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While it’s true that God has revealed himself truly in Jesus and in the written testimony about Jesus that we call the Bible – here, and it is also true that we do not understand all there is to understand about God and his plans and his ways in the world – here. And this makes sense when you’re talking about a God who is infinite and creatures who are finite. That would kind of be the definition and totally expected.

And what that means is it would be expected for at least certain doctrines, but maybe all doctrines, to at one point end in mystery. If the various doctrines are like roads that we’re travelling down, moving further and further along as we comprehend more and more of what God has revealed about himself, there comes a point where that road clouds over into darkness and where we can travel no further. And it’s possible that some people  may be able to travel further than others down the road depending on the grace given to each one, but for everyone the road plows into mystery where we can go no further.

Now this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try our best to comprehend or just refuse to try at all. Ignorance is never a virtue. But what it does mean is that at some point we need to have the epistemic humility to say that we’ve travelled as far as we are currently able. And not to seek too quickly to harmonise thoughts that appear to be in opposition. But instead to say what the Bible says, as carefully as we can and certainly as carefully as the Bible says it, and if the Bible says two things that seems to not sink up to make sure we say them both as well.

For example:

Jesus Christ is 100% human and 100% God, one person with two natures, a full and real divine nature and a full and real human nature, without minimizing or changing either nature in the process of uniting them in the one person. This means that he upheld the universe by his powerful word while at the same time living in Mary’s womb as a fetus and then outside the womb as a helpless and dependent baby.

Or how about God governs and plans all the steps of all people on the planet at all times, both the good and the bad; yet all are accountable before him for their actions and decisions and will bear the just consequences of his wrath if they do not put their trust in Christ.

God rules the world in all it’s details, both the moments of joy and also all suffering and sin, even down to where the ball lands on the roulette wheel and which exact bird in the world dies when, and even the decisions of which nail will be hammered into which hand of his Son at Calvary; and yet, even though he wills that such sin and suffering occur, he does not sin, but is and remains perfectly holy.

These and many other roads of theology all end up punching into a think cloud of mystery. And the challenge is to keep saying as carefully and as thoughtfully as we can what the Bible actually says, and not minimizing one thought for another and not seeking to harmonise them in a way that would negate or do violence to the other thought.

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