We Need Mystery!
We love mysteries! Something about our nature
demands they be solved. And when we do, we feel we have triumphed, gaining power and control. But there is one part of nature we cannot conquer . . ourselves. In C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man he posits a future dystopia where conditioners fabricate the meaning of life itself for the masses. The single remaining item which the conditioners cannot manipulate is their own nature, and Lewis gives the clear-headed observation that “when all that says ‘it is good’ has been debunked, what says ‘I want’ remains. The conditioners, therefore, must come to be motivated simply by their own pleasure". In other words they cannot get past their own nature. Though they deign to redefine others, they remain shackled by their own nature and desire. We are at an impasse.Who will investigate the investigator?
For some, an honest quest to understand God has morphed into a desire to control God. Is this not the motivation behind shamanism, witchcraft or the alchemist, to manipulate ones environment through the cosmic forces? And though the authority of Saints is biblically sound, history abounds with stories of religious authority gone bad. Indeed, the case can be made that religious fascism painted earths darkest days. Are we not witnessing a veiled attempt to manipulate the circumstances of our lives through speaking certain words, phrases, or the willpower of faith? Does this not feel like Christian science? And it works in both directions. Christians not only command money and wealth to come, but sickness, poverty and generally un-fun stuff to flee. The movement has its own cadre of prophets and seers, who initiate the neophytes into the deeper mysteries where they gain power, knowledge, and "anointing". Were earlier believers watching us, they might be praying for us right now. As a Christian I could make a good scriptural case for my reservations but, I will not do that here. I am merely pointing out a flaw in human nature that we all - especially as believers- need to be aware of; the thirst for power. Even faithful Frodo in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings falls under the spell of “The Ring of Power”. Power for Man becomes a means of control or manipulation, because of our fallen nature. History records ONE exception. Consider the exhortation of Paul the Apostle:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philipians 2:5-10).
Christ is portrayed here as absolutely unique. As the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) he is the anti-Adam. The first Adam lusts for power to be “like god” and takes the fatal bite bringing his progeny to ruin. The Second Adam does the reverse, laying down power to the point of life itself, only to take it up again. This mind which was “in Christ Jesus” is contrary to our nature. It isn’t merely that we don’t have this mind, but that we can’t even fathom it. We are instructed to “let” or allow this mind to be formed in us by another. No, it took another order of being to save the sons of Adam - God himself dressed as a Man . . a particular man. This is the fatal flaw of Arminianism, which assumes human ability that scripture does not support, but nevertheless demands, pointing to Christ's work of behalf of His sheep, The Elect. The temptation to power hounds us all. I cannot think of a single power I’ve had that I haven’t abused at some point. We all do. I once, when younger, thought to myself how nice it would be to have a remote control that would bring “the anointing”, the “power” at my will. But then a second thought interrupted to say “That’s O.K., I think I’ll just hang onto it myself”. One day soon we will no longer wrestle with our own fallen natures, but will “put on immortality”. But for now there is a part of us that wants to understand God that we might control Him. He knows this, and so keeps the remote in His own pocket. Does He heal? Yes, when He deems it best. Does he make rich? Yes, when He thinks best. Sometimes he makes poor (1 Samuel 2:7) when it furthers His purpose. But He cannot be controlled. He is top banana, the boss, the Creator. We cannot order our own plate. And we are but creatures, existing by and for His purpose, which we concede must be good, else all is lost. Maybe someday for us believers there will be no mystery - maybe. We need some mystery - at least for now-“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shallI know even as also I am known”. (I Corinthians 13:12 KJV)