TYMK - Knowing the unknowable God

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The unknowable God...

Did that title disturb you in the least? It has been such a common phrase used in and outside of the church that we rarely give it a thought. Everyone knows that God is unknowable. We don't flinch at the thought of God being unknowable, but we flinch at the accusation we would fight over the unknowable:

“It is natural that people should differ most, and most violently, about the unknowable . . . There is all the room in the world for divergence of opinion about something that, so far as we can realistically perceive, does not exist.”

― E. Haldeman-Julius (a guy with a black and white photo on the internet, so it must be true.)

The accusation makes us flinch while subtly we embrace the forced idea, like a magician forcing upon us, the card he wants us to have. The intellectual sleight of hand distracts us from recognizing the same old challenge of the serpent: Did God really say? (Ge 3) Did you really hear him right? Did you understand? Certainly your reason is better than your hearing or memory.

God is knowable [1]

But God said:

Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Ro 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.

The scoffer plays semantic games

There is a huge difference between honest questions and scoffer questions. The scoffer has already decided the matter and asks questions designed to confuse. The scoffer redefines words on the fly pretending that words have only one meaning and that he is the arbiter of that meaning.

The scoffer would ask "If we can know everything about God, doesn't that make us omniscient?". The confusion is introduced with the conditional clause beginning with "if".

We did not make the claim that we can know everything about God. The scoffer, when confronted acts hurt. "I didn't say we could, I just proposed the question, 'If we can...'". OK, then it is a stupid question. It has no relevance to the conversation. [2] If we allowed the scoffer's question to stand, those not following closely would buy the concept forced [3] upon him.

When you claim to know your neighbor, you do not claim to know everything about him, or that you could know everything about him. You claim to know him well enough to make the claim that you know him. What can be known about God is of a more sure nature than what you can know about your neighbor, since it is God himself, who makes himself known. [4]

If we are to KNOW that he is God; If we are to KNOW that the Bible is his word; If we are to KNOW his will; We must know it in a way that he makes it known.

Next: TYMK - Making himself known

References

  1. If you are paying close attention, you may wish to cry, "Foul!". You may observe that it appears that I am using the Bible as fact when I haven't proven it to be fact. If this were the proof section of the presentation, it would be cheating, but we are still in the introduction.
  2. Despite what your preschool teacher told you; There are stupid questions.Paul warns us against them: Tit 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
  3. As a magician forcing a card
  4. Ro 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.