Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 at 8:39 PM

Expressing God

So I mentioned in the last post that the only way to know God is through that which is expressible in prepositions and statements.

Thinking about that a little more, I recalled a few verses that seem to contradict this:

There are passages in the Bible that talk about the peace of God that "surpass understanding" (Phil. 4:7), prayers "too deep for words" (Rom. 8:26) and the "love that surpasses knowledge" (Eph. 3:19).

Hmmm. Does that mean that there is something about God that is inexpressible in human words? Surely God is not comprehensible, we cannot possibly wrap God up in a collection of prepositions, but does that mean that there are aspects of God that cannot possibly be expressed in human words and require something else?

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Anonymous Jon said...

Here's a thought. If there are things about God that are inexpressible, then is even the proposition, "There are things about God that are inexpressible," adequately expressive of those inexpressible things? Is the proposition, "There are things inexpressible about God" meaningful? If the proposition is merely that there are some things about God that cannot be expressed, then it follows that this very proposition is itself not expressive of the same inexpressible things it presumes to assert. For if these things are inexpressible, then they cannot even be expressed as inexpressible, for this would be at least one expression of them.

This is related to the altogether too common assertion today, "God is unknowable." For this very proposition to be true, it must be a known attribute of God. To know that God is unknowable, he must really be unknowable, but this proposition must also be known. Obviously, this is contradictory, because the basic premise that God is unknowable is contradicted by the necessary premise that we know God is unknowable. For God to truly be unknowable would be for him to not exist, for if he exists, then there exists at least one proposition about him, otherwise he could not exist. After all, the logical predicate "exists" attaches to any entity about which a proposition can be made. And there are a great deal of propositions that may be made concerning God.

I think the better proposition (and indeed the more common one in Reformed circles) is that there are many things concerning God that are hidden, the content of which can never be known by men. We know they exist because we know this proposition concerning them. But we will never know them by identity, only by this quality.

Consider the decree of election and reprobation. We know the purpose and efficacy of the decree, but we do not know the individual effects of it (i.e. we do not know who is elect and who is reprobate).

Soli Deo Gloria

Jon  

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