OUR MYSTERIOUS GOD
By William Kilgore
The God revealed in Scripture and worshipped by Christians is infinitely mysterious. That is, it is impossible for any of us to fully comprehend God due to limitations placed upon us by both our own finite, depraved minds and by God Himself, who has revealed only what He has chosen to.
WHAT THIS DOES NOT MEAN...
When we defend this idea, we are not teaching that we worship a God who is "unreasonable." Throughout history, brilliant Christians have stepped forward to defend the faith, many of them meeting the world on its own turf. Individuals such as Augustine, Calvin, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Dorothy Sayers, Gordon Clark, R.J. Rushdoony, Arthur Custance, and a host of others. All of these followed in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, engaging the skeptics at Mars Hill. None of them were shy of intellectual prowess. They recognized reason and logic as gifts (James 1:17) to be exercised under the authority of Scripture (2 Cor. 10:5).
Neither do we mean that one cannot know God. In fact, to deny that one can (and should) know the God of Scripture would be to deny Christianity itself! Such knowledge is the goal of life. The substance of "wisdom" as represented throughout Proverbs is the knowledge of God and His ways. Soloman, after observing the "vanity" of life, had this to say:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecc. 12:13).
In the New Testament, salvation itself is often referred to as "understanding," "being enlightened," or being "made to see." When Jesus prayed for us He defined what He had meant those three years by the term "eternal life," which He had used so often: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Still further, we certainly do not mean that believers cannot understand doctrinal truth. God does not desire ignorance (Romans 10:3; 1 Corinthians 12:1; etc.). The Apostle Paul, under inspiration, sharply rebuked a group in Hebrews 5:11-14 for not "progressing" beyond "milk" (i.e., the basics). Anyone using God's incomprehensibility as an excuse for unbelief or laziness has gone beyond the teaching of Scripture.
WHAT THIS DOES MEAN
Generally, we mean simply that God transcends human comprehension. He is beyond human logic, beyond man's ability to reason and deduce. To be more precise, let us apply the definition in two different directions.
First, God is incomprehensible to the world. Those remaining in their sins have no "light," and cannot "understand." At this level, there is only the barest comprehension of God (Rom. 1-2). Even this is granted by revelation, through the creation. Nothing beyond the general truths can be received apart from God's intervention. The world comprehends things in a way that is "earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15). If the unbeliever would know anything at all of God, this ability must be received of Christ according to His grace.
All of the world's wisdom concludes that the Gospel message is "foolishness"; such "wisdom" is useless in knowing God (1 Corinthians 1:18-21). The unbeliever cannot understand the hope of Christians (1 Corinthians 2:9), the mind of God (verse 16), the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:16-19), or "the mystery of His will" (Ephesians 1:8-9). In fact, "the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Calvinists have referred to this idea as "total inability."
Some things are specifically kept secret only from those outside of Christ, but revealed to God's elect (Psalm 35:14; Proverbs 3:32; Matthew 11:25-26). Other things were kept secret from all, but are now revealed only to the Church (cf. Romans 16:25; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
Secondly, God remains incomprehensible to the Church. Believers can and should understand God through His Word, but even believers can never comprehend God fully. We do not become infinite upon being born again; we are still finite creations with finite minds that will always (on this earth) limit our concept of God and our understanding of His Word. Further, although we have the advantage (over the unbeliever) of a new nature, our minds are still depraved until our glorification. Even Elihu said
"Teach us what we shall say unto Him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. Shall it be told Him that I speak? If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up." (Job 37:19, 20).
Agur expressed the same feeling in Proverbs 30:2-4:
"Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His Name, and what is His Son's Name, if you can tell?"
God also limits the Church by His Word; we cannot go beyond the boundaries of Scripture in what we believe (1 Corinthians 4:6). In theological matters we do "see through a glass," which is much more than we could do in the world. However, we see through that glass "darkly" (1 Corinthians 13:12), knowing the things of God only "in part." We must keep in mind that God clearly reveals to us that He has sovereignly chosen not to reveal some things:
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29).
This verse is not some "escape route" out of legitimate doctrinal difficulties, but neither can it be ignored. This is a very relevant statement that must be heeded. There are simply some things that the Lord has chosen not to reveal to us: it is that simple. It never ceases to amaze me how many sectarian groups ridicule the orthodox for holding tenaciously to this idea. Such is an essential factor for any who would engage in "God-talk" (= "theology").
