I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. (Ex 7:3-4
Here we have another example of paradox. On the one hand God is going to harden Pharaohs heart and on the other Pharoah himself is going to refuse to help the Jews. So which is it? Is it God controlling Pharoah or is it Pharoah making his own decisions?
The inability to live with tension, I think is what leads to mental disorders, heresies and cults.
I’ve met numerous people through 20 years of ministry that simply cannot live with these kinds of tensions. They have to resolve them and so they go in extreme directions. It’s these kinds of tensions that bring out the obsessive-compulsive in people.
On many things in life and faith it seems to me that a more generous “both and” perspective will lead to greater mental health and balanced living and belief then the inflexible “either or” position.
We must learn to live comfortably with a Bible and a life that is full of tension, mystery and paradox. We should work hard to find answers to life’s big questions, but we need to take a deep breath and relax and realize that some aspects of life and faith don’t fall neatly into place. All the theological loose ends don’t tie up in nice bows, and that is ok. Resting in God is not permission to shut your mind off to difficulties and tensions, but it does create the necessary softness for us to say “perhaps” “maybe” and “I don’t know”.