Knowing The Knowable

by Dudley Ross Spears

     There are a great many things about God that challenge man’s ability to know God (Job. 9:10). There are also many secrets God has reserved for himself (Deut. 29:29). The finite mind of man is incapable of penetrating the boundless nature of the infinite -- and God is infinite.

     At the same time there are things God has plainly revealed about his nature (Rom. 1:20). Through the Holy Spirit he has revealed his mind to men through men (1 Cor. 2:11-13). Select men, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), who were called earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7), confidently affirmed that revelation is understandable (Eph. 3:3-4). They ordered all men to understand what is revealed (Eph. 5:11).

     While some facts about God are beyond man’s ability to comprehend that is not a valid excuse to avoid knowing the knowable and defending it. It doesn’t take much effort to know when error on the nature of God is presented. I don’t find it difficult to recognize error when someone describe Jesus Christ, as “just an ordinary man.” When someone debates that Jesus was powerless to speak for God or perform miracles without the same power given to ordinary men, I can easily see that as error. I don’t find any comfort in hiding behind the, “There is too much we cannot know about God” foolish philosophy.

     Without even trying to be adept about the nature of God, those who defend the absolute deity of our Lord Jesus Christ refute the error of those who attempt to radically humanize our Lord Jesus to be a man with nothing to distinguish him from ordinary men. We don’t need to be experts on the nature of Deity to recognize the error in foolish illustrations that picture Jesus as an inept individual who made a capricious and unplanned trip to Iraq – then having the unmitigated gall to say that is the best way to illustrate the holy incarnation!

     Errorists who’ve been depicting Jesus as just an ordinary man did so to “prove” the speculation that any ordinary man can live totally sinless from the cradle to the grave. Faced with the biblical fact that all men sin these fanatic errorists argue that Jesus lived sinlessly and thus any ordinary man can do likewise. Their description of Jesus is a mere man who faced every kind of human temptation to do all the evils normal men commit. They tell us he had just as evil and wicked desires as the worst specimen of humanity. They distort Jesus to be as weak as the weakest man who ever lived, as mean as the meanest individual who ever lived, and as dumb as the dumbest man who ever lived. If not, they tell us Jesus could not really understand the nature and power of sinful temptations. Hog wash! Who among us has trouble knowing this distortion of our Lord Jesus Christ is totally false?

     The argument is: Jesus was sinless; Jesus was an ordinary man; therefore all ordinary men can be sinless. This is a radical and unnecessary humanizing of Jesus. The proposition that all men have the inherent power to live entirely sinlessly may be provable, but the best way to prove it is by scripture (Acts 17:11). As you study this point you may well conclude that it is a pretty good example of attempting to know the unknowable or prove the unprovable. Those who affirm man’s inherent ability to never sin ought to prove it without abusing and degrading Jesus. Can they? If so, let them put their hand to the task.

     Those affirming man’s inherent ability to completely avoid sin explain the nature of God almost exclusively in terms of human attributes. In a recent public debate one who preaches Jesus as a limited form of deity consistently defined the nature of Jesus and all of his emotions and experiences only in terms exclusive to pure human nature. I listened carefully throughout sixteen speeches to hear his descriptions of Jesus Christ. While affirming belief that Jesus was God in flesh not one time did he describe Jesus as God. The closest he came to describing Jesus’ deity was his concession that Jesus had attributes belonging to God but Jesus had no access to them and could not use them (whatever is meant by “using” attributes).

     This astute debater alleged Jesus was restricted and prohibited from the use of any intrinsic divine power in himself. He opined Jesus, like all the prophets and apostles, was entirely dependent upon the Holy Spirit to perform miracles and know the will of God. Who has a problem knowing this is completely false? Who?

     Friend, this is not an issue you can avoid. It is the most basic issue in the Bible. Every child of God must get involved and informed on this issue. When gospel preachers and elders relegate the Son of God to the level or an ordinary human being under the complete control of the Holy Spirit, it is time to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Brother Connie Adams wrote, “It is the studied conviction of this writer that no more serious issue has arisen in my lifetime than this one.” (Searching the Scriptures, Oct. 1991). I hope he still believes this.

     In the study the nature of God all must heed the warning not to go above the province of human understanding. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than any man’s ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). Paul said he determined not to know anything among the Corinthians but Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2) and in the same thought (of Christ) said, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (verse 7). He said he spoke a wisdom from God, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (Verse 8). Every student of the Bible must confine conclusions about God and deity to that which is in harmony with the divinely revealed wisdom of God.

     Bible students dare not wander off into the nebulous area of the unknowable about God to define and describe what is indefinable and indescribable. This should not, however, diminish a desire to plunge as deeply as humanly possible into that which is knowable about God. Some avoid involvement in this divisive controversy by relegating the entire discussion into a useless invasion into the unknowable. To them, it is an exercise in futility, for they opine man cannot know everything about deity. I don’t believe any of us know all there is to know about water baptism, but it doesn’t keep us from defending what God requires us to know.

     To say since I can’t know all about God, I won’t worry about anything the Bible teaches about God is infidelic. This is a puny excuse to avoid defending that which is knowable of God, particularly that which is currently under attack by false brethren among us. Here are a few things knowable that those who love the Lord and his word can and must know.

We can know:

1. Jesus had perfect love, for he was made perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10; 5:9). Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). How could Jesus fear as an ordinary man fears? What mere man has perfect love?

2. He knew what was in man (John 2:24-25). Where is there room for doubt, fear and anxiety in such a being as Jesus?

3. Jesus was not tempted with evil as all men are (John 14:30). What was there lurking in the pure heart of Jesus that Satan could use to lure him to sin? Nothing! Jesus said so. Notice the word “nothing” in that passage. Who will change it to something?

4. Jesus knew he would defeat Satan at every turn (John 12:31;16:11). Where is there a place for Jesus to be uncertain of the outcome of his encounter with Satan?

5. He endured torture and death because he knew the joy beyond the cross (Heb. 12:2-3). He experienced physical suffering with sure and certain knowledge of the joy of eternal life and the reality of heaven. Where is there a place for him to be uncertain about what was beyond death on the cross, or the existence of God?

     Brethren, those things are being affirmed about Jesus. It is time for those of you who think this is just a “preacher fuss” or an excursion into the unknowable to take up battle weapons.

     There is much that is unknowable about Jesus, but what is revealed presents a picture of the Lord totally different from that of a man fraught with weakness and fear, doubts and anxieties, whose flesh and spirit were in constant turmoil (Gal. 5:16-17). Who has the audacity to even think Jesus could ask, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

     We have ample and abundant information about Jesus to recognize that while on earth, he was the same being he has ever been, fully God in a human body. “If ye know these things, happy are ye” because this is a solid defense against modernism, cultism and the current error being espoused by those who degrade Jesus to a limited format of a their confused concept of deity.

     Dear reader, don’t you know there is abundant knowable information about Jesus to deny that while in the flesh he was completely dependent on the Holy Spirit for power to perform miracles and know the will of God? If one cannot explain the unexplainable he can surely defend the explainable when it under attack. Why do you cavil against those who are fighting against this atrocious heresy? You should be ashamed not to join the fight.

     “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (Judges 5:23).

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