Certain things are not revealed to us at all, while other things were revealed only after Christ came. Consider those doctrines of Scripture which are referred to as "mysteries": the casting away of the Jews and the engrafting of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25); justification by faith (Romans 16:25-26); the inauguration of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 2:7-8); the glorification of the saints at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51+); God's eternal predestined plan (Ephesians 1:8-12; 3:8-11); our union with Christ (Ephesians 5:32); Christ indwelling believers (Colossians 1:26-28); God Himself (Colossians 2:2); the incarnation and dual nature of Christ (1 Timothy 3:16; cf. v. 9). These are all referred to using the Greek word musterion, which comes from the root muo - literally, "to shut the mouth."
It is not that these doctrines should be avoided and not studied, far from it. But these examples serve to demonstrate that "theology" should be practiced with caution. We must be careful to keep our speculative imaginations within the confines of the Word of God. Let us excel in things "revealed" and be silent when encountering the "secret things" that belong to God. One may certainly make valid inferences from Scripture; but when we are speaking in the realm of speculation, we should both recognize this fact and represent it plainly to others. This is a very important point because if we would receive it, we must also accept the existence of legitimate theological antinomies.
THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE
It has been set forth above that our God is a mysterious God, One Who is in large part beyond comprehension. Let us now examine some important Biblical passages that set forth this idea.
"I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number..." (Job 5:8-9)
Here, Eliphaz describes the things that God does, His works, as "unsearchable." The Hebrew words used here suggest things which defy examination, things that are "past finding out." The same Hebrew phrase is used elsewhere to describe the human heart as viewed by human eyes: "The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable" (Proverbs 25: 3). We can no more fathom the works of God than we can see the hidden secrets within the heart of a king!
Consider God's works in creation. The entire history of science is nothing more than an attempt by finite man to understand those works! There is no such thing as a "great scientific mind," only "great scientific minds"; it takes years of countless research and experimentation by many individuals who have devoted their entire lives to such work to uncover even the most minute examples of the wonders of God's creation! Furthermore, we may also apply the second half of our verse to this same field. There is always more research just ahead. Science is a never-ending pursuit, because God's works are "without number."
To apply these verses practically, God's works in our lives are equally unsearchable. It applied to Job, and it applies to us. This is why faith becomes an essential part of the Christian life (Heb. 11:1-2,6). This is because we are walking a road laid down by God (2 Cor. 5:7), like our spiritual father Abraham (Heb. 11:8-10). It is God's plan and we must live our lives on such promises as Romans 8: 28 (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). In other words, just as the scientist is limited in his grasp of God's works in creation, even so we are limited in our comprehension of God's works in the (often troublesome) circumstances of life. It is this realization that, though humbling, increases the faith of the believer.
"(God) Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not: He passeth on also, but I perceive Him not." (Job 9:10-11)
Job himself admits that God does indeed do "great things," and that these works are "past finding out" (i.e., incomprehensible). In this he is agreeing with Eliphaz (cf. 5:8-9, previously considered), who stated the same truth earlier in their verbal exchange ("unsearchable" is derived from the same Hebrew as "past finding out"). That the statements of 5:8-9 are here on Job's mind is further made apparent by the reference to "wonders without number," a phrase corresponding exactly to "marvelous things without number" in 5:9; both use the Hebrew word pala, which in itself signifies something "hidden" or "too high."
Job makes two connections in this passage which deserve attention. First, verse 11 concerns the invisibility of God's person (cf. Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:15; 1 Tom. 1:17; Heb. 11:27). Though He is omnipresent, we cannot sense or observe Him by use of our normal faculties. If finite man cannot even perceive God's movements, what causes us to suppose that we may comprehend Him with our human minds? Then, Job goes on in verse 12 to link the mysterious God to the concept of the sovereign God: "Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? Who will say unto Him, 'What doest thou?'" Put simply, God is GOD. He is absolutely Sovereign, and we may rest assured that He knows exactly what He is doing at all times. He owes no one any explanations. This same point is made by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:19-21.
"Can you by searching find out God? Can you find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what can you do? Deeper that hell; what can you know? The measure of it is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." (Job 11:7-9)
In this passage the subject of incomprehensibility is God Himself - that is, His Person. Zophar the Naamathite asks Job these rhetorical questions in order to make the same point that his friend Eliphaz had already made in 5:8-9; a point that Job had already conceded in 9:10-11. The idea is that no matter how much one may probe and examine ("searching"), finite man will never understand God, not completely ("unto perfection"). To illustrate the perfect knowledge of God, Zophar verbalizes a four-dimensional analogy: height (heaven), depth (hell), length (earth), and width (the sea). This is the same analogy applied to the love of Christ by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:18.
