In the recounting of the passion of Jesus, we are confronted with many theological questions like: “Are you the Christ?” (Matthew 26:63); “Is it I, Lord?” (vv. 22, 25); “What is truth?” (John 18:38). They came from believers and unbelievers alike. Even Jesus posed some: “Have you not read … ‘I am the God of Abraham, … of Isaac … of Jacob?’ He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32); “If then David calls Him Lord, how is He his Son?” (v. 45).
When Adam and Eve still possessed the perfectly created image of God, they knew God perfectly. None of these questions would have come from their hearts and minds. Since the loss of the image of God, you will hear believers often say: “When I get to heaven, I am going to ask God such and such…” But in truth, that will not happen. In heaven, the image of God will be perfectly restored for us. We will know God fully as we have been fully known by Him (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In early December 2021, my mother, Marion (93), died. I learned to love theology from the many sermons and lectures Mom gave at her Tuesday ironing sessions. She grew up attending a Lutheran elementary school and was instructed and confirmed in her baptismal faith at Gospel Lutheran Church, Milwaukee. For Jesus’ sake, she now knows fully, even as she has been fully known. What a comfort to think that all the times in this life when we attempt to apply the revealed knowledge of God to our various life experiences, we must properly resolve any questions that arise by concluding the will of the Lord will be done. We trust the everlasting and perfect wisdom of God and know that His hidden will is always good and right for us.
Now I continue to see through a glass darkly, knowing only in part, anticipating the day when Mom and I, along with you, will know God fully through His Son, Jesus Christ. That shameful loss of the perfect knowledge of God was so evident among the disciples on the road to Emmaus on Easter evening. Jesus had revealed to them that as our Savior, He must suffer and die and that on the third day He would rise again. But they were downhearted because they had not seen Jesus themselves. They only heard reports that there were those who saw the empty tomb and that Peter saw the resurrected Lord.
Jesus said to them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). We possess the revealed will of God in the inspired words of the prophets and apostles. Continue to love these words as the basis of all your theological thoughts and discussions so that your hearts burn within you as it did for the Emmaus disciples. The resurrected Lord Jesus, who bore the punishment for all your sins and rose to life defeating your death has secured for you the everlasting day when perfect theology will be restored for you as well. No longer will you need to trust that the hidden will of God is always good and right for you. You will know it without the many confounding questions that now come to mind. Love your Catechism theology as did my mom. Soon you too will know fully.
President Glenn Obenberger