very existence of certain questions is instructive enough?
"My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?"
Of all moments in the life of Christ, this one stands out to me as revealing His humanity most clearly. At the least, it reflects the question we start asking as a toddler and keep asking until we close our eyes in death: why, why, why?
Perhaps you have heard of the Socratic method? I'm no expert on philosophy or methods of instruction. But it does seem that Socrates understood the great value of a well placed question.
Yet, he was by no means the originator of this practice. Just read God's great monologue to Job in Job 38-41. There we find mostly questions, and very few answers. The overall answer seems obvious enough, but still, specific answers are neither requested nor are they offered.
I have questions too; questions that reveal more about my own heart than I am eager to admit. My questions reveal doubt, ignorance, weakness, stubbornness, selfishness, and impatience.
How can life be so sweet and so bitter simultaneously? Why is it that the more we have, the less we seem to be capable of appreciating it?
When opportunities to do well present themselves, how can we know when to say yes and when to say no? We can't do all good things, can we?
How is it that children are such obvious sinners and yet at the same time their fleeting relative innocence is perhaps their greatest treasure? Why do adults often become increasingly moral in their deportment, while at the same time their hearts become more and more devious?
Why did God create us with deep curiosity and strong hungers while concurrently placing borders, walls, and restrictions around those cravings? Why put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden in the first place? Why not destroy Lucifer completely the very moment he fell?
Why do Christians repeatedly divide and subdivide into factions, camps, denominations, parties, and teams when we are clearly told that we are one; that our love for one another would be our defining characteristic? Why does our desire for peace and our desire for truth often bring us to such different places?
Of course, some of my questions reflect topics addressed one way or another in holy writ. Why do so many noble characters die young while many ignoble ones live on and on? When will God put an end to His enemies and establish His kingdom on earth? Who are the least among us? What will we do in eternity?
We have to be careful, of course. The Bible commands us to avoid foolish and unlearned questions (2nd Timothy 2:23). So, if I am a fool... move on. Ignore me. Avoid me.
But what if these questions are legitimate? What if there is something even deeper than my fallen perspective that feeds my inquisitive spring? What if some of these interrogatives are the most important of all questions? We are still looking through smoky glass. Ultimately what I am after; the thing I crave, is a better grasp of the nature of God.
I trust in the character He has revealed; at least I believe it. But there are so many facets to His ways that transcend my experience; that far exceed my finite cognitive abilities.
His ways are unattainable. Unsearchable. He is infinite.
Yet I want to know Him. I want to understand. I want to see. I want to be confident that He is pleased with me. I want my earthly father's nature subdued and my heavenly Father's nature to flourish.
Except when I don't.
Sometimes I just want to taste of every dainty on Satan's smorgasbord. Sometimes I just want to make sure that I haven't missed anything significant. Sometimes I just want to stop the pain, if only temporarily. Sometimes the cost and the consequences don't matter to me.
That's when one of the biggest and best questions arises in my mind: why hasn't God given up on me? Whatever that answer, I know that it is found in who He is, not in who I am.