I read a sad article today. An article written here.
A question is behind this: Can we know God? The writer of the article says no, he says “The more you claim to know God and attempt to delineate his nature the less likely you are to have hit the bull’s eye.”
He goes on to say: “Faith is not the progressive unearthing of God’s nature but a recognition that he/she is fundamentally unknowable. The signpost points not to growing certainty but towards increasing non-knowing.”
It saddens me because if this were true, if God is indeed unknowable then all of us are in trouble. An unknowable God does not speak into or indeed to his creation (Genesis v3) or walks among them (Genesis 3v8) or dies for them at the cross (Mark 15v33-39). An unknowable God doesn’t adopt us as sons to the Father (Galatians 4v1-7) or betroths us to the Son (Hosea 2v19-20). He doesn’t sing over us (Zephaniah 3:17) or warms our heart with his tender mercy (Luke1v78). Instead we are left outside, cold and very alone.
We can do as David Bryant advises: Is anything left or does this destroy the very fabric of spirituality? What remains is a Quakerlike silence during which we can respond to the numinous, develop our perceptions, hone our morality and enhance our wonder at the staggering complexity of the universe.
It sounds modern, inclusive and quite pleasant. Keep God unknown and then I don’t have to seek him, I can instead find my own path. But this silence will eventually erode you and keep you lost forever. This silence feels very lonely and I don’t think the universe is shouting any answers back.
Instead there is better news than this: come and meet the God that is revealed to us. Come and meet Jesus who reveals the Father to us. For he is:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(Colossians 1:15 ESV)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
Can we know God? Yes through Jesus Christ. Jesus reveals to us who the Father is:
No-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.(Matthew 11v27).
What a glorious verse! Come and know the Father because the Son has revealed him to us! Come to Jesus and you will know God. My friends, God is not unknown – the Trinitarian God has been revealed and has pierced this world with his everlasting light so that you no longer have to sit in darkness. Faith is not saying that God is unknown, Faith is receiving what Christ has done for you and believing that he is truly God and truly reveals the Father to us.
Bryant says: “If we envisage God as a person clothed with epithets such as powerful, loving, just, fear-inspiring and omnipotent we are creating a manmade image.”
And yet God chooses to come to us as a baby, which is what the Christmas story is all about. And through being fully human and fully God he shows us who the Father is and what he is like. And he is powerful, loving and just. Believe me you wouldn’t want a different God. The Trinitarian God that is revealed to us through Jesus Christ which we can read in scripture and it is good news and better news than an unknown God.
Calvin says: “For God would have remained hidden afar off if Christ’s splendour had not beamed upon us.”
But if God is unknown to you. Then come to Jesus. You could sit in silence and search for the hero inside yourself or cry out to the vacuum universe for answers of “who am I?” Or instead you can come to Jesus.
Come to him who holds the universe in the palm of his hand, who says to you that he will carry your burden, who will be a light in your darkness and who will give you his identity and the Father will proclaim over you “I am well pleased”. My prayer is that David Bryant and all who may agree with his article will come to Jesus, come and know him and drink deep out of his living water because then they will know God and God will no longer be unknown to them but revealed and found so beautiful.