Quote of the Day: God’s Word and Our Words

Creation: The Christian DoctrineI’m working on editing Creation: the Christian Doctrine by Edward W. H. Vick. It’s quite an enjoyable task. I regularly learn new things while reading Dr. Vick’s work. In this case he’s talking about knowledge of God. He has already contrasted this with knowledge of the natural universe. We, as finite creatures, cannot by normal means understand the transcendent. Only as God acts and reveals himself can we attain such knowledge.

It is because God has expressed himself and continues to express himself that God is known. A clear distinction is to be made between the divine reality, the form by which God is expressed, and the knowledge human beings acquire of him.

So we, the human creatures, cannot by observation, sensation
and deduction, arrive at a knowledge of God. We use such methods in our successful search for knowledge within the cosmos, but they are not the ways that we can come to a knowledge of God. But as God reveals himself and the Word is grasped, the human can understand the expression by which the revelation is made possible and expressed. We never transcend the limitations of our language, even in speaking of the revealing act of God. We are creatures and our language is anthropomorphic. But that does not mean that there are not poorer and better ways of using our language! The very use of language should remind us that God is transcendent.
He is Creator. We are creatures. Without the Word, we would know nothing of the transcendent God.

(Creation: The Christian Doctrine, pp. 54-55, forthcoming from Energion Publications.)

Vick develops these ideas further in his earlier books History and Christian Faith (distributed by Energion) and From Inspiration to Understanding: Reading the Bible Seriously and Faithfully.

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