The Oxford English Dictionary has three meanings of the word paradox, the first is, ‘A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that may in fact be true. An apparently sound statement or proposition which leads to a logically unacceptable conclusion.’
Wikipedia carries many examples of paradoxes from different categories, a humorous one from the miscellaneous section says, ‘Intentionally blank page: Many documents contain pages on which the text "This page is intentionally left blank" is printed, thereby making the page not blank.' Another states, ‘Ignore all rules: To obey this rule, it is necessary to ignore it.’
The Football World Cup taking place in Brazil presents a mamoth social paradox. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on the construction of new stadia for the event, in the vacinity of ghetoes where thousands of people live trapped in poverty. Fans from all over the world will spend thousands of dollars in travel, accomodation, tickets to matches, food and drink, whereas people living in the favelas (6% of Brazil’s 200 million population), because of poverty cannot get out of the slums. Footballers playing in the World Cup are paid millions of dollars a year, conversely, slum children prostitute their bodies to obtain money.
The city of Manaus on the banks of the Amazon in the north of the country is host to England’s team in mid-June, when they contend to reach the final.
A Christian I know, who lives in that city, told me of a sad incident that happened there some years ago. A man was driving his truck along a road and saw a body by the side of the road. He stopped his vehicle and found a young lad laying unconscious. He lifted him into the cab of his truck and took him to a medical centre. The receptionist began to fill an admission form and asked who was going to pay for the boy’s required treatment. The driver told her that the boy was not his responsibility, and he was told that if he did not accept to pay then the doctor would not see the lad. The man insisted that she go in to the doctor and tell him about the lad’s plight. She went in and came back saying that without a signiture on the form he would not see or attend to his injuries. The boy died without being attended to. What a shock it was for the doctor who found out later that the boy was his own son! The medical skill in the doctor’s head and hands could no doubt have saved his son but his heart revealed that he loved money more than caring for human need.
Atheists say that the Bible contradicts itself. That is not so, the Bible from beginning to end is God’s truth but contains many paradoxes. Solomon wrote in the Book of Proverbs “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty” This principle lies at the centre of Christian giving, Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Whether giving to God or to others, when done with the right motive, the gift acts like a boomerang and comes back with interest.
Death is often viewed as final and that there is nothing afterwards, but that is wrong, Heb. 9:27 reads, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” That scripture tells us that death is not the cessation of being, but that there is the matter of accounting to God for the life lived in the body, at the final judgment. There is an alternative to that appointment that can be made during life’s journey. Jesus also said in Matt. 10:38,39, in relation to life and death, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Finding life and losing it and losing life and finding it, what does it mean, it sounds contradictory but it is not, it is a paradox. If a person lives for self, holding onto things that they cannot keep, and dies in their sin, they will lose out on life in Heaven. If however a person during their lifetime yields their life to Christ, not henceforth living for self but the Saviour, then they will find life, abundant life, both now and in eternity.
In Matthew chapter 21 Christ told a parable about two sons, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Both sons acted paradoxically, one said I won’t go but he went, the other said I will go but he did not go. This parable illustrates the importance of doing the will of God.
Jesus is the Son who did the will of His Father, He came into the world to save guilty sinners like you and me, and that meant that He had to die on the cross so that we who repent and believe might live. He said, “Because I live you shall live also.” A sinless man died that sinners might live, and He lives that saved sinners might never die the second death, which must be the greatest paradox of all!
Written by a guest blogger for FTMP. For more information about the good news of salvation visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk to source blogs, podcast and videos.
Location:Writing from Canada