Knowing the incomprehensible. When is a mystery really a mystery?

We pictured in my last post a mountain path boasting an amazing view. We considered that while we can’t know God as a scientist might know the specimen under his scalpel, or his microscope; we can know him in the sense of having an intimate relationship with him and having the eyes of our hearts increasingly opened to see and treasure what he has shown us of himself.

I believe that God has made himself clearly known to his children. I believe that we can gaze with understanding and clarity on that which is beyond our comprehension.

For example: Is the doctrine of the trinity a mystery? In one sense – yes. Of course it is! I can’t take it apart and lay it on the table to show you how it works (even if I wanted to). However, the fact of the Trinity is not a mystery to me. Whether or not God is one God in three persons is not a mystery to me. It has been clearly revealed to me. By God’s grace, I have come to understand that God is indeed one God in three persons through the revelation of the Holy Spirit as I have read God’s word and as I have been taught faithfully from that word by his saints. Can I grow in my understanding? Of course – Christians are life long learners. Is there a limit to my comprehension? Of course – I am his creation, he is my creator. But alongside all of that I can get on with experiencing the love lavished on me by Father, Son and Holy Spirit and worshipping the only true God in spirit and in truth in the light of his clear revelation of his nature as one God in three persons.

Let’s consider this: What makes something a mystery? What do we tend to refer to as a mystery?

Of course there are the inevitable questions regarding socks: How do they end up all over the house and where they go when you put them in the wash? On a more theoretical level I would certainly have to label the likes of quantum physics and pure maths as mysteries to me.

But are we saying that unless you possess a comprehensive knowledge of someone or something we should declare him / her / it a mystery to us? I don’t think so. My car, for example, is not a mystery to me. I am no mechanic (I not even 100% confident refilling the screen wash!) – but I do know that my car is the thing that gets me from A to B (on a good day!). I know how to drive it, how to fill it with fuel and most of the time I can even spot which one is mine in the multi-storey! Does it contain things that are beyond me? Yes. But do I refer to it and relate to it as mystery to me in daily life? No.

So basically what I am encouraging us to do is to celebrate having the best of both worlds!

We can worship the holy, other than us, utterly beyond us, God-ness of God in the full light of his clear revelation of himself. We neither have to squeeze him into a box compatible with our finite minds, nor do we need to shrug our shoulders and each go our separate ways into a fog of ignorance or imagination.

What a generous, loving, amazing God we worship!

Thank you so much Father for showing us what you are like and giving us all that we need to properly receive your revelation. I praise you that you are both wonderfully and infinitely beyond us AND (in Jesus) intimately related and revealed to us.

You are worthy of all of our worship, all our love and obedience; you are worthy of our all.

Unite your people Lord. Strengthen us, convict us and give us courage. As our nation rejects the very idea of authoritative truth – help us to boldly proclaim you as you have revealed yourself to us. As we live in a society that has rejected your ways and vilifies those who walk in them – help us to faithfully and proudly* live as you have commanded us. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

*Proudly? Is that right? More on that later! 

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