Our Facedown Future

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Even our best theologies about God will be broken in His presence. So why is it important to understand this?

None of us—not a single person—is going to get to heaven and exclaim, “Lord, you're exactly who I thought you were!” You know that, right? For all our theologizing, which can be really useful and does give us a good framework for knowing what he’s like, we aren’t going to have a fully accurate handle on him. However deeply we know him now, he’s going to blow our minds and our expectations. Even angels who have gazed at him for eons still fall down in amazement. Surely we will be amazed—and surprised—too.

That doesn’t mean we’re all wrong about him. He has revealed himself accurately. But we’ve taken his revelation many steps farther in our attempts to systematize and explain. Even our best theologies will be broken in his presence.

Why is it important to know this? For one thing, we need to have a little humility when we parse other people’s theology as specifically as some people tend to do. For people who will one day find ourselves absolutely wrong on some points, we can be awfully arrogant in our certainty about minor points of doctrine. But more than that, we need to know about our future mind-boggling because it will help us live with a sense of wonder now. God will break out of our boxes, and it’s much better to accept the adventure and be awed by that now rather than to be frustrated over it. Life with him is meant to be lived with open hearts and hands, and with gratitude for however and wherever he leads. That kind of life is far less stressful than the alternative—and far more likely to lead to real understanding.

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