Q: Should a Christian raise questions of a philosophical nature if he knows in advance that Scripture provides no specific answers to such questions?
A: Probing the unknown or offering speculation on subjects where Scripture is silent often reveals itself to be a dangerous venture. Simply posing a question about something left “open” in the Bible is not a sin, nor should anyone quickly be accused of trying to introduce false doctrine by virtue of asking an “unanswerable” question. But if the questioner is determined to find a definitive solution to something the Bible has not revealed, especially if the asking stems from being dissatisfied with what the Bible already has made known on related topics, this method of asking must be discouraged.
Examining the motive for raising the question is important. If one asks a question in the spirit of genuine curiosity, not wishing to contradict any of the clear doctrines and facts set forth in Scripture, such a question may serve a healthy purpose. It might lead to a further search of God’s Word in humble submission to its sole authority. If a question is asked for the purpose of showing God to be foolish, or at least, somewhat “forgetful” or “neglectful” for not having adequately and logically addressed some phase of philosophical inquiry, then the questioner himself needs to be called into question.
For example, the question “Why are some saved, while others are not?” may rightly be asked to demonstrate that the Bible gives our human reason no satisfactory answer. We are to believe two vital teachings of Scripture: namely, that people are saved from sin by God’s grace alone; yet people are lost entirely due to their own willful resistance.
A warning needs to be given to anyone attempting to answer the question “Why are some saved, while others are not?” Answering this question to our satisfaction would actually be tempting God. For either a person will accuse God of not truly wanting everyone to be saved (thus denying that Jesus died for the sins of all), or one will declare that unbelievers have a spark of power to believe in God (and thereby deny that people are saved by God’s grace alone).
Obviously there are some unanswerable theological questions which, by their very nature, are on a different level than others. The example just cited is a question with far more serious ramifications than the proverbial question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” But to all these kinds of questions, the warning of Dr. Martin Luther must be given: “There are two hindrances to the Gospel: the first is teaching false doctrine, driving the consciences into the Law and works. And the second is this trick of the devil: when he finds that he cannot subvert the faith by directly denying the Gospel, he sneaks in from the rear, raises useless questions and gets men to contend about them and meanwhile to forget the chief thing.”