The Knowledge of the Holy: God Incomprehensible
[Editor’s Note: This is a 23-Day Series exploring different aspects of God’s nature and personality, using Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” as a discussion starter. You can read the introduction of the series here.]
How can men understand God? More specifically, how can a man who is finite fully understand an infinite God? How can the thimble sized container of man’s understanding hope to contain the ocean of God’s being? Ultimately, we can’t. This is the question with which we have to wrestle with Tozer in this chapter. The struggle is so real, that Tozer points to how men of the Bible continually said God was like something, because they had nothing else they could compare Him to. Human words were to weak to capture what God was really in Himself. We can at best understand what God is like. Tozer finally concedes that we cannot answer what God is in His totality. But we can understand what God has made clear to us about Himself and it’s in this sense we can know God.
Tozer takes the sum of the Bible’s message about knowing God and presents it to us: God is infinite. He will always be greater than your ability to understand Him. If He ever wasn’t, He would cease to be God. But God wants to be known and because of that, He stoops down and shows us what we can handle. So the man who is smug in his knowledge of God is deceived. But the man who humbly confesses what God has clearly shown while simultaneously acknowledging he is only an infant in his understanding, has received wisdom.
This, I think, is what turns off so many unbelievers. They’ve found Christians entirely too comfortable with a God they barely know. They’ve found followers of Jesus who aren’t in awe of who He is and what He’s done. I’ve met some believers who in their pursuit of the knowledge of God, act as if they have become a god themselves. But believers should be in awe of God. They should realize they stand gazing into the things which “many prophets and righteous people longed to see…but they didn’t see it,” (Matthew 13:17). We have access, not just to understand part of God through His word, but an invitation to have a relationship with Him through His Spirit. We cannot live dull to these promises.
At the same time, to the unbelievers who think God can never be known, Tozer says that God has stooped down to reveal Himself to humanity. Not all of him, not most of him, but enough of Him. Enough so that we can understand what we need to have a relationship, enough to enjoy Him, enough to be transformed. The fact that God is too big for us to understand is Good News. We don’t worship someone so weak that we can totally understand Him. It shouldn’t promote hopelessness about the divine, rather, it should produce a seeking heart that longs to know what it can.
And this is the journey we are on. We don’t seek to be built up in the pride of knowledge, but to stare wonderingly at the great truths God has communicated to us about Himself. And in so doing, draw close to His heart.
That’s my take for the day. What’s yours? Leave a comment so we can journey together!
The Knowledge of the Holy Series