I am learning how to think like Leonardo Da Vinci! Well, I am at least reading a book called How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci! The author of this book says that one of the seven steps to doing this is learning to live with paradox. You know what paradox is right? It’s when something that at first glance appears to be senseless, self-contradictory and logically impossible, but when investigated or explained, turns out to be true. This was something that Da Vinci seemed to understand despite the fact that he was a genius!
But forget Da Vinci, Jesus is ultimate when it comes to paradox! In fact I would be so bold as to say that without embracing paradox, you will not understand the Bible, the kingdom of God or the Gospel! Let me unpack for you why. Think of all the contradictions that Jesus seemed to imply:
You find your life by losing it!
You take his burden and find rest!
You humble yourself to be exalted!
You give to receive!
You lead by serving!
You live by dying!
You become great by being the least!
You mature when you become a child!
You become enslaved in order to be set free!
These things don’t make sense at first, they seem antithetical, but when you embrace them in your life and begin to live the upside-down, subversive way of the kingdom, you find that they are true!
Other areas would include God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things, including who is saved. The Bible also teaches that man is fully responsible and morally culpable for his own actions. These are not doctrines that need to be reconciled or joined or figured out, they are paradoxes that need to be embraced. This, to me, is why many people have a problem with Calvinism, they can’t seem to accept that these two things can be true at the same time. When asked how to reconcile these two doctrines, Charles Spurgeon said, “I don’t have to reconcile friends.”
How about the Incarnation? Jesus was and is fully God and fully man! He was not 50% God and 50% man, He was 100% God and 100% Man! Paradox! Or take the Trinity; God is Three Persons yet One, each member is fully God, but not three distinct gods. Augustine said if you deny this you will lose your soul, if you attempt to explain this you will lose your mind! Paradox! Embrace it, enjoy it, take it seriously!