Why does He place so many obstacles in our path? Why are some things in the Bible so unclear and why does it take so many sophisticated explanations on various topics to get to the bottom of things? Why couldn’t the Bible have been inspirationally written more clearly so as to leave fewer doubts and questions?
Well, the Bible was never meant to be read and interpreted apart from the Tradition and teaching of the Church. That is, when the Bible was written and compiled in the first centuries of Christianity, the sacred authors and later councils never intended for each person to read the Bible and decide for themselves what was meant. It was always intended to be read in light of the teaching of the Church. With only one interpreter of scripture there isn’t mass confusion. That is why the Bible instructs that when there is a dispute to “tell the church” (Mt. 18:17).
Also, keep in mind that the Bible wasn’t the primary means that God instructed for people to get to know Him. Jesus never told his disciples to write anything down. Rather, he instructed them to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:19-20). Therefore, it seems to me that the primary way God wants all to come to knowledge of Him is through His Church, which He promised to be with, always, so that we could have certainty about the truth.
There is even confusion and debate among the Church as to what this or what that means. It could’ve been more clear to leave no room for such debates within the Church.
Secobdly, Jesus did instruct to write down everything they witnessed, i.e. Jesus instructed John to write everything he saw in Revelation.
He left us with a Church to infallibly interpret the Scriptures. Have faith that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and you will no longer have doubts or questions about the meaning of Scripture.
He left us with the Sacraments to strengthen us in holiness and fill us with grace. This grace allows us to overcome all obstacles.
God does not “put obstacles in our path”. Obstacles are the result of sin. Sin is not of God.
That is because the Bible was never intended to be read and understood apart from the Church that compiled the final canon.
It was never intended to be read by itself, the canon was compiled as one of its main reasons, to have a standard set of readings to be read during the Mass.
So John wrote the entire Gospel - the way Mohammed wrote the entire Koran and Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon?
My friend, the Bible is a part of Tradition. It’s not a magical book that God threw down from the sky. It is Him working through those writers whom He inspired.
Thorns, have you ever heard of the Church Fathers? Ever read them? Give them a read. They might clear up some of the confusion.
A shortlist, so to speak, of Scripture and Church Fathers on the question of what the Church is, can be found here:
The links in the table of contents are broken, sorry.
You can check the citations given there against the sources given above. The short answer to your question is, though, the Catholic Church existed before any other modern church. Every other body of Christians (except for the Traditionalist sects) claims to be reviving the Church to some degree or another. But Christ founded the Church, right? And He’s the Son of God and equal to Him, right? So how can any man correct what God has founded?
Ergo, the Catholic Church is the correct Church. (Though I would not blame you for thinking the Orthodox or Traditionalists might be, for they largely think alike.)
Its not only in relation to the Bible or interpreting, its that the explanations to convey a point or to explain what happened are usually complex, I feel sometimes bordering on mental gymnastics. Why is the truth so complicated when God wants us to know Him so badly and so readily?
God and the Bible are two different things, first off.
What you’re asking is:
Why didn’t God remove the need for faith…just make it obvious?
Because then nothing would be required of US.
I respectively disagree with these answers. As Thorns said, even priests and bishops can’t always agree.
I’d say the main reason is because God wants us to have faith in Him, not objective book knowledge. Even the best church Fathers need to pray for God to open the meaning of the scriptures to them. The Bible should make us desire to know God. Yes, we should seek to know Him intellectually. However, it’s more important to God that we get to know Him spiritually. We do that by praying to Him, and not just prayers from books. Talk to Him. Tell Him all your problems and then be still and quiet. The Holy Spirit speaks in a still small voice. We have to quiet our minds to hear Him. If you have a loud secular song playing in your head, you won’t hear Him. We all have to learn ways to get rid of them. One way I do it is by singing, aloud or in my head, simple songs of praise to God. Amazing Grace is a good one.
This is my main answer to you Thorns.
