Tag Archives: mystery

Don’t Make God Boring

To me, God is a mystery: a beautiful, illusive mystery. I cannot possibly comprehend all there is to know about him. I will never have an answer to every question people ask about him or fathom how he functions. I’m okay with that. In fact, I celebrate it.

There’s an allure to not knowing.

If a person could fully understand God, that wouldn’t make him much of a god, would it? A complete comprehension of who he is would reduce him to our level. Who wants to follow a god like that, something only slightly more complex than you or I?

A god we fully comprehend would be boring.

But my God isn’t boring, and I’m quite intolerant of people who try to make him that way. These are the scholarly, intellectual types who write books that attempt to subject God to structure, to force him into a box (or book) they can hold. They even have a name for this: Systematic theology. I’m not sure if their puny, pitiful efforts amuse God or anger him. What I do know is I don’t ever want to fall into this trap.

I would never try to quantify my wife or attempt to delineate who she is. That would be futile and quite boring. Besides, my efforts would most likely irritate her. I love her and that’s what matters.

I don’t know anyone who would formulate a “systemic theology” of his or her spouse, so why do some people think they need to quantify and delineate God? Why do some people insist on taking God, with his mystery, illusion, and allure, and make him boring? Please, don’t ever do that.

Today, and every day, may we truly celebrate who God is, embracing his unfathomable depths and his endless layers. Let’s just love him.

Questions in Genesis: Number Six

Asking respectful questions about the Bible is not a sign of rebellion or indication of disbelief, but can be a means of more fully pursuing the God who is revealed in the Bible. It is from this perspective that I’ve been pondering the creation account and asking some questions. My final query is:

6) People were not made until midway through the sixth day, so there were no eyewitnesses to most of God’s creative efforts. How then could details that no one saw have been known, passed down from one generation to the next, and then recorded in the Bible?

The solution is that God would have had to tell his creation how they came to be. Just as a parent leaves out details when a young child asks “Where do babies come from?” so, too, God must have left out details when he explained our origins to us. Still, I want to know more.

However, Moses puts my inquiring mind into perspective, confirming that God has kept some things from us:

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”

God is, in many ways, a mystery — and that is one of the things that draws me to him.

[Deuteronomy 29:29]

Are You the One?

John the Baptist is sitting in jail, about to be executed.  In a dark moment, his faith begins to waiver.  Seeking assurance, he sends his followers to Jesus, with the simple question, “Are you the one?

This query reminds me of the movie, The Matrix, where people keep asking Neo, “Are you the one?”  Some think he is, some aren’t sure, and some doubt, but all are wondering.  All that is, except for Morpheus, who plainly proclaims to Neo, “You are the one.”

Morpheus’s simple statement of faith to Neo reminds me of Peter’s confident confession to Jesus, when he plainly proclaims, “You are the Christ.”

Using movie references to illuminate a biblical passages are frequently employed and helpfully presented.  However, if someone were to consider an illustration like this 2,000 years in the future, or even a couple of centuries hence, they would be confused.  They would not know of Neo or Morpheus.  They would not have watched The Matrix and our modern cinema would likely be a mystery to them.

What clarifies today would be confusing later, just as some of Jude’s cryptic references in his letter where helpful back then, but are confusing today.

Where Are You?

In the Song of Songs, the girl reveals something personal.  She is self-conscious about the dark tones of her skin (from spending too much time in the sun, she says).  She doesn’t want others to stare.

Yet the friends in this story want to do just that.  They admire her uniqueness and ask to gaze upon her.  This is ironic; the exact thing that makes her uncomfortable, others admire.

More significantly, is that her lover desires to do the same.  He says, “Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”  His love for her is revealed through his desire.

While this human love story between a man and a woman is wonderful and inviting, the underlying analogy is of the love story between God and us.  By extension, God wants to look at us; he wants to hear our voice!

If this seems strange, know that there is precedent.

You may recall that after Adam and Eve hid from God, that God sought them out, calling “Where are you?”*

I hear the same call to us today.

*Their location was not a mystery to God; he merely wanted them to come to him on their own accord — as he does of us.

[read the passages referenced above]

 

My Favorite Verse

Just as we may have a favorite color, make of car, movie, or vacation destination, some people also have a favorite Bible verse.  My favorite verse is not a common one and comes from an obscure passage in the Old Testament.

It is about an honorable man who prayed — and then “God granted his request.”

This is a simple phrase and seemingly not profound, but it is most encouraging to me.

There is often a mystery to praying: when God answers, how he answers, and if he answers the way we expect him to.  During dry times, it may seem like he never answers, but there are also times when the answers are quick and obvious.

This verse is a powerful reminder to me that God does indeed answer prayers.

[For the full story — all two verses — see 1 Chronicles 4:9-10]

What is your favorite verse to share?

Video Review: The Last Sin Eater

Reviewed by Peter DeHaan

Video Review: The Last Sin EaterHistorically, a “sin eater” is one who ritualistically takes upon himself the sins of a dead person in order to provide absolution.  The movie The Last Sin Eater considers this custom in Appalachia circa 1850 amongst a backdrop of superstition and secrets.

Although slow starting, those who don’t give up on the film will be rewarded with an intriguing plot line and mystery that goes deeper than the soon evident connection of a human sin eater to the ultimate sin eater, Jesus.  As the movie progresses, a secret past is unveiled piece by piece until a completed puzzle satisfactorily emerges.

The Last Sin Eater is based on the book of the same name, written by Francine Rivers; the movie was produced by Michael Landon Jr.

[Read more reviews by Peter DeHaan of other faith-friendly videos and movies.]

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The Allure of Mystery

There are things about God, Jesus, and salvation that the Bible simply describes as “mystery,” that is, hidden truth or a mystic secret.

This drives some people crazy; they want to understand all and be able to fully explain everything.  Anything less causes frustration and angst.

For me, I relish the realization that some things of God are but a mystery.  That draws me to him; it is an allure.  Daily, I strive to unravel his mystery and know him more fully.  This is as it should be.

To explore this mystery motif more fully, consider the following verses that evoke the “mystery” explanation:

Job 11:7
Romans 11:25 and 16:25
1 Corinthians 15:51
Ephesians 1:9, 3:3-4, 3:6, 3:9, 5:32, and 6:19
Colossians 1:26-27, 2:2, and 4:3
1 Timothy 3:16
Revelations 10:7

[The word mystery is used in other contexts in Daniel 2:18-47, 4:9, 1 Corinthians 13:2, 14:2, and Revelation 1:20, 17:5, 7]