Thursday, April 10, 2014

"That's Not Logical!"

          Recently I was taking a walk in a park nearby our home when two young girls met me, offering a tract and (ostensibly) wanting to talk about the Kingdom.  Actually they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and what they really wanted was to convert me to their sect.  Usually I politely decline and the preacher man keeps walking, but today I took the time to converse.  It was, as I knew it would be, a complete waste of time, since both young ladies had been well and thoroughly indoctrinated.  But she did say something interesting.
            We were talking about the divinity of Christ.  Discussions about the Greek of John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”) went nowhere, since discussing the intricacies of Greek grammar could not dissuade them from accepting their idiomatic and unique translation of it as “…and Word was a god”.  One girl, Joanna by name, pointed out John 20:17, where Christ tells Mary Magdalene, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God”, and stressed that Jesus here calls the Father His God, and therefore Jesus could not be theos or God in the absolute sense that I said John 1:1 asserted He was.  “Christ said that the Father was his God” she kept repeating, “so how could he be God and at the same time have the Father as his God?”  I simply said that, yes, Jesus was God and that the Father was His God, and that this was possible because Jesus was the incarnate God. “So,” she said, admirably restraining her exasperation, “Jesus was God”.  Me:  “Yes.”  Her: “And he had the Father as His God.”  Me:  “Yes.”  Her:  “But that’s not logical!  God is love.  The Bible says that God is love.  It’s not loving to be mysterious.”
            Hearing such an astounding utterance was well worth the time wasted in talking with these two earnest and utterly deceived young ladies.  It certainly qualifies as one for the books, and should find its place in a theological Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  What an astonishing thing to say:  “It’s not loving to be mysterious”, as if mystery and love were mutually exclusive.  Not only are mystery and love not mutually exclusive, love itself is a mystery.   All the life-giving realities are mysteries, including the reality that is human nature.   Love baffles us even as it heals us; it leaves our cognitive faculties behind in the dust even as it transforms us into something better.  And it is not just divine love that does this.  Human love does the same.  If you doubt this, just honestly ask yourself why your spouse loves you. 
            But if my young J.W. friend was not correct in denying that something can be loving and mysterious at the same time, she was absolutely correct in saying that God is not logical.  There is nothing logical about Him.  It is not logical to love the human race which constantly spurns His love and continually labours to fill the earth with waste, sin, and cruelty.   It is not logical to unite human nature to Yourself in the womb of a Jewish teenager and live among men when You know in advance that this will result in Your crucifixion.  It is not logical to tell creatures of dust and ashes, creatures addicted to the pleasures of the senses, that they should become perfect even as God is perfect (Mt. 5:48).  It is not logical for God to become Man hoping that Man might in turn become divine.   None of this is logical, and the Church never said it was logical.  It said it was grace.

            God is beyond logic.  Like the laws of nature that He Himself made, He transcends logic.  God made logic when He made the laws of nature—laws which say that when a man dies, he soon rots, and in four days there is nothing left to do but endure the stench.  But these laws are God’s handiwork, not His prison, and He can transcend them if He pleases.  If it seems good to Him, He can overcome the laws of nature, and stand outside the tomb of a man four days dead and cry, “Lazarus, come forth!”, and the dead man will come forth, leaving the processes of rot and stench and all the other laws of nature behind in the tomb.  “When God so wills, the laws of nature are overcome”, as the Church sings.  Our God is the God who rises above logic and nature, and frustrates laws which mere creation finds inflexible.  He covers Himself with light as with a garment; He stretches out the heaven as if it were a mere tent curtain; He makes the clouds His chariot; He rides on the wings of the wind.  In Christ this God draws near to us and shares our flesh and our creaturehood.  He calls the Father His God, and calls us to be His brothers.  This is our hope; this is our boast.  Our God is not logical at all.   He is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us.

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