Right Answers

With theological sophistication often comes a subtle theological confusion.

We learn right answers. Answers about life. Answers about holiness. Answers about God. Not just answers, but right answers.

This is where the confusion sneaks in.

Because we know the right answers to some questions, we begin to believe we know the right answers to most or even all answers.

Mystery fades and hearts harden.

How do you preserve mystery in the midst of sophistication?


  1. I've been lurking on this post, hoping someone would swoop in with all the answers. *sigh*

    This issues plagues me. How do you know an unknowable God? How do you draw the line between that which you are certain about God and that which you hope is true and is your best guess?

    The thing that works best for me right now is to choose mystery over certainty. It's hard to let go of things upon which you once would have bet your life. It's better than loosing your faith altogether though.

  2. I think that's pretty wise, Katharine.

    A high value for mystery allows you to be at peace with the huge things about God that we can't quite comprehend and, at the same time, enjoy the beautiful things that we do.

    For me, preserving mystery is a side effect of sustaining a personal (rather than propositional) engagement with God. If I'm relating to Jesus as a person, it'll be okay to not know everything. If I'm treating him like an idea or concept, the lack of understanding will drive me crazy.

    Have you ever read Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton? He has this idea, which I find helpful ...

    Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion ... The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.