MXP ‘Most Extreme Paradox!!!’ (EC Blog#1)

Lamb of God

I think this is the coolest paragraph we’ve read so far (or at least one of the coolest):

Here is the extreme paradox. And here is the reason why the earliest Christian language is so filled with tension and energy, as it strives to express how blessing can come through one cursed (Gal 3:6–14), freedom through a slave (Gal 5:1), righteousness through one made sin (2 Cor 5:21), wealth through one made poor (2 Cor 8:9), wisdom through such obvious foolishness (1 Cor 1:25), strength through weakness (2 Cor 13:4), and life for all through one man’s death (Rom 5:12–21). This brings us joy, because if we experience blessing, freedom, righteousness, enrichment, wisdom, power, and life through means so contrary to anything humans could ever conceive, we know we are in the hands of God.
The Creed, page 167

What does paradox have to do with the Christian experience? Is it that important? Can you think of some passages from Scripture that might communicate this idea of something that doesn’t seem to make sense, but that’s just because we aren’t God? Has mystery played a prominent (or should I ask any?) role in your Christian experience thus far? Also, if paradox is a part of the Christian faith, how do we respond to it? Is it something scary or is it something else?

If you are not a student of mine, you can view this entry for a brief explanation of what I’m doing here.

4 thoughts on “MXP ‘Most Extreme Paradox!!!’ (EC Blog#1)

  1. I think that the Christian experience itself is a paradox. A lot of the ideas that are expressed and actions committed would be considered paradoxal.
    Here are some things that I think seem paradoxal to the human mind that are spoken about in Scripture: loving your enemies (Luke 6:27). God commanding us to be perfect (Matt. 5:48) being joyful in trials (James 1:2), Predestination vs. Freewill. (Ephesians 1:4-6, Romans 8:29-30), and I think God even wanting a filthy people to glorify Himself can seem paradoxal, just in the fact that it seems we can’t glorify something so Holy when we are so filthy.
    Not everything about Christianity always makes sense. I don’t think everything has to explained through analytical debate and “evidence”. Some things we can only make guesses on. Half the stuff we have “concluded” may be wrong. I think as we grow up we lose the element of “faith as a child”. Children don’t look at how the chimney wouldn’t fit a big jolly man down it; they just believe it happens. For them believing is seeing, not the other way around. They are just told and that’s enough to believe. Half of Christianity is having faith as the patriarchs did. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) If everything is explained in detail, there’s no room for faith. Paradox is part of the Christian beliefs, and the solution is faith in what God has told us.

  2. I really liked your thoughts about faith, Rochelle. Very good! As I get older, I think I’m learning to not only just tolerate the mystery of the Faith, but to actually enjoy it and pursue it! You also remind me of Jesus’ outburst of exultation for the strange and unexpected ways in which God acts: “At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.’” (Matthew 11.25,26)

  3. If you mean like the experiences christians face, well, some of them are paradoxical. I really dont know what you mean by christian experience. But here are some stuff I think is kinda paradoxical: when God created us. He knew we were gonna sin and we were going to fall. Here’s another one. Jesus dying on the cross to give us eternal life. It kinda seems weird that someone dying could give us eternal life. How about God the Father sending his son to die? I think that would kinda be hard for some of us to do, for some may be even impossible. God still could have decided to change his mind about that and say, “Well, I love my son and I don’t want Him to die.” And he wouldn’t have to die. What about the story of Samson and how his strenght was in his hair? That’s kind of weird dont you think? I mean, it could of been his legs or like… i don’t know, his ear, haha? But like if u think about it, the hair is a little tiny thing that can be removed with a little pull. So yeah. What about the verse were his Mary and Jesus’ brothers are like looking for him and they tell Jesus and he says that everyone is his brother and mother. And Jesus, who is a king, coming to earth being born in a stable? That is very paradoxical. There is so many things we could just name off right off the bat. I mean, the Bible is full of paradox. So i gues christian experience is paradox i guess. I still want to know what you mean about that. Post a comment or something.

  4. Alex! What do you mean you don’t understand what Mr. Darby means by the “Christian experience?” It’s the “Christian experience,” the “Christian walk,” the “Christian life,” it’s being a Christian!!! You answered the question! The Christian experience is paradoxical.

    The one example of paradox in the Bible that I find so interesting is Jesus dining in the presence of sinners. (Matthew 9:9-12) This holy and perfect man chose to “hang out” with the unholy sinners. This doesn’t seem like the place that the Son of God would want to spend most of his time. What about these people did Jesus find such a connection to? You think Jesus would want to spend time talking about the Old Testament with the Pharisees, but Jesus had a point to everything he did. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus’ connection to these people was that he came to save them and to rescue them from their bondage of sin. The same reason he came to save us. We can’t say we are any better than the sinners that he talked to. This Savior who was perfect, who had no relationship with sin, choose to die a criminals death for the sake of the unholy and the unrighteous. He became us, the sinners, and took our punishment because he loved us so much.

    Every time I really think about what he did I’m glad that I feel guilty, like it should have been me in his place, but at the same time feel so much freedom because he took my place!

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