Monday, November 7, 2016

we can know the incomprehensible God


"Mystery is the lifeblood of dogmatics. To be sure, the term 'mystery' in Scripture does not mean an abstract supernatural truth in the Roman Catholic sense. Yet Scripture is equally far removed from the idea that believers can grasp the revealed mysteries in a scientific sense. In truth, the knowledge that God has revealed of himself in nature and Scripture far surpasses human imagination and understanding. In that sense it is all mystery with which the science of dogmatics is concerned, for it does not deal with finite creatures, but from beginning to end looks past all creatures and focuses on the eternal and infinite One himself. From the very start of its labors, it faces the Incomprehensible One.

"All things are considered in the light of God, subsumed under him, traced back to him as the starting point.  Dogmatics is always called upon to ponder and describe God and God alone, whose glory is in creation and re-creation, in nature and grace, in the world and in the church.  It is the knowledge of him alone that dogmatics must put on display. 

"By pursuing this aim, dogmatics does not become a dry and academic exercise, without practical usefulness for life.  The more it reflects on God, the knowledge of whom is its only content, the more it will be moved to adoration and worship.  Only if it never forgets to think and speak about matters rather than about mere words, only if it remains a theology of facts and does not degenerate into a theology of rhetoric, only then is dogmatics as the scientific description of the knowledge of God also superlatively fruitful for life.  The knowledge of God-in-Christ, after all, is life itself...

"However little we know of God, even the faintest notion implies that he is a being who is infinitely exalted above every creature.  While Holy Scripture affirms this truth in the strongest terms, it nevertheless sets forth a doctrine of God that fully upholds his knowability.

"This knowledge does not arise from their own investigation and reflection, but is due to the fact that God on his part revealed himself to us in nature and history, in prophecy and miracle, by ordinary and by extraordinary means.  In Scripture, therefore, the knowability of God is never in doubt even for a moment.

"The purpose of God's revelation, according to Scripture, is precisely that human beings may know God and so receive eternal life..."

~ Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 2:29-30.

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