Dictionary.com defines the word paradox to mean “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd, but in reality can express a possible truth.”
The Biblical view of God appears to include paradoxes; e. g. He is first and last, and one yet three, a consuming fire and loving Father, etc.
Paradoxically, Jesus was a suffering servant and is our soon returning King. He was our sacrificial offering and is our merciful High Priest. He is the lion and the lamb, Who died (temporarily) so we can live (eternally).
Christ’s teachings include paradoxes like “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” and “whoever saves his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s, shall save it” and His ironic promise, “In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.”
Paradoxes do not only exist in Biblical understanding, on the natural side we know about opposites like electricity, being both positive and negative simultaneously.
As humans, we walk on opposite legs, left and right, we hear with opposing ears, etc.
I live with such reality everyday, being married to my wonderful polar opposite since ’77. (It could get boring otherwise).
It seems that two becoming one in marriage requires both parties dying to self. This is a paradox that - when embraced - purifies selfishness. (With me, such sanctification is still ongoing).
Perhaps God’s purpose in life’s paradoxes is to reveal His glory in ways that our linear thinking cannot comprehend. Surely, He does not want us to overlook or minimize important realities just to satisfy closed mindsets.
John Calvin, a Reformation era pastor, so powerfully preached about God’s sovereignty that some have accused him of minimizing the responsibility of man.
From that same period, Jacobus Arminius so strongly emphasized the responsibility of man that others have accused him of minimizing God’s sovereignty.
Debates have gone on for centuries as to which of their viewpoints are most Biblical; with many polarizing into opposing Calvinistic and Arminian camps. It seems they may never settle this matter, although today both sides might agree to disagree with me.
I believe we should be prepared to explore the possible truth in anyone’s perspective, especially when different from our own and to laugh at our differences whenever possible.
A story is told about an Arminian and a Calvinist who both walked across the same field at different times and they both accidentally stepped on the upturned teeth of a rake, laying hidden in the grass, resulting in the handle flipping upwards and hitting them in the nose.
The Arminian reacted by yelling, “What idiot left this rake out here? How could I be so blind?”
Later, after doing the same thing, the Calvinist exclaimed, “I’m sure glad that part of my life is over!”
Now, go ahead and laugh. It’s not a paradox to smile, but it is to not.