"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Beyond Wading

I'm not really an "art appreciation" kind of guy. Which is not to say I don't like paintings, and I even wish I could paint. I've watched the guy on PBS who can create a nature scene in 30 minutes and he makes it look easy. I still don't think I could do that.

Several years ago a group from the church I was attending in Dallas decided to spend a Saturday afternoon at the Dallas Museum of Art (the DMA). In the late '80s (referenced because I have not idea how the museums have changed in the last 20 years) I generally preferred the museum's in Fort Worth. They frequently had a more western theme. The DMA focused more on "modern" art and, I'm not looking for a lecture on art appreciation, I don't get it. For me, whether it is art, music, or literature, accessibility does not imply that the piece is less worthy, but that's a discussion for another time and place, perhaps.

Why I bring up the trip to the DMA is one painting had a significant impact on me. It was a large painting of a what I assumed to be the throne room for a great king. The room was in disarray, with the king slumped on his throne. At his feet on the stairs leading up to the throne was a woman with her head on his lap. Emotion radiated from the painting, and questions were raised.

What tragedy had befallen the king? Was it personal, or had the whole of the kingdom been affected? Was the woman the queen? I sympathized for the king and wanted to know more about what had occurred. Art, be it paintings, sculptures, stories, music, or otherwise, is at its best for me when it invokes a sense of wonder and stimulates a desire to know more.

At the end of Romans 9-11, after considering election, calling (both God calling us through the preached word and us responding by calling out to God for salvation by confession), and the relationship between Israel and Gentiles, Paul gets lost in doxology, expressing his sense of wonder at who God is. That doxology begins with:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

By saying God's judgments are unsearchable and that God's ways are inscrutable, I do not think Paul is telling us to not try to understand God. Yes, he is saying we will fail if our goal is to understand God fully. There are depths in those oceans that we will never plumb fully, even in eternity.

But that doesn't mean we should stay out of the water. In fact, I think Paul is encouraging us to get in the water and see just how magnificent our God is. Why spend more time talking about election? Because the Bible to me paints a wonder filled picture of who God is when the topic is discussed, and I want to know more. Election and the Trinity are both topics on which I dwell frequently because they are subjects that draw me into deeper waters and stir my soul to join Paul in doxology.

Doxology is fueled by theology and theology is made more potent by diving into the depths of revealed truth. In fact, I think to be all that we were made to be, we must grow in that revealed truth. A few passages I would encourage you to dwell on in this regard are Deuteronomy 29:29; Hosea 4:6; and Hebrews 5:11-6:2.

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Blogger Even So... said...

Doxology is fueled by theology and theology is made more potent by diving into the depths of revealed truth.

Indeed, and amen...

9:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Even So... said...

People don't want to believe that but it is true...oh, they will say that they believe it, but they won't do it, thinking it is just too dry...but the treasure is below the seemingly dry and dusty surface...

However, most Christians seem to be surface dwellers and so they indeed do choke on the dry smoke, and so they think going deep means exploring the depths of their own feelings, and so therefor "God" becomes a projection of their best thoughts, and they practice idolatry thinking all the while that we who press them to maturity are just not "spiritual" enough...

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Taliesin said...

The idea in Proverbs is that we should search the Scriptures like those that search for gold and silver. I know personally that is difficult in part because there are so many other things pulling for my attention and it becomes habit to do the easier thing instead of the important thing.

7:05 PM EDT  

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