What Being Finite Teaches Us

That we are finite is a fact no one disputes.  It might seem somewhat inconsistent but knowing that we are finite, that we are limited in our ability to know what is true, can help us in our search for what is true.

Being finite means our knowledge is limited.  For example, John Sanders concludes that a majority of the people who have ever lived have never heard of Jesus. [1]  This tells us God evidently did not consider it important that people believe in Jesus since he did not and has not made that knowledge available to everyone.  If God is truly a God of love and justice, if he truly does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), then there is a reason why he did not make this knowledge universally known.

Being finite means we cannot obtain certain proof for historical events such as Jesus’ existence, death, and resurrection.  There will always remain an element of doubt about these extraordinary events that happened over 2,000 years ago.  So why would God make belief in Jesus a condition for our salvation?

God made us finite.  He knows our limits.  It is my belief that God has constructed a plan of salvation which takes into consideration the fact that we are finite.

First, the Bible teaches is that God will judge us based upon the knowledge we have and how well we live up to that knowledge (Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:20-24, Luke 12:47-48, John 15:22-24).  Since God made us finite, it would make sense he would judge us based upon the knowledge we possess and not some absolute standard of knowledge.

Second, even though we are finite, everyone on earth does have a concept of right and wrong.  The Bible says the Holy Spirit has been sent to teach the entire world about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  God has made our salvation contingent upon something we control–our actions, what our soul is like—rather than upon something we do not totally control—our belief system.

The above does not minimize what Jesus accomplished.  Jesus did die for the sins of the world.  It is only through Jesus’ work that we can be restored to a right relationship with God.  Being finite means we might not know of this “good news” but that does not mean it does not apply to us all.


[1]   John Sanders, What About Those Who Have Never Heard? (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1995), p. 9.

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