Bounding Our Pursuit of the Knowledge of God

Our Bible study last night on Romans 9, as always, generated a lot of good discussion in our group, the chief of which centered on our attempts to grasp with faith the justice of God in Romans 9:19-24. We admitted that when we look at this passage from our lowly position it confounds us terribly, and it breaks down all the bounds of our finite understanding. In our moments of wickedness, we find that we are tempted to turn the spotlight on God so that he might answer to us for his works and his notions of fairness and justice.

Yet, we find no relief for our curiosity in this passage concerning this topic, nor do we find it elsewhere in Scripture. Instead we are given an answer that pierces the very core of our Rebellion, “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will that which is made say to its Maker, why have you made me thus?” The designed effects of these questions of the apostle are obvious—to humble us and to silence us. Yet, we cannot be silent. The moment we hear these words penned by the apostle, we are frustrated, and we are frustrated to our own demise.

It is said that curiosity killed the cat, but it was curiosity as well that killed our first parents, for it was said to them by the Tempter, “Eat of this tree and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil,” and they ate. It is by their desire to accumulate knowledge to make themselves like God that our first parents were driven to sin, and it is by this same fleshly desire that we pursue answers to our natural questions in Romans 9. We might not articulate that we desire to be like God with our pursuit of knowledge that is outside of the bounds of his holy Scriptures, but we demonstrate it with our hearts, for the heart that questions God beyond the limits that he has set is the heart that says, “God, I am like you; therefore you must answer me.”

In spite of our feigned significance, the apostle’s answer to us is that we are to God as a lump of clay is to a potter. We have no worth comparable to God that would permit us to put him on trial nor do we have keenness of perception that would allow us even to live our lives according our own estimations of rightness. We serve a God that is unfathomable apart from his Word and who is unintelligible to the greatest philosophical minds in history. Some have marveled at the theological accomplishments of Plato, Aristotle, and the like, but none of those in their most “lofty” excursions found Yahweh. All of those great minds fell ridiculously short of true Knowledge and demonstrated that even mankind’s elite are puny and pitiful beside God.

Knowing therefore who we are and who God is, we must strive against the temptation that so allured our Parents in the Garden. Our God has graciously made himself known to us in his Word, and he does not permit us to seek him outside of it. As one last night credited Sir Isaac Newton with saying, “The knowledge that we have been granted in God’s Scriptures is but a grain of sand on the endless beaches of God himself.” Therefore we should approach God with utter humility and receive gratefully what he has so mercifully given to us. We in our puniness have but scratched the surface of the grain of sand that God has granted to us; let us be content in it.

Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study

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