Can We Know God?

This question has been tumbling around in my head recently. Can we really know God?

I John 3:6 tells us,

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

That is blatant. If you sin, you don’t know God. If you knew God, you would be incapable of sin. That is how much knowing Him can transform you.

The apostle Paul states in I Corinthians 13:9,

For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

This would lead me to conclude, basically, that we cannot truly know God. We can know His attributes, but His whole Being is something finite man cannot grasp or comprehend. Perfection is something we have not seen since the Garden of Eden and since Christ’s time on earth.

Another thing that has been in the forefront of my mind is just how big and awesome God is. It dawned on me a couple weeks ago that He sees every single person ever to exist in all eternity. We think that however millions of people on this planet at this minute is a lot? He sees everyone from the beginning of time to the end of time, in the future. And He sees them all at once. Do you know how many millions upon millions upon millions of people that is? Yet, He knows every single one of them, desires a relationship with them, years to be their God. It gives new meaning to Romans 8:35-39:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you read any portion of many of the Old Testament books, you will see many pictures of God’s love. How He always takes Israel back after she has been unfaithful to Him. When humans do this to each other, we wonder how stupid the other has to be to keep taking the unfaithful back. In some ways this is an unhealthy relationship, but in other ways, this is exactly how God treated/will treat Israel and how He treats us. Repeatedly we place something of absolutely no worth above Him. We chase cheap thrills and short-term emotions. We seek what we crave in things that can never live up to our expectations. The entire time, God is calling us back to Him, wooing us, breaking for us every time we turn our eyes to the filth of the world. And He is so persistent that eventually, we break. We fall to pieces and allow Him to take us back in His arms. We gaze into the face we couldn’t look upon before because of our guilt and we know that we are forgiven.

And so it continues, day after day, hour after hour. It never changes; God never grows weary of forgiving us and pursuing us.

We can never fully grasp or understand this concept. It baffles us and rightly so. We cannot know God. (Yes, I managed to tie all this together. ;)) We can only know what He does for us.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

~ by neverxxforsaken on March 19, 2010.

4 Responses to “Can We Know God?”

  1. I have to disagree about knowing God. Take a look at II Thessalonians 1:8 and Titus 1:16. You might also enjoy I John 4:6. When you talk about Christians sinning, be sure to include I John 5:18,20 in your analysis. 🙂

  2. I have to agree with Chris. Sure we can’t know God in the sense of knowing what He’s thinking, but He’s given us His heart written on the pages of the Bible. So if we read and study His Word, then we are learning about Him and thus getting to know Him. 😀

  3. 1 John is a puzzle of a book. Sometimes it seems so contradictory.

    One question I’ve been asking is, How does God want me to know Him?

    In the intro to 1 John, John the Apostle begins with an experience of knowing God.

    “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life.”

    This is “knowing God” as I would say I know another person, visibly and personally. But John actually touched him…literally heard and saw Jesus.

    “That which *we* have seen and heard, declare we unto *you*…” (emphasis mine)

    If the apostle had had an elitest bone in his body, he would have at this point said, “And you guys will never know the Lord in this way.” Instead, he said,

    “…that ye also may have fellowship with us…”

    We ought to fellowship with the apostles in their experience of God.

    “…and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”

    John thought we could experience God in a fellowship relationship, as he had. He felt that in writing this book, he could draw others into this experience until they, too, felt that they had intimate fellowship with the eternal Word.

    All that to say this…

    We have to know more of God than what He has done for us. If I can’t know Him in a walking-with-Him kind of way, what’s the point?

  4. “I John 3:6 tells us,
    No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”

    It helps to know Greek here. The tense of the verb “sins” is crucial. The idea is that it is continual sin.

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