Antinomy

Merriam Webster defines antinomy as:

1 : a contradiction between two apparently equally valid principles or between inferences correctly drawn from such principles

2 : a fundamental and apparently unresolvable conflict or contradiction[i]

 

“If…anybody is lost, the blame is theirs, but if anybody is saved, the credit is God’s. This antinomy contains a mystery which our present knowledge cannot solve; but it is consistent with Scripture, history and experience.” – John Stott

 

Romans 9-11 is an incredible display of the right tension of salvation. God’s work in rescuing humanity. Humanities responsibility and culpability in responding (or rejecting) the rescue offered in the person and work of Jesus. As a person who favors clear logical boundaries and statements, antinomy is a bit maddening. But, there is beauty in mystery and majesty in Divine mystery that ought to capture us as much as it perplexes us. For me the closest analogy I can find is art. Music, poetry, painting, drawing, sculpting and on the list goes. Each a creative endeavor and if well done mysterious and majestic. The intriguing thing to me in getting to know some artists is how much tension is in art. Are their rules and practiced skills? Yes. But, there must also be creativity, imagination, an eye or ear that goes beyond what has been seen or heard before. The best art isn’t something you can logically figure out. You can analyze it but at the end of the day, it will remain a mystery. Art isn’t designed to be reduced to an equation. Neither is salvation. There is much we can know about it. A careful study of Scripture rewards us with such rich truths as justification, propitiation, substitutionary atonement and so on. But, there remains mystery, and in that mystery tension and majesty. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter…” – Proverbs 25:2a As much as we must be good students of salvation, let us endeavor to retain it’s mystery, tension and majesty that it might ignite worship to the Author.

[i] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antinomy

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