A story from my childhood came to mind the more I thought about biblical certainty. When I lost my first tooth, my parents told me how the Tooth Fairy would come into my room while I slept that night, and replace my lost tooth with money (or, in my family, a set of magic markers left at the side of my bed rather than under the pillow).
My little brother was concerned about how the Tooth Fairy would be able to get into my room, since we used an alarm system, and my bedside window had a screen in place. His solution was to make a hole in the screen with a plastic sword. Though he technically got the facts wrong – the Tooth Fairy is magic and doesn’t require human intervention – his sincere belief in the “truth” of his interpretation was so cute. My parents thought it was hilarious and weren’t too upset about having to replace the screen.
I think – I hope – that if there is a God, he will be merciful to the people like my brother who cut figurative holes in their screened windows for the Tooth Fairy. I would like to believe that the God I worship is a God of grace, who looks at the heart and its pursuit of truth, more so than a list of memorized verses and sermons. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as of late is “This is what I believe, but I could be wrong.” The virtue of humility is repeatedly praised in the gospels over the rock-hard certainty of the Pharisees. Certainty and humility can never be friends. My being “right” with God depends more on the attitude of my heart, and the decisions I make with careful consideration of the resources available to me, more so than blind obedience.
But then again, I could be wrong.