16 February 2011

The measureless essence of God

John Calvin on understanding God's nature:

"Here, indeed, if anywhere in the secret mysteries of Scripture, we ought to play the philosopher soberly and with great moderation; let us use great caution that neither our thoughts nor our speech go beyond the limits to which the Word of God itself extends. For how can the human mind measure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little measure, a mind as yet unable to establish for certain the nature of the sun's body, though men's eyes daily gaze upon it? Indeed how can the mind by its own leading come to search out God's essence when it cannot even get to its own? Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of Himself . . . without inquiring about Him elsewhere than from His word."


For our anniversary I got Jared a picture-packed, oversized, full-color book called Cosmos. It's sweet. There are chapters on everything from our own solar system to black holes. I knew the cosmos were big, but for me visualizing something is better than reading about it, and so this book has given me a better sense of just HOW big. It's taken up residence on our coffee table and never fails to amaze. Whatever page you choose, the immensity and complexity of our universe will boggle your mind.

(Boggle, by the way, is a great word. First, it is fun to say. Second, it is fun to spell. And etymologically, I believe it comes from the Middle English "bugge"-- later "bogle" or "bogey"-- a spectre that would startle and confuse anyone it overtook at night. Hence, "to boggle" is to startle and confuse the mind.)

Anyway, back to the cosmos. Considering how far they reach beyond our minds' comprehension and how short we will always fall of understanding them, shouldn't we humbly refrain from snap judgments about the Lord who made them? To assume that we fully comprehend His essence, particularly in the matter of the Trinity, and especially apart from what He has revealed in Scripture-- a mite foolish, don't you think?

{image credit: NASA Goddard photostream on Flickr}

1 comment:

  1. bobble gubble buggy boggle bubble!