September 5, 2011

our beautiful God

I'm reading bits and pieces of a book called The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason. Have you read it?
I just read one paragraph recently that really jumped out at me. It is so simple that it never occurred to me to think it. (I'll explain that after I show you the paragraph)

When the Devil is exposed he is shown up to be a cosmic bore, whereas when the Lord shows Himself He
becomes more mysterious than ever. Those who do not really know the Lord take exception to His riddles
and paradoxes. But to know Him is to know continual, exponential growth in one's capacity to live with
contradiction. Divine contradiction is like an exotic food or music:one must acquire a taste for it. Many people, even
the very religious, have no real stomach for mysterium tremendum. They are fine when gazing up into a starry sky,
but when they encounter the infinite abyss of Christ on the human level, it turns their stomachs. This was apparently
the case with one of the great writers of the twentieth century, Franz Kafka, who when asked his opinion of Christ
answered, "He is an abyss filled with light; one must close one's eyes if one is not to fall in." Often people perform the
most astounding mental gymnastics in order to keep from falling into the mysteries of God. Such paradoxes as
predestination and free will are endlessly debated, when if only we would submit our minds to the bright
unyielding enigmas of Scripture, we would see that the New Testament plainly teaches both. Often even mature
Christians have, in some areas a monaural theology; the richness of stereo sounds like noise to their ears.

There is so much there to think about...but let's just take one piece of that paragraph, that one tiny aspect of God, predestination vs. free will. It has been debated in our house over and over and over again. We've dug out different versions of the bible and our concordances and thrown verses at each other like we were ping pong players. All six of us have discussed it until we were blue in the face. Not once, ever, never, did it occur to me that both could be true and possible. What do you think? Could both be true? Or is that a dumb question? Something even a child knows?
I want God to fit into a mold-either He is sovereign over everything and "all things were predestined" or "everything we do and experience is a result of our free will". I would hate to have a God I understood, but I've never really thought about giving Him the freedom to be that not-understandable. Why do we shake our heads and sigh, disappointed in the mystery of His Godness when in reality that's what makes Him God?

In all honesty, I'm not sure I like looking at the possibility of both predestination and free will being true, but I do love the idea. It makes Him huge....

All my life, in order to either bend my head around this idea, (which I couldn't do) or totally ignore it, I have simply clung to Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

I know that's true and when I go through hard things, I remind God that that verse is in the bible. "You promised, God..."

So, what do you think? Or was that book written for 7 year olds and I'm right there with them?

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