What is God like? How do we know?

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

God has made humankind  in His image–with ability to reason and to choose our allegiances.  He has offered us Life in the knowledge of Him through Christ.  And He’s  seen to the recording of the essential details in the Bible, lest we rely on our own intuitions and judgments to our own damnation.  And yet…

We are prone to reach for words that are easier to swallow, words that mingle truth and error to yield a more attractive picture of our condition (not so needy and sinful) and a less daunting portrait of God (more tolerant, less holy).  So I’m grateful for godly book-reviewers that evaluate what’s being written and give us all a ‘heads-up’ to proceed with caution and remember the Truths that may be hard and make us squirm but that point the Way to Life!

The following quotes are excerpts from such a review, good reminders to measure transient cultural intuitions against God’s unchanging Truth as revealed in His Word.

“Reality, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.” –C.S. Lewis

Since culture is constantly changing, but God (so Christians profess) never changes, theology will never accord completely with our cultural intuitions. There will always be friction points between the truth and “the spirit of the age”; conceptualizing God will never be obvious and effortless within our natural capacities. –Gavin Ortlund*

I either know about the God I seek from my own experience and insights, from the meanings which I assign to history or nature—that is, from within myself—or I know about him based on his revelation of his own Word. Either I determine the place in which I will find God, or I allow God to determine the place where he will be found. If it is I who say where God will be, I will always find there a God who in some way corresponds to me, is agreeable to me, fits in with my nature. But if it is God who says where he will be, then that will truly be a place that at first is not agreeable to me at all, that does not fit so well with me. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. –David (Ps.19:1-2, 8-10 KJV)

All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. –Paul (II Tim.3:16-17 NKJV)



*Thanks to Gavin Ortlund for bringing these quotes together in his thoughtful review of Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young at the The Gospel Coalition.

One thought on “What is God like? How do we know?

  1. I have also been grateful for the ministry of The Gospel Coalition and, having just listened to Focus on the Family’s radio theatre version of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, that quote really resonated. I always enjoy reading your thoughts, Linda. Hope all is well with you and yours.

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