- John Van Sloten
Experiencing what Can't be Understood
In his Confessions Augustine wrote: “I can experience far more than I can understand about the Trinity.”
I suppose you could say this about any facet of God's nature. God's ways are beyond our ways and God's being is inscrutable. Whenever we lock God down, and put into words doctrines that claim to fully define God, we create an idol.
The operative word in that last sentence is 'fully' of course. Words are helpful tools for grasping reality and gifts from God. But the moment we fashion them into a 'golden calf' we're in trouble. Churches do this when they inordinately delineate their particular brand of Christianity and hold it above others. The Church does this when they limit God's revelation to the relatively small number of words in the bible.
I believe the bible is the inspired word of God (including those few words that barely define the nature of the Trinity). But I don't believe the bible says all that can be said about God. Which is why I take seriously the fact that God also speaks through creation.
Creation is love enacted. It is a lived context within which we can experience far more than we can understand about God. While creation will also fall short in terms of giving us the whole picture of who God is, it does broaden the scope of revelation in a way that gives us more to know and experience God with.
This morning I read this verse from 1 John 3:18 - "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." This is a predominant theme in the bible.
And it made me think that if love is most fully itself when it is expressed (vs spoken), and creation is an expression of God's love (a means by which God's creatures we can literally walk in God's love), then surely creation is meant to be a place where we can experience God's love in a way that can't be put into words.
So again, we need to be 'reading' both of God's books in order to more fully step into his love.