How can God be three and one? How can God take on a human nature? If God planned everything, how can I be responsible? Do my prayers make any difference in God’s plan? Will we finally know everything when we get to heaven?
These are questions that recognize some of the mysterious tensions that Scripture presents to us. They are good questions, but wrong answers to good questions can rob us of a full and fulfilled Christian life, and they rob God of His proper glory. Proper answers—answers that allow the mystery of God and His ways to shine brightly—will evoke in us proper worship.
In The Majesty of Mystery, seasoned professor and preacher K. Scott Oliphint encourages believers to embrace the profound mysteries at the heart of Christian faith. The Trinity, the incarnation, eternal life, God’s sovereign will and human choices—none of these are problems to be explained away or puzzles to be dismissed as irrelevant. Rather, these are grand mysteries, not contradictory but paradoxical and wonderful. The more we recognize them in the biblical story, the deeper they lead us into worshiping the incomprehensible God who faithfully reveals Himself in Scripture.
Written with deep theological knowledge and threaded with everyday implications, The Majesty of Mystery connects the dots between humanity and God, belief and practice, mystery and worship. Drawing from Reformed tradition and the Westminster Confession of Faith, Oliphint invites readers to rediscover the purpose to which all theology aims.
Knowing God as He is, in all the fullness He will allow us, is the church's highest priority and greatest privilege today. Scott Oliphint's powerful exposition of the majesty of mystery is a much-needed and bracing antidote to the casual, buddy-buddy theology that is so common in our times.
—Os Guinness, author of The Call
At first when we hear that God is mysterious, we think: he’s unknowable. What Scott Oliphint argues in this extraordinary book is just the opposite. Divine mystery, as he proves from Scripture, provides the only real hope that we can know God. It is just his greatness that makes him accessible to us. God is indeed way beyond our imagination. But in his love he has ‘stooped to conquer.’ Indeed, unless mystery pervades all of life we are left with a gray, purposeless existence. This book is far from a cold theological study. It sings! When we put it down, we want to say not ‘what a great text,’ but ‘what a great and worthy God.’
—Dr. William Edgar, professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary
Nothing is more important about our knowledge of God than recognizing that it begins with his incomprehensibility and remains bounded by that recognition. Reflecting the results of a major area of Oliphint’s interest in his lecturing and writing over many years, a key concern of this book is to speak about the mystery surrounding God and his activity in a way that honors the way that God himself speaks to us in Scripture. Its careful, often penetrating handling of this sublime mystery is enhanced by a worshipful tone throughout. An instructive and edifying read for those wanting to grow in their knowledge of God.
Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., professor emeritus of biblical and systematic theology, Westminster Theological Seminary
“In revealing Himself and His ways in the world to us, God is pointing us to our own limits as creatures. He is reminding us that He is God and we are not.” (Page 4)
“Worship is supposed to be the natural product of our knowledge and love of God.” (Page 22)
“Trusting our own way of thinking buries the biblical notion of mystery, but so does its opposite. The mystery that is the lifeblood of Christian truth is not compatible with a trust in our own minds, but neither is it compatible with a denial of the use of our minds, sometimes called ‘mysticism.’ Mysticism, in the way we’re using the term here, seeks to promote and praise a total lack of understanding and of thinking. It prizes the ineffable above all and sees reason and thinking as obstacles to true faith.” (Page 8)
“The best way to know God, the mystic would say, is to affirm that we cannot in any way really understand who he is. All that is left for us is an ‘experience’ of God.” (Page 9)
“All that we have from God, we have from His all-merciful and sovereign hand. We have it, we have it for eternity, and we do not, did not, and will not ever, deserve it; if we deserve it in any way, it would not be mercy.” (Page 24)