Time travel is absolutely ridiculous, to the point that I can’t possibly understand it completely.
The times that I’ve tried to wrap my mind around the intricacies of a flux capacitor or the standards for a fixed point in time have left me with more questions than answers. I’ve often contemplated the implications of time travel and have indeed found the issue of time to be a “big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.” And that’s perfectly fine with me. I can still enjoy Doctor Who without an exhaustive explanation of the TARDIS mechanics. While I enjoy discussing the possible explanations of and theories for time travel, I also recognize that the concept is more than likely beyond complete comprehension. And I’ve found that rather than hindering my joy, such a recognition of incomprehensibility only increases my fascination and awe of the stories. More than that, I think the joy I find in time travel stories is only a reflection of the joy that’s available to us.
I’ve been reading a bunch of C. S. Lewis lately, and I can’t help but be impressed with his mind. He had a gift for clearly explaining complicated arguments, for cleverly thinking through difficult questions (A. W. Tozer is another favorite of mine in this regard). As I read his work, I’m often awed by the truths he points out, and I’m fascinated by his way with words in explanation. I look up to him a lot. And, usually, I can follow his train of thought. He’s brilliant, but he writes in such a way that even my simple mind can keep up with him. He’s thoughtful, but accessible. I love reading theologians (and, really, any writer) who can articulate their points clearly enough for me to follow along. But Lewis still writes that God is beyond our complete understanding or explanation (I’m thinking of his talk of metaphors in Miracles).
Paul, too, is brilliant. In Romans, he beautifully outlines theology and practice, right doctrine and the appropriate working out of that doctrine in the life of a Christ follower. His letter upholds truth, yet maintains clarity; he explains things faithfully, yet clearly. Even so, Paul comes to place where words almost seem to fail him. As he builds to a crescendo in his theological treatise, he comes to a place where the only outgrowth is worship. He writes,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Paul’s theology led to his doxology. As he breaks out in a song of sorts, he extols the depths of God’s wisdom, the heights of his truth. Paul worships the God that transcends the furthest extent of human thought, who goes beyond the reaches of man’s vocabulary. When faced with the glorious brilliance of God, human minds must admit the impossibility of full comprehension and simply worship the divine, infinite Lord of all. We see more traces of God’s transcendence when we read,
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
“Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
I stand in awe of God in part because he is beyond my comprehension. I can spend all eternity getting to know him deeper, better, more fully, and yet there will be more to learn, more to understand, more to see. Far from the claims of skeptics that Christians simply throw their hands up in the air and claim ignorance, punting to God’s greatness instead of thinking through complicated questions, I’m arguing that we ask, seek, and knock all of our lives, understanding that there are certain truths that will always be beyond us. The Trinity, for instance, is a beautiful doctrine, yet I know of no man who can perfectly describe this divine truth. God’s sovereign choice and man’s responsibility in the context of salvation is another seemingly irreconcilable relationship that we see married in Scripture. The very person of Christ, fully human and fully God, stands above the wisest minds of men. And in each case, though we study and think and discuss, we ultimately must admit humble ignorance before a God who transcends every box into which we try to place him. This is not a method of avoiding tough questions; this is admitting that God is in fact far beyond our comprehension. And this is not a reason for doubt or frustration, but for reverence and worship.
Today, and every day, let us be content to not have every answer. Let us rest in the truth that God is, and always will be, beyond our reach. Then let us worship, in fear and love, this God who, though far above us, has descended to us and ascended again, calling us up to where he is. Let us worship this transcendent immanence. And let us proclaim this Gospel that seems foolish to the world, recognizing that, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men…” (1 Corinthians 1:25)