Keith Schooley

Speaking of the doctrinal escape-hatch of “mystery” that Calvinists often use when mitigating against their own inevitable, theological contradictions, Keith Schooley explains:

Other examples of mysteries are Revelation 10:4 and Revelation 17:5:

When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.’

On her forehead a name was written, a mystery, ‘Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.’

In both cases, we do not have a theology contradiction at hand, but mysteries that await revelation.

Mysterion, in the NT, is used for something which God had previously kept hidden, until He chose to reveal it (as in, for instance, His intention that Jews and Gentiles would be brought together as one people of God, Eph. 3:6). It is something like a plot twist in literature. It is not necessarily difficult to fathom; it is just unexpected, something God chose to keep hidden for a time. But ‘mystery’ in theology is frequently used for something unfathomable, beyond human comprehension, understandable only to God. In practice, it is used to deal with a logical contradiction within one’s theology. How can God ordain sin and yet not be its author? It’s a mystery. How can He desire the salvation of all and yet ordain that most of humanity remain condemned? It’s a mystery. How can He be utterly good and yet ordain actions that are utterly evil? It’s a mystery. It’s all too convenient. A true mysterion awaits an apokalypsis, a revelation of God’s purpose. It’s not an all-purpose escape clause for when you’ve ground your theology into self-contradiction.”