Skip to main content

Hello everyone! How can we know God? Today, I want to delve into a significant topic in Christian theology: the attributes of God and how we, as humans, can understand Him.

This post aims to explain the thoughts of theologians like John Calvin and Herman Bavinck in simpler terms, and to explore how the Bible and preaching can aid our spiritual lives.

The Attributes and Sovereignty of God

Let’s start with John Calvin. Calvin always deeply acknowledged God’s majesty and sovereignty when discussing Him.

He lived with the conviction that God’s will was justly at work in the world. Although Calvin did not discuss God’s attributes separately, his entire theological framework was filled with the central idea of God’s sovereignty.

We can know God, but this understanding must be grounded in the mystery of God, as emphasized by theologian Cornelius Van Til. Van Til highlighted the importance of not losing sight of God’s inscrutability when knowing Him.

The Essence and Attributes of God

God’s attributes are the source of our knowledge of Him. They are the essence of God. He possesses all existence within Himself and exists eternally and unchangingly. God, in His goodness, created everything according to His will, infinite wisdom, and power.

His blessedness and self-existence are manifest in the Holy Trinity’s unity. This reflects God’s perfect knowledge and love, allowing us to grasp His essence even before He expresses it through His actions.

Herman Bavinck’s Unified View of God’s Attributes

Theologian Herman Bavinck recognized that while God has various shared and unique attributes, they all form a unified whole.

God uses these attributes to reveal Himself, and we come to know God by recognizing these concepts. This understanding is fundamental to our perception of God.

Bavinck stated that the Bible transcends our thoughts and concepts, leading us directly to God. It doesn’t merely argue about God but presents Him through His works in nature and grace. We learn to know and glorify God through these works.

Olbers’ Paradox and God’s Infinite Nature

In Chapter 5 of Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” the divinity of God in creation is discussed.

This is where Olbers’ Paradox from astronomy comes in. The paradox posits that if stars were uniformly distributed across an infinite universe, the night sky should be infinitely bright. However, the fact that it isn’t highlights the limits of our perception.

This paradox shows that the light we see is only a small fraction of the light that exists. It humbles us, revealing our limited understanding and the vastness of God’s creation. Even this limited perception is sufficient to know God and stand in awe of Him.

The Role of Scripture and the Holy Spirit

God helps humans recognize Him in many ways. Even after the fall, He did not withdraw our ability to know Him entirely.

Most importantly, He provided us with the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Calvin emphasized that the Scriptures correct our confused knowledge of God, dispel our ignorance, and reveal the true God.

For Calvin, there are two main principles of biblical interpretation: Scripture testifies to itself, and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture’s self-evidence teaches us to interpret Scripture with Scripture, while the Holy Spirit’s illumination reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the true author and interpreter of Scripture.

This provides certainty in our knowledge of God. We encounter God through the created world and through Scripture.

The Power of Preaching

God’s word is delivered to us through preaching. Good sermons bridge the world of God’s truth with our everyday lives.

Professor David Wells mentioned that humans are accountable to God. God, in His majestic glory, hides Himself in human speech, expecting us to stand in His presence and learn from His word.

This shows God’s humility, as He conceals His greatness for our sake. Conversely, we show arrogance when we turn our backs on God’s word and neglect serious preaching.

Preaching is the channel through which God speaks. When the preacher is focused on the text and in God’s presence, God speaks through the preacher.

Martin Luther said that God lives in the preacher’s mouth. Effective preaching awakens our souls, brings us into God’s presence, and allows us to experience His character, truth, and works.

The best sermons start with a biblical text and apply its truth to our lives today. If preaching doesn’t bridge these worlds, the church will struggle. True spirituality flourishes when these worlds are connected through preaching.

Living a Life Worthy of God’s Calling

For believers, it is a source of great wonder and faith that God, the creator of heaven and earth, desires to place His throne in our hearts.

Martin Lloyd-Jones emphasized that we should live as those who realize God has called us with a heavenly calling.

Our lives should reflect this noble calling. To live a life worthy of this calling, we must first be filled with the gospel of truth.

Recently, we’ve seen an influx of moralized or psychologically positive teachings rather than the holistic gospel.

Christianity aims to restore every aspect of human nature to its proper place, harmonizing all faculties to serve and glorify God with our mind, body, and soul.


In conclusion, knowing and worshiping God, recognizing His greatness, and aligning our lives with His will is crucial.

By understanding the attributes of God and how we can perceive Him through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and preaching, we deepen our faith and live in a manner worthy of His calling.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this brings you closer to understanding and experiencing the majesty of God in your life.

Leave a Reply

A Quick & Practical Guide to Enhancing Your Faith
Enter your email address and we will send you a 100% free e-book about the Christian Worldview Guide.
The Christian Worldview
O Favored One