We believe God can be known because He wants to be known. It is within His nature to know us and He has designed us to want to know Him. Ecclesiastes 3:11
tells us that God has set eternity in our hearts. Many people know a great deal about God without really knowing Him intimately and deeply. The brilliant scholar J.I. Packer, once asked a series of great questions, “What were we made for? What aim should we set ourselves in life? What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else?”
He answered with three significant words, “Knowledge of God.” (Packer, Knowing God, pg. 29) There are three fundamental ways we believe we can come to know God.
FIRST, God reveals Himself to people everywhere through observing His general revelation through creation. General revelation is simply the idea that God reveals Himself in a very generic way through what He has created. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” The Apostle Paul echoes that view in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse.” So, we can know God generally through looking long and hard at what God has created.
SECOND, we can know God more concretely through exploring His written Word, the Bible, and receiving it as the Holy Spirit teaches and enables us to understand it and live it out. The Bible is God speaking His truth to us in human words. We will talk more about the nature of Scripture in a moment (See What the Bible is…). Through the Bible, we hear God’s articulate voice as we take the intentional time to listen to Scripture read, preached, and taught; as we read it for ourselves, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and obey it.
THIRDLY, we come to know God through embracing His special revelation, the Living Word, Jesus Christ. General revelation is helpful and it is true, but it is insufficient to bring us to the place where we can know that God put on flesh, lived among us, loved us, died for us on a cross for our sins, and triumphantly rose again. This third way of knowing God comes through looking carefully, respectfully, and obediently at the life of Jesus (John 1:1 & 12-14).