10 Paradoxes of Christianity
Let’s be frank—the Christian faith is not logical.
God himself is a mystery. Not limited by time and space as we are, his ways follow his divine logic and not ours. His Word articulates beautiful puzzles, and he cares not a whit whether the National Academy of Sciences finds him and his ways believable or not. Many basic features of the Christian gospel are paradoxes, that is, seeming contradictions that cannot both be true. And yet they are.
It may have been G. K. Chesterton who best articulated those important observations. In his book Orthodoxy, he had an entire chapter on the paradoxes of the Christian faith. Here are ten of the Bible’s major seeming contradictions. For explanation and solutions, show up at your church each week and your pastor will explain.
1. The true God is one and three at the same time. Illogical? Yep. True? Yep.
2. Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine at the same time. Not half and half like a mermaid or centaur, but fully both. As he was born in the little animal pen in Bethlehem, he fused together divinity and humanity once and for all and took his human body with him to heaven when he ascended.
3. If people are condemned, it’s their fault. If people are saved, it is to God’s glory.
4. God punishes sinners. God forgives sinners.
5. God through Christ’s work has reconciled the whole world to himself. And yet there are now and will be many people in hell.
6. God has predestined or elected certain people to salvation. And yet our personal evangelism and mission work is absolutely vital and without it people will perish eternally.
7. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, St. Paul strongly recommends the single life. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, St. Paul strongly recommends married life.
8. We are saved by grace (universally inclusive) through faith (exclusive to believers).
9. Works without faith are as filthy rags before God. Faith without works is dead.
10. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).