An old Norwegian lady approached me one morning as I sat waiting for my turn to be attended to at Norwegian Teacher Academy's (Norsk Læreakademi) reception. A friend had asked me to go and inquire about master's programme for her.
The old lady was definitely not one of the students, neither was she after joining the institution. She must have gone there to meet someone. She was different from an average Norwegian. Majority of Norwegians are reserved, especially for strangers. She asked me series of questions—she was such a nice old lady.
After talking for a while, she asked me things that were personal but I didn't see any reason not to answer her. She asked me my age and I told her—I was 31. She asked me about the number of siblings I had in my family. I told her that we are two and I was the youngest. We talked again for some time before she asked another question: "And how old is your mom?"
I was prompt with the answer: "40!" I replied. If you didn't miss the point, you are probably wondering why you haven't read about my mother in the Guinness Book of Records. Or you may have probably laughed at the impossibility of what I was saying. There is something ridiculously funny in the answer I gave. Look at it again: I am 31, I am the youngest of two and my mother is 40. This means that by the time I was born, my mother was 9 and she was having her second child (and we were not twins). This would have found a place somewhere in the Guinness Book of Records—don't you think so?
My mother, after all, didn't look that old. I had had minimum contact with my mom since she left when I was only six. The next time I saw her, I was 18. I really didn't know my mother that well. Moreover, I grew up in a culture where a mother's age was a non-topic. Even if I grew up under her watch, I may still have not known her age. I couldn't go into long stories to justify why I didn't know how old my mother was, so I had to come up with an answer.
The funny thing is that I never realised even after implying that my mother was 9 when she got her second born. The point is that I lacked concentration with the figures and never combined the two (31 and 40) and see what they were "saying." Though I didn't know how old my mother was, I didn't want to say I didn't know. I thought I was giving a fair guess. At that moment, 40 years sounded so much that I never realised that it was only 9 years away from my age.
Many of us don't know many things but we don't want to admit it. We give ridiculous answers to questions that we would have done better to own up that we don't know. I have listened to some debates where atheists and people in some religions try to discredit the Word of God in one way or the other.
I once listened to a debate between one Christian defending the resurrection of Christ against a Muslim rebutting it saying that Christ wasn't even crucified in the first place. I also listened to one time believer turned atheist giving pathetic answers why he lost his faith and no longer believed in God. The answers these critics of Christ gave were as ridiculous as me saying that I was 31 and my mother 40. They are like most of the internet search engines which will give you results (read answers) for any search you make regardless of how irrelevant the answers are.
So much for digressing!
There are many things that I don't know—and my case is not unique. What I learnt is that if you asked me a question about what I don't know, I will tell you I don't know even if by so doing I would be embarrassed. Meanwhile, I will tell you what I know. The story of the blind Bartimeus is typical in this case. He was asked so many questions some of which he didn't have the answers for. Though he didn't have the answer to something that was real, it never took away the reality—the fact that he received his sight (see John 9).
If the good old lady could ask me the question once again: "How old is your mother?", this is what I would answer, "I don't know how old she is". This answer will not take away the FACT that I have a mother. I may not know everything about my mother, or father for that matter, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that I was brought to this world by a mother and a father. I may not understand everything about Christ but that doesn't eliminate Him as my Saviour.
Some people try to disqualify Christ because of the answers Christians give. This would be like the old lady disqualifying my mother because I didn't know some things about her.
Having said that, I want to confess that I don't know why God allowed some "conflicts" or "contradictions" in His Word, especially after learning that God's Word was inspired by His Spirit. I don't even know why God allowed Satan to exist and do the damage he is doing. What I know, however, is that most, if not all, of the so called contradictions are not significant as far as our salvation is concerned. That is to say, they cannot erase Jesus the Saviour of the world out of the picture.
It looks to me that the inherence of the consciousness and conscience in man about His existence, God didn't bother to iron out "insignificant distractions" in the Bible. If anything, God allowed both "negative" and "positive" to coexist. For example, the Bible says: "I have put before you life and death, blessings and curses, choose—life!!" (Deut. 30:19). This means, one can go into the Bible and meet death, yes death; one can go to the Bible and meet curses, etc. So if one desires death or curses one can go ahead and choose them—yes, in the Bible—instead of choosing life. This is what it is all about—choose ye!!