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“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18).

WHILE AN INFINITE GOD COULD NEVER BE KNOWN COMPLETELY BY HIS CREATURES, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT NOTHING CAN BE KNOWN ABOUT GOD AT ALL. Other than the facts of His existence and power, which can be inferred from the creation (Romans 1:20), we could not know much by our own unaided wisdom (Romans 11:33; 1 Corinthians 1:21). But the truth is, we have not been left to our own wisdom. God has revealed Himself to the world — and this revelation has reached its culmination in Jesus Christ.

We should not hesitate to say that God is “knowable.” He is not completely knowable, but He is truthfully knowable. What we can know of God is not exhaustive, but it is objectively true. And we should rejoice in whatever knowledge of God we can have.

In contemporary culture, it is acceptable to speak of God as a mystery, but the moment one affirms anything specific about God, that is not viewed as helpful. Religion is rejected in favor of spirituality, where God is the “cosmic mystery,” and paradox and uncertainty are privileged over any affirmation of objective truth. (Apparently the only thing we can be certain of — and therefore dogmatic about — is that there is nothing we can be certain of.)

We cannot, however, simply wave aside the question of whether God has revealed Himself to the human race. That issue must be dealt with, and it actually involves two questions: (1) is supernatural revelation possible, and (2) if it is possible, has it actually happened? We cannot judge the gospel of Christ with any fairness if we come to the New Testament with our minds already made up that God cannot have revealed Himself. So rather than simply disregard the issue, we need to wrestle with it honestly.

On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). So here is the gospel’s position: God has, in Jesus Christ, made it possible for us to know Him. Sin robbed us of the truth about God, but in His Son we can regain that knowledge — and knowing our Creator, we may truly live.

“The characteristics of God Almighty are mirrored for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore if we want to know what God is like, we must study Jesus Christ” (Oswald Chambers).

Gary Henry — +

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