When Jesus was born, the Magi followed a star until it stopped over the place where the child was. There, they worshipped the baby Jesus and opened their treasures to present him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This event is recorded in Matthew 2:9-11.
This passage is the part where I was questioned by a senior theology student with radical faith. He questioned me and other peers about this part, asking, “Do you really think a star can move?” and stated that it was merely symbolic. At the time, I was confident in the doctrine of ‘Biblical inerrancy,’ believing that there were no errors in all the contents of the Bible because I had been practicing my faith in an evangelical church. Therefore, I easily judged the senior who asked such questions. “I’ve heard about such people in seminary, but here is one doubting the inerrancy of the Bible,” I thought. A female peer deeply pondered his questions, began to doubt her faith, and left the school before completing a semester.
Looking back, I realize how immature my understanding of the Bible was. The Bible, being written by humans, can contain errors in its recording process. Moreover, the authors could have used symbolic language to convey their messages. Acknowledging possible errors in the Bible’s recording does not, however, fundamentally shake my faith in God or the redemptive event of Jesus Christ. This is because, even accepting scientific and archaeological evidence, matters concerning God ultimately belong to the realm of faith. Researching the principles of life and inanimate objects (How?) is accessible to certain individuals. Yet, humanity still cannot answer fundamental questions like why the Earth rotates or orbits the Sun (Why?).
Believing that God started the world belongs to the realm of faith, and it is with this faith that I view the world, leading to awe (e.g., Cosmos documentaries). Eventually, being open to all possibilities after setting aside my convictions born from ignorance, I realized I was getting closer to the truth than before.
Nowadays, humanities can be easily accessed through books, and with the internet and various documents, one can study any desired field alone. Going through resources and lectures to organize my faith, I felt confused but discovered myself growing through what felt like shame of being stripped bare. Thus, I am no longer afraid.
How could one dare to be certain about the future? Looking back at history, nothing is as terrifying as the actions of those who are certain. Having the Bible as a guide for life, if we follow its words and walk with God every day, we will eventually meet Him. On that day, I plan to ask Him everything I was curious about while living on this Earth, such as why all the planets in the solar system orbit the Sun and where the end of the world is.
I hope to understand the essence of faith more deeply by letting go of the stubbornness tied to long-held religious experiences and looking at the Bible anew.