Is God Incomprehensible?
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3)
So far I have been describing a vast God, a God who is utterly unlike us and who exists in a way to which we struggle to relate. It doesn’t take long for the question to arise: is it possible to know anything about God? The human brain is limited, and our senses are limited. How can we possibly understand God at all? Some have even gone as far as to suggest that it is impossible to know anything about God at all. Others have gone in the opposite direction, and have sought to bring God down to a more human level. Both approaches are wrong.
The way through all this is to acknowledge that we cannot understand God completely, but we can understand something of him. We can see his handiwork in the work of creation, and learn of his character and purposes in the words of the Bible. We can describe God even if we cannot define him. We need God to reveal himself to us, and we rejoice that he has done just that through the words of Scripture, and supremely in the person of Jesus.
It is important to understand that out understanding of God will always be limited, and always reliant upon God telling us what he is like. To try and reinvent God, perhaps through attempting to make him more palatable to the present age, is simply to invent an idol. No, we need to allow God to be God, and to trust that all that we need to know about him he has revealed to us. The wonderful thing is that God has chosen to reveal himself at all, and that we can spend a lifetime in contemplating what has been shown. Thinking on these things, the Apostle Paul was brought to the heights of worship, a worship which we can echo as we think on these things:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33–36)