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Lessons From History--"Unknown"

"Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."
Job 42:3b


Several years ago, one of the news items was the controversy over whether to identify the Unknown Soldier. Apparently the identification came down to one of two soldiers, both who died (separately) on the same day, and who ironically have their names placed right next to each other on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The real controversy was coming from the families of the two soldiers--one family wanted the body identified, yet the other did not, preferring the mystery to remain unsolved.

It reminds me of a story my college Literature Professor told me. They had read one of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, and the students were disappointed in the ending: a man walks into a room, looks, and screams. End of story. The students thought Bradbury should have explained what the man saw, rather than leave it to the imagination. The Professor then invited students to go home and write a new ending, one that explained in detail what the man saw. After each student returned with his/her ending, the conclusion was unanimous: the story ended better when left to the imagination.

The human mind has a very unique capacity for curiosity, and a drive to solve mysteries. While some discoveries have come about through accident (leaving a window open and finding, the next day, penicillin), most of the great technological and scientific leaps through history have come through a desire to answer a question.

Yet while this often can be a positive step, we must remember the dangers of curiosity, and the many unfortunate proverbial cats that have lost their way. When you come right down to it, curiosity was the cause of our separation from God. "Aren't you curious about that fruit?" asked the snake to Eve. The rest is a history that still affects us all.

Do we have to know everything? Should we know everything? Perhaps some things are better left unknown. Some of the answers to the cosmos for which we desperately seek are, perhaps, not meant for us. What if there are some things God is protecting us from? What if some fruits are not meant to be tasted? What if some things are best left to faith?

God Himself says it best in Deuteronomy 29:29--"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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May 30, 2004