The Revelation of God

The other day I was talking with someone about eternal life. I had been saying that eternal life is the life of the Triune God and that it becomes ours because we know God. In other words, we experience eternal life because we say “yes” to a relationship with them. The Incarnation surely revealed this, yes?

My friend thanked me for my reminder and then politely corrected me explaining, “The relationship means nothing if I don’t have the “right doctrine”, which could only be found in a book—the Bible.”
I thanked him for his thoughts. As I was contemplating what I would say his wife added, “How do we come to know God if it isn’t through studying a book?”
Sadly, we were interrupted and I never got to answer. The next day I was still thinking about the conversation and how much I would have enjoyed discussing her question—because it’s a good and legitimate question—especially if you come from the tradition I was raised in.

What follows is not quite an “answer” but more of a starting point to one.

The Bible gives us metaphors, anthropomorphisms, names, and stories and all of it helps us begin to know something about what God is like, which may or may not lead us to know him. Decades of studying and teaching the Bible has helped me tremendously but to equate knowing a text with knowing a person is, well, just a bit foolish, yes? If God is a person (actually three persons) then knowing him requires an encounter with him, not just a book.

The Triune God does not want to be known as the invisible, metaphysical deity we conjure in our minds, who we desperately hope hears our prayers.
Nor do they want to be known simply as an omnipotent, omniscient Creator who knows the names of every one of the trillions of stars they hung in space.

The Triune God does not want to be known as the awesome and terrible Sovereign Wizard, who from behind heavens curtain controls and manipulates all events for his name and honor.
Nor do they want to be known as the benevolent king who rules over all that is theirs—seen or unseen.

The Triune God does not want to be known as an infinitely wise and morally perfect judge presiding over all that he has made.
Nor do they want to be known as the kindly and generous grandfather who delights in giving us treats and then leaves when we mess our diapers.

You could add a hundred more metaphors found in the book— a burning bush, a pillar of cloud or fire, etc. The Triune God does not want to be known as any of these—regardless of how much of it may or may not be true.

They want to be known by us as a man.

The good news that staggers my heart and mind is they have made themselves known as a particular man, Jesus of Nazareth.

This man, Jesus, is the Word of God. All other “words” pale in the resplendent light of this Word.

He is their best Word to a race that endures its existence in ignorant blindness and terrible pain. He is their final Word for he does not reveal something different from himself, as all other words have done from the beginning of Creation. He is revealing the relationship he is and has forever been with the Father and Spirit and it is clear, true, and good. It is absolutely perfect.

There is no other word. None. Even a written word in a book is just a sign pointing us to this Word. For this man Jesus is the fullness of the Triune God united to the blind, corrupted, and broken flesh of humanity. He is and will forever be, the one and only, unique God-Man.

The Word continues to speak today—to every single one of us. Do you hear him?

He is the word of light that dispels our darkness and blindness.
He is the word of humility that stoops to raise us up into their circle of love.
He is the word of peace that conquers our fears.
He is the word of reason that untwists our madness and insanity.
He is the word of kindness that transforms our hatred.
He is the word of forgiveness that reconciles.
He is the word of truth that sets us free.
He is the word of unceasing goodness that is always doing his unwavering best for us.
He is the word of balance that eradicates our prejudice.
He is the word of justice that will make all things right.
He is the word of balm that heals our hurt, pain, and abuse.
He is the word of wrath that says NO to our self-destruction.
He is the word that never tires.
He is the word that never abandons.

He is all these words and a thousand more, utterly and completely, for he is the Word of perfect love.

It is this Word that has renewed my mind and captured my heart. And I adore him!

