John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Paradox and Mystery

You cannot read the Bible without quickly discovering paradox and mystery. How do you adequately explain the Trinity? You don't. As soon as you've written the exhaustive description of how God is three and one simultaneously, you'll find that what you're describing is no longer the Godhead as it is revealed in the Bible.

Was Jesus God or man or both and how is that even possible? Good luck answering that one!

God chooses us, but we're told over and over again to choose him. Which is it?

Faith alone saves us (or is it God's grace?), but we're told we must have works. That's a difficult knot to untangle -- maybe even impossible.

Is it all about God, or is it all about me, or do we even need to set the two up in diametric opposition to one another?

The Bible is chock full of mystery, and that bothers some of us. It's also rife with paradox, and that's frustrating for some of us. We want a theology with no holes. Mystery and paradox seem like holes to us.

Why do you suppose there is so little time spent discussing mystery and paradox in most Christian teaching?

And which is your favorite paradox/mystery in the Bible?

My favorite is that we're told to be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents (Matthew 10:16).