Theologically there are multiple reasons for theological mystery, that we cannot know all there is to know about God. As Romans 1 shows us our knowledge of God is profoundly corrupted and actively suppressed and twisted by our own sinful hearts. Sin has affected our ability to think and reason.
Another factor is God’s holiness. As Barth has put it early on: God is “wholly other”. There is an “infinite qualitative distinction” between eternity and time and between God and man. God is not just-like-us-but-a-little-bit-bigger. God is absolutely and completely different to us. He is completely free and totally unified in his being and purposes. His ethical perfections are absolute. He is “wholly other”. Infinite while we are finite.
We have already mentioned all this in our previous post on theology and mystery.
But there is another reason why all theology ends with and is marbled all the way through with mystery. And that is because God is a God who actively hides himself. Even if you had the inclination freed from sin and even if you had the ability to search for God, you could not find him unless he wanted to be found. God is a hidden God. His ways are hidden. He has not disclosed all the details of his intentions.
Isaiah says exactly that in chapter 45 in discussing God’s plans to use the Pagan ruler Cyrus as His Messiah – His anointed – Isaiah says:
15 Truly you are a God who hides himself,
O God and Savior of Israel.
Pascal put it like this:
“God being thus hidden, any religion that does not say that God is hidden is not true, and any religion which does not explain why does not instruct. Ours does all this. Verily thou art God who hidest thyself.”