“Do you know why it is so crucial for us to recover such a respectful understanding? Because a shallow view of God leads to a shallow life. Cheapen God and you cheapen life itself. Treat God superficially, and you become superficial. But hold God in profoundest respect, and it is remarkable how deep the roots of your spiritual life grow.” – Charles R. Swindoll
“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty” – Job 11:7
“Again, our eyes frequently cannot look upon the nature of the light itself—that is, upon the substance of the sun; but when we behold his splendor or his rays pouring in, perhaps, through windows or some small openings to admit the light, we can reflect how great is the supply and source of the light of the body. So in like manner, the works of Divine Providence and the plan of this whole world are a sort of rays, as it were, of the nature of God, in comparison with His real substance and being. As, therefore, our understanding is unable of itself to behold God Himself as He is, it knows the Father of the world from the beauty of His works and the comeliness of His creatures.” – Origen
- Understanding God’s awesomeness is critical to how we live our Christian life
- Not understanding the “bigness” of God results in idolatry
- If we do not have a “big” view of God we end up having a “big” view of ourselves
By nature of who God is, He will always remain indescribable and finite beings using a finite language will never be able to express who He is in a complete way. This is what we call God’s ineffability – “transcendent characteristics of God that cannot be adequately expressed in human language”. As one approaches this concept of ineffability, it is easy to confine it to the realm of theological or philosophical discussion. However, I would suggest that it has a defining place in the Christian walk. Our understanding of God and His sovereignty, love, justice, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and many other characteristics serve as a foundation for our relational interaction with God and our practical interaction with this world.
If we understand God’s “bigness”, we can begin to appreciate our place in the world and why we can and should place our trust in Him. If we understand God’s “bigness”, we can begin to value His love and control in our lives and truly worship His magnificence. If we understand God’s “bigness”, we can begin to learn how to live as a Christian who can approach life with a sense of peace and make decisions in line with an accurate yet incomplete view of God. We understand enough of who God is to begin to live how God wishes and reflect upon His greatness, incomparability, wisdom, majesty and ultimately His beauty.
Check out this great video on the beauty of God (performed by Blair Linne, Official Trailer from Shai Linne’s fourth album, “The Attributes of God”):
I would even go so far as to suggest that the answer to many of life’s questions and day-to-day decisions would change if we began to reflect on God’s ineffability each time we drop to our knees in prayer, come to our church on Sunday mornings, or simply open our eyes in the morning and close our eyes at night. If we were to develop an appropriate intellectual and emotional posture for true worship, it would begin with an understanding how awesome God is. The question then is – Is your view of God too small? and perhaps even more penetrating – Are you too big?
Suggested Reading(s): B = Basic, M = Moderate, A = Academic
- Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, God/Creation (A)
- What Jesus Demands from the World (B)
- The Attributes of God: A Journey into the Father’s Heart (B)