How can we understand God?

Asked by Someone

How can we understand God?

I’m sure you’ve heard the comparison – or something like it – that a human being trying to understand God is like a gnat trying to understand an Archangel. But even that doesn’t cover the half of it, because both the gnat and the Archangel are created beings. As human beings, we are created – we don’t have our origins within ourselves, but because of someone else. And we are finite, whereas he is infinite. We are in time; he exists outside of it. To him, every time is now and everything is possible, a mere expression of his will. By contrast, I can’t even prevent myself from doing the very things I know in my heart I don’t want to do. To say that humans and God are different is the ultimate understatement. No wonder we have a hard time understanding Him. Thankfully, he has overcome our limitations by revealing himself to us…

Jesus, according to the Bible, is God’s ultimate means of revealing himself to us (Hebrews 1:1-3). The Gospels make it clear that Jesus is fully God (John 1:1) – so much so, that they refer to Jesus as the Word of God – that ultimate message that proceeds from his mouth. God’s thoughts in human form, if you like. The indivisibility of God and Jesus is a claim that Jesus also made about himself (John 10:30). The religious authorities he lived amongst knew what he was saying and wanted to kill him for it (John 8:48-59).

But at the same time the Bible reveals that Jesus is completely human – being born into a human body, growing up and learning as a child, suffering and struggling just like all human beings do. That’s what makes him such a perfect intercessor between God and man (Hebrews 4:15,16). So the Bible lays these two truths side by side (like in Romans 1:3,4) and expects us to accept them both. I have heard many clever illustrations that are supposed to explain this duality of Jesus’ nature (a trinity, when you consider that the Bible holds the Holy Spirit to also be indivisibly God, and yet separate) that point to our inability to comprehend this mystery because of our limited understanding – like the idea that a circle and triangle appear to be completely different shapes in two dimensions; one cannot be another. However, they can be brought together in three dimensions to form a cone (a circular base; a triangular body, but one shape). But the truth is that it is beyond us.

Part of the acceptance of this truth lies in our own submission to God. Ultimately we accept it to be true, not because we can make sense of God, but because God says it is so. In that respect, if we have found him to be trustworthy in every other degree, we have no reason to doubt him.
Now, I realise in saying all of this that I have not really provided an answer to something that is ultimately unanswerable. But I hope that I have helped you understand that it is not only normal to wonder about this, but perfectly proper. God is indeed, bigger than us. There’s a really good article on this on the site here:

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