Fresh Hope – 2nd June 2020

God is unlike anything or anybody. 

Humans can only understand something, by building upon what they already know. In the words of A.W Towzer, ‘we learn by using what we already know as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown’. Hence why in scripture, the authors often attempt to describe God by saying He is “like” something that we already humanly know. Even Jesus Himself used metaphors and stories over and over again, in order for the human mind to comprehend how the kingdom of God works. 

At present, our understanding of God, no matter how many years we have been a Christian, is finite in comparison to the great nature of who God really is. This is actually a very reassuring thought. 

God is creator. We are His created. To reduce all of God down to our level of understanding would be to make him as powerful as us. How comforting it is to know that my mind cannot fully fathom Him, because He is far bigger than me, and thus I can rest in the mystery of His almighty, sovereign nature. If He weren’t a mystery, then He would be no bigger than me. 

Yes we are made in the image of God, but scripture didn’t say, ‘The EXACT image’ of God. Just like a painting reflects the attributes and the mind and heart of the artist, but isn’t the artist itself, so we as people reflect the mind and heart of God, but are not God – and thank God for that! 

Often we want a God we can manage and control. But don’t try and reduce God to manageable terms. Rest in the mystery of His magnitude. One of the great paradoxes of God is that we can know Him so personally and intimately, yet so much of His ways still remain a mystery. In the words of Frederick W. Faber, 

​‘Darkness to the intellect

​But sunshine to the heart.’ 

In other words, there are aspects of God that the mere human mind cannot understand completely and rationally, only a heart can receive in faith, and then experience the love of God. 

In the gospel we see the helplessness of the human mind in understanding the mystery of God. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 teaches that God can be known only as the Holy Spirit works in a hungry heart. 

‘For to us God revealed them (deep thoughts) through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God’. 

So stay hungry to understand more of God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten you on the ways of God, as you partner with Him. Equally, rest in the reality that you never will know it all – and that is the beauty of His mystery.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.