“The ideal mystery is one you would read if the end was missing.” Raymond ChandlerI recently read that quote and it got my mind thinking. Is it true? Can you have a good mystery with no reveal at the end? J.J. Abrams addressed this in his TED talk and in his iconic show Lost. I don’t think that all people have the same appetite for mystery. Some people have an appetite for certainty, and will only entertain mystery on its way to providing us with a certain ending. As I reflect on this, I think I’m one of the people who would agree with Chandler’s idea above. I recently read about a document known as the Voynich manuscript. It is described this way:
It is a handwritten book of 246 pages containing numerous illustrations and approximately 170,000 characters. What is special about it? The script employed is utterly unknown and therefore illegible. According to a radiocarbon analysis conducted in 2009 by the University of Arizona, the manuscript was created in the first half of the fifteenth century (probably between 1404 and 1438).As you can imagine, this peaked the mystery appetite in me. What was this document? Why was it created? Does it have any purpose? Klaus Schmeh, the author of the article I read about it, concludes the following:
My favorite explanation for the manuscript is that it was simply created to produce a mystery. Maybe the author intended to sell it for a large amount of money to a wealthy contemporary, or maybe he even acted by order of such a person. Another theory, which I consider plausible, posits that the Voynich author was a mentally ill person (for example, someone suffering from autism); it is quite common for mentally ill people to create art.His conclusion? Either it was created for mystery, or the author was mentally ill. So it often goes. Mystery affects our outlook on life. For those of us who are Christian, it also shapes the way that we present the Gospel to people. Do we present it in a way that opens doors and intrigues people with Truth? Or, do we present it in a way that answers any question that could be asked? Your appetite for mystery affects your view of God more than you probably realize. Do you like mystery?
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