Christianity: A Life of Knowing The Unknowable

Keith KettenringAncient Paths, Christian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Today’s post raises to our consciousness the reality that God is Mystery. Not a mystery like we read or watch on TV where the detective team solves a complex problem brought about by murder or some other crime. There is no solving God. He is not a problem to be solved. This Mystery challenges us to enter and live in it without trying to solve anything.  This Mystery is not to be understood. This Mystery is to be experienced. 

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“But wait,” you might say, “Hasn’t God revealed Himself in His Son, in creation and in the scriptures?” Yes He has. Yet this does not make Him any less a Mystery. No human can fully comprehend God even in His Son, creation, and scriptures. The Son is True God. Creation accurately proclaims God. The scriptures are a true revealer of God. Yet, the Triune God is still beyond our comprehension. For example, we cannot understand how pure divinity and pure humanity can reside in one body, Jesus Christ. Yet, it is a mystery we’re invited to live into. 

The egoist Christian says: “I know God.” The humble Christian says, “I really don’t know God.” 

Quotes about God as Mystery

Consider these powerful statements from scripture and wise men that rock your understanding of God:

The one way we can know we are meeting the real God is when he acts in a way we do not understand. Dr. Melitios Webber 

Can you discover the deep things of God? Can you discover the limit of the Almighty? Job 11.7

God in His Essence is incomprehensible. Michael Pomazansky

God dwells in unapproachable light; Whom no one has ever seen or can see. 1 Timothy 6.16

It is impossible to know God. But, you must know Him to know that. Thomas Hopko

We explain not what God is, but candidly confess that we have not exact knowledge concerning Him. For in what concerns God, to confess our ignorance is the best knowledge.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Great is our Lord, and great is His strength, and of His understanding there is no measure. Psalm 146.5 

The very awareness of the inaccessibility of ‘the unknown God’ cannot, according to [Clement of Alexandria], be acquired except by grace: ‘by this God-given wisdom which is the power of the Father.’ Vladimir Lossky (Eastern Christian theologian) 

Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For how has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11.33-36

For Gregory of Nyssa every concept relative to God is a simulacrum, a false likeness, an idol. The concepts which we form in accordance with the understanding and the judgement which are natural to us, basing ourselves on an intelligible representation, create idols of God instead of revealing to us God Himself. There is only one name by which the divine nature can be expressed: the wonder which seizes the soul when it thinks of God. Vladimir Lossky 

It is difficult to conceive God, but to define Him in words is impossible. St. Gregory Nazianzen 

You are invited to know the Unknowable; to know God Who is Mystery. 

Do these statements challenge your view of God? How do you react to them? 

Dr. K