Knowing God And The Details Thereof

Can God be known by a human being?  The God of the Bible seems to not only say “Yes!” but to describe it as a thing to be pursued.  The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah declared

This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24, New International Version)

Jesus, in what some call his “high priestly prayer,” declared

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Albert Einstein declared “I am not interested in this phenomenon or that phenomenon, I want to know God’s thoughts – the rest are mere details.”

In my undergraduate days, the book Knowing God by J. I. Packer generated a great deal of reading, study and reflection.

Step 43 of Steps to Knowledge confirms all of the above, and adds a new idea, that not only is it possible to know God, not only is it desirable to know God, it is my will as well.

“Your will is to know God. That is your true will. Any other desire or motivation is to escape this, which represents your will. It is your will that has become fearful to you.You are afraid of what you know and most deeply feel.This leads you to find refuge in other things that do not represent you, and in this you lose your identity and attempt to construct an identity that is related to those things which you have sought for escape. In isolation you are miserable, but in relationship happiness is regained.”

For me, this step feels similar to Step 41, particularly the part about how we malign what we love to fortify separation.

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