I had someone say to me the other day that “God is unknowable”. This type of poorly thought out philosophical mumbo jumbo is what I hear on a regular basis. Consider for a moment the statement that the individuals made to me about God being unknowable. Now while the statement itself is coherent, the thinking that brought a person to that conclusion is suspect. In fact their thinking is actually logically incoherent. Do you see why it is logically incoherent thinking? How can we possibly know that God is unknowable if we can’t know him. Saying that God is unknowable basically assumes some knowledge about God. Doesn’t this line of thinking actually argue for some sort of omniscience on the part of humanity about the universe. This is the epitome of arrogance from my perspective. Have I raised the ire of anyone reading this yet? There is no way to really prove or disprove the the statement “God is unknowable”. Its essentially just a nonsense statement. How can we even know God exists if he is unknowable. My purpose today is not to lay out an argument for the existence of God. I think most of those who have read this blog likely have already accepted that he exists so I think don’t want to go there. For the purpose of my writing here today we will start from a position that God does exist. The question I want to begin (begin mind you) is to answer the question of how can we know Him.
KNOWING GOD IS NATURAL
Now the preceding title may seem problematic at first but consider the words of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman church:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four- footed animals and crawling creatures. (Roman 1: 20-23 NASB)
According to Paul there is a revelation of God that exists in the natural world. The creation itself speaks to the existence of something greater than creation. The question becomes what can I know of this God from the what I see? Paul speaks of God’s invisible attributes. The first thing that comes to mind for me is the idea He is a God of order. For all of the chaos and damage that humanity has brought to the earth, there is a real sense of order to creation. The seasons for instance. Spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter and then back spring again. Our solar system speaks of order. In fact the word “system” actually speaks of order. The earth continuing to spin on its axis and we are able to see a pattern and an order to days and nights. The incredible nature of ecosystems- balanced and functioning quite well (until we mess them up). The natural speaks to an ordered system. One that is created by a God who has set that order in motion.
What else does the natural world communicate about our God? Consider for a moment that the world has existed for at least 6000 years (I don’t want to get into that mess about dating of the earth right now). What is amazing is that there is no way a single individual is capable of exploring, studying and enjoying everything the earth has to offer in 1 lifetime let alone many. A significant number of the larger species of creatures that exist on this planet have only been discovered in the last century and there are still new species of creatures being discovered today. Additionally it has only been in the last 60 years that man has been able to leave the confines of this planet and begin to explore outer space- we haven’t even got past the moon. If what science tells us is accurate, our solar system is nothing more than a cul de sac in our own galaxy. The point is that the natural things speak- no they shout about the divine nature of our God. Who else could create something so big? We we hear about our sun being able to contain somewhere in the area of 1 million earths, we conclude that the sun is big. When we take that same knowledge and compare the size of the sun of Canis Majoris (a star light years away) and then learn that it is so large it could contain 7 quadrillion earths. These types of number I can’t even conceive of. Only a being with divine power and an eternal nature could ever create something like this.
But there is more… God has given us another way to know Him. A far more intimate way that allows little humans to connect with a big God. More in Part 2