Friday, September 7, 2012

On Knowing God - Part 2

Science and modernity have done us all a favor. They have delivered us from our dilutions and demythologized the mysteries. What once seemed unknowable can now be known. What was once unseen, we now can photograph, download and share with the world. We have learned to take the complex and break it down into parts and comprehensible subparts. Our planet seems eerily small now that satellites and computer imagery have apparently charted every square inch of earth.  

These advancements would be exciting if they were not so disappointing. We love the data technology supplies, but aren’t we just a little disappointed, for example, to discover a beautiful sunset can be the mere result of smog? Even so, the cosmic mysteries are far from uncovered. The more science reveals about creation, the more it exposes how much we do not know. New discoveries often debunk old presuppositions and theory, supplanting what was once taught in the academy for hard fact. Relatively speaking, the universe is yet undiscovered and remains frontier.

From the microscope to the telescope, there are vast unknown and un-quantified qualities luring us with potential for discovery. And if this is the case with creation, how much more can this be said of the Creator? For all of our supposed knowing, how much do we not know? And is our knowing for the sake of relationship or the mere acquisition of information? That is to say, do we know him or do we know about him? And do we assume we can demythologize the Divine? Wouldn’t we be disappointed if this were possible?

I remember one evening several years ago when my daughter was just four years old, filled with wonderful innocence and endearing naiveté. We were out on the porch together enjoying the lights of the night sky. Snuggled up in my lap looking up at the stars she asked, “Daddy, get me the moon”. Time stood still as I savored the moment. Her request moved me with both delight and dread. It was a moment that revealed complete trust and confidence in me her father. And it was putting me on notice that soon would be the day for her disillusioning and my dethronement – the day she would be old enough to realize the hands that protect her will not always be there, that this more knowing figure in her life is not all-knowing, that her strong father is not almighty. Ultimately she would come to know I fail and am insufficient for all she needs. The day will come when she knows me enough to be bored with me and my limited interests and personality, when she realizes I am a small man in a very big world. I grieved her eventual disappointment.

But this is not our experience with our heavenly Father. As we mature and grow to know him he gets bigger rather than smaller. He seems to be more wonderful than before. Though we grow out of naiveté he remains amazing. He is with us and beyond us. With God there can never be disappointment with his depth, his richness, complexity or capacity. There is always another bend in the road, an un-crested hill with promise of hope, a new horizon and another world.

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Ps 8:1-4 (NIV)