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Do we really know God?!

– Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter –

“And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” [John 17:3]

If eternal life is to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom has been sent by God, this begs the question, do we really know God?

If God is infinite, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere at once, self-sufficient and the causer of all that is good (as is claimed by the Christian tradition), is it even possible for us – as finite and dependent creatures – to know such a God? For instance, since our ability to understand and know anything is dependent on our receiving information through our five senses – touch, smell, sound, taste and sight – how can we know God who “is Spirit” (John 4:24)? Such questions lead us to examine all that we claim to know about God. Because of our human limitations, the only thing we can know about God is that which he reveals about himself and which sits within human receptive capacity. And to the surprise of many, God does this! He reveals himself on the pages of scripture from beginning to end. He is revealed throughout history in many forms – the voice of God in the Garden of Eden, the acts of God throughout Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the theophany at Mt Sinai, but most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is God revealed to humanity in a manner that sits within human receptive capacity. This is the miracle of the incarnation – it is God coming down to our level; becoming one of us! Jesus makes it possible for humanity to experience God through our five senses. We can touch Jesus, smell Jesus, hear Jesus, see Jesus and even taste Jesus (in the Eucharist). We can know God personally because we can know Jesus personally. The Catechism states that the faithful require “a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.” And here lies the challenge in today’s gospel. Do we know God personally?

by Peter Pellicaan

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