Jul 11, 2016

God is INCOMPREHENSIBLE // None Like Him study


Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praise, and His greatness is unsearchable.
(Psalm 145:3)

God is the God of infinite mystery. He is incomprehensible.

God in not unknowable but He is unable to be fully known. Our finite minds cannot comprehend the full greatness of God. We can spend the rest of our lives studying the character and attributes of God and still not fully understand it all . . . and that is a good thing!

The first chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans explains that God's creation declares knowledge about Him. When I visited the Grand Canyon around ten years ago, I was left awestruck. Various geological colors and shapes decorate the gigantic canyon that is 277 miles long, approximately eighteen miles wide, and one mile deep (source).  Likewise, other natural wonders remind me of God's unlimited character as I revel in His power and creativity in creating myriad species of animals, trees and flowers of seemingly endless colors and designs, crashing waves that know when to recede and when to climb the shoreline throughout the day, and the faraway galaxies that surround our earth. Christ Tomlin's song, "How Great Is Our God" comes to mind right now as I think of His creation. Focusing on His greatness, creativity, power, and control in His creation of the universe should bring us in awe and worship of a God without limits.
Along with creation declaring God, another way we get to know more about God is through the Bible. God the Holy Spirit allows our hearts and minds to understand Him more fully through the words that He inspired various authors to write down on scrolls that would one day become the Bible we now have access to in various forms. The Bible is a library of writings from sixty-six books that together tell us a unified story of God the Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit. If we were to study the Bible every hour of every day for our whole lives, we would still not fully comprehend everything there is to know about God. We can read books about the Bible, gather in groups to study the Bible together, or go to seminary -- and these are all excellent things -- but we will never know everything there is to know about God. We will always learn something new when we approach the Bible because God cannot be fully comprehended by our finite minds. Jen Wilkin puts it this way: "The only expert on God is God." (p.34). She explains why this is a good thing:
Though God is not able to be fully known, He is able to be sufficiently known. What we can know about Him from creation and the Bible is sufficient for our salvation and our sanctification. Not only that, but it is more than sufficient in quantity to keep us in regular contemplation and reflection  until we see Him face-to-face. Where we able to know Him completely, we would dismiss Him. (p. 34).
Not only is God the expert on Himself but He is also the expert on us. He knows the things that set us apart from one another: the quirks, personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and temptations that are hardest to resist. He knows the hidden sins, the motives, and thoughts that others may miss in their estimation of us. Though people who are close to us can know us very well, and can often guess correctly what we are thinking, only God can fully comprehend our innermost selves. He is infinite in His knowledge of us ... and yet, He still loves us with an unfailing love. What a humbling and sobering thought! This truly is "too wonderful" and too "high" for us to understand, but it is the truth I am called to trust. We can learn to trust the infinite knowledge of God and find rest in being fully known by a God.
O Lord, You have searched me and know me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me. Such a knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)
We sometimes feel like we fully (or atleast really close to fully) know our family members, close friends, neighbors, or anyone else in our close circle. If they annoy us, we can assume that we know what they'll do to annoy us again. If they make a mistake we tried to warn them about, we often utter  "I told you so!" with a sense of vindication and power.  We may know their Meyers-Briggs type and therefore know quite a few things about their personality. We may follow certain friends on social media who seemingly share every tidbit of their waking hours with the world. It gives us some sort of comfort, security, and control to feel like we know others. But only God knows them fully. This truth should remind us to resist the temptation to judge others, assume their intentions, or belittle their actions or words. We can see them as fully known and fully loved by the incomprehensible God. We can learn to be humble in our knowledge of others, clarifying rather than assuming and loving rather than judging.

Understanding that God is the only one who fully understands us can help us see His divine expertise and can remind us that we are limited in our knowledge of Him (which should bring me to awe and worship), limited knowledge of others around us (so let's stop being so quick to judge), and limited knowledge of ourselves (so let's trust Him to work through us rather than depending on our own beliefs about ourselves and what we are capable of).

What a comfort and an awesome truth that our God is incomprehensible!


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Catch up on posts from None Like Him series HERE
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Reflection:
How should the knowledge that God is INCOMPREHENSIBLE change the way I live? 
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4 comments:

  1. I think this attribute of God needs to be reiterated often in any study like this. We can certainly learn (and should learn) as much as we can about Him through His world, but there are certain aspects that we cannot comprehend because He is divine and we are mortal. Thanks for this reminder!

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    1. Thanks Karen! It's a hard balance sometimes because my human brain sometimes doesn't want to accept that there are things that I just can't know, and that it is OK that there are things that re too high for me to know. But I hope in those times I will remember that even though I cant understand those things, God is very faithful and all-knowing and He is trustworthy of all those things that are unknown to me

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  2. And this, Elena -->'Understanding that God is the only one who fully understands us can help us see His divine expertise and can remind us that we are limited in our knowledge of Him (which should bring me to awe and worship), limited knowledge of others around us (so let's stop being so quick to judge), and limited knowledge of ourselves (so let's trust Him to work through us rather than depending on our own beliefs about ourselves and what we are capable of).'

    So many important cautions and invitations tied together with grace. Beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Linda! I really recommend the book that this study is based on, None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. She has so many great points in the book. I only touch on a few of the ones that really popped out.

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I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice