BEHOLD YOUR GOD
Avoid Speculative Theories
In the study of this subject, there is danger as well as blessing. It is the same danger present in all searching for heavenly wisdom and understanding. The danger is in seeking knowledge outside of what God has revealed.
In this area beyond revelation, all that men, untutored by God, can do in the absence of any information, is to conjecture, imagine, and speculate. Men do this. In doing it, they strive to understand the unrevealed things of God by the powers within themselves. Nothing could be more dangerous; nothing more certain to produce the greatest ignorance about God as He really is; and, nothing better designed to inflate human pride to the destruction of any semblance of God’s character within themselves.
Therefore, any attempt to explore into the unrevealed areas of divine knowledge will be strictly avoided in this book. It will be concerned only with the evidences which God has seen fit to give, and nothing else but that.
God in His great love, has set down safe working limits for our study.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29.
This Scripture clearly divides all knowledge into two parts—the things which are God’s great secrets, and those which He reveals to us.
It is not to be supposed that God is deliberately withholding these things from either men or angels. Rather, He is revealing them just as fully and quickly as He is able to do so. Paul testifies to this.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
“How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
“Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel:
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery [secret], which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of god,
“According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:1-11.
Thus, there was a time for both angels and men when certain things were secrets still. To have attempted to search out those secrets then would have been dangerous, presumptuous, and speculative.
But not so in Paul’s day, for they had then passed from the category of the secret things to the revealed.
God is infinite. We are finite. Therefore, the time will never come, even in eternity, when there will be no secret things remaining. There will always be an infinity beyond our comprehension, despite the fact that “the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character.” The Great Controversy, 678.
Thus it will be eternally true that, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever.” This will be so because of the absolute infinity of God, and because we, no matter how extensive our knowledge of God becomes, will still be short of infinite.
Because of the continual transfer of knowledge from the secret list to the open, that which once belonged to God alone, will come to belong to us and our children forever.
This is true of eternity. It is also true of this life, although the progress is slower here than it will be there.
“In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 127.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.
There have been periods when these secrets are revealed much more quickly than at other times. This is not due to any capricious decisions on God’s part, but to the delinquency of His people. God is willing and anxious to fully open to view the saving vistas of eternal truth, but He is frustrated in this by human blindness and selfishness.
Paul complained to the Hebrew Christians that they were but milk babies when they should have been capable of taking strong meat. There was much he desired to teach them but could not in regard to Melchizedek, “of whom,” he said, “we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14.
“In eternity we shall learn that which, had we received the enlightenment it was possible to obtain here, would have opened our understanding. The themes of redemption will employ the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear. Through endless ages will the faithful Householder bring forth from His treasure things new and old.” Christ’s Object Lesson, 134.
No one will be content with poverty when great riches are within his reach, provided he knows it. This statement opens the mighty possibilities of advancement in divine illumination. It is an encouragement and invitation to enter into the revelations which the Lord delights to give His people, but it does not incite to attempted penetration into that which the Lord has not yet been able to open to our knowledge. There are some things which must remain hidden. Let them be. The concentration of study must be in those areas where the Lord has released the light. At all costs there must be the avoidance of any speculative theorizing.
“Those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever;’ but ‘the secret things belong unto the Lord our God.’ Deuteronomy 29:29. The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out in conjectures regarding the nature of God; but the effort will be fruitless. This problem has not been given us to solve. No human mind can comprehend God. Let not finite man attempt to interpret Him. Let none indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion.
“Even the angels were not permitted to share the counsels between the Father and the Son when the plan of salvation was laid. Those human beings who seek to intrude into the secrets of the Most High show their ignorance of spiritual and eternal things. Far better might they, while mercy’s voice is still heard, humble themselves in the dust and plead with God to teach them His ways.
“We are as ignorant of God as little children, but as little children we may love and obey Him. Instead of speculating in regard to His nature or His prerogatives, let us give heed to the word He has spoken: ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Psalm 46:10.
‘Canst thou by searching find out God?
Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do?
Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
The measure thereof is longer than the earth,
And broader than the sea.’ Job 11:7-9.
