The Sheer Greatness of God

The psalmist says that one of the first things we need to recognize is that this God we serve is not easily understood, and indeed, some ways of his we will never find out about in this life. The psalmist says, “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” This singer in Israel is not alone in this conclusion about God. Over and over the seers and prophets of Israel declare unto us that we shall not comprehend the infinity of God in our finite minds. Nor shall we grasp the God of heaven and earth in our little earthbound senses. “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.” That’s the way the Bible puts it.

The sheer greatness of God reflected in the works of his hands is too much for us to understand. J. D. M. Rourke complained that a fault in the Hebrew biblical genius is the fault of what he called “the tendency to the giantesque.” He meant, of course, that the Hebrews spoke in the Bible in such huge terms about God and religious faith that they might be thought to have exaggerated. Such critique must never have sensed the greatness of the God with whom these Hebrew prophets and singers were sure they were dealing. No person could accuse the Hebrews of exaggerating about God if, like them, he had sensed that “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth shows forth his handiwork.” We can think great thoughts about God while still recognizing our inability to comprehend him fully, if we ponder carefully that passage, for instance, which speaks of God as the one who has “measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.” This is tremendous language. The sheer hugeness of God’s reflection in nature is mysterious. Clouds and darkness are round about him.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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