When God’s Mysteries Aren’t Mysterious

Why is it that when we have the privilege of glimpsing God’s hand, we are tempted to strip away His majesty and power?

A magician who has perfected the art to captivate our attention with their skill and talent leaves us in awe and wonder. But what happens when the magician reveals his secrets? Will the apprentice loses respect for the master? Is the magician still deserving of admiration when you know how the trick is done?

When God’s mysteries become less mysterious, does that diminish who God is, making Him a mere voice behind the curtain? The revealing of God’s mysteries is a dividing point, some will move further away from Him while others deepen their respect and admiration. When God’s reveals his mysteries, some feel betrayed. Somehow knowing makes Him less real? For the betrayed, it was once honorable to believe, but now it is seen as a childish weakness that one must outgrow. But what if God isn’t a mystical being? What if He is more than just a symbol of fascinating science?

On the morning of August 21, 2017, I made the last-minute decision to drive three hours with my kids to Idaho to witness the solar eclipse. Really it was David Baron‘s fault that I was packing up the car that morning at 5 am. I had watched his TED Talk a few weeks before the Solar eclipse was to take place and his words were still pestering my thoughts. “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.” Conversations about the solar eclipse had been growing steadily all year, hitting a climax the week before the eclipse was to take place. Everywhere everyone was talking about the eclipse. Where I live, I could witness a partial eclipse from the comforts of my home. Was it really that different? Was it worth the effort? People had been scouting out places in the zone of totality for over a year, and here I was the morning of the eclipse hoping to find a place. Did I even have a chance or was it too late? Plus, traveling with three kids without my husband to help tag team felt daunting. There seemed to be many reasons stacking up for just staying put and watching the partial eclipse. But what if David Baron was right?

I looked at my google maps and a map that located the zone of totality. My simple unsophisticated plan had three requirements: get in the zone of totality, be away from major towns and cities, and a place where I could easily exit the freeway and then get back as soon as the eclipse was over. I marked the spot on my map and headed for Osgood, Idaho, and drove until I got to exit 128.

You would have thought I had scoped out this spot with amazing foresight. There were no crowds to fight and there were no buildings and trees to obstruct our view. We were surrounded by empty fields waiting to be planted and filled with anticipation of the unknown.

Was it worth it? Would I do it again?

It was one of the most spectacular experiences. During the total eclipse, I briefly tore my eyes away from the scene to take in the reaction of my kids. That’s when I captured this photo of my daughter. In a matter of minutes, the temperature had dropped by 10 degrees, the afternoon sky morphed into twilight painting the sky with a spectacular sunset, and the choir crickets were singing in the background, with the rest of the world standing in silent admiration. In the photo, my daughter had just removed her glasses to observe what was happening with her naked eyes. The look on her face spoke the words that could not be formed.

I had read about the scientific explanation of solar eclipses before that day, and I read even more after that singular experience. I visited a Planetarium where they further explained with sophisticated technology, why and how solar eclipses happen. But even though it can be explained and understood by man, it is still spectacular.

The development of an embryo into a human body can be explained and understood by man, but it is still spectacular.

The odds by which David was able to defeat Goliath can be explained and understood by man, but it is still spectacular.

The constantly rhythmic rolling of the waves can be explained and understood by man, but it is still spectacular.

In the National Geographic Series of Buried Secrets of the Bible, they explore the possibility of the parting of the Red Sea, trying to answer this one question: Did it really happen? The archaeology, historical, and geological information that is explained during the episode is fascinating, but it ends with this disappointing sentence: “In that time, anyone witnessing a tsunami would think it was an act of God. And if you were fleeing persecutions, and the seas parted for any reason, you would think a higher force was helping you.” (Buried Secrets of the Bible with Albert Lin. Season 1 Episode 1: Parting the Red Sea, National Geographic)

Throughout the episode, answering one difficult question after another unfold how the earth created a parting of the Red Sea. Somehow, after all the brilliant conclusions, investigative questions, and deductive thinking, the erroneous conclusion was that if it could be explained and understood by man, then God had nothing to do with it, simplifying “God” from a Being to a shallow definition of something that is unexplainable. God performs miracles to help His people. But if the parting of the Red Sea can be explained then is it still a miracle?

The parting of the Red Sea can be explained and understood by man, but it is still spectacular.

When God shares His mysteries with mortal beings, and His spectacular events begin to be understood becoming less mysterious, it does not decrease God’s power, it increases it. It reveals His love for us as he reaches with His hand down to us, inviting us to come to where He is. The revealing of His mysteries is an invitation to become like Him and to develop His powers. The revealing of His mysteries reveals His greatest ambition for us to become like him as He gently encourages us to believe that we can.

June 2, 2020

Time Writing: 4 hours

Total Time Writing on this blog: 243 hours