Filling in the Mosaic of God
A mosaic is an artwork made by inlaying small pieces of glass, stone, or tiles in such a way that an image is formed. An examination of any single piece of the mosaic may reveal that it is quite ordinary in appearance or that it is a very beautiful piece in its own right. But in either case, common or beautiful, the single piece does not compare with the beauty of the full image once all the pieces are in place. God comes to man something like a set of mosaic pieces, leaving it to man to fit them together to form the image.
Certainly God is far more than a mosaic, but we are speaking metaphorically. We cannot literally look upon God; neither can we see Him face to face with any single part of Scripture. We must fit together all the pieces revealed in Scripture to come up with His image. The Bible is composed of prose, poetry, principles, parables, prophecy, and apocalyptic literature that provide their own unique and beautiful vignettes and each with their own profound beauty, but which all pale in comparison to the image that emerges from the composite collection. As we pursue the knowledge of God through the Scriptures on our transformative journey to Him, an increasingly clear, profound, fearsome, lovely, and incredible image emerges that transfixes the mind and fills the heart of those who are willing to search for the pieces and fit them together into a beautiful mosaic masterpiece.
Unfortunately, few are willing to take that journey for it is demanding, requiring intellectual discipline, time, and patience, at least at the beginning of the endeavor. But, once embarked upon, the trek soon turns into a pleasure trip, drawing the traveler on and on as each new piece of God is discovered and put in its proper place, revealing an increasingly clear image of God. Like the traveler across great and monotonous plains sees majestic peaks afar off is exhilarated by the anticipation of a change in the dreary journey, so it is for the one who advances from the immediate euphoria of a salvation gained to seeking a fuller understanding of the One who granted it. Also, just as one approaches closer to the mountain chain finds ever greater interest and clarity of detail, which, in turn, lures him ever deeper into the stupendous beauty of the natural landscape, the one who pursues God is lured ever deeper into exquisite beauty and understanding such that the rigors of the journey are forgotten. He is mesmerized by the treasure that he has found and the labor he has undertaken turns into a joyful experience. This is very much what it is like when we search for the God revealed in the Bible rather than merely a continual reminder of our salvation.
Too many people are initially lured to God by desire of what we might call eternal life insurance. They are either herded toward God by a fear of Hell (punishment) or a hope of Heaven (reward), both of which are legitimate motivators, but neither of which provides a very clear image of God in the minds of the ones so herded or lured. History and experience has shown that Hell seems to be a more vivid idea than Heaven and consequently more have fled the one than pursued the other. When certain truths are found that promise escape from Hell and entrance into Heaven, many people zero in on them never to look beyond. Certainly what they have found are beautiful pieces of the mosaic, but they are so few and far separated that little or no image of God emerges, only a constant reminder of what they have gained. Sometimes no amount of urging will bring them to look for the bigger image of the One who made their salvation possible. They cling tenaciously to that handful of mosaic pieces in which they take comfort and see very little of the provider of the pieces. It is somewhat of a sad life that only clings to enough of God to give them an uneasy assurance that they have escaped the fires of Hell and may have received the blessing of eternity with their Creator whom they do not seek. They look at the mosaic of God through a straw and see truth, but not Truth. What they see is without doubt true, but they are looking at the image of God with blinders on. Such a life is characterized more as a desperate clinging to a lifeline than a joyous journey.
God is not easy to understand; neither is His work with the creation. Sometimes it is little easier for Christians to understand God and His works than it is for the unchurched because we put very little more effort to it. We can become so enthused about our own salvation that we forget to wonder at the One who brought it about. We think, perhaps, since salvation was wrought by God and He has made it so easy for us to respond to it, that the rescue of man was quite simple. This is not the case. God’s work is wondrous and, without revelation, inscrutable. Even with revelation, understanding God is challenging. We were created in His image, but, whether by inferior imaging or by corruption, we are nothing like God. Isaiah wrote: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
There is such a treasure chest of mosaic pieces within the Scriptures that we cannot uncover them all and fit them in their proper place in an entire lifetime. There are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; faith, hope, and love; covenant, sin, and judgment; atonement, sacrifice, and blood; reconciliation, propitiation, redemption, and justification; consecration, purification, and sanctification, just to identify a few profound concepts and principles. Men have never fully agreed to the meaning of all biblical concepts that reveal the nature of God and His work with His creation or how they all fit together, but they joy is not found in finishing the image, which will not be completed in this life, but in pursuing it. Most will only put together a few pieces of a very large jigsaw puzzle, accomplishing little more than a child could do. Putting the mosaic of God together is a jigsaw puzzle of infinite challenge suitable only for the adult mind determined to seek out and find His creator. There is challenge enough in the effort to occupy a lifetime. It is also a challenge of infinite delight. Jesus revealed to us the profoundly complex meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of life, as He so often did, in remarkably simple terms:
And this is eternal life; that they may know You the only true god, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).