A response to “No one can really know God”

Last week, Ken Samples of Reasons to Believe was a guest on the afternoon radio program Issues Etc., which is hosted by Lutheran pastor Todd Wilken. This series, entitled “Answering Tough Questions About the Christian Faith,” aired on March 1-3.

The first program focused on questions about faith in God. Here’s the intro:

Wilken: I imagine that—although it’s not a majority position, it certainly is a popular one that has for some reason rather broad appeal—the position that even if there is a God, no one, not Christians, not anyone, could possibly claim to have definitive knowledge of who that God is. How do you answer that?

Samples: I think that there are a couple things I would want to say to that. I think the first point that I would want to bring up is that there’s a logical problem with that kind of idea. If people come along and say, “Look, nobody can really know God; nobody can really know definitively who he is, what he’s like, and what he wants from all of us.” In essence, you’re essentially saying, “I know so much about God to know that none of us can have access to him,” and that falls back upon itself; that’s self-defeating. When you say, “No one can really know God,” you are really saying, “I know so much about him that I know you can’t know this.”

In a positive way, however, I would say this: “Look, historic Christianity is a faith of revelation, and when we speak about revelation, we mean that God took the initiative to make himself known, to unveil himself, to reveal who he is. Of course, within historic Christian theology, we talk about two types of revelation, general revelation and special revelation. General revelation is before our eyes in the book of nature, as some within the Reformation would speak of, that nature reveals a God who is the Creator, that he is the one who stands behind human morality. So all of these cosmological and design-type  arguments reflect God as Creator and Designer but even more important—and this is where I think Christians can really move the ball forward—we believe that God has become man in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, took a human nature, and if we look at his resume, if we look at his qualifications, his claims, his character, not only fulfilling messianic prophesies but his incredible ability to speak and teach and sum up the great questions of life, and ultimately his resurrection, I think those are the kinds of things I would say to somebody who questions whether we can know God.

I haven’t listened to the entire series yet, but I am working on it. Samples does an excellent job of refuting common objections to Christian faith.

The three messages are available at the issuesetc.org website, or as a podcast from iTunes (Issues Etc).

Grace and Peace