Theology, better yet, knowing God, is like observing the sun. You look at it and you go blind; instead, you snatch glimpses and you learn to see everything else in light of the light the sun generates. That is, “… there may be certain things that are themselves too great to understand but that nevertheless enable us to understand lesser things with remarkable clarity” (xiii). Yes, that’s a riff on the famous line by C.S. Lewis, but it is also the theme of a new book by Steven D. Boyer and Christopher A. Hall, called The Mystery of God: Theology for Knowing the Unknowable.
God is a mystery but not the sort of puzzle-like mystery that can be solved. And theology itself challenged to know what is beyond its knowability. “God is not a puzzle, and to relate rightly to him is not to analyze or classify or master, but to worship” (xvi). So the goal of theology “is not merely that we should get our theological formulations right, but also and more significantly that we should get ourselves right; not that we should master theology, but that we should be mastered by the theos whom theology must approach” (xvii).
What are some areas of our faith where “mystery” is the appropriate category?
The goal of theology then is worship.
Flatlanders, an image the authors use for us, can only know so much and they attempt from the two-dimensional, finite minds to explain what has more dimensions than their minds have categories for. This dimensional mystery is about unclassifiable superabundance. That is the mystery of God.
This sketch is about five dimensions of the term mystery: investigative, revelational, extensive, facultative and dimensional.
God is reasonable and beyond reason.