Faith, God, Truth

Standing in awe of the multifaceted God who is beyond our comprehension

Most actors and actresses are afraid of being stereotyped as it restricts the roles they can play. Should we stereotype our creator God by focusing only on one or two facets of Him whom we are familiar with, for example, a lamb to be slaughtered (Isa 53:7), a suffering servant (Isa 53) or a dove (Luke 3:22)? Are there other facets of Him that we should know and revere as well?

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”. (Exod 3:14) The revelation of the ineffable name “I AM WHO AM” contains then the truth that God alone IS. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and following it the Church’s tradition, understood the divine name in this sense: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is. (CCC 213) In John 8:58, Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” There is a remarkable similarity between the expression employed by Jesus in this place and that used in Exodus 3:14 to denote the name of God. Jesus also said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus is saying that he and the Father are one in nature and essence, and perfection, particularly in power, since Christ is speaking of the impossibility of plucking any of the sheep, out of his own and his Father’s hands (John 10:28-29).

I like the description of God found in Job 36:26: “God is great beyond our understanding; the number of his years is past reckoning.” God is not known clearly, fully, and perfectly, by anyone. His greatness is beyond all conception and expression, and He is not restricted by time. Similarly, I find David’s description of the omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent God in Psalm 139 awesome and inspiring. Both descriptions do not limit God to the level of our understanding, which I think is closest to the truth.

When God was incarnated in Jesus, he portrayed the multifaceted nature of God. He was carpenter, teacher, philosopher, healer, counsellor, prophet, priest, king, saviour and God. He challenged the teachings and practices of the Scribes and Pharisees and commanded the storm and evil spirits. He washed the feet of his disciples like a servant and offered himself to be slaughtered like a lamb to take away the sins of the world. He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. He is indeed a multifaceted God.

St. Paul told the Ephesians about the multifaceted wisdom of God: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph 3:10-11) The manifold wisdom of God means the multifarious and greatly diversified wisdom of God; laying great and infinite plans, and accomplishing them by endless means, through the whole lapse of ages; making every occurrence subservient to the purposes of his infinite mercy and goodness. God’s gracious design to save a lost world through Jesus Christ could not be defeated by any cunning skill or malice of man or devils: whatever hindrances are thrown in the way, His wisdom and power can remove; and His infinite wisdom can never be in want of ways or means to affect its gracious designs.

St. Paul told the Romans about the God he knew: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Rom 11:33-36) The passage tells us how we can be enriched by God. To be enriched is to have a deeper, fuller experience in life – anticipating a better eventual outcome. The devil tries to tell us that sin is the key to a better life. He is a liar! He promises what he cannot deliver, and he delivers what he does not promise. The God St. Paul describes is capable of providing the enrichment we should seek, and in Christ He does that. If we place our heart and life into the hands of God, submitting to His plan – the gospel – there is great and powerful enrichment that is ours in Christ.

It is ludicrous to imagine that we could ever teach God anything. His wisdom is infinite, unsearchable, incomparable and invincible. We, on the other hand, suffer with ignorance and the resulting sin. We must depend upon Christ, the divine remedy. We need help and His grace. We have to study, learn and repent. We are not God’s creditors. There is nothing we have to offer or give, that God needs or that would put Him in debt to us.

Since salvation is a gift received; since we come into this world as sinners needing the blood of Christ, to God be the glory! Abraham gave “glory to God,” (Rom. 4:20). This inclination to praise God was a result of his active faith. So every Christian should confess, “Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God,” (Rom. 15:17).

God is indeed mysterious beyond our comprehension. Even the wisest of all men did not know him (1 Cor 1:21) for though they might know there was a God, they knew not who and what he was. God is known by his word among those who are favoured with a divine revelation of him, and especially by true believers in Christ. Yet they know but in part for there is no finding out the Almighty to perfection. Hence, we as created beings should not stereotype our Creator with the limited knowledge we have of Him. He might have revealed a little about himself through the prophets, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we must realise that we know very little about Him who is infinite (see Psal 139, Job 36:26, Isa 55:9, 1 Timo 1:17 and Rev 1:8). Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of all that Jesus did for it is impossible to record all the things He has done for us (see John 14:26 and 21:25).

Let us give praise to the Almighty God with the song: Beautiful Beyond Description (I Stand in Awe of You)


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