Paradox, Part 2

Knowing God is not about explaining His apparent contradictions. To know Him is to understand that He is paradoxical. If we could explain God, we would be sought after for our wisdom. If we could eliminate His paradoxes, we would be sought after for the power of our reason. If we could box God and present Him rationally, we would be wealthy people.

But God cannot—will not—be explained. He insists upon being related to, loved, known, understood, and appreciated for who He is.

Jeremiah writes, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me’” (9:23-24a).

Like you, I know about God. But truth be told, I have little interest in knowing about God. I want to understand Him! Explaining God is an intellectual, secondary priority. Knowing Him is an understanding of the heart. Paul expresses my heart well when he declares that his determined purpose is to know Christ (Phil. 3:7-10).

Were it not for her paradoxes my wife would be boring and my Heavenly Father would be predictable. I am interested in neither! Boring and predictable are synonymous with routine and ritual. That paradoxes exist evokes sentience, surprise, and grace. These fuel our relationship with intrigue, mystery, and energy.

We must constantly be on guard against reducing relationship to rules and formulae. Father God is amazingly tolerant of such legalism in our relationship. But like anyone else, God wants to be understood and appreciated for who He is, not boxed and explained as if He were a commodity or theological principle.

An adequate definition of relationship must allow for the presence of paradox. And like a paradox, a relationship cannot be explained. It must be understood.