Yes, God can be known. You can discover who God is and what he is like because he has told us about himself.
How did he tell us?
Well the Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews (1:1) that he actually spoke to prophets in times past. Over many generations men like Moses, David and Elijah received prophetic messages from God and they wrote down what they heard. And God performed many miraculous things to prove his words were true, that he is the Living and True God.
The first thing he told us was that he is the creator of all things. The Bible says, “the Heavens declare the Glory of God”. But he is not a distant creator who left us alone after he had finished his creative act. No, he tells us that he actually sustains all life, all things. That he sees and hears what’s going on everywhere. That he’s involved with what he has created. He hasn’t gone away.
He has also shown us that he is relational. He is a ‘triune’ being – one God in essence in three distinct persons, relating in perfect infinite love because “God is Love” (you may have heard of the trinity before: Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This is a great and wonderful mystery and we cannot comprehend how this works, but it is how God has described himself.
The image of God
He announced how he made the human race in the ‘image’ of God himself. Made as relational beings, unique and set apart from the other creatures to enjoy direct and loving relationship with him.
What is wrong with this world?
Obviously, since God had made our first parents, he expected them to love and honour him as their God. He gave them a completely free will to choose how to live, but made it very clear what he expected of them. The relationship between the man and woman was beautiful, genuine and perfect. The relationship they each enjoyed with their creator was like that too. God was very near to them, they were very near to him. The man and woman worked and rested and enjoyed all the perfection of God’s original design. They were the king and queen of God’s new world!
Deception and Fall
The great liar, Satan, by twisting and warping the words God had spoken, deceived the woman. He put the idea into her head that God was denying them something good, that he didn’t really love them. That there wouldn’t be any negative consequence in taking what hadn’t been given to them. She took the delightful looking fruit, and without any thanks or regard for the One who designed it, ate it and gave it to her husband. He didn’t seek to rescue her or to remind her of the truth. He quietly goes along with this utter rebellion and eats the fruit. Suddenly, they realise something of what they’ve done. They’ve crossed a line and they can never go back. They’ve fallen. They’re lost. There’s no hope.
This story of rebellion against our loving God continued from that time forward for all people everywhere. It’s true of the highest and the lowest, the richest and the poorest. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The dignity and honour we were made for, to enjoy God and love him and bring him glory in our lives has been utterly ruined. And all our efforts to fix ourselves through education, good morals, and trying our best always fails. We are naturally selfish, unkind, jealous and ungrateful. Our world really is in desperate need. You and I are in desperate need.
In all truth however, because ‘God is Love’ he cannot forgive and forget all our rebellion. The misery, pain and suffering we have inflicted on one another; and the glory we have stolen from God our maker cannot go unpunished. Sadly the end is death, and afterwards the judgement of God. He will demand full recompense for what we have done. A loving God cannot turn a blind eye to sin, he must and will punish the guilty.
But in his infinite wisdom, mercy and love, he has provided one way of escape, through his only Son, Jesus Christ.
What is the Good News of Jesus Christ?
The term ‘gospel’ refers to a message of hope. Something really good to hear. This message has been handed down through the generations. It’s not a fable or some mystical superstition or secret code. It is something to be announced widely and publicly. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a great and joyful message. It’s all about the historical person of Jesus who is the God-Man, the Christ sent from God into this world. Who he is, why he came, what he did, and what he promises to those who believe in him.
Certain and undeniable events have taken place in history. Men and women witnessed Jesus first hand. His disciples recorded what they saw him do and what he said. You can read these accounts in the New Testament scriptures.
Read what Jesus did
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. Luke 4:40
And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. Luke 6:19
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying,”A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” Luke 7:16
He raised the dead, he showed his power over all nature, he fed thousands of people from a little lunch. He showed us that he is God come from heaven.
Listen to what Jesus said
“I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God… for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” Luke 18:31-33
The only way for God to save us from the punishment of our sin and to restore our hearts to love him and glorify him, was for some innocent one to take our place and bear away all the weight of agony and death on our behalf. Who could do such a thing? Who could have the power for that? Who could be so precious a sacrifice to pay that price? Only Jesus could fulfill that task. “Thanks be to God that he demonstrated his own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8. On the third day after his death, Jesus Christ came fully alive again in his body and was seen by many witnesses. He ascended into heaven and has been given all authority in heaven and on the earth.
Jesus paid it all
God’s promise is clear and paid in full. Pardon is freely offered to all on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection. The Gospel calls everyone to turn away from their sin in repentance, and to take God at his word, believing in the promise of God by faith, they will be immediately and completely forgiven and will be adopted into his family. He will be their God and they will be his people.