wonder

“Wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.” -Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz

Okay, why is it that wonder (“to have curiosity, sometimes mingled with doubt”) is so much different than wonder (“a person, thing, or event causing astonishment and admiration; marvel”)? The first is almost degrading; it’s filled with confusion and questions. When I wonder in the first sense, I want answers. I don’t like to wonder.

I’ve been wondering (in the first sense) about theology lately. I was raised to believe Arminianism rather than Calvinism, but then I started listening to radio preachers who teach the latter. Lately people have been telling me I should believe a mix of the two. (They call it “moderate Calvinism.”) To be painfully honest, none of them make sense to me. No one has answered all my questions yet. Is there something wrong with not putting God into our man-made forms and formulas and just admitting God is God even though we can’t formulate a logical reason why election and eternal security do or do not occur? Just wondering.

When I read Donald Miller’s sentence “I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me,” I laughed out loud. But then I realized, “Huh. That’s not really very funny,” and then I felt very small. “The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever.” Amen, brother.

How can we shift to the second sense of wonder? How can the part that’s “mingled with doubt” turn into something that, even though it has no answers, accepts the unknown with peace and awe? I wonder.

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    • Anonymous
    • October 26th, 2005

    You ask about wonder. I don’t have all the answers for your questions, but I will answer as best I can. I will draw much from a book our family has been reading aloud on Sabbath afternoons entitled, “The Dark Side of Islam” by ___ Saleeb and R.C. Sproul. Last week was about the trinity. How do you explain the math of the trinity: three in one and one in three? When we refer to God the Father, we don’t refer to 1/3 of God; we refer to the one God. God the Father and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not three gods, but do you see how one might be confused?

    Our understanding of reality doesn’t change reality. If I don’t understand how my dad can be both a father and a son, that doesn’t change the fact that he is both. And if I completely understand how 2 + 2 = 5, that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that we are unable to understand everything about God. We’re finite creatures, trapped in a finite universe. Even time is finite. We can’t understand infinity, let alone God. Plus, God hasn’t revealed all things to us. Some stuff we can’t understand; some stuff we don’t need to understand. (Isaiah 55.8-9).

    But how has He revealed to us the stuff we need to know? Through scripture. Through prayer. Through opening our eyes to see the hidden mysteries of God.

    As to Mr. Calvin…another time.

    -Jamie-

    • c.l.beyer
    • October 26th, 2005

    Well said.

    • Jamie
    • October 27th, 2005

    Quote: “Is there something wrong with not putting God into our man-made forms and formulas and just admitting God is God even though we can’t formulate a logical reason why election and eternal security do or do not occur? Just wondering.”

    What if we said the same thing about chemistry, or physics? Let’s face it…all our formulas and laws are our own rules that we make up to describe the world arround us. The problem is, those rules get broken all the time. In physics, F=ma doesn’t always give the correct answer, especially in the really big, or really small. We’ve made up rules that are approximations of what we do see. But just because we can’t fully understand something is no reason that we shouldn’t try to understand it as best we can.

    I’ll grant that it is impossible for finite creatures to fully understand an infinite God. But He has revealed many things about Himself through the scriptures. For a reason.

    • c.l.beyer
    • October 27th, 2005

    Jamie, you’re very perceptive. My most recent posting is sort of a response to you.

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