Essential God

From my perspective, the Apostle John wrote the most outrageously radical statement concerning God in the Bible: “God is love.” This phrase is so commonplace that its shock value is muted.

It is written that the search for the knowledge of God is similar to mining.

For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:3-5)

Look for it [wisdom] as hard as you would dig for silver in the ground or as you would search for a hidden treasure. [1]

Imagine mining without electricity or machines, without steel. It was arduous, dangerous work.

Looking in the dim light in a man made hole in the earth. You know what you’re looking for, but you don’t know where it is. How deep must the miner dig? How diligently must he search?

One must look beneath the surface to discover this reality. How far do you have to go? The sage says to the seeker, “Go as deep as it is necessary to get this. Whatever it takes, search.”

“God is love”, is now a slogan that lies within easy reach of the casually concerned. People pick up this reality without effort but do not assess the value of that which is now vulnerably exposed for all to examine. It is as if precious metals and costly gems were carelessly strewn over the surface of the earth. Here’s a question, “How deeply did that man dig to mine God’s heart and bring that treasure to the surface?” What do you think? Pretty deep.

How much of God must he have contemplated to boil down the sum of His holy attributes to distill their essence? Certainly, the apostle considered all the God of Israel had revealed about Himself. The Scriptures revealed His ways, His acts, His words.

We take it as axiomatic that John was spiritually enabled to do so. This man is the one who recorded this promise:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. (John 16:13-15)

In addition there was something else the Apostle John had: first hand experience with the Living Word.

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us– what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you… (1 John 1:1-3a)

The way the legitimate heirs of this revelation treat this profound reality is shameful. They do not act like they know its value. The words are tossed hither and thither as if comprised of confetti rather than diamonds. If the truth of God’s nature was composed of sound it would be like hearing the hints of the memory of a majestic symphony boiled down to a crass jingle. “I recognize that tune. I think I heard it in my music appreciation class…”


[1] Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (2000). A handbook on Proverbs. UBS Handbook Series (56). New York: United Bible Societies.