Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Paradox Lost by Richard P. Hansen

In this culture permeated with rational thought, we Christians might think we must understand everything, including God. I have read many books in the last few years where young pastors and theologians try to explain God to our satisfaction. What a refreshing book this one is, reminding us that God is a mystery. God is beyond our mental grasp even though He is with us. It is in the tension of paradox that Christians must live and it is a truth that has been lost.

Hansen wants us to explore biblical paradox and how it invites us to rediscover the mystery of God. How God's sovereignty and man's free will coexist is a mystery. We might refuse to think about it. We might concentrate on one truth or the other. Wrestling with this paradox ( and others) helps us gain a greater respect for the “otherness” of God, that His thoughts are so much higher than ours. He explores the paradox of the Trinity, that Jesus is fully divine and fully human, the Kingdom of God being present and not yet, God being transcendent and immanent, and many more.

When we do not keep the high and low in constant tension, we risk accepting a caricature of God; we miss the pure note of truth heard only when the transcendent and immanent vibrate together in unison.” Living in this tension is a part of the Christian experience. It is a mystery and we are to respond in awe and wonder.

I really appreciate this book. So many preach a problem solving God, a God that can be understood. Hansen wants us to embrace the mysterious God of the Bible. He quotes St. Augustine: “If you can comprehend it, it is not God.”

Some might find that this book requires deep thinking. The questions for reflection at the end of each chapter are not light. But Jesus used paradox to capture His audience and challenge their thinking. That's what Hansen has done in this book. Reading it will help you rediscover the mysterious God of the Bible.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Richard P. Hansen has been a pastor and professor at Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has had articles published in a number of periodicals.

Zondervan, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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