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The Knowability of God

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Can we really know God? How much of God can we know?

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Can we really know God?

How much of God can we know?

E = mc2. (Theory of special relativity)
It's the world's most famous equation, but what does it really mean? "Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared." On the most basic level, the equation says that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are different forms of the same thing. Under the right conditions, energy can become mass, and vice versa. We humans don't see them that way—how can a beam of light and a walnut, say, be different forms of the same thing?—but Nature does.
So why would you have to multiply the mass of that walnut by the speed of light to determine how much energy is bound up inside it? The reason is that whenever you convert part of a walnut or any other piece of matter to pure energy, the resulting energy is by definition moving at the speed of light. Pure energy is electromagnetic radiation—whether light or X-rays or whatever—and electromagnetic radiation travels at a constant speed of (186,000 miles/sec).
Why, then, do you have to square the speed of light? It has to do with the nature of energy. When something is moving four times as fast as something else, it doesn't have four times the energy but rather 16 times the energy—in other words, that figure is squared. So the speed of light squared is the conversion factor that decides just how much energy lies within a walnut or any other chunk of matter. And because the speed of light squared is a huge number—90,000,000,000 (km/sec)2—the amount of energy bound up into even the smallest mass is truly mind-boggling.
Here's an example. If you could turn every one of the atoms in a paper clip into pure energy—leaving no mass whatsoever—the paper clip would yield 18 kilotons of TNT. That's roughly the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. On Earth, however, there is no practical way to convert a paper clip or any other object entirely to energy. It would require temperatures and pressures greater than those at the core of our sun.
Romans 11:33–34 (ESV)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

The necessity for God to reveal Himself to us

A. If we are going to know God as He truly is then it is absolutely necessary that He reveal himself to us.
B. God alone defines who He is and it’s God who reveals who He is to us.
C. Two ways in which God has revealed Himself so that He might be known.
General Revelation
Romans 1:18–20 (ESV)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Psalm 19:1–2 (ESV)
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
a. The natural creation reveals God because he chose to have himself revealed in this way.
b. General revelation tells people that there is a Creator God.
2. Special Revelation
a. Special Revelation reveals who this God is and how we can personally know Him.
b. Special revelation reveals our need to know God and to be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus.
Matthew 11:27 (ESV)
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
c. This kind of wisdom and knowledge does not come through human effort.
d. This kind of wisdom, this kind of revelation, this kind of knowledge comes through God’s Word to us.
D. The necessity for God to reveal himself to us is seen in the fact that sinful people misinterpret the revelation about God found in nature.
Romans 1:18 (ESV)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 1:21 (ESV)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:25 (ESV)
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“Hundreds of false religions in the world are evidence of the way sinful people, without guidance from Scripture, will always misunderstand and distort the revelation about God found in nature.” - Wayne Grudem
E. Scripture alone tells us how to understand the testimony about God from nature.

We can never fully understand God

A. Because God is infinite and we are finite or limited, we can never fully understand God (gallon & cap)
God’s greatness is unsearchable.
Psalm 145:3 (ESV)
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In verse 3, God creates light
Light travels at 186,000 miles a second
So a light year equals 5.88 trillion miles
So we measure things in the universe not with a yardstick, but with light years
So out of the mouth of God, light comes at 186,000 miles a second
As the passage continues, God creates the waters and the dry land, and vegetation
Verse 14 God creates the stars in the sky.
Psalm 33:6, “The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.”
Psalm 147:4, “He counts the stars and calls them all by name.”Let’s try and get a picture of the enormity of the universe
Let’s begin in our own neighborhood, the Milky Way Galaxy
It’s made up of 100 billion stars
It would take you 100,000 years traveling at light speed to travel from end to end
There’s estimated to be millions upon millions of galaxies
The closest number of stars that can be counted is 70 sextillion
That’s 10 times as many stars as grains of sand in all the world’s beaches
Psalm 147:4, “He counts the stars and calls them all by name.”
Another very popular galaxy is called the whirlpool galaxy.
It’s would take around 31 million years to get to traveling at the speed of light
Within this one galaxy, there are 300 billion star
Well, we’ve looked at the macro level
A couple of galaxies how big they are how long it would take to reach them.
Let’s look now at a micro level
We are going to look at 4 stars And compare them to earth.
The 4 Stars
The Sun
93 million miles away from earth
1 million times the size of earth
So if the earth were a golf ball ~ the sun would be 15ft. wide in diameter
You could fill a school bus full of golf balls
Betelgeuse
Can be found in the upper right shoulder of Orion
The 9th brightest star in the night sky
600 light years away
It’s twice the size of earth’s orbit around the sun
If the earth were a golf ball, it would be like 6 Empire State buildings stacked on top of one another
You could fit 262 trillion earths inside
That’s enough to fill the superdome, 3000 times
Mu Cephei
3000 light years away
If the earth were a golf ball, Mu Cephei would be the distance of 2 golden gate bridges
You can fit 2.7 quadrillion earths inside this star
1 million seconds ago ~ 12 days ago
1 billion seconds ago ~ 1990
1 trillion seconds ago ~ 31,688 b.c.
1 quadrillion seconds ago 31,700,700 years ago
Canis Majoris
4900 light years away from earth
If the earth were a golf ball, Canis Majoris would be the height of Mt. Everest
You could fit 7 quadrillion earths inside
You could fill the entire state of Texas with golf ball, 22 in. deep
Psalm 33:6, “The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.”
2. God’s understanding is unmeasurable.
Psalm 147:5 (ESV)
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
3. God’s knowledge is unattainable.
Psalm 139:6 (ESV)
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Romans 11:33 (ESV)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
B. It is not only true that we can never fully understand God; it is also true that we can never fully understand any single thing about God.
His greatness
His understanding
His knowledge
His riches
His wisdom
His judgments
His ways
Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
C. In order to know any single thing about God exhaustively we would have to know it as he himself knows it. We would have to know it in its relationship to everything else about God and in its relationship to everything else about creation throughout all eternity.
D. Even in eternity we will still never be able to fully understand God. Throughout all eternity we will continue to mine the depths of God’s greatness.
Our inability to fully comprehend God is not due to our sinfulness but to God’s infinite greatness.

Application

A. We will never be able to know “too much” about God.
B. We will never run out of things to learn about him.
C. We must continue growing now in our knowledge of God
Colossians 1:10 (ESV)
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Yet we can know God truly

A. Even though we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know true things about God.
All that Scripture tells us about God is true.
God is love (1 John 4:8)
God is light (1 John 1:5)
God is spirit (1 John 4:24)
God is just or righteous (Romans 3:26)
B. It is God himself that we can know, not just facts about him.
Jeremiah 9:23–24 (ESV)
“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
C. The source of our joy and delight is found in the truth that we can know God.
John 17:3 (ESV)
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
1 John 5:20 (ESV)
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Philippians 3:10 (ESV)
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
1 John 2:3 (ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:13 (ESV)
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

Conclusion

As these passages imply, we have a far greater privilege than mere knowledge of facts about God. We speak to God in prayer, and he speaks to us through his Word. We commune with him in his presence, we sing his praise, and we are aware that he personally dwells among us and within us to bless us.
This personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, god the Holy Spirit may be said to be the greatest of all the blessings of the Christian life.

Questions for personal reflection

Sometimes people say that heaven sounds boring. How does the fact that God is incomprehensible yet knowable help to answer that objection?
Would you like sometime to be able to know God exhaustively? Why or why not?
Why do you think God decided to reveal himself to us?
What would it look like in your life right now to grow in your knowledge of who God is?
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