Monday, November 28, 2005

LIVING WITH AMBIGUITY



Sometimes I'm asked which articles I've written really reflect the core of my thinking? Here's one:

God is mystery. We can never encompass him in thoughts or words. When we talk about God we are trying to describe the divine from the point of view of the human, the eternal from the standpoint of the temporal, the infinite in finite terms, the absolute from the severely limited perspective of the relative. Rudolf Otto describes the sacred as 'mysterium tremendum et fascinans', the awe-inspiring mystery which fascinates us. We are tempted to hide from the fearful majesty of God, but also to gaze in wonder at his loveliness. We encounter mystery in the descriptions of the ways of God in the Bible, in the sacraments, liturgies and rites of the church, in nature, and in the events of history. Mystery pervades the whole of reality. Indeed true knowledge and freedom are not possible without an experience of mystery. In the languages of literature, art, music, we touch the hem of God's garment and feel a little tingle of power, but God will always remain incomprehensible. Mystery also surrounds the human creatures who are both made in the image of a mysterious God and who have, by their sinning, marred that image. Pascal says this doctrine of the fall offends us, but yet, without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are incomprehensible to ourselves. So Christianity, says Kierkegaard, is 'precisely the paradoxical'. (Paradox - from the Greek para and doxa, 'against opinion').

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Shalom!

Rowland Croucher

2 comments:

Jayne said...

That article refelected my thoughts on the matter so closely that I could have written it myself. I'm not sure if I ought to be pleased or disappointed. I'm pleased to think that I can't be that weird if someone else could come with the same ideas. I'm disappointed to think that I am not all that unique after all.

swiftypete said...

Hi Rowland,
I agree. Humans cannot, in
themselves, remotely hope
to comprehend God. We need
him to reveal himself to
us for sure.

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Shalom!/Salaam!/Pax!

Rowland Croucher

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Husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, pastor, teacher, writer, used-to-be-academic... See here for more: http://jmm.org.au