My 2nd answer is there are real devils who are constantly trying to stop us from knowing God. They are always trying to pollute the written words of God. Of course God knew this would happen. He can stop the devils, sure. But part of God’s purpose with us is that we find ways to get to God in spite of the devils. I can go on with this, but I hope I made my points clear.
That is false. Our consent and will would still be required of us.
The lazy way…just lie back on your divan, dear, and let God peel you a grape.
Then wave your little pinky if you consent.
So much better than God actually requiring some belief in things not seen (called faith) and some sacrifice on our part.
I have no problem with faith and the unseen. If you read my.posts, its the explanations that give me a hard time as, at times, they appear contrary to tradition, history, Scripture, and border on mental gymnastics I feel. Why are such complex explanations needed to understand that which God wants to give freely and in abundance?
What seems to be giving you the trouble? Perhaps I’m not the one to answer your questions - I’m too longwinded. But maybe someone else can answer succinctly.
Here’s the simple truth, boiled down for you (by Jesus).
All you really need to do is “Love God with all your heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
You should be studying scripture and the Catechism. the answer is very simple but takes more than a few lines in a post to explain.
CCC 108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book”. Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures.”
He wants us to know Him as we would any other person, a lover.
One knows a person through interaction, growing into a relationship, loving the other.
In the case of God and Jesus, one has to be transformed.
Becoming a more loving person, we come to know God.
Participating in the mass, joining with others to love God, we come to know Him.
Partaking of the Eucharist, we bring Jesus into ourselves, nourishing our souls and remembering His love and sacrifice for us.
We are fully fulfilled and will find the living Truth face to face with God; the Church including its teachings lead us to Him. We have to walk the walk.
Effort required. Much effort.
Loving one another is a tall order at times.
God never intended for us to learn our Faith by reading a Bible. He intended the Church to teach it to us.
The bible is the most complex and powerful thing ever written. I guess it would be since it was inspired by God. It can teach, it can inspire, it can be a method of receiving grace. It can give us insight not only the first time we read a passage but even if we read the passages again. We can never exhaust the truths it can teach us because it is so holy. The bible has a special knowledge that is transmitting the story of salvation of His people and the unveiling of Himself to us a bit at a time but over time.
This is the reason why we need the Church (sorry protestants). Over the last two thousand years we the Church have had time to reflect and pray over the scriptures to gain insight through the Holy Spirit to come to a greater understanding of their relationship to us and their meaning for us as a body. We have been guided all this time by our hierarchy led by the Spirit for our benefit. We do not yet know all there is but we need to pray more to gain insights. Even St. Augustine has said there are passages that seem to conflict but we know that God is all truth and we might have to wait till the end to see how it all comes together.
It is not always clear on purpose because we must have faith in the author and what He is saying to us. Many passages are difficult but if we have the faith of a small child we can be assured of the truth.
Hope this helps.
Effort and loving others isnt the problem. Whats complicated are the explanations and defenses given for certain topics. Regarding violence and brutality in the OT for example, theres all kinds of arguments from just wars, to being allegorical, to God using humans to carry out killing people, to God not actually instructing that etc. All of these arguments stretch what is plainly written. Then we have those apologists who insist on looking at the passage in Greek when the argument becomes too much for them, which to me, is another stretch. If Greek is more accurate, why are the Bibles allegedly being erroneously misprinted in english? Jesus said He would rebuild the temple in three days, He hasnt. We justify that by saying he was alluding to his resurrection, but if he was, why didnt he just plainly say that instead of speaking in riddles? Jesus said he would return soon, he hasnt. We justify that with our modified interpretations yet again, when we all can see what is plainly written. All of this is a stretch, an obstacle, and doesn’t quite always flow. Why? The Truth is always simple.
Yes…the truth IS simple, just as I laid it out for you earlier.
Only one thing matters (as Jesus told Martha).
You are WAY overthinking things.