Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
In the fifth century, Augustine wrote, “If you understand a being, it is not God.” Many generations later in 1961 J.B. Phillips, in his pamphlet, Your God is Too Small, observed that contemporary Christians had, in essence, made for themselves a god who bore little resemblance to the eternal and almighty God of Scripture.
Peter Sanlon warns,
“Planted deep in our hearts are the roots of a weed that smothers our attempts to think about God faithfully. We nurture the assumption that God is basically a bigger, more powerful version of us. This idea is a noxious weed, yet we try to grow it into grand thoughts about God. The belief that God is simply a bit bigger than us is fit only for the fire” (Simply God, 25).
Though God is not like us, though we cannot fully understand him, we are nevertheless called to know him. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord said, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he knows and understands me” (9:24). But learning how to think right thoughts and say right words about God does not come naturally or easily. Right thinking about God comes from minds and hearts disciplined by the Word of God and formed under the historic witness of the church.
What a privilege that God calls us to know him! Though he is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9), the incomprehensible One (Romans 11:33-36), the Great I Am (Exodus 3:14) is also our Father who delights to make himself known to his children. The incomprehensible God stoops to give us language to understand him even as he remains beyond our grasp.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)