Can I tell you a little secret? I do not want to write my review on this chapter because I did not like the second half of it!
Yes, I feel terrible saying this, but I just can’t help it. I read it twice and the third time I skimmed over it, and still, my thoughts were the same.
I enjoyed the first part of this chapter in which Dr. Sproul deals with the definition of holy:
“The primary meaning of holy is “separate”. It comes from an ancient word that means “to cut” or “to separate…
“God’s holiness is more than just separateness. His holiness is also transcendent. The word transcendence means literally “to climb across’… God is above and beyond us. Transcendence describes His; supreme and absolute greatness…”
This definition is just great, to think that He is higher than me, than the rest of us, helps my ego fall down and remember that I am clay made alive.
The author continues explaining how in the Word of God we find the word holy; used to express “something other than a moral or ethical quality”; In order for something to be holy, it first needs to be consecrated or sanctified by God.
“Only God can sanctify something else. God alone is holy Himself”
I learned in this chapter that when we speak of God as holy, “it doesn’t signify one single attribute. On the contrary, God is called holy in a general sense. The word is used a synonym for his deity. That is the word holy calls our attention to all that God is.”
If holy means transcendent, then worshiping idols made of wood, silver, gold, worshiping the moon, the sun, or anything else is nonsense because all these are not transcendent, “they; do not go above and beyond the creaturely. They are not holy”, says the author.
And now comes the part I did not like of this chapter. Dr. Sproul talks about a German scholar, Rudolf Otto, and how he tried to study the holy in a scientific way. This man “coined a special term for the holy. He called it mysterium tremendum…’awful mystery'” (My first doubt, question, objection is this, can one really study the holy in a scientific way? how? I just could not follow along.)
The author goes on to explain that we have mixed feelings about the holy,
“There is a sense in which we are at the same time attracted to it and repulsed by it. Something draws us toward it, while at the same time we want to run away from it. We can’t seem to decide which way we want it. Part of us yearns for the holy, while part of us despises it. We can’t live without it, and we can’t live without it”
This is so true, this is why we need so desperately Jesus, a mediator.
But why does the author chooses to explain us such truth comparing it with his wife’s feeling when watching horror movies; why using the images of scary radio programs? This I did not like. I just couldn’t understand it. How can we compare our relationship and feelings towards the Holy with our feeling towards scary radio programs or horror movies. I felt lost.
What are your thoughts about this?
I am grateful to Tim Challies for inviting us to read along this book; it has proved a blessing for me to join a group of great people and thinkers.