How can we know God?

Man_Sunset2How can we truly know God? As Dr. C. Baxter Kruger asks, how can we believe that we are in actual contact with God and not with an echo of our own souls? How are we going to escape our own darkness?

How will the creature ever know the Creator? To use C.S. Lewis’ analogy, how is Hamlet ever going to know Shakespeare since there’s an infinite gulf fixed between them?

Furthermore, why is it important that Jesus is both God the Son and son of man? What are the implications of this understanding?

These questions are critically important because how we answer them defines everything else we might think about God, ourselves, and why we exist. In my book, Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace, I devote a whole chapter to these questions.

The following excerpt was the most theological part of my book. But since I’m not a theologian myself, and Dr. Kruger is a brilliant one, I give credit to him in the book for inspiring the following points, adding my own thoughts into the mix. This excerpt is from the chapter titled, “Theology Shift.”


Sonshift_Cover_FlatThere are three aspects to the truth of how God has made it possible for us to literally know Him, according to Scripture. The first is that God knows Himself in the Father, Son and Spirit, and has been in communion within Himself from before creation. God shares everything together within this Holy Communion:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

The second aspect is that because God knows Himself in the Father, Son and Spirit, we can know God in the person of Jesus Christ. God the Son, the eternal Word, traversed this infinite gulf between Himself and mankind, to dwell among us in human flesh. In other words, Shakespeare wrote himself into Hamlet’s world!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Scripture also reveals Jesus as the perfect expression of God.  Therefore, we can know God’s nature and character by looking at Jesus. We don’t define God, then look at Jesus; we look at Jesus to define God. Jesus Christ is the lens through which we see God as He really is. We will look at that point in greater detail in a moment.

So far, we know that Jesus Christ was with God the Father before creation and that He is the exact representation of God for us. If this was all there was to it, only Jesus knows God and we could only be able to observe Him from the outside looking in. But God doesn’t stop here!

The third aspect of this truth that allows us to truly know God is that Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit, and He will reveal everything about Himself by coming to live in us. Here’s what Jesus said about the indwelling Holy Spirit:

He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14-15)

But this isn’t even the most fantastic thing that God has done here. Not only did Jesus reveal God to us by His life, and send His Holy Spirit to live in us, He put us inside of Himself! In other words, not only did Shakespeare come to live in Hamlet’s world, he put Hamlet inside of Shakespeare!

Do you understand what this means, dear one in Christ? This means that you and I can know God the same way God knows God! Look at the following statements of Scripture:

At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:23-24)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6 NIV)

As we saw in chapter two (Father Shift), “at that day” means when we received the indwelling Holy Spirit. For everything in John 14 is about our adoption as sons by our receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Summarizing, we CAN truly know God because:

1. God knows Himself in the Father, Son, and Spirit apart from creation. They share all things in communion within the Godhead.

2. We can know God through Jesus Christ. Anything we say about God, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament, that’s different from the nature or character of Jesus is not the true nature or character of God. It’s something we’ve interpreted through our own darkened lens.

3. We can know God through spiritual intimacy. Not only does God’s Spirit dwell in us and reveals all things given to Jesus, but we have literally been placed into the same union (by the indwelling Spirit) that the Father has had with the Son from before creation.

Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace (p.88-90)
© Copyright 2015—Mel Wild


 

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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10 Responses to How can we know God?

  1. Always like the way you explain His love so clearly, Mel. (P.S., just bought the Kindle edition. Can’t wait to start reading!)

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Susan. And thanks for getting my book! You have always been such a great encouragement to me. Let me know what you think. As I said before, a lot of it’s based on what I’ve already written about here but put in the context of my story and how I got “shifted.” 🙂 There’s new stuff added, too. Blessings.

  2. dcummuta says:

    Congrats on the book uncle Mel!! Just downloaded the kindle version 🙂

  3. ndifrisco says:

    Hey, Uncle Mel. I, too, just bought a Kindle copy of Sonshift.

    But also, this post made me think of something that may be relevant to your message, especially since you already mentioned C.S. Lewis. Tolkien, I believe, was also a Christian, and, although he was not as forward with his faith in his writing as Lewis was, it did tend to make itself known. The example I’m thinking of is from an unpublished story called the “Debate of Finrod and Andreth”. I’ll try and edit it down a bit to hit the high points and why the message parallels what you discussed. (I also replaced the “Elvish” names for certain terms with the nearest equivalent.)

    Keep in mind that the characters that are speaking live in a mythical “pre-history”, long before “B.C.” and are speaking of the “old hope” that has been passed down since Creation.

    “’They say,’ answered Andreth: ‘they say that [God] will himself enter into [the world], and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end.’ … ‘… How could [God] enter into the thing that He has made, and than which He is beyond measure greater? Can the singer enter into the tale or the designer into his picture?’

    “’He is already in it, as well as outside,’ said Finrod. ‘But indeed the ‘in-dwelling’ and the ‘out-living’ are not in the same mode.

    “’Truly,’ said Andreth. ‘So may [God] in that mode be present in [the universe] that proceeded from Him. But they speak of [God] Himself entering into [the world], and that is a thing wholly different. How could He the greater do this? Would it not shatter [the world], or indeed all [the universe]?’

    “… ‘when you say ‘greater’ you think of the dimension of [the world], in which the greater vessel may not be contained in the less.

    “’But such words may not be used of the Measureless. If [God] wished to do this, I do not doubt that He would find a way, though I cannot foresee it. For, as it seems to me, even if He in Himself were to enter in, He must still remain also as He is: the Author without. And yet […], I cannot conceive how else this healing could be achieved.’”

    Sorry for the long post.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your Tolkien quote, Nick. Actually, he is explaining how the early church saw salvation! In fact, that was their argument for Jesus being both God the Son and the son of man (“how else this healing be achieved”) They didn’t see Jesus’ incarnation so that He could become an atoning sacrifice or satisfying God’s retributive justice and wrath, but He gave Himself to heal us and restore us. Tolkien (and C.S. Lewis) are also giving us literary ways to understand the hypostatic union of Christ (means fully God, yet fully man). Jesus, in fully fusing the divine nature with human nature (yet not losing any of either, nor are they dissolved into one another), has fully healed man and reversed what Adam lost. Both Tolkien and Lewis had a brilliant way of teaching this mystery without putting people to sleep in complex systematic theology.

      Thanks also for buying the book! Hope you’re blessed by it. (I’m sure you know that your dad did the cover for me!) Enjoy the journey!

  4. Nothing changes me more when I hear His Voice and my name is involved.

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