Knowing the Incomprehensible God


Evangelical Christians are often criticized for claiming to have answers to all problems. Thus, the author of The Shack, William P. Young, stated there are “religious people” who want to keep God, not in a box, but in a book, with leather binding and “guilt” pages.

The emerging church view, predicated by Postmodernism, is that God is Mystery; we can enter into relationship with Him but we can’t understand Him.

Like so many other emerging church views, this one has an element of truth—perhaps an element that has been glossed over in the past. However, the conclusion leads away from Truth.

First the element of truth. God is incomprehensible. I find that to be a much more accurate description than “mysterious,” as I think you’ll see why a bit further down. The fact is, no creature is like the Creator. We sprang from His mind, as did the galaxies that exist beyond our sight. As did the theory of relativity and the string theory and light’s wave-particle duality, as did an untold number of questions we don’t even have enough knowledge to ask.

Unfortunately, Mankind has a tendency to reduce the irreducible. As A. W. Tozer says in The Knowledge of the Holy

Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him. We want a God we can in some measure control. (p. 16)

Thus we have preachers and writers formulating how-to’s for everything from happy marriages to healings and inner peace. The idea is, if we just do our part, God is obligated to do His.

Or, on the other hand, we have preachers and writers saying that God will act just like we want Him to act—with love and forgiveness, never with wrath and justice, because that’s the way of relationship, isn’t it?

Ironic that these folks who so want to free God from preconceived ideas so that he can be the mysterious being they want to worship actually limit him by their own imaginings. They don’t understand how God could possibly be both Love and Justice, so they opt for the trait that gives them what they most want—a God who submits to them (I’d give you the quote from The Shack that says this, but I’ve returned the book to the library) rather than the other way around.

What am I saying? God IS incomprehensible but not mysterious—because He chose to reveal Himself to us. He gave us Scripture to tell us about Himself and He came as God Incarnate to show us Himself.

As a writer, I think that’s pretty cool. God wasn’t content with exposition but gave us The Narrative; He didn’t just tell us, but He went on to show us.

And why would He, unless He intends to be known.

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