Attributes: The Incomprehensibleness of God

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 144:3-7
M’Cheyne Text: Amos 1; Psalm 144

Attributes: This week, we will be asking the question of both the child and the philosopher – “What is God like?” Yet what does this question mean? A.W. Tozer wrote, “‘What is God like?’ If by that question we mean, ‘What is God like in Himself?’ there is no answer. If we mean, ‘What has God disclosed about Himself that the reverent reason can comprehend?’ there is, I believe, an answer both full and satisfying. For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself. These we call His attributes” [1].

Incomprehensible: God has revealed Himself as incomprehensible. He is not exactly like anything or anyone. Yes, we were made in His image, but we were not made in His exact nature. As the Psalmist makes clear, we are the creation and He commands creation: “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! Flash forth the lightning and scatter them! Stretch out your hand from on high” [2].

Image: So what does it mean to be made in His incomprehensible image? Tozer reflected, “The yearning to know What cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calleth unto deep, and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disaster theologians call the Fall, the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its Source.” In other words, although our days are like passing shadows, we yearn for the Eternal One because He is our Creator and will one day bring us into His eternal presence.

Prayer: Lord, How can we come to know the unknowable? Your Word tells us that we come to know you through Jesus Christ our Lord. In him, you bowed your heavens and stretched out your hand from on high. By him, you effected complete self-disclosure. You came to us in the incarnation and you reconciled us to you in the atonement. Yet you reveal yourself to faith and love, not reason. Therefore, we enter and lay hold of your incomprehensibility by faith and love. Amen.

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Audio: Bible Listening (4:33 minutes total)

Amos 1 (2:43 minutes) – here

Psalm 144 (1:50 minutes) – here

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Footnotes

[1] A.W. Tozer. Knowledge of the Holy.  |  [2] Psalm 144:3-7 ESV

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4 Responses to “Attributes: The Incomprehensibleness of God”

  1. As I have done in the past, I have to humbly and respectfully disagree with something here. In short, God does INDEED reveal Himself, at least partially, through reason. I mean, after all, most of the NT is nothing but an argument aimed at persuading the Jews and Gentiles of the first century that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Faith and love and reason are not finally separate–and your “therefore” in the last sentence betrays the fact that, no matter our claims about reason, we can make zero claims without it. Peace and good cheer–and reasonable faith and love to all.

  2. Todd, Yes, you are right in a non-ultimate sense. He obviously reveals Himself by reason and, if I did not believe that, I would not be writing these devotionals. :-) Yet, in an ultimate sense, He reveals Himself by faith. All the reason in the world did not cause Paul or the others to jump the gap of reason. We live by faith and it is faith, not reason, that justifies. See Hebrews 11. Bethany

    • Blessings, Bethany. And thanks for your reply–I do appreciate your time. But, you know, not to be a “contrarian,” but I’m so sure about your assertion here. I’ve thought about this issue a lot, really. And it seems to me that, if everything that Paul and Luke assert is true, Paul had every REASON to believe in Jesus Christ. After all, he SAW and HEARD the risen Lord. If it had not been for this remarkable demonstration of God/Christ, Paul never would have altered his ways. I mean, let’s think about this for a moment. If the God of the universe suddenly manifests Himself to you and tells you what IS going to happen and what you ARE to do, it seems to me that there is little “faith” involved. If God makes Himself KNOWN, well…then, He is KNOWN. Our predicament is much different from that of Paul–or so it seems to me. We have to believe that what Paul said correlates with Reality. Paul himself, on the other hand, had direct experience and witnesses to support his claims to his conversion experience as well as to the many miracles that he performed during his missions. In short, my contention is that you and I require a lot more faith than Paul ever did. Paul did what was reasonable and necessary. Post-Christian Christians have to have faith that Paul and Luke were not completely delusional. Peace and light to you and yours.

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