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)

The Eternal God

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2) - “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17) - We needn’t look back to the events recorded in Scripture and think that they deal with a different God from whom we are separated by millennia. God is as present to us as he was to them. He is much “I AM” now as he was then. For God, forever is simply now.

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11–18) - Oh sheep, as you wander Jesus seeks you out! Can you hear his voice, calling you home in accent clear and urgent? As you stray, look up and see the shepherd coming to you. Here is one who alone can safely lead you though death, and bring you to the heavenly fold. Listen to no other voices, and follow no other paths. There is but one good shepherd. And he seeks you out.

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