Greetings! Today, we will start a study of God the Father, often called Theology Proper. However before beginning, we should consider the limitations of our study. No study of God can be considered comprehensive for three reasons.
1. A limitation of the human mind. A finite mind cannot fully grasp an infinite being.
Psalm 139:6 says,
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
David said he found the knowledge of God too high for him to attain. Specifically, he was acknowledging that God knew his thoughts from afar (v. 2), and that God knew exactly what he was going to say before he said it (v. 4). How could anyone fully understand such things?
Life holds many limitations for all of us, apart from attempting to fully understand God. Some of us cannot do math. Some of us cannot work with our hands or build things. Some of us lack administrative abilities. How much more shall we struggle in understanding God? One of our limitations is that of the human mind.
2. A moral problem. We each have been affected by the presence of sin. Consider how Scripture talks about the unregenerate—those who are not saved:
First Corinthians 2:14 says,
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Paul said that the man who does not have the Spirit of God “cannot understand” the things of the Spirit. It is impossible. Sin has affected man in such a way that he cannot understand the things of God. Paul speaks about this more in Romans 8. He says: “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7).
Paul says the sinful mind is hostile toward the things of God, and even when the natural man does understand, he lacks the power to submit. Sin drastically affected the ability of man.
However, this is not only true of the unconverted. Even believers are still affected by sin, and this keeps us from fully understanding the revelation of God. Consider what Jesus said:
My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (emphasis mine)
Jesus said if anyone wanted to know if his teaching came from God, they would have to want to do God’s will. If they didn’t want to do God’s will, they would not be able to properly evaluate it. This is still true today. Sin affects our ability to properly evaluate God and his Word. James said this: “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:21).
In speaking to Christians, James said, in order for us to accept God’s Word, we must get rid of sin. The presence of unconfessed sin and even sin we are not aware of, always affects our ability to truly accept revelation from God. What makes this problem even greater is the fact that we will never be completely free of sin until we have glorified bodies in heaven. We each have a sin problem.
3. A resource problem. The final reason a study of God cannot be comprehensive is because we have a resource problem. God simply has not told us everything about himself. What he has told us we can know, but he has chosen in his sovereignty to not reveal everything.
Look at Deuteronomy 29:29:
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (emphasis mine)
I urge you to keep these limitations in mind as we navigate through this study. My prayer is that God will reveal himself to you in new and profound ways.
Copyright 2014 Gregory Brown
The primary Scriptures used are New International Version (1984) unless otherwise noted. Other versions include English Standard Version, New Living Translation, and King James Version.
Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.
All emphases in Scripture quotations have been added.
Related Topics: Theology Proper (God)