Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
It has been said that Zophar shows "some touch of the base courtier spirit and motive" in thus eulogizing the wisdom of God. He seems to wish to secure God on his side. While he rebukes Job he flatters God. Nevertheless, though his motive may be unworthy, the question which he here raises is real and important.
I. GOD'S THOUGHT IS UNFATHOMABLY DEEP.
1. It must be so because God is infinite. If we could understand God completely, it would be clear that he was but as one of us. A dog cannot fathom the thought of a man, because the inferior being can never enter into the depths of the experience of one greater in faculty. No creature can measure the mind of the great Creator.
2. It is found to be so in experience. We are continually baffled by riddles of providence. We are puzzled to find our calculations false, and our explanations unsatisfactory. We fail to understand the object and meaning of God's mysterious dealings with us.
II. WE CANNOT BUT DESIRE TO FATHOM THE DEPTHS OF GOD'S THOUGHT. NO inquiry can be more intensely interesting. God is the Source and controlling Power of our lives, and everything depends on what he thinks about us. Therefore true theology is no idle study of the cloister; it is the most practical inquiry concerning what most intimately affects our vital interests in time and in eternity. But apart from personal considerations, the study of God is the study of what is highest, best, and most wonderful in the universe. Can any more lofty employment for the human intellect be found? Is it not grossly unnatural for the child not to care to know about his father? Surely it is wrong to check an inquiring soul in its search after God, even when it seems to go sounding on through dim and perilous ways.
III. MEN HAVE MADE FOOLISH CLAIMS TO HAVE FATHOMED THE DEPTHS OF GOD. Zophar did this even while appearing to honour the vastness and mystery of the Divine thought; for he assumed that he knew God's idea, and that this was just identical with conventional orthodoxy. His was the common error of extreme dogmatists. Creeds may be excellent as clear, concise confessions of belief; but the moment a finality is claimed for them they cease to be a help, and become a positive stumbling-block and hindrance to truth. We cannot define God; he escapes all the bounds of the largest words. When we attempt to draw a circle about him we tacitly assume that he is not an Infinite Being.
IV. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS REAL, BUT PARTIAL. We cannot "find out the Almighty unto perfection. We cannot know God perfectly, cannot know all of God. We may know much of him. He is not represented in the Bible as the Unknowable, nor to Christians as the Unknown God." Indeed Christians can say, "We know that we know him" (1 John 2:3). Our knowledge is not merely a knowledge of our thought about him; and theology is not simply the science of man's religion. We know God truly, as far as our knowledge extends. Yet we know but a very little of God. Therefore let us learn humility, patience, faith. We can never know all, but we may know more. Therefore let us "follow on to know the Lord" (Hosea 6:3). - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?