I suggest you stay away from trying to figure God out. When mankind, especially the Christian “church”, tries to figure out the paradox, it comes up way too short and often just ends up with a dogmatic rule on each issue. When opposing dogmatic rules clash, denominations develop. Personally, I don’t think God ever intended for denominational differences. Right from the beginning, Paul warned the new believers who were breaking off into groups and cliques. He pointed out that some were saying, “‘I am of Paul’, and ‘I of Apollos’ and ‘I of Cephas’, and ‘I of Christ’” (1 Corinthians 1:12). Even today, we have the Christian church broken into more denominations than I care to think of. How can that be when God uses terms like unity, one, together, body of Christ, His bride? The early “church” was significantly more unified in faith, teachings and purpose. Once Christianity started teaching “religion”, instead of a “relationship” with God, the heresies started flying.
Jesus was not just another good man or philosopher to come along in the timeline of civilization; no…He is the planned event of God’s promise…He is God in the flesh. And Christianity is not just another religion; it’s a way of life. G.K. Chesterton said, “Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious”. Heresy and conflict crouch at the door of those who don’t!
I’m not saying to just lie down and believe anything that flies down the road! What I’m saying is that God is far superior in knowledge and planning and His ways are not our ways, so any attempt at trying to corral His teachings into one way or the other will fail. If we have to choose between love or fear, die or live, give or get, faith or works, we are then open to the false security of legalism with the doctrines of man posing as the doctrines of God. I think Chesterton had it right…it’s both…love and fear; give and get; sovereign God and free will, etc. Because we are not God, these opposites will be tense and furious but, in Him, it is also full of joy and rest. God constantly tells us to enter that rest. Could it be that He really understands the paradox? Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!