Like Job himself in 9: 12, Zophar links God's incomprehensibility to His sovereignty in verse 10 with similar language: "If He cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder Him?" Zophar then mentions God's omniscience in verse 11, and then makes this profound statement concerning finite, depraved man in verse 12: "For vain man would be wise, though man may be born like a wild ass's colt." As much as fallen man may philosophize and speculate, our comprehension of God is about as deep as that of a jackass!
"Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?" (Job 26:14)
These words appear in Job's final speech to his three "friends," and follow a description of God as the omnipotent Creator and Preserver of all things (verses 1-13). All the wonderful displays of power described are only "parts" of God's ways. Job puts his finger on one of our limitations in out understanding of God: "... but how little a portion is heard of Him?" God has revealed certain things to us in His revelation, His Word. But that revelation is only a small portion of understanding concerning Him; certainly it is a long way from a complete understanding!
"Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him: He respecteth not any that are wise of heart." (Job 37:23)
Again, we (as finite, depraved creatures) cannot completely comprehend God; we do not have that ability. Why? Because He alone is "excellent" in His attributes; how can we possibly comprehend attributes that we cannot even define without God's Word and the Spirit as our Teacher? We cannot uncover what God has hidden outside of His Word. But who wants a God that is "pegged down" and perfectly understood? What kind of a "god" would such a one be? Men "fear" God because much about Him remains a mystery. Because of the fact that none of man's "wisdom" can aid him in understanding God, none are respected by God, or deemed wise by Him.
The fact that God has not revealed everything about Himself is perhaps one of the greatest testimonies to His wisdom. After all, He does tell us in His Word that "A prudent man concealeth knowledge..." (Proverbs 12: 23). And again, "Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known" (Proverbs 14:33). And finally, "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards" (Proverbs 29: 11). True, these verses are meant to be heeded by man; but would anyone expect less of God, who is Wisdom herself?
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and you answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding ..." (Job 38:1-4)
Although these verses do not specifically state our doctrine, it is so obviously assumed throughout the entire chapter (and those following) that it cannot be missed. In fact, as God questions Job (and what questions!) the fact that He is beyond human comprehension is the whole point. God first states the fallacy of the reasoning of Job and his friends: they have spoken "words without knowledge" (42: 7). God then demonstrates this fact not by argumentation but by a line of questioning, a method He also used when He walked the earth as the Man Christ Jesus (e.g., Matthew 22:20/Mark 12:16/Luke 20:24).
Needless to say, Job gets the message loud and clear! Apparently after meeting God's questions (chapters 38-41) with absolute silence, Job responds: "I know that Thou can do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered what I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak: I will demand of Thee, and declare Thou unto me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now my eyes see Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42: 1-6). Job admits that God acts sovereignly (verse 2), and that He transcends human comprehension (verse 3). Finite reason succumbs to God's revelation of Himself (verse 4), and Job responds as any regenerate person would: he repents (verse 6).
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, Thou preservest man and beast." (Psalm 36:6)
Like Zophar in Job 11: 7-9, David uses similar analogies for some of God's attributes, suggesting that they are far beyond the finite mind of man. Just as Job linked God's incomprehensibility to the "fear" of God (Job 37: 23), David here links it with faith: "...therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings" (verse 7).
A further consideration is the view of this author that this Psalm has reference to Jesus Christ. In verse 5, God's "mercy" is said to be "in the heavens." A comparison of Deuteronomy 30:12-13 (a reference to Christ's work of redemption: Romans 10:6-8) with John 1:17 and 1 Peter 2:10 (along with similar passages) suggests that this phrase is a reference to the pre-incarnate Christ. Jesus also clearly appears in verse 9, as will be demonstrated by reading the inserted references: "For with Thee (John 1: 1-2) is the fountain of life (Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1; Ezekiel 36: 25; John 1:4; 4:14): in Thy light (2 Corinthians 4:6) shall we see light (John 1:4, 9; 2 Peter 1: 19)." With this in mind, it is possible that the awe expressed in verses 6 and 7 embraces also the age-old promise of redemption through the Messiah (Gen. 3:15).
"Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou has done, and Thy thoughts which are toward us: they cannot be reckoned up in order to Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." (Psalm 40:5)
Again, God's plan for the lives of His own also transcends our comprehension, a fact we learned from the experience of Job (above). But we can rest assured that He loves us and that everything that happens to us works together for our good (Romans 8:28). Often we realize this only with the benefit of hindsight; therefore, we must always walk by faith in the midst of our present troubles (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Specifically, when David spoke of God's thoughts toward us, he was probably referring (by inspiration) to the coming of Christ for our redemption. This is demonstrated by verses 6-8, a passage which is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 10: 5-10.
"Thy way is, in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known." (Psalm 77:19)
This passage reminds one of Job 9:11, with the reference to "God's footsteps." This does not necessarily refer to God's actual movements per se, but most likely has reference to His "movement" in life; i.e., in the working out of His plan, much of which remains unrevealed. The statement immediately following in verse 20 seems to suggest that the mysterious God of Israel made Himself partially comprehensible to His people through Moses and his brother Aaron. Although His "footsteps" (i.e., His plan in their wanderings) were "not known," He nevertheless "led" them in their appointed wanderings through the mediators of the Old Covenant, Moses and Aaron.
"O LORD, how great are Thy works! and Thy thoughts are very deep." (Psalm 92:5)
Here, the Psalmist makes mention of God's "works" and God's "thoughts" together, as in Psalm 40:5. God's thoughts are described as being "very deep." Too deep to be comprehended. Verse 6 describes the one who would reject this doctrine and attempt to "figure out" God with his depraved mind: "A brutish man knows not: neither does a fool understand this." The prophet Jeremiah tells us that every man is "brutish" (i.e., "stupid") both in his knowledge (Jeremiah 10:8,14) and also by his knowledge (Jeremiah 51:17). And Jude gets more specific: "But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts (i.e., in their depravity), in those things they corrupt themselves" (Jude 10). Our depraved mind keeps us from comprehending God or His truth apart from His revelation and the renewing of our mind by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Titus 3:5). Incidentally, it is no coincidence that one of the most mysterious doctrines in all of theology is alluded to in verse 7, that of reprobation.
"Clouds and darkness are round about Him ..." (Psalm 97:2)
The symbolism used here signifies the secret, the hidden, that which is incomprehensible. "Clouds and darkness" are associated with God throughout Scripture: Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11-12 (cf. 5:22-23); 2 Samuel 22:10-12; 1 Kings 8:12/2 Chronicles 6:1; Psalm 18:9, 11. In fact, "darkness" is set in contrast to "light" throughout the Bible, with a marvelous continuity in the analogy.
However, the contrast in this analogy is not between God and the devil; both darkness and light are ultimately controlled and determined by God. The devils are called the "powers of darkness" because God has assigned them to darkness; He has given them over to such a state that no truth is accurately comprehended by them, but all truth is warped and perverted by their utter depravity. For one to "walk in darkness" is for one to have no comprehension of truth because God has not enlightened their finite, depraved mind. For God to give "light" to someone means that that person receives a measure of spiritual comprehension. The analogy of "darkness" and "light" concerns our comprehension of God and of His truth, or lack thereof. Therefore, for God to dwell in darkness symbolizes the incomprehensibility of His person. He defies human investigation.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." (Psalm 139:6)
"Such knowledge" refers to God's omniscience and His preservation of His saints (verses 1-5). The Hebrew word used here for "too wonderful" is pil'iy and includes the meaning of "secret." Furthermore, the word "high" (Heb., sagab) carries the primary meaning of "inaccessible." David's awe-struck confession should be our own when encountering the mysteries of theology. When we study God (theology) we should realize that our resources are quite limited and recognize those limits. Many today follow their pride and demand answers where there are none, because the only One who can give us those answers has elected not to give them. Some end up "filling in the gaps" themselves; this is the classic story behind heresy in the Church. Erroneous teachings often begin with either a subtle denial or a blatant denunciation of the very doctrine discussed here. In its place is erected the idol of human reason; "truth" becomes "what makes sense."
"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)
God's "greatness" here includes displays of His omnipotence (verses 4-7, 11-12), His mercy and common grace (verses 8-9), His Kingdom and dominion (verses 12-13), His justice in all that He does (verse 17), and His covenant with individuals (verses 18-19). This "greatness" is here offered as a reason for praise and worship (verses 1-4, 10-11, 21). The word "unsearchable" is literally translated "unfathomable." That is, the "bottom" cannot be reached.
