G.K. Chesterton referred to Christian Truths as:
"Furious Opposites". (Paradoxical & Sublime)
"The Iliad is only great," wrote G. K. in an essay on nonsense (The Defendant, 1907), "because all life is a battle, the Odyssey because all life is a journey, The Book of Job because all life is a riddle."
In the Old Testament's Book of Job, of which Chesterton was especially fond, Job does his best to force God to explain why he, Job, a good man, must suffer such agonies. God answers Job's riddles by flinging other riddles at him. Who do you think you are, God says, to question the wisdom and intentions of your creator? Where were you when I made the universe?
"Destruction is certain for those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, `Stop, you are doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, `How clumsy can you be!'
Christian dogma embodies paradoxes, which appear offensive to reason. The central paradox is the assertion that the eternal, infinite, transcendent God simultaneously became incarnated as a temporal, finite, human being (Jesus). There are two possible attitudes we can adopt to this assertion, viz. we can have faith, or we can take offense. What we cannot do is believe by virtue of reason. If we choose faith we must suspend our reason in order to believe in something higher than reason.
**You can only find truth with dialectic reasoning if you have already found truth without It.**
**In Plato's famous Analogy - we see only shadows on the wall of the world's cave".
"We know too little about the unknown to know how little we know about knowing the unknown".
*Faith is the continuation of Reason*
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
***Biblical Paradoxes are not irrational contradictions but - invitations, challenges, solicitations, moreover, inducements from God to: (Wrestle) - to Pray - to engage in fellowship with him. God goads, hints, impels, incites, inflames, stirs up, urges, whips up, works up in us Emotional responses by such prompting. For God can handle any human response except to be ignored***
Jacob Wrestles With God
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.
28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.
*The paradox of a Great Nation being brought forth from infertile wombs: Sarah- Rebekah- Rachael*
*St. Augustine's thought on the matter was that Paradox is the price we pay for Free Will*
In Exodus 33:20-23
God says to Moses:
"Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock; and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (Deus Absconditus)
**When I see the horrible back, I am sure the noble face is but a mask. When I see the face but for an instant, I know the back is only a jest. Bad is so bad, that we cannot but think good an accident; good is so good, that we feel certain that evil could be explained." - G.K. Chesterton**
"It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face?" - G.K. Chesterton
In I Corinthians 13:12, Paul writes: "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I see in part; but then shall I know even as I am known."
I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the son of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
Familiar Christian Paradoxes:
1. To find our lives, we have to lose our lives.
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
2. To be exalted, we have to humble ourselves.
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
3. To be great we have to be servants.
"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant."
4. To receive, we have to give.
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
5. To be free, we have to become slaves.
1 Corinthians 7:22
"For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave."
6. To be strong, we have to become weak.
2 Corinthians 12:9
"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
7. To be strong, we have to fast and pray.
"However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
8. To live, we must be die.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
"The circumstances of a saint's life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all but the Spirit of God understands...All your circumstances are in the hand of God, therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in."