Mysteries of the Faith – I. An Overview

Everyone loves a good mystery. We read them, looking for clues, trying to figure out ‘who-dun-it’ before the big reveal. One meaning of mystery (musth, rion) in the Bible is a secret, or something that was for a long time a secret, but now has been revealed. Examples of this abound in Scripture. Who would the Messiah be? What would He do? When would He come? Is God, only the God of the Jews, or also of the Gentiles? All of these answers are clearly revealed in Jesus, and His teachings.

Another meaning of mystery, is something that is beyond the comprehension of man: the expanse of the universe; the depth of God’s love; etc..

A third meaning of mystery is something which cannot be logically understood; a paradox. One example would be a Catch-22. You need a job to gain work experience, but all employers require you to have work experience before they hire you, creating a Catch-22.

The Holy Bible is full of all 3 of these types of mysteries. Within the church, as people sought to understand scriptures, more and more truths of scripture were seen to be in this 3rd category of mystery. Included in this are the following:

The Trinity: All Christian Churches (those churches that reject this doctrine are not considered to be within the pall of Christendom) teach and confess the doctrine of the Trinity: Three distinct persons in one divine being. And yet, logic would say that this is impossible. The next installment of this series will deal with this mystery of the Church.

The Person of Christ: Again, all Christian Churches teach and confess this paradoxical truth: That Jesus Christ is true God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages, and He is man, born of the substance of His mother in this age. Perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh. (quoted from the Athanasian Creed). According to logic, Jesus must be man, or God, or a mixture of the two, greater than man but less than God. But this is not what the Christian Church teaches. Again this will make up another installment of this series.

There are many other mysteries of the faith, which I plan to explore to which some other Christian churches do not subcribe. I will also look at these in the series.

The creation of the universe out of nothing, and God’s place both in, and outside of the universe: How can anything be made out of nothing? How can God both be outside of time, outside of the universe, and within it. We teach both of these things as true Mystery? Yes. Contradiction? No.

The inspiration of the Holy Bible: We teach that every word of the Bible is God’s word, and yet, every word is the words researched, chosen, and written by the human writer of those words. Mystery? Yes. Contradiction? No.

The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper: We teach that when one receives the Lord’s Supper at an orthodox church, they receive, in with and under the bread and wine, the very body and blood of the Lord. Mystery? Yes. Contradiction? No.

Human Responsibility and Divine Sovereignty: If God is all powerful, and nothing happens that is not within His will, why and how can evil exist? If man is responsible, than how can God be Sovereign? Mystery? Yes. Contradiction? No.

I will be speaking of each of these topics in this series. If you have any questions or thoughts on these topics you would like me to address in these upcoming articles, please call me, Rev. Randolph Schnack, Platte Valley Lutheran Church, at 307 343-2314.



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