Can We Actually Know the Attributes of God?
This coming Sunday our church moves into their fall schedule with the start of a new series on the attributes of God. This should be a great look at a few of the many elements that make up the existence and nature of God Himself. I was thrilled when I found out this was the next series since I had just finished my own research on the attributes of God, specifically that of God's love (research post as The Attributes of God: Analysis on the Basic Dimensions of God’s Love if you are bored), but there are an infinite number attributes that could be studied in detail. Paul says it best in Romans when he asks "who has known the mind of the Lord?", for the depth of the riches, wisdom, and knowledge of God is so great, that we could never fully exhaust our understanding of God's greatness (Romans 11:33-34).
One of the more recent theological champions of the attributes of God is the author, theologian, and pastor, A. W. Tozer (April 21, 1897 - May 12, 1963). Tozer wrote a book entitled The Attributes of God (Volume 1): A Journey Into the Father's Heart, which takes a look at God's infinitude, immensity, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, omnipresence, immanence, holiness and perfection, and this is the reference book for our upcoming series on the attributes of God. Tozer spent much of his ministry studying what he deemed to be one of the most important questions to ask, what is God like?
Can We Actually Know God?
I think too often today we take a more pluralistic (or post-modern if you like) view of this question, and answer "who are we to think we can know God?", and then push it off to the back burner and say why bother trying something impossible. To answer in that manner is to excuse oneself from the rigors of pursuing a relationship with God, but it is more than that, it is to deny scripture itself.
In Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians he talks to the church about Christ's judgment at the second coming (2 Thessalonians 1:8). At the time of the second coming, Christ will punish two distinct classes of people; those who "do not know God" (cf. Romans 1:18-32), and those who "do not obey the gospel" (cf. John 3:36). Jeremiah the Prophet spoke to Judah just before the impending invasion of the Babylonian army and told them they were fools because they didn't know God, but instead certainly knew the way of evil (Jeremiah 4:22, Isaiah 1:3 and Psalm 82:5).
There are many other examples, but the point is, if we are called by His name, we are called to know God. We can spend a lifetime doing this, but God loves those, and has made Himself known, to those who seek Him out (Proverbs 8:17).
Great Resource for Audiobooks
A quick plug to those who enjoy digging in deeper to these and other topics of faith. Christian Audio (christianaudio.com) has one of the largest selections of Christian audiobooks, and each month they give away a free audiobook. This month happens to be The Pursuit Of God (Unabridged) by A. W. Tozer, and you can download it for free until July 31st. Not only is this title free, but all of A. W. Tozer's other books are only $4.95 until the end of the month. This is a fantastic resource, and I would recommend Christianaudio to anyone interested in audiobooks (you can listen on your iPod, MP3 player, iPad, iPhone, whatever, and you can also follow them on Twitter @ChristianAudio).
I have no stake in the company or know anyone personally over there, I have just used their resources and have never had any issues with quality or service (only wish they had even more titles than they do). I often depend on a wide range of resources for studying, but even iTunes can't beat an unabridged book like that for $4.95. That's my plug for the month, if audiobooks are not your thing, get a copy of Tozer's books in print, you won't be disappointed.