Quotes about God-Incomprehensibility
God’s plan and His ways of working out His plan are frequently beyond our ability to fathom and understand. We must learn to trust when we don’t understand.
God’s wisdom is fathomless, His decisions are unsearchable, His methods are mysterious and untraceable. No one has ever even understood His mind, let alone advised Him on the proper course of action. How futile and even arrogant for us to seek to determine what God is doing in a particular event or circumstance. We simply cannot search out the reasons behind His decisions or trace out the ways by which He brings those decisions to pass.
God’s ways will frequently baffle us but God’s will is sufficiently clear to lead us in the meantime. God’s ways may not be clear but our way is – at least enough of it to know what obedience requires. We may wait for God’s providence but we already have God’s law, and that is all we need for the moment.
If we cannot comprehend we can perhaps apprehend, at least enough to adore.
The saints in heaven…will not be so enlarged as to be capable of contemplating at once, or in detail, the whole excellence of His nature. To comprehend infinite perfection, they must become infinite themselves. Even in Heaven, their knowledge will be partial, but at the same time their happiness will be complete, because their knowledge will be perfect in this sense, that it will be adequate to the capacity of the subject, although it will not exhaust the fullness of the object. We believe that it will be progressive, and that as their views expand, their blessedness will increase. But it will never reach a limit beyond which there is nothing to be discovered, and when ages after ages have passed away, He will still be the incomprehensible God.
God’s works are never above right, though often above reason.
God is truly knowable but not exhaustively comprehensible.
God the Father by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue taken from Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, copyright 2017, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 145.
It is impossible for a lesser creature to understand a more advanced one. How can anything understand something more complex and advanced than itself? For a flea to understand a dog it would have to be at least as advanced as a dog. For a dog to understand a man it would have to be at least as advanced as a man. How much greater distance is there between Creator and creature. Man can imagine what God might be like, and people have plenty of ideas about Him. Almost everyone has an opinion as to what God is or is not like, or as to whether He even exists. But man’s opinions are irrelevant, because they can never be more than speculations. By his own resources the creature cannot possibly comprehend his Creator.
How in the world can God take every decision, every act, with all its implications by every human being on the planet, leaving them a certain amount of limited autonomy to make their own choices for which they are culpable, and overrule all of that so that it all comes together perfectly into the tapestry of His own divine purpose? And that with all the contingencies – incalculable, infinite contingencies – everything ends up exactly the way God designed it to end up before He created anyone. That is a massive, massive mind and inexplicable, incomprehensible power.
Table Talk on Trouble and Triumph, Part 1. The sermon originally appeared at: (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-270/table-talk-on-trouble-and-triumph-part-1) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
We know God but as men born blind know the fire: they know that there is such a thing as fire, for they feel it warm them, but what it is they know not. So, that there is a God we know, but what He is we know little, and indeed we can never search Him out to perfection; a finite creature can never fully comprehend that which is infinite.
We do better to adore the mysteries of the deity than to investigate them.
God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes and prospects when He is about to give us the desires of our hearts.
If God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped (Evelyn Underhill).
You always admire what you really don’t understand.
God’s emotional life is infinitely complex beyond our ability to fully comprehend. For example, who can comprehend that the Lord hears in one moment of time the prayers of ten million Christians around the world, and sympathizes with each one personally and individually like a caring Father (as Hebrews 4:15 says He will), even though among those ten million prayers some are broken-hearted and some are bursting with joy? How can God weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice when they are both coming to Him at the same time – in fact are always coming to Him with no break at all? Or who can comprehend that God is angry at the sin of the world every day (Psalm 7:11), and yet every day, every moment, He is rejoicing with tremendous joy because somewhere in the world a sinner is repenting (Luke 15:7, 10, 23)? Who can comprehend that God continually burns with hot anger at the rebellion of the wicked, grieves over the unholy speech of his people (Ephesians 4:29-30), yet takes pleasure in them daily (Psalm 149:4), and ceaselessly makes merry over penitent prodigals who come home?
The more I learn about God, the more aware I become of what I don’t know about Him.
The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought… “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend to humble the mind, than thoughts of God.
As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend the Eternal God. A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp Him, He could not be infinite. If we could understand Him, He could not be divine.
There never will come a time [in heaven] when we will know all that can be known or see or feel or experience or enjoy all that can be enjoyed. We will never plumb the depths of gratification in God nor reach its end. Our satisfaction and delight in Him are subject to incessant increase. When it comes to heavenly euphoria, words such as termination and cessation and expiration and finality are utterly inappropriate and inapplicable.
Although God always thinks and acts in perfect harmony with His nature, His nature is infinitely complex. His personality is deep and rich and diverse and ultimately inexhaustible. Just when you’ve got Him figured out, He’ll surprise you (but always in a good way).
If God was small enough for us to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough for us to worship.
When God shows up, our first impulse is often to build a booth or a box to put Him in. The problem is when we stop to take a look, He’s usually not there anymore. Yet, throughout church history, people have tightly clutched their boxes long after the Lord of glory had departed.
The implication (of Isaiah 55:8-9) is that just as the heavens are so high above the earth that by human standards their height cannot be measured, so also are God’s ways and thoughts so above those of man that they cannot be grasped by man in their fullness. In other words, the ways and thoughts of God are incomprehensible to man.