No barriers to knowing Him

“It is certainly true that our knowledge is finite. The agnostic has recognized that in some measure, though he illegitimately uses it for his own purposes. But the limitations of human knowledge are, we will see, very different from the kinds of limitations supposed by Hume, Kant and the positivists. For now, however, we should simply remind ourselves who the Lord is. Because He controls all things, God enters His world – our world – without being relativized by it, without losing His divinity. Thus in knowing our world, we know God. Because God is the supreme  authority, the author of all the criteria by which we make judgments or come to conclusions, we know Him more certainly than we know any other fact about the world. And because God is the supremely present one, He is inescapable. God is not shut out by the world; He is not rendered incapable of revealing himself because of the finitude of the human mind. On the contrary, all reality reveals God. The agnostic argument, then, presupposes a nonbiblical concept of God. If God is who Scripture says He is, there are no barriers to knowing Him.”

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, pp 19-20.

4 replies
  1. Robin Boom
    Robin Boom says:

    I would disagree. I think God is knowable, but God is also elusive. Many diligently seek God, but get nothing but silence. There are barriers to knowing God. God chooses who He reveals Himself to. However I do think Paul’s argument in Romans 1 has much merit in that unbelievers are without excuse when it comes to believing there is a Creator who created the universe and the Earth, but to KNOW God is quite different to knowing there is a God. I think few people, including msot Christians actually KNOW God.

  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    Thanks for your comment, Robin.

    I don’t think John Frame would deny the sovereignty of God – that our knowledge of Him is nothing less than a gift of His grace and only at His own initiative. God is never domesticated or mastered by our knowledge of Him. But the central point of the quote is to emphasize His very sovereignty: if God is God, he is Lord over all, and can overcome any potential barrier between Him and us – including our finitude or blindness due to sin.

    I’m not sure I follow you when you say that those who diligently seek God do not find him. Certainly there are times – even for a Christian – when God seems silent (read the books of Habakkuk or Job, or the anguish of David in the Psalms), but at that same time, the Bible is also abundantly clear that God will not hide himself from someone who does honestly and humbly seek Him (Ps 9:10: “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Also see Deut 4:29, 1 Chron 28:9, 2 Chron 7:14, Ezra 8:22; Ps 34:10; Ps 69:32; Ps 119:2; Jer 29:13; Amos 5:4, Matt 7:8; Acts 17:27; Romans 2:7).

  3. Robin Boom
    Robin Boom says:

    Jason

    I know the Bible says God will be found by those who seek Him diligently, but this is not and has not always been the experience of people I know. Recently I talked to someone who after 50 years is giving up on Christianity, because of this. You can reference scripture till the cows come home, but that does not always ring true to the experience. God is often elusive.

  4. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Hello Robin,

    Including to this “Elusive God” doctrine is apt to erode any theological castle. Think of the consequences for Christology alone! Its probably more a pastoral problem than an apologetic one, but I have two questions. (1) When experience contradicts the clear teaching of scripture, do you advocate abandoning the clear teaching of scripture? And (2) why should someone else’s experience (of which you have no first hand acquaintance – only secondary) invalidate your own (or of hundreds and thousands of other people to whom God is not elusive)?

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