There is much in the Christian tradition which celebrates doubt and uncertainty including the cry of Jesus from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The Catholic writer GK Chesterton, likened this anguished cry to God becoming an atheist. A faith which leaves God more hidden than revealed can be traced to our Jewish heritage where Moses only receives the 10 commandments by entering the thick darkness of the cloud on Mount Sinai and Elijah encounters God in the “sound of sheer silence”. Tellingly, our hymn writers could not countenance a God who is silent and replaced silence with the “still small voice of calm.”
The former bishop, Richard Holloway, wrote, “The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty” and it may be that clear revelation and certainty evolve into doubt and struggle as faith matures. You may recall that Moses’ first Godly revelation was the bright and obvious burning bush, in contrast to his later faith journey groping in the darkness of the thick cloud. This journey into doubt is often referred to as apophatic, from the Greek “to deny”, which claims that we can only describe God by what he is not; all that God is is beyond our comprehension. So, for example, when we use the term Father of God it is only partially true because he is so beyond our experience of fatherhood.
Meister Eckart’s apophatic approach led him to say, “I pray to God to rid me of God” acknowledging that all his preconceptions of divinity were inadequate and potentially idolatrous. A more mainstream approach was taken by the theologian Augustine who said, “To reach God in any measure by the mind is a great blessedness; but to comprehend his is altogether impossible.” So yes we have partial understanding of God through the scriptures, the experience of loving and of worship. However, we can never fully comprehend the mystery at the root of our lives, the restless heart within us.