Life’s most important goal is to know God. But how? No one has ever seen God. As Paul writes; “To the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).
How then can we know what He is like? In fact, we are told, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How UNSEARCHABLE his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever!” (Rom. 12:33-36)
Clearly, neither reason nor telescopes nor atomic microscopes can help us find God. He must reveal Himself to us in ways that we can understand. Something like how an Aussie might describe for us a platypus.
Have you ever seen a platypus? No? The dictionary defines it as “a small, aquatic, egg-laying mammal of Australia and Tasmania, with webbed feet, a tail like a beaver’s and a bill like a duck.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary)
The dictionary compares a platypus with things with which we’re familiar; eggs, webbed feet, a beaver’s tail and a duck’s bill. This familiarity enables us to visualize this Australian mammal.
In the same way, God has revealed aspects of His character and being by comparison with things in our experience. For example, mountains and stars, towers and shepherds, earthquakes and the sun. Comparisons work well as long as we remember they are limited. The platypus’s bill is not exactly the same as a duck’s bill, nor is God the same as a mountain. Limited though they are, metaphors and similes help us to learn much about God.
How big is God? “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool” (Is. 66:1)? Imagine a being so immense that he sits on a throne set in space and uses earth as his footstool. Astronomers tell us that the observable universe is 91 million light-years across. (A light year is the distance light travels at 186,000 miles per sec in a year. It takes light 8 minutes to travel the 93 million miles from the sun to earth.) As Solomon said, “The heavens even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built”( 1 Kings 8:27)! And yet, although infinite in immensity, as David described in Psalm 139, God is present with His whole being at any point in space. A paradox that sends us to our knees in awe. He right here with me!
How old is God? Consider the ancient mountains; Everest, K2, Rockies, or Alps or even the worn down Canadian Shield. ”Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you ARE God” (Psalm 90:2) He is before all and will be after all. And yet, there is no becoming with God. Past, present, and future which is so much a part of our lives is meaningless to God who exists in mysterious, everlasting now-ness. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by…[but we are like] the new grass of the morning…by evening it is dry and withered” (Psalm 90:4-6)
In subsequent blogs I’ll continue to ponder the awe-inspiring greatness of Almighty God. In the meantime, what can we do but echo the Psalmist; “Praise the Lord…praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:1,2).
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