Mystery & Intellectual Arrogance

Posted: September 1, 2015 in Blog, Pastor's Corner
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The mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ is great indeed. Many in evangelicalism are uneasy with mystery. There is the oft, and subtle notion that all mystery has been eliminated. Even so, in my simplicity, I find great mystery, as we see in a mirror dimly.

In the wisdom of mankind, there is an overwhelming urge to eliminate mystery, to boil everything down to the lowest common denominator, or to explain all there is, with our infinite knowledge and wisdom. However, man’s wisdom is scary—the same wisdom that has started countless wars, economic crises, along with an overwhelming tendency to call evil, good; possessing the tendency to confuse matters with conflicting ideologies; also possessing the tendency to operate off of the premise that modern scientific thinking can eliminate all mystery, explaining complexity with the greatest of ease. Enlightened minds assume their own capacity to be all knowing, or in the same turn, assume their need for knowledge is limited to what they find beneficial. In short this attitude can be labeled as intellectual arrogance.

This intellectual arrogance has infiltrated the Christian mind, causing an odd dynamic. The consequence of such an attitude is that theology is either made so simplistic that it looses meaning, or so overly complicated that again, it looses its meaning. When it comes to theological suppositions we act much more like scientists, or consumers, than finite man studying the infinite God.

When the finite comes to the infinite we must come with more than a smidgen of humility, gladly taking a subservient position—knowing we are limited in understanding, all while pursuing knowledge of God as much as possible. This idea doesn’t suppose knowledge as unattainable, but more simply, we are limited, and in this limitation we must labor diligently.

Because of this ‘odd dynamic’ much of what is called gospel ends up veiled, through efforts to make every component of God & the gospel fully comprehensible, or by boiling everything down to its simplest terms.

Intellectual arrogance produces a discontent in the heart of man. When handed something too complex, we only rest when its complexity is dismissed, or when we think we’ve figured it out. If intellectual curiosity must always be satisfied for truth to be validated, mankind then has made himself the gate of all wisdom and knowledge.

Accepting mystery is part of being fallen human, and particularly a part of being Christian. Deuteronomy 29:29 teaches that, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Resting in light of the unknown is only possible because of the one who has made himself known—Jesus Christ. The Father has revealed himself to us through the Son. He has made know what His children need, and these things must be pursued, while accepting the secret things the Father, in His infinite wisdom, has kept from his children.

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