Is There Still Mystery?

Well, is there? Arthur C. Clarke is famously quoted along the lines that any technology sufficiently advanced will be labeled magic. And yet, we are approaching God’s advanced technology day by day in our understanding of science. The magic is disappearing by the day. For example, a degree in biology can probably tell you how bones are formed in the womb. In meteorology, you can probably credible explain the path of the wind. Isn’t the “activity” of God just around the corner in theology?

But that’s not the question I want to ask. What I really need to ask is this: do I need the mystery? I don’t presume to ever figure it all out, and I never will. But do I need the mystery to believe in God? Do I need a “god of the gaps” to fill in the holes of the things I can explain by supposing they are God’s will, or, that’s just the way God made it? Does God need to be mysterious to be believed?

I think if we pinned our faith on the idea that there are things we can’t explain or understand, we will find our faith on shaky ground. It is like children who grow up to find out Dad isn’t a superhero, or mom doesn’t know everything. As children we believed these things because our parents were the most powerful beings in our universe. As we matured, we learned they were human after all.

So a faith based on God as he Cosmic Bogeyman, or the Great Magician doesn’t hold up. When we grow up, that’s not what we need from God. In fact, the older I get, the more I need of a God who is in control of the things that I know I can’t. My health, my life’s direction, my work, my family, so many things that as I become aware, I just become overwhelmed by the enormity of the universe. I need a God that who looks after me, who cares about me. Even when things go wrong, or if I suffer, I need the assurance of a God who says, “Fear not. I am with thee.” I need the Divine Presence now more than ever.

I guess I’ve moved from being awed by an unknown universe to an unknown future. I don’t need a God to explain how stars work. I need a God to explain that my work matters. Thank you God for continuing to hold me in awe, even as my knowledge improves, you continually lead me forward to deeper and greater mysteries. Thank you God for looking after me even when my eyes aren’t on you. Thank you for loving me, even when I am not lovable.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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