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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: In What Sense Is Our Knowledge about God Limited? (Incomprehensibility of God)

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Don Stewart

One of the key truths about God is His incomprehensibility - that our knowledge about Him is limited. Paul wrote.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33).

There Are Many Things Beyond Our Comprehension

It is important to understand that there are many things about the character of God that are beyond our comprehension. This is to be expected because God is infinite and we are finite. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote that the love of God surpasses our knowledge.

And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

God's Peace Is Beyond Our Understanding

The peace that God grants believers is also beyond our understanding.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Our knowledge is compared to seeing through a dim mirror.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

The God of Scripture can never be fully understood by out limited human minds. The fact of the matter is that is God is infinite and we are finite. Even the words we used to describe His character are limited by our finite understanding.
God Is Not Visible To Humans

Furthermore God is not visible to the human senses.

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only who is at the Father's side, has made him known (John 1:18).

Therefore our observations about God are limited to what He has told us about Himself.

We Need Humility In Studying God's Nature

Since Scripture itself acknowledges that things about the nature of God are beyond our comprehension, we should consider the subject of the attributes of God with humility. There are many things that we have to admit that we do not know. Therefore we must be careful about our speculations about what we think God can or cannot do, or should or should not do. The words of the Apostle Paul are worth remembering.

But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, "Why have you made me like this?" (Romans 9:20).

Consequently we should never question God's wisdom or the decisions that He makes.
We Only Know As Much As He Reveals
We can only know as much about God's character as He reveals. Going beyond divine revelation is pure guesswork. Scripture does not encourage such.

I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, "Nothing beyond what is written," so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another (1 Corinthians 4:6).

When we attempt to say more about God than what has been written in Scripture, there is the tendency toward self-pride. However, the only certainty that we can have is when we rely upon what has been revealed.
Summary

The Bible itself informs us that God is beyond our comprehension - He is incomprehensible. Although we can know many things about Him, there are many other things we cannot know. What we do know about Him is based upon what He has revealed. Apart from God's revelation everything else is guesswork. Consequently there should be humility when we examine these issues with respect to God's character.

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