Sometimes What Sounds Deep is Merely Unintelligible

Biblical Christianity is not an esoteric religion. Its content is not concealed in vague symbols that require some sort of special “insight” to grasp. There is no special intellectual prowess or spiritual gift that is necessary to understand the basic message of Scripture.

You may find that in Eastern religions where insight is limited to some guru who lives in a shanty high in the Himalayas. Maybe the guru has been thunderstruck by the gods with some profound mystery of the universe. You travel to inquire and he tells you in a hushed whisper that the meaning of life is the sound of “one hand clapping.” That’s esoteric. that’s so esoteric that even the guru does not understand it. He cannot understand it because it’s an absurdity.

Absurdities often sound profound because they are incapable of being understood. When we hear things we do not understand, sometimes we think that they are simply too deep or weighty for us to grasp when in fact they are merely unintelligible statements like “one hand clapping.”

The Bible does not talk like that. The Bible speaks of God in meaningful patterns of speech. Some of those patterns may be more difficult than others, but they are not meant to be nonsense statements that only a guru can fathom.

R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, p. 19 (line breaks and emphasis added)

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  • Amber

    Henry David Thoreau said something like, “as long as there are ponds you can’t see the bottom of, people will say they are bottomless.” My husband experienced this a lot in philosophy grad school – people making the waters muddy in order to make them deep. Philosophy is often simply obfuscation, as it makes the person feel intelligent.

  • Laura

    I think the proper response to true depth is, “Wow,” not “Huh?”

    • Aaron Armstrong