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Logically Illogical

I am too busy. Too busy that I must write (how is that for logic).

October has proven to be a month of ‘opportunities’ at my workplace.  I am reticent to try to guess at how many hours that I have put in at the office and from home.  Hours sitting in front of a pc as I am now except those hours were spent scrutinizing data and processes that were failing to meet expectations and then hours of following up with people all over the world to get things corrected.

When people ask me what I do for work, I tell them I am a professional problem solver because it is a far easier way to describe who I am versus what I do.  That description flows outside of my work life and into my home life.  My nature is to seek answers to questions and problems are just questions looking for the right answers.  Whether its fixing a sink that is stopped up, installing shingles on a roof, changing brakes on a car, or even mulling over philosophical questions  – ultimately, the goal is to find the solution to the problem.

In the middle of my busyness this month, I did find time to have lunch with the pastor of the church that my family has been attending for the past month.  Let me say that we had a great conversation over some pretty decent barbecue.  Chris, the pastor, brought up an interesting topic that I have been mulling over since we spoke over lunch.

I believe the words he used were ‘Dialectic Tension’ when trying to explain the unexplainable… or in my words the logically illogical.  Or, maybe, an easier way to understand it is the Mystery of Tension within the Christian Faith.

What does that look like?  Think about these things that we tend to think of as everyday terms within the Christian faith:

  • Christ was fully God and fully man
  • God is three in one (trinity)
  • Freewill versus Election
  • Grace and Judgment

These are truths that on the surface appear to create a schism, a separation, a divide within logical belief.  They are truths that some would try to argue stand opposed to each other but in actuality are concepts that stretch our ability to comprehend.  They create wonder and awe. They bring the seeker of understanding to a conclusion that they are not a problem to be solved or a mystery to unravel.

If I take the concept of infinity, you will at once understand the concept of the word, however, you as a finite being can never fully understand what it means for something to be infinite.  We are conditioned for eventuality – everything in our experience has a beginning and an end.  We are born and then we die.  We make a sandwich and then we consume it.  We go to the movie, and having watched it, we leave the building.  In all of those things we experience the finite.  Could we fathom eating a sandwich that could never be consumed?  Or watch a movie that never ended?  Can we truly understand what it means to live forever?

There is a mystery in the tension between these ideas…  whether we are talking about infinity or Christ’s deity.

These thoughts are allowing me to be more fully aware that I do not have to solve the mystery of Christ – that I have to fit Him into some manageable explanation.

There is something exciting and liberating about serving a God that is not created in my image but instead stands in mystery outside of my ability to fully comprehend.  How do we respond to God like that who chooses to interject Himself into the patterns of our lives?

Good question.  What are your thoughts?

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  1. October 20, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Welcome back tony. Been too long. I have struggled with the very same issues you have mentioned here. Having been raised in a “Baptist-like” church and then attending an Arminian college and then exposing myself to so much Calvinism in my study, I have had the tension of both worlds. When people ask me about them I say, “Yes” (in that they are both right). I am unable to answer their questions to any satisfaction mainly because I can’t answer them to my own. I accept them as being true but more than that accept them as being representative of a God whom I cannot totally understand and am glad I can’t/don’t. If I did, He would cease to be God. Good thoughts today although at 4:20 a.m. it may be a bit much. 🙂

  2. October 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I love your posts! I love that we cannot make God into our image no matter how much we may try. I love that He will not be boxed or confined and that He chose to not only create us but chose to keep us for Himself even though we blew it. I love that when we choose Him He gives us light for the step we are at and not 5 ahead and that His peace is in that step if we do not run ahead. I am comforted that I cannot understand Him and must just follow Him.

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