Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Apparent Contradictions

Apparent Contradictions


Have you noticed how often God appears to be a God of apparent contradictions?

Think about it . . .

  • He is Yahweh, the God of the universe who is the self-sufficient “I AM” (Genesis 3:14).  Yet He revealed this name to Moses for the purpose of relationship with His flawed people (Genesis 3:15).
  • He is just (Isaiah 30:18). And He is merciful (Luke 6:36).
  • He is Adonai, our Lord and Master worthy of our worship (Deuteronomy 9:26).Yet He came to earth as the Suffering Servant (John 13:14).
  • He is Yahweh Shalom, the Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24). Yet He is also the One who said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Life also seems to be filled with contradictions. We see it in disagreements over the simplest facts, such as whether face masks are helpful in this pandemic or whether a particular medication is an effective treatment for COVID-19.

But we also see apparent contradictions in our spiritual life, too.

  • When we are weak, then we are strong (II Corinthians 12:10).
  • We think we’re forgiving others as an act of charity. But the biggest beneficiary of our forgiveness is us (I Peter 3:9)!
  • We lose our life in sacrificial living, only to gain it for eternity (Luke 9:24).
  • We give to bless others. But we receive the blessing (Acts 20:35).
  • And finally, if we want to be first, we must be last and the servant of all (Mark 9:35).

What do all these apparent contradictions reveal? First, they show us that things aren’t always as they might appear.

Second, even if something is most definitely a contradiction to us, that still isn’t the final word. What appears to be irreconcilable to us may merely reveal the limits of our finite thinking.

So the next time an apparent contradiction catches your attention, especially in the biblical realm, rejoice that our assessments in this world are not as accurate or complete as we think. Then praise the One who is not constrained by our finite capabilities!


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  1. Joyce Hoskins

    I love the way you add new perspective to scriptural truths, and weave the truth of God with the reality of today’s challenges.

  2. LR

    This …..spoke to my heart and soul! God knows how to give us an answer when we seek Him. Thank you Ave for allowing God to use you – especially in this writing!

  3. Rayma Zugel

    Sort of like an oxymoron 🙂

  4. Diana Parker Owens

    I just love your blog.. Keep me in a special prayer as I am in Arkansas for treatment. Thanks

  5. Marcie Cramsey

    I love this, Ava! My favorite part of your post is when you say, “if something is most definitely a contradiction to us, that still isn’t the final word. What appears to be irreconcilable to us may merely reveal the limits of our finite thinking.” Our finite minds cannot fathom the awesome and wonderful plan of God. We can only know the slice of which he chooses to reveal to us, the rest and unknown require faith. Trusting who is in charge rather than trying to figure him out.

  6. Jessica Brodie

    So many contradictions, yes! They all tell me that, compared to God, I really know nothing, even when I think I’m “all that” and oh-so-brilliant! 🙂 God knows all, sees all and guides us to full glory in Him.

  7. Yvonne Morgan

    Wonderful post. We really know so little. Thanks Ava

  8. Melissa Henderson

    Contradictions can cause problems or lead us closer to God. When we consider the love He has for us and the promises He has made, we can leave the doubt and worry behind.

  9. Nancy E Head

    I love the paradoxes of Christianity. The more we die to self, the more life we have. So beautiful. Great message!

  10. Karen Friday

    God’s character and His ways rarely, if ever, make sense to our limited human thinking. But it’s what makes God…God and us His creation.

  11. Melinda Viergever Inman

    This is a strong word! What a good message! I hadn’t considered before the contradictions and how presenting the opposites side by side shows us so much about the Lord, what he can do, and how he can transform us. Thank you for sharing this!

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