"Great is our LORD, and of great power: His understanding is infinite." (Psalm 147:5)
This simple declaration is fundamental to the present discussion. What rational human being would even entertain the idea that our understanding is "infinite"? And if not, God (according to the above verse and others like it) must transcend human comprehension. How can the finite comprehend the infinite? It is a contradiction of terms; if the finite could comprehend the infinite, then the finite would in fact not be finite but infinite! When reading the above plain statement from the Word of God, the doctrine of incomprehensibility is the only possible conclusion that can be drawn from Scripture.
"Both young men, and maidens: old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven." (Psalm 148:13)
Praise is unquestionably the theme of this Psalm; we are commanded to "praise the Lord" twelve times in fourteen verses! God's incomprehensible glory is here set froth as a reason to praise Him alone. God's "glory" is that which makes Him intrinsically valuable and beautiful in the highest sense. It is this thing about God that is "above the earth and heaven," clearly out of reach of the mind of man.
"He has made everything beautiful in His time: also He has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
God's work of providence throughout world history is hidden to us; God has determined that no man can see the "big picture." Not in this present earthly life. We are just not competent to know such things. Only the infinite Creator has such wonderful knowledge (Acts 15:18). Again, this is why Christianity requires faith. For this reason we should never make hasty judgments based on the present state of things (1 Corinthians 4:5).
"Why say you, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, 'My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God'? Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding." (Isaiah 40:27-28)
Notice how both omniscience and omnipotence are directly linked to God's unsearchable understanding. Why do we continually try to transcend His revelation in our theology? Earlier in this same chapter, this is clearly assumed: "Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counselor has taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?" (verses 13 and 14). This statement is set in the context of God's transcendence over all creation (verses 12 and 15), being approximate to the statements made in the Book of Job. The God proclaimed through Isaiah is One who is far beyond understanding apart from what is revealed in His Word; a fact recognized earlier by Isaiah: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (8:20).
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Note here the apparent distinction between God's "thoughts" and His "ways." Both transcend our reasoning powers ("higher"). These verses are directly linked with salvation (verses 6-7), God's sovereignty (verses 10-11), and covenant (verses 12-13). Here also we find that not only are God's plans and methods beyond our comprehension, but they are most often entirely different from anything we would come up with. God's thoughts are His own; we may only know those which He has chosen to express in His Word.
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)
These verses record for us Paul's conclusion to his grand discussion of Divine sovereignty and human responsibility (Romans 8-11). He probes these mysteries as far as he can go and then, rather than speculating beyond the revelation that God had given to him, he can do nothing less than resort to worship.
This is one of the greatest testimonies to the truth of Christianity. All religions made by man come complete with "gods" tailor-made to be comprehended by man; even those groups which have maintained some form of "hiddenness" to truth have always had some level of priests or worshippers that conveniently understood it all (the Mystery Religions, Gnosticism, Freemasonry, Mormonism, etc.). But the writers of Scripture- both Old and New Testaments- never reasoned on behalf of the One that they worshiped. They revealed what He revealed and what He did not reveal remained hidden.
These verses have particular reference to Paul's discourse concerning the casting away of the Jews and the reception by God of the Gentiles. The word "riches" is very interesting, translated from the Greek word, ploutos. The word is used both of the natural "riches" of man and of the true riches of God. Could its use in Philippians 4:19 refer to God's wisdom and knowledge (in stark contrast to the Divine "piggy bank" presented by so many of the "faith" teachers)?
God's "judgments" cannot be searched out, and His "ways" cannot be traced (so the Greek - cf. Psalms 77: 19b); statements very similar to Old Testament passages already examined. Paul then quotes Isaiah 40:13 (verse 34) and Job 41:11 (verse 35). Finally, Paul concludes by setting forth God as the Creator, Owner, and Sovereign over all things. Incidentally, note that it is this doctrinal knowledge that serves as the basis for the highly practical instruction contained in chapter 12 (note the word "therefore" in verse 1).
"And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
The peace that God will give to us when we cast our cares upon Him surpasses all our efforts to "figure out" the difficult situations in life. There are believers who have lost everything that are at perfect peace. Some may say, "But that is just not human!" They are right. It is Divine, and it passes all understanding. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
To summarize, we have seen that the Scripture clearly teaches us that our God is indeed "mysterious," transcending finite comprehension. This awesome truth has profound applications in our theological studies. It also finds practical expression in our lives by inspiring faith in God's providential care throughout life. Recognition of this fact is indispensible if we would worship our God in spirit and in truth.
(This outstanding article came from Bill Kilgore's outstanding 'Scripture Thoughts' site. We are very grateful to Bill and his site and saddened that the site no longer appears to exist).