The meaning of the word Israel is to struggle with God. Yet struggle is far from what most Christians do with the Bible and what they receive from their churches. As such, I want to invite this struggle into my life and hopefully invite others along in the process. To begin with, I have the key section from the first chapter of Romans.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Paul’s argument here is that God has clearly revealed himself through his creation, and as such the rebellion of mankind was and is a deliberate act. How is it that God is known through creation? The problem is stated that humanity is wicked by failing to honor God, even though he has been clearly understood and seen. What examples do we have in this day and age of this universal understanding of God and subsequent rebellion?
In grappling with these questions, we escape from the positions of fundamentalism and hopelessness that seem to exist on the poles of absolute thinking. Additionally, I very much think that we cannot expect to have our questions answered adequately. The sweet satisfaction of knowing has got to be replaced by an open space of mystery in unanswered questions.