“When you say ‘God,’ you don’t really mean ‘GOD,’ you mean your idea of God. Or to put it another way, you mean God as not God. I say that because whatever we say about God is more unlike who God is than saying nothing…All that words do…is to point in the direction of the mystery of the super-meaning of God…We must be prepared to expand our idea of God…It challenges our whole perception of reality. And let’s face it, the reality that we see is for the birds. It doesn’t exist. The way we see life is the tissue of our generic, educational, cultural, religious and whatever else conditioning. So we’re often seeing what we want to see and nothing else. God has to fit into the little universe that we’ve built for ourselves growing up—which I call the false self—and which basically has I as the center of the universe.” -Thomas Keating (from Who Is God?)
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7 NIV)
This sort of commentary used to really get under my skin and annoy me. I think because I liked to believe that I knew God…and to be fair, in some respects I (we) can, and do…know God. We know God through Jesus, related through the Gospels and teaching of the New Testament epistles. We also know God as He reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit Who indwells true believers. On the other hand, we do not know God because He is infinite. The Apostle Paul writes that we “know in part” and one day we will see (and know) Him face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Until the day we know Him as He is (1 John 3:2), we run the risk, and are often guilty of, fashioning a God of our own liking as Thomas Keating states in his book Who is God. I suppose this was the reason for my aggravation; I didn’t like admitting that I was an idolater. I didn’t want to come to terms with the reality that the god I worshiped, much of the time, was a god that I had created whom I was comfortable with. In truth, as Keating states, he probably looked a lot like me…or who I wanted to be anyway.
I try not to do this anymore…worship a god I have fashioned, but I sometimes slip back into old habits. A god who is bigger than I can imagine and whose ways are much higher and different than my ways is often terrifying and uncomfortable to be around, much less even trust. I am learning though that the god I will often create is very little and has hardly any power and the better god by far is the GOD I cannot fully comprehend…and even more, even though an infinite and incomprehensible God can be scary, He has proven Himself good and trustworthy to me. Therefore, until the day I see Him face-to-face, I will trust Him with the things I know about Him as well as the things I do not know.