The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Unlocking Divine Secrets: Understanding How Intimate Knowledge of God is Acquired

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There are two ways to approach trying to learn more about the Beings who created us.  Which approach you use will depend on how you view your access to the information you want.

If you want to know who someone’s biological parents are, what do you do?  You get on the internet and start digging for birth certificates.  When it comes to finding out information about humans, a lot of data is out in the open.  The person you want to know about can’t control how data about them is stored.  Maybe they don’t like the fact that so much information is considered “public record,” but they’re stuck with it.  As long as people are  broadcasting personal facts about others into public data streams, anyone can dip into that stream and sift out the data they want.  In this situation, that data is out in the open–you just have to find your way to it.  All that is required is perseverance on your part.  You don’t need permission from the person you’re researching before you can learn things about them.  Instead, you can go around them and find out things that they don’t even want you to know.

Because we’re so used to being able to go around other humans and glean information about them without their involvement or permission, it’s natural that we assume things work the same with our Gods.  Many feel that if they just dig around and use their own logic, they can unravel the mysteries about God just as they would unravel mysteries in the natural world.  And if it’s true that we can put God “under a microscope” whenever we feel like it, and learn things about Him that He might not want us to know, then clearly we are in the power position, and there is no reason to treat God with respect or involve Him in our research process.

When you come across theories in which people are confidently declaring what God’s limitations are, or when you find theologians and philosophers reducing God to some mere concept or to a Being who is less than impressive, you are often dealing with folks who are approaching God with the attitude we’ve just described.  They figure that they can just sit around musing and observing, and they can end up mapping out God’s boundaries all by themselves.  But is this really possible?  No, it’s not, which is why the theories of such people are so utterly useless.

In real life, learning about God is a much different process than learning about people.  Let’s take the classic question of where God came from.  Does He even have a “beginning” as we understand that concept?  Did someone create Him?  Did He somehow create Himself?  Has He just always been?  We humans were designed to be curious creatures, and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions.  Many Christians are taught to feel ashamed if they even wonder certain things about God, and yet wondering things is not a sin.  God doesn’t take offense at our questions.  What matters to Him is how we go about getting answers to those questions.

When it comes to understanding personal facts about God, He is the only One who can provide you with answers.  There is no database of “public records” on God that you can access all on your own to find out things about what God was doing before He made you or how He experiences His own existence.  When it comes to relating with us humans, God chooses to keep Himself shrouded in mystery.  Certainly He has a lot to say about how we should relate to Him and He describes Himself as having various reactions to us. But if you read through a book like the Bible, you’ll find that the way God talks to us is very human.  He is clearly speaking down on our level–even going so far as to describe Himself as having anatomy that we can relate to.  He speaks of smelling the aroma of sacrifices offered to Him by the Israelites.  He talks of reaching out His hand to do various things.  But does God really have a nose and hands?  No, because He isn’t going around in an earthsuit like we are.

In the Bible we find God intentionally disguising His real Self in costumes that we can relate to.  In the Old Testament, Yahweh shows up in the form of a human man when He talks to people face to face.  In the New Testament, Jesus does the same.  On the one hand, it’s super encouraging to see our Gods making such an effort to help us relate to Them.  But at the same time, the fact that They are cloaking Themselves in human forms is keeping Their true identities completely hidden from us.  We humans simply have no idea what kind of Beings our Gods really are.  We know They’re very different from us, and we can list certain qualities and abilities They have that we don’t have.  But if all you know about a frog is that it hops instead of walks, and that it croaks as a way of talking, does that make you a frog expert?  Do you really understand what a frog is just because you can list off a few of its abilities?  Does knowing a few froggy facts enable you to clearly picture what life as a frog would be like or how the frog perceives humans?  Does knowing about hopping and croaking enable you to think like a frog thinks?  Not even close.

Now if a frog were able to talk your language and if he were willing to sit down with you and attempt to translate his froggy perspective into words that you could understand, you would quickly learn that many of the assumptions you’ve made about how frogs think have been all wrong.  You’d realize you didn’t know nearly as much about frogs as you thought you did after watching nature shows about them, and you’d no doubt find the frog’s sharing to be quite fascinating and foreign to your way of thinking.  Swap out the frog for one of your Creators and things would get much more shocking.  But how are you going to get God to sit down and share about Himself like that?  Why should He?  He certainly doesn’t owe you an explanation about Himself.   Here’s where we need to understand some things about how God views personal information about Himself.

God is not like the woman who spills her life story on a first date.  God isn’t like the spotlight hogging guy who is always telling people facts about himself whether they want to know or not.  If God were a human living in this world with us, He wouldn’t be posting His diary entries in a blog for all to read.  He wouldn’t be posting photographs of His every mood on Facebook. He wouldn’t be living His life as an open book.  Instead, we would find Him inscrutable and mysterious–Someone who the most dedicated reporter would never be able to get any real facts on.  God would have a small inner circle of folks who actually knew personal things about Him, but those folks wouldn’t go blabbing what they knew to everyone else.  God would choose His friends very carefully, and He would only share with those who treated Him with immense respect.

