Can We Really KNOW God?
My son received a new video game system this Christmas. Subsequently, he spent a massive fair amount of time over his school break playing one of his new games.
As a mom, I felt some tension in wanting to limit his screen time, hoping he would do something more “constructive”. At the same time, I understood.
I understood because I was the same age he is now when I got the first Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. It came with a game called, Super Mario Bros.
Middle school me spent hours in front of the TV; controller gripped tightly in hand until I knew exactly where every secret brick and every warp pipe was located in that virtual world. Once I rescued Princess Toadstool, I lost interest and quit playing.
I’ve seen my son do the same thing with his games. They only hold their appeal until he masters them.
A video game is a simplistic (especially in the case of 1980’s games) example of something that is finite.
According to the Oxford dictionary, finite is an adjective that means, “Limited in size or extent”.
It’s possible, theoretically, to eventually KNOW everything there is to know about something that is finite. Every part of this world is finite.
But God is infinite.
He is the ONLY one who can claim that.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18
God is infinite in his greatness, his love, power, wisdom, and so forth.
Can we really KNOW God?
@@We can never fully know everything about God because he is infinite and we are finite.@@ As Wayne Grudem says in his book, Systematic Theology, this means,
“…we will never run out of things to learn about him, and thus we will never tire in delighting in the discovery of more and more of his excellence and the greatness of his works.”
Unlike the video game example, there’s no chance of mastery over God and there’s no chance of getting bored with him. God alone is God.
We can be thankful for that!
Though we will never have exhaustive knowledge of God, we CAN know God truly. This means that we can have true knowledge of God- because God has chosen to reveal himself to us through Scripture.
It is pleasing to God when we seek to continually increase in our knowledge of him.
“…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10
It gets better.
We can know God, not only in our understanding of true facts about him, but we can know him in the context of a personal relationship.
In fact, knowledge about God is not enough. John Piper says it well in his book, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist,
“Knowledge about Him will not do. Work for Him will not do. We must have personal, vital fellowship with Him; otherwise, Christianity becomes a joyless burden.”
How do we have a personal relationship with God?
We can speak to God in prayer (and he hears us).
God speaks to us through his Word (any other revelation from God will always support and never contradict what is found in the Scriptures).
God is present with us (worship helps us to become more aware of his presence).
“Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
When someone comes and makes a home with you that is definitely a personal relationship.
What a great blessing, that a personal relationship with the infinite God of the universe is available to us. It’s the greatest blessing of all.
In closing, I’ll leave you with Jesus’s prayer from John 17:3. I pray it for you as well,
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Some questions to ponder:
1. Do you want to know God more? If so, what motivates you in this desire?
2. When God chooses to reveal himself to you, how can you know if you’ve interpreted his revelation rightly?
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenants of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” LUKE 10:27 (ESV)
Note…Amazon affiliate links are used throughout this post. If you click on a link and buy a book, I receive a small portion of the proceeds at no additional cost to you. Thank you!