Monday, May 19, 2008

Mystery: A "Hard Thing"

Mystery: A “Hard Thing”

Mystery: there is a lot of controversy surrounding this concept among Christians. It is the “elephant in the room” of sorts when it comes to Christianity. Some people look at the mystery in the Christian faith and use it as their basis for not believing. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject with you guys.

When I say “mystery”…I by no means mean “mystical.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “mystery” as, “A religious truth that is incomprehensible to reason and knowable only though divine revelation.” There are things in the Christian faith that we have to accept that we cannot understand or explain. Some of those things are: the virgin birth, the simultaneity of Christ’s complete deity and humanity, and the Trinity.

The point is that mystery is a reality and that we must confront that reality at some point. I wrote a speech (from which this is drawn) on this subject for a worldview speech class. If you desire to read it, tell me and I will e-mail it to you.

Mystery requires trust. There are just some things that we cannot explain with our finite mind. Finite cannot fully understand and explain the infinite. If we could explain and understand fully, then we ourselves would be divine. Proverbs 3:5 says that we are to trust God and “lean not on our own understanding.” It requires humbling ourselves, giving up our vain struggle to understand it (which often ends up watering it down), and giving our feelings to the Lord.

Mystery, as I view it, is a “hard thing” in a way (The "hard things" concept is that doing something that is hard for you makes you stronger). We must trust God in this area. When we humble ourselves and give our understanding to God, it helps us grow stronger. Our faith, as a whole, is strengthened, as I see it, because mystery is one of the hardest things to accept.

The Trinity is probably the best example of this. Someone once said, “If you try to explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind. But if you deny it, you will lose your soul.” One might even argue that the Trinity is not just a mystery, but the Mystery of mysteries. What do I mean? Well, what is the Trinity about? As found in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, the doctrine of the Trinity says that…

  1. God is three persons.
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.

First of all, the Trinity is a mystery. We have evidence for these three things in the Bible which I will not put here for sake of space. The part that we cannot understand is how these three things fit together. Secondly, the Trinity is the Mystery of mysteries because it describes God in his very essence. All other mystery is thus encompassed by the Trinity because everything always goes back to God. It is something that we must believe because many if not every other facet of our faith ultimately relies on the reality of the Trinity.

The Trinity is very puzzling, but it is none-the-less true. Just think for a minute though about the implications of the Trinity—and how awesome and loving our God is! Bruce Goettsche, pastor of a church in Illinois, points out that while God is so much higher than us that His creatures can never understand His being, He still loves His fallen creatures and desires to have a personal relationship with them. Just think about yourself, if you reached out to someone who could not, and possibly never could understand fully what you did for them, yet you did it anyway. Wayne Grudem says, “…it is spiritually healthy for us to acknowledge openly that God’s very being is far greater than we can ever comprehend. This humbles us before God and draws us to worship him without reservation.”

Do you see what I am saying? Mystery, especially the Trinity, is a hard thing to accept and not water down in order to bring it to our level. However, when we trust God that He is who He is and meditate on that even though we cannot understand it, our faith and awe in Him, our faith and awe in the Gospel, and simply our peace of mind will be revived and strengthened. We don’t have to understand everything! I hope that you guys got something out of reading my thoughts here.


Justin said...

Very good post! Very well thought!

This is Justin from the Rebelution.


I may get back into blogging soon

Andrew B. said...

Thanks! I am just getting into blogging if you couldn't tell :)

This post is actually in the Greenhouse right now for the Living Room.

Monica T. said...


Thank you for your encouragement on the Rebelution blog about my dad. It was very helpful. Sometimes I forget to just live. I get caught up in the details. What you said goes along with Matthew 5:14-16. Thanks. :D

~Monica Tanzey~

Andrew B. said...

I am encouraged to know that I am an encouragement. :)

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Andrew B.

The reason why the trinity is such a very puzzling mystery, a hard thing to accept;
is because it is a manmade concept which was never ever taught by Christ nor his disciples.
It is a foreign concept foisted on to Christianity hundreds of years after Christ.

The early church simply taught that there is solely ONE GOD, the Father.
Jesus himself identified the Father
as the only true GOD. [John 17.3]

The ONE GOD raised Jesus from the dead, set him at His right hand;
and made him Lord & Christ.

So we have ONE GOD, the Father.
And ONE Lord, the man Christ Jesus.
[Acts 2.34-36; Phil 2.11,
1 Cor 8.4,6; 1 Tim 2.5]

Simplicity itself. No mystery needed!!

On the subject of the trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Andrew B. said...

I respect your opinion. I disagree with you, but for this post we can look past our differences. The point I made in this post could have used any mystery as an example. So we don't agree on the Trinity, but any mystery could illustrate this point. When we trust God that we don't have to understand everything, it makes our faith stronger.

I hope that makes sense,