God is a mystery don’t you think? To imagine that we can fully understand a creative force such as God is foolishness itself. Religion itself isn’t simple. Christianity isn’t simple. Some people may look at us as Christians and somehow relegate us to a sort of simple thinking person who needs to believe in a God to simply explain away all of our life experiences both good and bad. But that notion itself is too simple.
We are complicated, life is complicated, things are difficult to understand, so why should God be any different. Nature is intricate, not at all simple. Space, the Universe is complex. We may look at the stars and appreciate that they are like our sun only much further away. That’s simple to say but there is so much more to a star than that.
When we are tired and hungry we know that a meal will do us good. We don’t think about the vitamins and proteins and everything that is in the food. This is however, getting more prevalent now through healthy eating than ever before, but mostly we know that food just does us good. But food, nourishment, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, good fats etc is much more complex that the meal itself. But we don’t need to know that detail, we just know it does us good.
We may use the Internet every day yet most of us don’t understand how it works. We may have a guess at what it is, acknowledging that it is a series of computers and routers and satellites linking them together across the world, yet we know that there is so much more to the Internet than that. Ask someone who is an expert and understands how the internet works, then you will find a vastly different, detailed, mathematical explanation that we laypeople would struggle to understand.
So, for us to get a little understanding then people, as it were, paint pictures for us. To explain the internet, they give us a description of what it is, out of which we make a mental picture. Now the mental picture we have is not what the technicians and experts actually believe as its so much more complex than that. We don’t get the real thing but a picture that is more or less something like it.
C S Lewis wrote about the atom. To the scientist the atom is a mathematical formula, but for us to understand it they describe an atom to us as the smallest constituent part of ordinary matter, and if that is too complicated then the atom is the building blocks of everything that is around us. Once we grasp the thought of a building block we can then apply that to something we are familiar with such as a house. With each brick representing an atom we start to comprehend how an atom can be a building block in all that we see. But that picture is different from what the scientists really believe as that is so much more detailed.
So back to God. If we struggle to understand how the Internet works and what an atom is, then why should we imagine that we can fully understand God. Our lack of understanding of the internet and atom doesn’t stop us from accepting it, so in the same way our lack of fully understanding God shouldn’t stop us from accepting Him.
If we struggle with the complexity of the Internet, or the nature of an atom, how can we ever seek to understand the creator who is behind all these things. Just as we can eat our food without understanding exactly how the food nourishes us, then we can accept God and what Christ Jesus has done for us without knowing how it all works. In fact, we can never know how it, or He works until we have accepted Him.
So, God, creation, sin, forgiveness, atonement, redemption, the cross, His death, resurrection, faith, cleansing, baptism, communion, the Holy Spirit, we may not fully understand, and I would suggest that we don’t need to. We get a picture, an idea of what they mean, but it’s not until we are in relationship with God that we start to grasp what they are and how they apply to us. We then come to realise, for example, that God does not love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.
I want God to be a mystery to me. I don’t want to understand Him. I want to be in awe and wonder of Him. I don’t want to be able to put Him in a box and say that’s God and I know all there is to know about Him. I want to be surprised by Him, excited, speechless in His presence; I also want to know the fear of God, His terror that causes me to fall on my face before Him fearful for my life, yet also knowing His love, grace and mercy that then reaches down to lift me up and tells me I am His child.
Yes, God is a mystery, but I want Him to stay that way.