Now of course God is not a human, but the metaphorical scenario we just described is a helpful illustration of how God operates.  He is very particular about who He lets get close to Him.  There’s a screening process involved, and that essentially comes down to taking those soul attitudes we’re always talking about very seriously.  If you ever want God to even consider sharing His private thoughts and perspectives with you, your reverence for Him needs to be extremely deep and constant–not some fickle little drizzle.  Your submission to Him needs to be utterly sincere and complete–and that means you’re not consciously holding anything back in any area.  You need to be embracing your total dependency on Him as a fabulous thing while totally chucking the idea of trying to do life without Him, and you need to be giving Him every ounce of trust that you can scrape up.  On top of all that, you need to consider gaining access to inside knowledge about God to be the highest honor and greatest privilege you could ever hope to have.  You need to view personal facts about Him like priceless treasures which a dot like you doesn’t deserve to ever touch.  Then, and only then, will there be a possibility that God might consider sharing a few things with you.

As we said before, gaining knowledge about God is a whole different deal than learning about other humans.  In this world, knowledge is a commodity that we buy and sell.  It’s ammunition that we use to gain power for ourselves and trash others.  But because knowledge is so readily accessible, we’ve learned to treat it as a cheap and common thing.  We’re used to feeling entitled to it, and we’re used to flaunting it like gaudy jewelry just to draw attention to ourselves.

Consider how often you see people broadcasting intimate facts about someone else just to draw attention to themselves.  Gossip rags delight in posting pictures of celebrities sobbing or making out just so the rags will sell more copies.  With the introduction of forums like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen the value of private information drop even lower.  It used to be that couples went on their honeymoons to get away from others and share secret, intimate moments in the bedroom. Now people bring their phones with them and take pornographic photos of themselves making out with their spouses.  Pregnant mothers post pictures of themselves in the nude just before giving birth so we can all see the size of their stomachs.  When loved ones are ill, we photograph them sitting in hospital beds and invite the whole world to gawk at them.  People can’t share secrets or sincere compliments anymore without some concern that what they said will end up pasted on the internet.  “My husband said the sweetest thing to me in bed the other day.”  Really?  Since when are bedroom conversations supposed to be broadcast to the whole world?   Did you even bother to ask for your friend’s permission before you repeated what she said to you to an audience of strangers?

Now in the Church, we find a similarly nauseating show of people broadcasting their personal conversations with God just as a means to draw attention to themselves.  Pompous prophets crank out the books and blogs in which they give us all a blow-by-blow description of the night Jesus materialized in their bedroom and told them how impressed He was with them.  Many fat-headed pastors just can’t wait to get onstage Sunday morning and tell us all about the conversation they had with God at breakfast.  Prayer warriors are always going on about who said what in the prayer closet.  Healers are known for flaunting the secret insights they claim God has given them.  Christian musicians turn their personal prayers to God into songs for us all to sing.  And then there are all of the untitled masses who are always competing with each other to come up with the best “God said something to me” story.  It’s really quite repulsive, the way we’re treating our personal exchanges with God so cheaply.  And as long as we’re only interested in God talking so that we can have new material to boast about, we can be sure that He’s never going to invite us to really know Him.

God doesn’t view Himself as our toy.  He doesn’t share information with us to entertain us or to help us exalt ourselves in this world.  To know God is a priceless privilege, not a right.  When we reject this, He begins taking back any knowledge that He shared with us and we drift into ignorance without even realizing what’s happening.

When you’re attempting to relate to the Beings who made you, you are relating to three Beings who consider Themselves to be the most magnificent, fascinating, and desirable Beings in existence.  To say that They are “egotistical” is a major understatement.  There is no limit to how highly our Gods think of Themselves, and understanding this about Them is critical for anyone who wants to approach Them correctly.  We are not dealing with our equals–we are dealing with Beings who infinitely outrank us, and who say that we ought to consider ourselves humbly honored by any invitation to know Them better.

In mainstream Christianity, you simply aren’t going to be taught to treat your Gods with the level of respect that They want.  The purpose of our site is to help souls understand what cherishing, honoring, and respecting God means.  Cultivating the four soul attitudes that we’re always talking about is vital to you approaching your Creators in a way that They will be receptive to.  As we often say, our Gods delight in sharing insights about Themselves with souls who are treasuring Them above all else.  But learning about God requires a very different approach than learning about people.  With God, we ask our questions, but then we must learn to respectfully wait for Him to bring us answers in His own time.  We can’t take an entitled attitude with Him, for there are going to be many questions that He refuses to answer.  If we cherish any insights He is willing to share and if we treat those things as the sacred treasures that they are, then He will be pleased to share more with us.  But if we treat the knowledge of God as a cheap, expendable thing which we can use to promote ourselves–or if we try to find ways to go around God and unearth secrets about Him without His help, then we will learn the hard way just how foolish it is for specks like us to scoff at the concept of treating our Creators with respect.

FURTHER READING:
Identifying God’s Limitations: Why It Can’t Be Done
Relating to an Alien God
Interpreting God: Recognizing Errors in Your Method
Soul Attitudes That Please God: What They Are & How We Develop Them
Treating God Like God: Simple Steps to Improving the Way that We Pray

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