‘Where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof;
Neither is it found in the land of the living.
The depth saith, It is not in me:
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
It cannot be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it,
Neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Whence then cometh wisdom?
And where is the place of understanding? . . .
Destruction and death say,
We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
God understandeth the way thereof,
And He knoweth the place thereof.
‘For He looketh to the ends of the earth,
And seeth under the whole heaven. . . .
When He made a decree for the rain,
And a way for the lightning of the thunder.
Then did He see it, and declare it;
He prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
And unto man He said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’ Job 28:12-28.
“Neither by searching the recesses of the earth nor in vain endeavours to penetrate the mysteries of God’s being is wisdom found. It is found, rather, in humbly receiving the revelation that He has been pleased to give, and in conforming the life to His will.” Testimonies, 8:279, 280.
“One of the greatest evils that attends the quest for knowledge, the investigations of science, is the disposition to exalt human reasoning above its true value and its proper sphere. Many attempt to judge of the Creator and His works by their own imperfect knowledge of science. They endeavor to determine the nature and attributes and prerogatives of God, and indulge in speculative theories concerning the Infinite One. Those who engage in this line of study are treading upon forbidden ground. Their research will yield no valuable results and can be pursued only at the peril of the soul.
“Our first parents were led into sin through indulging a desire for knowledge that God had withheld from them. In seeking to gain this
knowledge, they lost all that was worth possessing, If Adam and Eve had never touched the forbidden tree, God would have imparted to them knowledge—knowledge upon which rested no curse of sin, knowledge that would have brought them everlasting joy. All that they gained by listening to the tempter was an acquaintance with sin and its results. By their disobedience, humanity was estranged from God and the earth was separated from heaven.
“The lesson is for us. The field into which Satan led our first parents is the same to which he is alluring men today. He is flooding the world with pleasing fables. By every device at his command he tempts men to speculate in regard to God. Thus he seeks to prevent them from obtaining that knowledge of God which is salvation.” The Ministry of Healing, 427, 428.
“Man cannot by searching find out God. Let none seek with presumptuous hand to lift the veil that conceals His glory. ‘Unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.’ Romans 11:33. It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power; for to lift the veil that conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. Only that which He sees fit to reveal can we comprehend of Him. Reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself. Heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM.” ibid. 438.
With such clear warnings as these before us, there can be no excuse for any indulgence in speculation about the character of God. Let that which is unrevealed be respected as the secret things which belong only to God. The sad experience of Adam and Eve, who sought a knowledge of God apart from the revelation of God, is a lesson to be thoroughly absorbed and obeyed. Therefore, this book will not in any sense deviate from the strict lessons and principles contained in these warnings and instructions. It will be concerned only with that which the Lord has revealed. These are the things which belong unto us and our children forever.
As surely as we fully receive that which has been revealed, so will the Lord transfer further secrets into the known. Therefore, this book can never be complete. It can only deal with what has been revealed at the time of its writing. Beyond its publication still more light will come through. The records of that must be the subjects of other books and, no doubt, other authors.
While, on one hand, there are those who would venture onto the fragile thinness of the treacherous ice of human speculation, others tend to the opposite extreme. Because God is so infinite, so distant, so deep and unsearchable, they take the stand that they should not study His character at all.
This is a mistake of equal gravity, completely fulfilling Satan’s desire that they know not God.
“It is Satan’s constant study to keep the minds of men occupied with those things which will prevent them from obtaining the knowledge of God.” Testimonies, 5:740.
We are to keep a careful balance in our relation to this theme. On one hand, we are to avoid the dangerous extreme of seeking knowledge by speculation, and on the other, the equally fatal mistake of neglecting the subject altogether.
The urgent counsels of God’s Word, some of which have been presented in the first chapter and will be further developed in the next, stress the absolute necessity of coming into a clearer and yet clearer knowledge of God and Christ.
Ever let it be remembered that there is a direct relationship between the knowledge of God and our level of righteous or unrighteous living. To know God is life eternal. To be ignorant of Him is eternal death.