Explaining Our Knowledge of God (Letham)

  Here’s a helpful section of Robert Letham’s new Systematic Theology.  It has to do with the nature of our knowledge of and language about God.

Our knowledge of God is not univocal, identical to his in manner or content.  If it were, it would yield a precise identity between God’s knowledge and ours.  His knowledge of this or that, from 2×2=4 to more complex realities, would  not differ in principle from the way we know things.  This would be rationalism.  It would erode the Creator-creature distinction.  God transcends his creation.

Conversely, neither is our knowledge of God or creation, in relation to God’s knowledge, to be understood as equivocal, in principle totally different.  If it were, there would be no correspondence between our knowledge of God’s knowledge, and unbridgeable gap between God and ourselves.  We could not know God at all, nor know his creation accurately.

Instead, our knowledge of God is analogical, with both a correspondence and a difference between our knowledge of God and who he is in himself, between our knowledge of this or that created entity and God’s knowledge of the same entity.  This is based on the biblical revelation that God is the infinite Creator, knowing all things instantaneously and comprehensively, and we are his creatures, yet made in his image for partnership, with a correspondence between him and us….

This is of monumental importance.  It affects the way we interpret the Bible.  God speaks to us in ways we can understand.  His revelation is true.  He reveals himself in a manner that we can grasp, like a father speaking to his young child.  Yet the reality transcends the revelation….

Robert Letham, Systematic Theology, p. 62-3.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015