I’m more interested in questions than answers. It’s about the journey not the destination. Truth is only a matter of perspective. In our subjective culture it is increasingly common, even among professing Christians, to hear these types of sentiments.
At our worst, we idolize individualism and asserting our autonomy. We want to define our own truth and resist anyone or anything telling us what to do or believe. Yet even well-meaning people can erroneously assume that certainty is itself a sinful expression of pride. As a result, uncertainty is heralded as the mark of real humility and faith. But, as we’ll see, this cannot be true.
Because of God’s self-revelation, true humility necessitates certainty regarding the truth he has revealed.
God has graciously chosen to reveal himself to us through his creation, his incarnation, and his holy word. There is no higher witness or evidence to turn to, because he is the source and foundation of all reality, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16–17).
In view of this great God—the creator and sustainer of all things—we are accountable to believe all that he has revealed. For God is not only trustworthy, he is the truth. The real danger of pride isn’t that it leads us to certainty, but that it leads us to suppress the truth:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:18–20)
Of course, certainty itself isn’t inherently virtuous—history attests to man’s ability to be certain about the wrong things. Certainty is only valuable insomuch as it accords with the revelation of God.
Since Christ revealed himself as the Son of God, humility will never lead to a denial of his divinity. Since Christ told us how to obey him, humility will never lead to immoral living.
And even in those places that Scripture seems less clear, when we must bring our doubts and confusion and questions to God regarding the things we don’t understand, humility ultimately leads us into a deeper faith—a deeper certainty—of what he has revealed.
Certainty in God’s goodness and sovereignty anchors us when we wrestle with the problem of evil. Certainty in the authority of his word aligns our hearts to obey it even as we struggle to understand why. Certainty about who he is—the Holy Trinity, Creator, Savior, Mediator, King of Kings, One True God—protects us from worshipping false gods. “Scripture adorns with unmistakable marks and tokens the one true God… in order that he may not be mixed up with the throng of false gods.”
The height of pride is denying the certainty of God’s revelation. Though such an attitude might mask itself in humility—as is so popular in our day—it’s actually the result of shaping God into our own likeness and attempting to arbitrate reality.
If I cast doubt on a certain doctrinal truth, not because the lens of Scripture has convinced me to look at it differently, but because a fellow fallen human being has, I’ve transferred authority to them that belongs to the Lord.
“Celebrating uncertainty when God has spoken certainly and clearly is not an act of modesty, but a manifestation of sheer arrogance.” We must remember, after all, who first whispered, “Did God really say?”
However, our certainty in God’s revelation should always lead to humility. God is infinite and we are limited. He is the creator, we are his creation. “Created man may see clearly what is revealed clearly even if he cannot see exhaustively.” We can know God truly, but we cannot know him fully. His wisdom is beyond our understanding, his power is beyond our comprehension, and his ways are unsearchable. If we think we can fully grasp the Great I Am, we vastly overestimate our capacities!
Therefore, our human limitations should induce deep humility as we walk before God, because we know there is always more to learn. It should also induce humility before other people. Our ability to believe God’s self-revelation is reliant on the Holy Spirit’s illumination, so there is no justification for arrogance among God’s people. What do we have that we did not receive? It is only by the power of the Spirit that Christians can simultaneously grow in both certainty and humility.
WISE series (Women in Seminary Education): This article was originally an assignment I submitted to Westminster Theological Seminary, where I am pursuing my Master of Arts in Theological Studies.
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1, pg. 72.
 Dr. David Garner, “Is Theology Possible” (lecture, Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA).
 Genesis 3:1
 Cornelius Van Til, “The Infallible Word: Nature and Scripture”, 8.
 1 Corinthians 4:7