Living by faith requires we grow in our trust that God is just as wise in what he chooses not to say as in what he chooses to say. He’s as intentional with the information he excludes as he is with information he includes.
We might call the wise silence of God the “dark matter” of divine revelation. There is real substance in what we can’t see, but it’s detected with a different kind of inquiry. “Why didn’t God say that?”
Let’s look at a few macro examples and explore some of the dark matter of divine wisdom so that we might better understand our own experience of the silence of God.
The Creation Story
God says so little about his creation of the cosmos. Genesis 1 is a massive biblical example of the fact that “now [we] know in part” (1 Corinthians [13:12]).
Thirty-one simple, Spirit-inspired verses tell us God created the world in a certain sequence, but they gloss over an astronomical amount of detail. They resemble ancient creation myths in certain ways, and yet they make remarkable sense the more science discovers about the universe. The ambiguities in the account and in the Hebrew language have spawned debate inside and outside the church for 2,000 years.
Why didn’t God say more? One reason is to humble us. Genesis 1 shows us indeed “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Corinthians [1:25]).
God chose a creation account that would provide a basic, accurate understanding of creation for his people over the course of multiple millennia, in thousands of radically different cultures with many different worldviews, conceptions of time, levels of education, and stages of technological advancement. It had to be understandable to pre-scientific, primitive, and illiterate peoples, and able to withstand withering critique by the most brilliant, educated minds of antiquity, as well as those in the modern scientific age. Its framework had to be simple enough for a child to understand and complex enough to account for a paleontologist’s discoveries.
And that’s what we have. The Bible’s explanation of creation has taken an incessant beating and is still standing. Its apparent simplicity contains carefully designed ambiguities, making it the most resilient, and most culturally and scientifically adaptable religious account of origins in human history. And it has continually humbled both believers and unbelievers since the time it was written.