“This is eternal life that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you sent” (John 17:3). That is the prayer of Jesus Christ for his followers in the famous high priestly prayer.
Can finite man know an infinite God?
But can finite man know an infinite God? As one sceptic asked, over a century ago: “Is it possible for the human mind to conceive of an infinite personality? Can it imagine a beginningless being, infinitely powerful and intelligent?” Is it possible for a limited man to know the incomprehensible God? That is the question when discussing the attributes and knowability of God.
God Reveals Himself To Us
The problem above appears insurmountable. However, the incomprehensible God graciously reveals himself to his creation. His self-disclosure is evident in both general and special revelation. In other words, God makes knowing him possible. As one theologian writes, “Our knowledge of God is totally dependent on revelation.” Unless the Lord reveals himself to finite man, man is unable to know this God. Thankfully, God has revealed himself to man.
Unless the Lord reveals himself, we are unable to know him.
The Lord makes himself known through his creation and conscience (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-25). He has also revealed himself in and through his Word (Psalm 19:7-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21), through which he works salvation and sanctification in us through the Holy Spirit (Psalms 10-14; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Further, God has revealed himself through his Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).
God Invites Us To Know Him
We can know God truly, but not exhaustively. The Bible is clear, God is infinitely and incomprehensibly greater than man, and to him “the nations are as a drop from a bucket” (Isaiah 40:15); people cannot fully comprehend him (Isaiah 40:28). Yet, the great God has willed that “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” and declared to all “behold your God” (Isaiah 40:5).
We can know God truly, but not exhaustively.
That God desires to be known is clearly stated in scripture and is the reason behind his self revelation. Constantly through scripture is the exhortation to behold God, in worshipful and obedient recognition that he made us for himself. Thus God says, “You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).
“Look to me and be saved all the ends of the earth for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).
We are called to behold our God. To set our gaze upon him, finding both our salvation and greatest delight in him. Though God is far beyond us, he is a relational God. Furthermore, he has revealed himself. He has made himself knowable. And he calls all of us into a loving, growing relationship with him. Will you hear this invitation? Will you behold our God? Do you know this God?