What Does It Mean to Know God? Part 1

Is it really is possible to know God? Contrary to what many people (especially atheists and agnostics) believe, it is quite possible to know God in this life. In fact, if you wait until the next life to get to know Him, you have waited too long!

God is an eminently knowable being. For anyone who is willing to make the effort to get to know God, it can be reasonably argued that He is the most knowable being in the universe. In the Old Testament, God made this promise: “You shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). There is, for those who wish to examine it, a body of information about God larger and more comprehensive than that concerning any other “person” who has ever existed.

God is a person. One reason why God is knowable is because He a “person” and not just an impersonal force like gravity, electricity, wind, lightning, radiation, or magnetism. God is a living being, and is called “the living God” in Psalm 42:2, in II Corinthians 6:16, and in several other places in the Bible. Unlike purely mechanistic forces, God possesses mind, will, emotion, and personality. He has desires, likes and dislikes, goals, plans, and purposes. He thinks, decides, acts, communicates, and speaks.

God is a Spirit, and therefore may be experienced through a spiritual relationship. Man is a spiritual being and possesses a human spirit (Proverbs 20:27) through which it is possible to know God, to become connected to Him in a spiritual manner (I Corinthians 6:17), and to experience His very life (John 10:10).

God is a relational being and desires to be known. Not only is God knowable, but He desires to have a personal relationship with us. Man is the centerpiece of God’s creation and we were created as spiritual beings in order that we might have a living and loving spiritual relationship with Him. If we miss this, we are missing what life is really supposed to be about!

God has gone out of His way to make Himself known to man. Throughout history, God has progressively revealed Himself to mankind, with each stage being one of greater fullness and intimacy than the last. He has done this in seven spectacular ways:

(I) GOD FIRST REVEALED HIMSELF THROUGH THE CREATION. The fact that the world exists is actually staggering evidence for the existence of God. Otherwise, where would such a world come from? The Bible says that the existence of God should be obvious based upon the creation: “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 NET).

We live in a universe of mind-blowing complexity, astonishing order, and consummate beauty, and to say that this universe “just happened” is to defy both logic and science. To hold this position is to say that our infinite universe simply came into existence out of nothing. It created itself! And, then, with no guiding force, it arranged itself into all of the wonders of nature that we now see around us. For those who reject the existence of God, the current theory is that if you leave mud lying around long enough, it will form itself into zebras, lions, eagles, chipmunks, water buffalo, antelope–and, of course, Benjamin Franklin!

“We live in a universe of mind-blowing complexity, astonishing order, and consummate beauty, and to say that this universe ‘just happened’ is to defy both logic and science.”

Everywhere that we turn in nature we see majestic designs—snowflakes, butterflies, peacocks, roses, giraffes, seashells, brightly-colored tropical fish, etc.—with an inherent beauty which man, at best, can only hope to imitate. We are surrounded by designs, but the atheist tells us there was no designer. The world contains breathtaking beauty and majestic art, but those who do not believe in God claim that there is no artist. For the atheist, nonliving atoms and chemicals possessing no guiding intelligence of their own simply formed themselves into all of these things, and into scientists who deny the existence of God and write textbooks about molecular biology! All of this, we are told, was the result of an uncaused explosion.

One supposed by-product of the miraculous “explosion” by which the world was made is the DNA code within human cells, which Dr. Stephen Meyer calls “an exquisite language composed of three billion genetic letters.” It is a language that has grammar, spelling, syntax, and purpose, and contains volumes of complex, chemically-coded instructions. Computer genius Bill Gates once remarked: “DNA is like a software program, only much more complex than anything we’ve ever devised.”

The DNA within the nucleus of a human cell contains as much information as a million-paged encyclopedia, and functions as an engineering manual containing all of the information necessary to construct a complete human body with all of its organs and systems. Using a “nanotechnology” employing strands the thickness of a billionth of a millimeter, DNA is wound into a sophisticated double helix that is capable of copying itself during cell reproduction with an error rate of only one mistake per ten billion letters. During this amazing process, the cell, then, manufactures and releases specific proteins which attach themselves to each new DNA strand to “proofread” it in order to identify, remove, replace, and repair any mistakes which occur.

Cells also contain “manufacturing centers” called ribosomes that are capable of synthesizing any of the one hundred thousand unique proteins necessary for the cell to perform its biological functions. All of these processes occur at a level of such extreme miniaturization that, according to Australian scientist Dr. Michael Denton, “[t]he information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number… of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written.” 

All of this “supreme technology,” Denton writes, is so “complex beyond our own creative capacities” that it “excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man.” Despite not being a Christian, Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of DNA, concluded that “[a]n honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” Crick agreed with Dr. George Howe, a botanist and biologist, who said: “The chance that useful DNA molecules would develop without a Designer are approximately zero.”

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” – Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA)

The same conclusion was ultimately reached in 1981 by esteemed mathematician and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, an atheist, who stated: “The probability that life originated at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd.”

All of nature is a library of proofs for the existence of God for those whose minds are capable of embracing the idea of a supernatural dimension to reality. To those who cannot, nature only “appears to be” a miracle.

(II) GOD REVEALED HIMSELF IN A SPECIAL WAY TO HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE. From nature, we can deduce that God is supremely intelligent, incomprehensibly powerful, and infinitely creative, but we cannot know His thoughts, His plans, His character, His wisdom about life, or His holy and moral nature without further revelation. God chose to reveal many of these aspects of Himself by a developing a special relationship with His covenant people, the Israelites, whom He called “a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” and invited to become “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).

The Old Testament is an amazing record of God’s revelation of Himself to the Jewish people, their patriarchs, prophets and kings (and to us as well) through divine interventions, supernatural communications, and miraculous manifestations. To say that God did not reveal Himself to Israel in striking, spectacular, and undeniable ways would be to discount all or most of what the Bible says. There were no atheists among the Israelites or their neighbors who witnessed Him in action; there are only those who chose not to follow Him or worship Him. 

The Old Testament is the tale of a supernatural God who revealed Himself in astonishing ways over centuries of history through direct and indirect communications. The expression “God said” appears forty-two times in the Old Testament, and “Thus saith the Lord” is found over four hundred times.  Through dreams, visions, revelations, prophecies, and even through an audible voice, God made His will, wisdom, purpose, holy nature, and moral standards perfectly clear to His chosen people. And we can learn an immense amount about Him by studying the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament.

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