 

 

Categories: Blog

7 comments

  1. Daniel Kees says:

    John – I’m not sure I hear much that I disagree with. That’s said, I’m not sure the necessity of Scripture is negated if that was the point. And I can imagine that your take is that you were. It trying to invalidate the authority of God’s Word, but it did seem that your point was to remove it from the primary way in which God reveals Himsef. In the end, what you’re saying reminds me a lot of the first chapter of the Pursuit of God my Tozer. He is to be known and loves as any other personality. We are invited into “intimate intercourse with the divine” as he so aptly puts it. But what I don’t see is anything which can be known and confirmed by Scripture about the nature and personhood of God being grasped beyond His written Word and fleshed out by the Son and affirmed in our chest by His Spririt.?

    Would you agree that none of the relationship we so need with our Creator is revealed in Scripture or is their truth about who Jesus is that is not found in Scripture?

    Yes, the Scriptures are a book, but essentially much more than a book, full of metaphors, allegory, prose, narrative that divinely strikes the heart with God’s nourishment for the soul.

    Are we on the same page here?

    Side note: I was uncomfortable with the constant pluralization of God’s Triune nature. Scripture is far more limited in the plural reference of God – not to say it is not present. And I’m not referring to the clear refderence to the individual persons of the Godhead – but the reference to the Godhead in a pluralistic manner (we, they, their). I’m not familiar with anyplace in Scripture where a biblical author refers to God in these terms outside of when Scripture pens God’s words to us in the first person. And if so, our previous topic is back on the table. If Scripture both encourages and limits our knowledge of who God is and is not – and language is the bedrock to this understanding, should we then be careful to not exceed the proportions of weight placed in how we are to know and understand and commune with and around who God is and how he has revealed himself?

    • JohnMacAdmin says:

      Hi Daniel, Thanks for your comments. I was not trying to negate the scriptures. Your assumption is wrong. I thought that was clear. I apologize if it wasn’t. I was trying to answer the objection and question of the couple I spoke with re: my point of eternal life is in knowing a person(s) not a book. Further, I was not trying to remove it as a means of coming to know God but rather as the only, exclusive means to know God. Simply, knowing a book and knowing God are not the same.
      The last sentence of your 1st paragraph is a bit confusing to me. So, I’m not sure how to respond. If you could clarify, that would help.
      Your 2nd paragraph beginning with “Would you agree . . . I’m not sure I understand the first part of your question. The second part, “is their truth about who Jesus is that is not found in Scripture?” is a loaded question. So for now I’d say this— There is truth about Jesus that is found outside of scripture. And as far as I know, it does not contradict what is found in scripture. But the scriptures are neither complete or exhaustive as far as revealing God. He is so much more than just what he has revealed in these books.
      To your question, “Are we on the same page here?” — I do not know.
      Re: your side note — I use the plural because for the vast majority of people that I have encountered and read in my lifetime when they hear the word “God” they think only of an individual. This was my thinking and teaching for decades. So in an effort to help us think of God as a relationship of three persons I used the plural.
      I explain much of my journey in a far more comprehensive fashion in a book I just released entitled “A Spiritual Evolution”. (www.aspiritualevolution.com) Let me know if you’re interested because you won’t find it on Amazon yet. It might be a good place to start if you’re interested in what I am trying to suggest.

      • Daniel says:

        Ha! Save this reply, I need to stop trying to post on longer feeds without a computer. The phone auto-miscorrects way too often and it’s difficult to catch it all. Lol. Sorry about that. I can see why it was so confusing. I’ll try to clean it up later. Geesh!

  2. John McKenney says:

    I love all of those thoughts John! This is a sincere question Could all of those heartfelt intimately felt experiences been revealed to you outside of the word i.e. the Bible?

    • JohnMacAdmin says:

      Hi John, Thanks for your question. I believe you’ve asked me an opinion question so I will give an opinion—as opposed to saying that this is some sort of dogma or doctrine. I believe that intimate experiences of the Father, Son, and Spirit occur all the time outside of the scriptures. They are real, and I believe true. Have there been counterfeits—of course. But this doesn’t negate that people have encountered God outside of the scriptures. Do the scriptures help? Absolutely. But my main point here is that they are not the final, authoritative word from the Triune God. God in the flesh is. Knowing God is eternal life not knowing scripture. Does that help?

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