How to Know God

Is it possible to know God? Is there a God who can be known? These are important questions. Their answers mean a lot. If God does exist, we owe it to ourselves to change our lives with respect to that highly relevant fact. If there is a God, what could be more important than for us to know Him, if He can be known? One of the critical questions we must answer to know God is, What is God like?

Perhaps we can learn something about what God is like by examining the universe He created. Recent scientific discoveries and theories are telling us that our universe did not begin as one of merely four dimensions (height, width, length, and time). Instead, it was a universe of at least ten different dimensions. That suggests that God must exist in at least ten dimensions, as well as in at least one dimension of time outside our own. It is difficult to comprehend five dimensions, much less ten or eleven. So how are we to know such a Being? How are we to know a Being who is outside our universe and so far beyond our intelligence and power?

Our Physical Limitations
Quite simply, God must reveal Himself; that is the only way. The following exercise will demonstrate the problem we face in knowing God. Imagine there are two people on your computer screen.{1} These flat people have height and width, but no depth. They are two-dimensional. The computer screen is the extent of their world. Can they see you? No. They can see only what's on the screen (in their world). They have no depth perception. Now use your finger to touch your computer screen. Now can they see you? They cannot see all of you, but they can see the tip of your finger, the part that has entered their world.

That is a crude analogy of our situation with God. Since God must exist in at least eleven dimensions, and we exist in four, we cannot detect Him if He remains outside our world. We cannot know God unless He reveals Himself. In other words, He must "touch the screen" of our world. This analogy is crude because, in reality, there are many more dimensions separating us from God than those separating you from the "screen people." The extent and nature of God's existence are unfathomable.

The "Finger" of God
As we study human history, especially religious history, do we find any instances where God "touched the screen" of our world? Do we find episodes of a multi- and extra-dimensional God entering our realm?

God's "finger" has touched our world, in a person known as Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed to be God{2}, told people that He was the God of the Old Testament{3}, said that to see Him was to see God{4}, said that He was the only person who had ever seen God{5}, said that He was the only person who had come directly from God to our world{6}, and forgave people of their sins{7} (which only God can do). Many other passages of the God-inspired Bible also affirm Jesus' deity.{8} He was God in the flesh.{9}

Jesus' claims to be God may seem extravagant to us. But if we are the "screen people" and He is the "finger" that has touched the screen, then His claims make sense. The multi-dimensional Creator God entered our four-dimensional world by becoming a human being.

But why did God enter our world? We get a clue from Jesus' name, which means salvation.

Our Spiritual Limitations
Just as God's existence is far beyond our own, so is His character and behavior. He is holy and righteous. Holy means that God is separate, other; righteous means that He is perfectly good. God is thus set apart from man, who is sinful.

Sin is a word that means "missing the mark." God's holiness is the bullseye, and our character and behavior miss the mark. You might be asking yourself, "So what's the big deal about that?" The importance of sin is relevant when we consider a relationship with God.

Since God is holy, He demands holy relationships. Another way of stating it: God who is perfect must have perfect relationships with others, or not have them at all. So how can we, who are imperfect, have a perfect relationship with Him in His perfection?

The "Lamb" of God
Our sin separates us from God, so God came into the world to be the solution for our sin. Jesus (Salvation) was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."{10} How did He take away our sin? He did this by being crucified (an ancient form of execution). God placed our sins upon Jesus so that our sins would no longer separate us from God. The Bible says that "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."{11}

How does this work? The Old Testament sacrificial system of the Israelites pictured what God would accomplish when Jesus was crucified: a lamb or goat was slain to atone for (pay for) the sins of the people. The innocent lamb or goat was punished for the sins of the people, in place of the people. So, too, the ultimate Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was punished for our sins. He was punished in our place. In this way God's justice is satisfied and our sins are removed, paving the way for the perfect relationships God must have.

What's Our Responsibility?
Our responsibility is to rely upon Jesus--God's means of our salvation. Many world religions say that a person can have salvation through good deeds. This, however, means we are actually trusting in ourselves rather than in God's solution for our sin, Jesus the Lamb of God. The problem with relying on our good deeds is that--even if they "outweigh" our bad ones--our bad deeds still separate us from relationship with God who is perfect. Therefore, we must not trust in our imperfect selves, but rather in Jesus who was perfect on our behalf.

Our responsibility is to admit and turn away from our sins, to ask God's forgiveness, and to take advantage of God's loving offer by placing our reliance upon His solution for our sin, Jesus' sacrificial death. What follows will be a relationship with God in which God will change us. He does not leave us as orphans, but comes to reside spiritually within us through His Holy Spirit. This indwelling of God enables us and motivates us to do good deeds and to be free from our compulsion to sin. We are then to live a life of obedience, with reverence for and humility before God, and dependence upon His empowerment to live a life that honors Him.

Where are You Today?
Are you relying on your own goodness for a relationship with God? Are you following rituals that you think will put you in God's favor? The Bible says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."{12} There is no boasting before God. He has given us a way unto salvation, and that way is Jesus Christ who died on our behalf. We must rely upon Him in order to be forgiven of sin and to be granted eternal life.

Are you thinking that you yourself are God, or that you are part of God? Such thinking is common today, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The very first sin recorded in the Bible resulted from someone being deceived into thinking they could be God. It is the oldest lie in the book. Don't fall for that deception. We are not God. We never will be God. As created beings, the best and wisest thing we can do is submit our lives completely to the one and only God.

Are you thinking that life is more fulfilling without God? This, too, is a great deception. We have been created in such a way that only a relationship with God will ultimately satisfy us. Jesus had that in mind when He said: "He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."{13} Jesus was speaking of the spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst we have until we come to know God through Him.

Do you want to know God?
Admit that you have not loved God nor anyone else to the best of your ability. Admit your self-centered ways. Admit your need of forgiveness and ask God to forgive you for all the wrongs you've ever committed. Ask Him to forgive you based on Jesus' death on your behalf. Ask Him to come into your life and become your Father, and thank Him for the relationship that He graciously offers you.

After you've done this, you can grow in your relationship with God through the following:

If you have any questions at all, please email us.


{1} The two-dimensional beings analogy (screen people) is taken from Hugh Ross' Beyond the Cosmos (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1996).

{2} John 17:3, 12:44; 5:19.

{3} John 8:58, 10:30; Revelation 1:17 cf. 1:8 and Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12.

{4} John 14:9.

{5} John 6:46.

{6} John 3:13.

{7} Matthew 9:2, 9:5; Mark 2:5, 2:9; Luke 5:20, 5:23, 7:48.

{8} John 1:3, 1:4, 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-13; Colossians 1:15-20, 2:9.

{9} John 1:1, 1:14.

{10} John 1:29.

{11} 2 Corinthians 5:21; see also 1 John 2:2.

{12} Ephesians 2:8-9.

{13} John 6:35.