Summary: We can know the mind of God through His words: In the Biblical Words, The Word (Jesus Christ) and in the deeds by the Word of God Incarnate, and by the Acts of the Holy Spirit recorded in Acts and the Epistles, we know God is love and know his intent for
HOW DO YOU KNOW? Ephesians 1:1-13
How do you know that man was/is created “out of the overflow of love that existed between the persons of the Trinity”? How do you know the mind of God?
This was an excellent question brought up at the end of last week’s session as we studied the opening verses of John’s Gospel.
The discussion leader did not preface his statement with tentative words such as, “I believe.” Had he done that, the question, if it arose might have been, “Why do you think it was ‘out of the overflow of love existing between the persons of the Trinity that issued in the creation of mankind?’” It was the boldness of his assertion that led to a discussion of “How do you know?”
The question, “How do you know what God had in mind when he created mankind,” arose in the midst of a community of faith. If this had been a group gathered from the world, we would likely have had a deeper skepticism and the question would have been, “How do you know that there is a God?” Or, a skeptical worldling with a little tendency toward believing might say, “If there is a God, how do we know that he thinks of us at all? The world seems random to me.”
So you see, the question was not from the world of the godless, but from the community of faith asking, “How do we know?”
How can we know the mind of God? This is a very old question. The Book of Job is an ancient morality play very like the morality plays of Europe that arose in Medieval Europe and continue to this day. The Book of Job raises several ultimate questions debated in every age; is God just? Does God see? If God sees, does He care?
The Protagonist in Job is described as a just man. Though tormented by foreign enemies, by his religious friends and his bitter wife, he maintained his integrity, his faith (not just belief) in a just God who ultimately would vindicate Himself. By that I mean, that God would vindicate His acts in relation to mankind and by doing that would reveal Job’s faith was not in vain; thus vindicating the faith of Job.
Job’s belief, and his active trust in God, kept him from cursing and turning his back on God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him,” said Job. “I know that my redeemer lives and in the last days will stand on this earth, and though the skin worms destroy this body, yet I will see God.” Indeed, at the end of the morality play, the fortunes of the afflicted Job is turned, God answered him and the “Miserable Comforters who accused him” from out of a whirl wind and restored the fortunes of Job who had not sinned with his lips by accusing God falsely.
The old questions of a just God were answered in “the real time” of the morality play. He is not an un-moveable mover who sets nature in motion and is untouched by the plight of mortals. Unlike old Zeus who dwelt on Mt. Olympia out of sight and nearly out of mind of the race of men, the God of the community that saw the ancient scenes portrayed in Job heard the faith of a God that cared enough to intervene in the affairs of men and would have gracious conversation, even debates with his creatures.
How close those ancients came to the concept of a heavenly Father Christians understand from this side of the Cross! The Almighty answered our questions. He spoke out of the whirlwind. In the last day He vindicated our trust in Him. That is the message of the ancient playwright/poet/prophet Job. This is Wisdom.
That is a preliminary answer to the question, how do you know that God purposed to create men because of an “overflow of love” between the three persons of the Trinity. This is only the first step in the answer. How do we work it out?
The science of theology deals with words about God. Like any other science, certain givens are the basis within Christian tradition on which theology is erected; there are certain presuppositions. Look at any discipline within science and at bottom of the practice you will find certain presuppositions, certain givens. These presumptions were arrived at by observation, collection of facts, inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning that ultimately led to the postulates on which the theory and practice was erected. Subsequent experience and further observation leads to modification and amplification of basic theory as we make progress in any given field of endeavor. Among the presumptions on which our science and our civilization is erected is that there is a certain regularity or order in nature. We can predict based on past observation and experiences.