God of the Paradox
Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.
That is difficult, I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write ‘Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!’ For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary’s maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary’s time (the time inside the story) at all.
This is not a perfect illustration of course, but it may give just a glimpse of what I believe to be the truth. God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the man in the world. The way in which my illustration breaks down is this. In it the author gets out of one Time-series (that of the novel) only by going into another Time-series (the real one). But God, I believe, does not live in a Time-series at all. His life is not dribbled out moment by moment like ours: with Him it is, so to speak, still 1920 and already 1960. For His life is Himself.
If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one: we have to leave A behind before we get to B and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God, from above or outside or all round, contains the whole line, and sees it all.
The idea is worth trying to grasp because it removes some apparent difficulties in Christianity. Before I became a Christian one of my objections was as follows. The Christians said that the eternal God who is everywhere and keeps the whole universe going, once became a human being. Well, then, said I, how did the whole universe keep going while He was a baby, or while He was asleep? How could He at the same time be God who knows everything and also a man asking his disciples ‘Who touched me?’ You will notice that the sting lay in the time words: ‘While He was a baby’—How could He at the same time?’ In other words I was assuming that Christ’s life as God was in time, and that His life as the man Jesus in Palestine was a shorter period taken out of that time—just as my service in the army was a shorter period taken out of my total life. And that is how most of us perhaps tend to think about it. We picture God living through a period when His human life was still in the future: then coming to a period when it was present: then going on to a period when He could look back on it as something in the past. But probably these ideas correspond to nothing in the actual facts. You cannot fit Christ’s earthly life in Palestine into any time-relations with His life as God beyond all space and time. It is really, I suggest, a timeless truth about God that human nature, and the human experience of weakness and sleep and ignorance, are somehow included in His whole divine life. This human life in God is from our point of view a particular period in the history of our world (from the year A.D. one till the Crucifixion). We therefore imagine it is also a period in the history of God’s own existence. But God has no history.”
The Key to Unlocking God of the Paradox: Understanding the Creative Nature and Kinetic Energy of God
If God is transcendent how is He also immanent? If His love is unconditional how can it have conditions? Jesus said He is the Way. How is the Way in, also the Way out? Can one be in the world and not of the world? If it was the beginning, how did Christ already exist? If He is the end of all things how is it possible for Him to also be the beginning of all things? How can He be the first and also the last, all at the same time?
These are paradoxical questions that have been asked by millions of people for thousands of years. Paradox is a word of Latin and Greek origin first used and defined in 1540 AD, as: a tenet contrary to received opinion.
That definition would quickly expand to include meaning: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is true; a statement or proposition that, despite sound reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory
Two seemingly contradictory statements that end up both being true. God is not only master of the paradox, He is a paradox. That He is a paradox - is a big deal. To the unbeliever and to those who have determined He does not exist, God is merely a contradiction of Himself; a parody defying logic and common sense. To those who believe and follow Him, the evidence that God indeed is a reality is discovered within the paradox. God of the paradox leads one who seeks Him, to the understanding of who He is - and the unlimited capability of His creative nature.
The teaching series God of the Paradox, uncovers the biblical truth and realities of God’s nature and how this becomes our greatest hope.
Together we will find out just how He is able to be here and there, near and far, beginning and ending, past-present-and future all at the same time.
The Key to Unlocking God of the Paradox: Understanding the Creative Nature and Kinetic Energy of God
Lets start with a limited hypothesis we can use to verify and confirm a logical conclusion about God as a paradox. We will build our conclusion using the undeniable evidence of biblical truth and our own personal experience.
God of the Paradox Hypothesis
"From the beginning, the nature of God is to create. That is why (in part) we call Him God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. His creative nature is supported by the power of His interminable and relentless movement. This kinetic energy is not unharnessed or uncontrolled; it is the relentless movement of God, willed and purposed to both nurture and give life to all He creates."
To build our case we must first define two critical ideas: Creative Nature and Kinetic Energy. As we said, by using the logical evidence of personal experience and revealed truth we will be able to attach those definitions to the nature and energy of God. Thereby revealing the God of the Paradox as not only our living hope, but our manifest destiny. Before we begin lets read to these two passages together.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
[Defining Creative Nature]
Creative Nature: the inherent and intrinsic character of original and imaginative innovation and design; the essence to beget, to give life.
“They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
Job 12:10, 33:3-4
“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
3 My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely. 4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
The nature of God is to create. As God creates, he reveals His nature.
[Defining the Kinetic Energy of God]
Kinetic Energy: energy which a body, object, or mass possesses by virtue of being in motion; the purposeful energy of motion.
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." 8 The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 11 After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." 12 The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died,15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?" 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
God purposes the energy of His motion to creating life. The movement of God is an unstoppable life-giving force.
From these definitions and biblical truths, we can start to make a logical conclusion about God as Paradox. The last component needed for our conclusion is provided by the acknowledgement and confession of our own personal experiences with the Creative Nature and Kinetic Energy of God. Take a moment and recall a moment or an experience where God was moving in you, towards you, or through you. What did the movement and motion of God create in you?
This conclusion is our key to unlocking our understanding of God as a Paradox. This Paradox not only reveals who God is, but verifies, that He Is. Therein lies our one true hope.
The nature of God is to create. As God creates, he reveals His nature. When God moves God creates. The movement of God is life giving energy. As God moves there is evidence of life, and where there is life there is always hope.
With these conclusions in place, we have the basic understanding needed to approach the three most profound realities of who God is. That He is fully capable of being the God of the Paradox to reveal Himself to His creation. These realities do not mean that the limited mind of man has figured out the unlimited reasoning and capabilities of Almighty God - that would be absurd arrogance (of that we are certainly capable). What it does mean is that humankind (you and I), can understand and know that the unlimited capabilities of the God of the Paradox have been willed and planned to give us (His Creation) life and hope through the love and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Profound Realities - God of the Paradox
Omnipotent - possessing all power and authority; theologians regard God as having supreme power, meaning God can do what He wants; not subject to physical limitations like man; infinite or limitless power over wind, water, gravity, physics, etc.
Omniscient - having all knowledge and wisdom; means all-knowing; aware of the past, present, and future; total knowledge, meaning all that there is to know and all that can be known; complete knowledge of that which is know and unknown.
Omnipresent - present at all places at all times; present; capable of encompassing the whole of the universe; no space or place God does not or cannot inhabit; though distinct from the universe, yet inhabiting the entirety of it; everywhere at once.
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