Mystery is no Defence

Mystery is all around us. Take something as common as electricity. It’s quite paradoxical that one can plug both a heater and an electric fan into the same power supply and they both work. The fan works because electricity is electromagnetic waves, the heater works because electricity is the movement of electrons which cause heat as they pass through a conductor. Which is it? It can’t be both and yet it is – this paradox is one of the mysteries of our universe and is central to quantum mechanics.

All our study to date in this area has taught us that we have learned very little. Yet when it comes to using electricity, the rules are very well known. So when you employ an electrician to rewire your house, you have every right to expect that he not only knows the rules but that he will also apply them. Claiming that electricity is a mystery will not get him off the hook if your child is electrocuted as a result of shoddy work. He may not know exactly what electricity is, but he’s expected to know the rules of engagement if he wants to call himself an Electrician. Ignorance is no defence!

Likewise, anyone who claims to be a Christian cannot use the mysterious nature of God as an excuse for not knowing how to engage with him. It’s true that we could never understand God fully – we would be God if we could. But God has revealed to us exactly what he expects of us, it’s not a matter of speculation but of revelation.

In addition to creating an amazing universe full of wonderful things which should give us some understanding, he has also communicated to us by way of written language. He who created our brain and knows what it is capable of, has written to us words he knows we can understand. You will find them in the Bible. In addition, he came among us in the person of his Son Jesus who is both God and man. He not only taught us, man to man, what was true about God and how we might engage with him, he also died to take our punishment for the blatant disrespect we had for God and for one another. This opened the way into friendship with God.

God knows that we humans have lots of trouble understanding and believing all this, so he also makes available his Spirit to help us. You get the Spirit if you have both the courage and humility to recognise your need and ask. We who have the Spirit have no idea how he works, that’s a mystery, but we do know what effect he has on us. He opens our eyes to the truth; about ourselves, about God, about eternity and lots of other things so essential for humans wanting to live a purposeful life. He also confirms in our hearts his love for us and his desire to have us with him eternally, in a world worth living eternally in. So not knowing a lot about God is understandable but not knowing how to relate to him, given all the trouble he has gone to, is just gross negligence.