Having had a number of Question Nights at my church, I’ve learned a little about how and why people ask questions.
Asking questions of faith is important and good. But we’re not really thinking about simply information-seeking questions. What people are normally chewing are the Big Questions. Like, how can I reconcile God’s goodness with suffering in the world? Or, how free is our human will? For someone who has some familiarity with the Biblical story made they’ve asked: How could God apparently command the slaughter of Canaanites?
These are big questions that are not to be lightly skipped past. They’re serious and they matter. Every serious person of faith, or reader of the Bible, has probably wrestled at least a bit with ones like them. But as we ask our question, let’s ask ourselves, why are we wrestling?
Sometimes we wrestle because we want an answer we don’t have. Some things are really unknown. We can be wrestling in order to make sense of something. Like how can God be good and permit/allow/ordain suffering? (That question is super old, by the way, so no points for originality). There are things to discover about that issue, and sometimes they take a lot of wrestling.
Sometimes we wrestle because we have an apparent answer that we don’t like. A lot of wrestling with big questions is, after it all, is just this. God really does appear to command the slaughter of Canaanites. That is not that obscure. Like previously, there are things to discover about that that could help us in our wrestling. But the question comes back to us: Do you like the answers?