The apostle John says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18).
God’s people in the Old Testament age were like us in their deep desire to see and know God. In the book of Exodus, God forbade the making of images, not because God is remote from us, but rather because no words, no concepts, no images and no power of imagination can define or describe God. Images can only give an impression that you understand or comprehend the incomprehensible. That you can limit the limitless. Israel was not permitted to see the form of God thus God spoke from the fire or from the cloud.
However, in the opening words of the Epistle to the Hebrews we read:
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
And Paul makes this truth even clearer in Colossians chapter one when he adds in verse 15, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” And he then adds, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy (1:16-18).
Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper that whoever had seen him had seen the Father. Jesus is not the Father but rather the one sent by the Father. He is the human image of God, the logos, or the word of God. God has spoken in these last days and he has spoken openly by his Son. This truth is revealed in the gospel and is clear when we come to know God in Jesus Christ. But all knowledge of God must be grasped by the Spirit, which leads us right back to mystery. The gospel is mystery revealed but it is mystery concealed. If you find this difficult then you are likely thinking the right way. If you find it inviting them plunge into the ocean of God’s love and trust him to reveal to you the greatness of this eternal mystery. It helps when you stop trying to explain everything in formulas and philosophical fragments, or in simplistic solutions that are popular but unsatisfying. There is a place for honest philosophy but good theology is the consideration of this great mystery before it can be anything else. God is not remote. He is here but he is not here for us to create in our image. He is here, as God, to be known and this knowing is in the mystery of the Trinity. This ocean is deep enough to swallow your pride but shallow enough to allow you to take one small step at a time into the unfathomable depths of God’s being through the mystery of living and growing faith. Stop creating new formulas and promoting new fads and enter into the mystery that has gripped the heart of every faithful Christian, to one extent or another, from the beginning of this new age of the Spirit. As we move into Pentecost remember this one thing – God is God and you are not!