Mystery vs Knowledge

If you know me, then you probably know that I'm a huge fan of Peter McKinnon's work.  Peter is a brilliant illusionist, photographer, and YouTuber.  In a recent vlog, he featured a mystery box of magic that J.J. Abrams made famous with his TED talk in 2007.  Before we go any further, I highly recommend that you take a look at these inspiring videos:

For those of you who didn't watch the videos, here's a brief explanation:

J.J. Abrams describes in the TED talk how he bought a mystery box of magic decades ago, and that it's been an inspiration to him since.  He never opened it, because he believed that its contents could never compete with the excitement and mystery of what was inside.  Abrams used that idea as an influence throughout his career in shows like Lost and Alias.  His basic premise is that mystery can often be more important than knowledge.  In McKinnon's video, he details how the TED talk encouraged him and discusses how creatives can glean from and apply the principle.

Videos and content like this can be wildly motivating to creative types.  But, after watching them, I find that my mind is left wandering along a different path.  What intrigues me most is the connection between mystery in creative applications and biblical mystery.  At their intersection, both encourage deeper thought, provoke engagement, and create a connection with a story.  That said, let's dive a little deeper into biblical mystery.

mystery | μυστήριον | musterion - not the mysterious, but that made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God.
— Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Biblical mystery, therefore, is also understood as something that was before hidden but is now revealed in the gospel.  Christ is the Mystery of God.  His death on the cross was a revelation to all of humanity, yet He remains a mystery to non-believers.  

I titled this post Mystery vs Knowledge for this reason:  The byproduct of mystery in a creative application is immersion and the anticipation or expectation of knowledge.  The byproduct of biblical mystery is knowledge.  Wisdom.  Faith.  If you're anything like me, you're consistently at war with yourself and struggling with faith.  There's a lot of information available in the Bible, but how can we apply any of it to our lives outside of faith?  I'm constantly looking for anchors to my faith:  passages or truths that remind me of God's faithfulness and His fulfilled promises.  Biblical mysteries, or revealed truths, help to create a firm foundation for my faith.

Secondly, I look to Corinthians:

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
— 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 (NIV)

Not only are these mysteries a cornerstone of our faith, but they are also personal revelations provoked by the Spirit that impress upon us the obligation to help others unlock and unpack the wisdom of the gospel.  Paul said it well:

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
— Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV)

How many times do you get super-excited about a new show or vlog or podcast?  If you're like me, all the time.  We try to tell everyone we know about it, saying,  "You have to watch this!" or, "You won't believe what happens!"  Shouldn't we be the same when it comes to sharing the gospel?  It's not a Netflix or Hulu Original and you won't find it on Buzzfeed.  We are the marketing.  Thanks to J.J. Abrams and Peter McKinnon, we have a fresh reminder:  Keep the faith, and tell everyone about the Mystery that is our God.

I hope this rant was somewhat coherent.  I watched these videos last night and was really pressed this morning to write about how they inspired me.