Chapter 1 - Understanding: The God They Never Knew
But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, and they do not understand His purpose …
Micah 4:12 (NASB)
The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is—in itself a monstrous sin—and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy Spirit, Harper & Row, Page 11.
A W. Tozer
The only possible religion for twentieth–century man is a mystical religion and all theological language must be recognized as a language of symbols. F. C. Happold, quoted in Christianity on Trial, Tyndale, p. 111.
It has been said that the process of getting to know another person—and even the process of falling in love—depends, to a considerable extent, on listening to what the other person says and asking questions to find out what he feels and thinks. Christianity is in its naked essence a relationship. Accordingly, you would be inclined to think that this type of interpersonal exploration and discovery would he a natural pursuit of Christians in quest of “eternal love.”
Perhaps we ought to ask ourselves just what it is we seek— eternal life or eternal love. After all, what is eternal life with- out an eternal love? C. S. Lewis, referring to immortality, wrote, “For my own part I have never seen how preoccupation with that subject at the onset could fail to corrupt the whole thing.” C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, Harcourt, Brace & World, p. 231.
Yet many Christians today are pursuing immortality rather than relationship. The majority, no doubt, are consciously unaware of such an end. And yet for those who conclude that through- out this life God must remain an unfathomable enigma, immortality is the only viable pursuit.
Much like the devout Jews of old who sanctimoniously refused to speak or write God’s holy name, Yahweh, these folk place an unspoken ban on discussions of His nature and being. This is done presumably to prevent intrusions on His sovereignty. The result of this policy is the bewildering spectacle of Christians who, in one breath, claim the irrelevance and impossibility of truly knowing God, while, in the next, express gratitude for an intimate, personal relationship with Him!
An intimate personal relationship, if we are to give the words their due definition, can only be experienced like with like. It is the height of absurdity to think intimate fellowship may be realized, for instance, between yourself and a water buffalo. Fundamental mutual reference points are essential.
Then God said, ‘Let us make a man—someone like ourselves, to be the master of all life upon the earth and in the skies and in the seas.’ So God made man like his Master. Like God did God make man …
Genesis 1:26–27 (TLB)
When we read these remarkable lines in the first chapter of Genesis we are to understand that we can know something about God by looking at ourselves. All that this entails will be the subject of this chapter.