When we encounter something which invokes a sense of wonder, it means we have encountered some kind of splendor or beauty which is quite beyond us. We can marvel, but we cannot grasp. The sense of wonder releases us to enjoy, to worship, to have awe, without having to understand. We do not need to name or dissect or control the encounter, we need stand in wonder and revel in the simplicity and enjoyment of the moment.
Science is a wonderful tool to lead us deeper into experiences of wonder, I am not a science basher. However, most science is deeply under law. Wonder is in general not allowed. The rule is dispassionate observation, there is the constant pressure to dissect, to name, to rationalize. One of the ironies of this is that according to the laws of quantum physics, the very act of observation changes things, so there is no way to really have a disconnected and truly dispassionate observation. Grace allows us to enter into a sense of wonder at the world, to acknowledge that there are many things beyond us, that we did not make and do not need to control, which are quite wonderful. In wonder we enter into the gift culture, where we are presented with wonderful things which we did not make and did not earn, for which there is no payment, and we only need do the thing which wonder invites anyway – to give thanks. The sad dynamic of naturalism is not simply disbelief in God, but a closed door to this profound level of gratitude, of the ability to acknowledge that there are things in the universe which are not only beyond our grasp, but which our greatest longing is to enter into wonder and express gratitude to Someone who gave the gift.
The beings around the throne who constantly say holy holy holy, are under Jesus’ edict to never use meaningless repetition in their prayers. Did you ever think about that? This means, that every time they say it, they are saying it in a fresh way, with a fresh sense of wonder at God, over and over and over and over. He is forever new, forever surprising, forever a fountain of beauty and wonder. This is all of grace, in fact it is the real end of grace. Worship is this sense of wonder at God, under grace, and the simple utterance of genuine heartfelt gratitude. We do not need to control and analyze and explain, this can quickly become a harsh and lifeless law. We can freely analyze and explain, part of this exploration is the way we discover objects of wonder in the first place, but in the end we have the freedom to stop and enjoy and express thanks.
1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
4 And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
5 And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
6 and before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.
7 And the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.
8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”
9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.”
(Revelation 4:1-11, NASB).