Summary: An expostion of Psalm 19. God makes Himself known through natural revealtion, special revelation, and finally, and ultimately through the Incarnation.
Can God Be Known?
Associate Pastor Jeff Williams
The Loch Ness Monster and the Search for God
When I was a child, the mysteries of this world fascinated me. I would peer through my junior telescope at the craters on the moon, read endlessly about volcanoes, and collect fossils from the dried creek bed not far from my house. Whenever there was a television special about dinosaurs or “Bigfoot” or the search for Noah’s Ark, you could have found me sitting on the floor soaking in every word and image. I had even decided someday to travel to Scotland on a hunt for my favorite sea monster – “Nessie.” Since the sixth century, people have reported seeing a strange creature in Loch Ness. Starting in the 1930s, photographic images have shown what appears to an animal similar to the ancient Plesiosaur. Although most of those pictures turned out to be frauds, many still believed that science would prove that “Nessie” lived in the Loch.
The Loch is one of the deepest in the world and the water is dark and murky making underwater observation very difficult. A series of sonar scans in the 1970s were inconclusive and it was not until last week that the most comprehensive study of the loch ever undertaken was completed. A team from the British Broadcasting Corporation used six hundred separate sonar beams and satellite navigation technology to sweep the entire loch. Their conclusion was startling to the true Nessie believers – the Loch Ness Monster is a myth. There simply is no scientific evidence to support the claim that a large creature roams the Loch. The believers will continue to watch the surface of the lake and hope that Nessie herself will prove all the research wrong.
This morning we are going to plum the depths of a deep and murky subject – can God be known? This question has echoed down the halls of time and has sparked heated debate among scientists, philosophers, and theologians. Many of us have asked this question in the quietness of our souls. Just like peering into the grey waters of Loch Ness wondering if there is actually a creature staring back at us, many of us cry out into the expanse of space and asked the burning question, “God, are You there? Can I know you?” Many scientists have told us that God is a myth, just like the Loch Ness monster, and that there is simply no scientific evidence to support the claim of a Divine Designer guiding and directing our lives. What are we to think? And if God can be known how would that affect our lives? These questions bring us to our text for this morning. Please turn with me to Psalm 19.
Background of Psalm 19
Psalm 19 has been called one of the noblest examples of Hebrew poetry in existence. C.S. Lewis called Psalm 19 “the greatest poem in the Bible.” This psalm was written by David while he was in the wilderness running from King Saul. It was written originally to be sung as a praise song. The Hebrew is graphic and stunning and shows David’s deep love for God and His creation. David answers the question, “Can God be known?” with a resounding YES! But, as we saw with Moses, God can only be known on His terms and by His rules.
Only God can reveal God
Last week, we studied the story of a presumptuous prophet named Moses who asked to see God’s glory. God made Himself known to Moses but on His terms. This brings us to a very important point for this morning’s discussion: God can only be known as He makes Himself known. Most religions of the world are about man reaching up to try to find God. Christianity is a religion in which God reached down to us. God revealed Himself to man. The word “reveal” means “unveiling, disclosing something previously hidden.” God chose to unveil His glory and splendor to humans. But does this mean we can ever fully understand God? As one of my seminary professors used to say, “The more you know about God the more you realize you don’t know about God.” How can a finite mind understand an infinite God? Job put it this way:
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens-what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave-what can you know?” (Job 11:7-8)
“Who has understood the mind of the LORD?” (Isaiah 40:13)
The Apostle Paul wrote that, other than His revelation to us, God is not only unknowable but unapproachable:
“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” (I Timothy 6:15-16)