Introduction to Contemplating God
As we embark on a study of God’s Being and attributes, we must understand what exactly we are doing. We have low retention capacities for a few reasons: (1) We do not have proper categories in which to organize what we learn; so, we cannot think of the information as a unit but rather as isolated facts which we are intimidated to memorize. (2) We do not experience what we learn and therefore do not complete the cognitive process of establishing memory. (3) We do not enjoy what we learn and therefore have no real investment in the information, resulting in our failure to actually learn it. This is often the problem in studying God. We forget that to study God is to worship and enjoy God; therefore, we have no ambition to learn His Word. Thus, we forget what we have heard from others and fail to grow in learning for ourselves.
This is a dangerous error, and many are at fault for causing it. Cold academics is one cause, emphasizing the mind over the heart. False mysticism is another cause, emphasizing the heart over the mind. Legalism is another cause, emphasizing service for God apart from love for God. These forces retard our worship because they attack the mind, heart, and life, all three of which are necessary for knowing God. We must learn effectively. We must love affectionately. We must live appropriately.
The series before us establishes this thesis: proper worship of God is a holistic experience. It embraces the full person. It engages mind, heart, and life to push the Christian toward a proper understanding of and relationship with God. When we study upon this foundation, we will not readily forget what we learn of God. In fact, what we learn of God will become life. This is the true goal of considering Him in all the beauties of His Being.
What Will We Cover?
- An Introduction to Theology Proper. Here we will describe and assess the traditional academic approaches to the study of God to familiarize the student with terminology and processes that he will encounter in Christian circles. We will find that God is unknown if pursued by human wisdom yet known by the gospel. We will also look at how we can categorize God’s attributes.
- The Necessity of Meditation. Meditation is not a discipline for some. It is a discipline for all believers. It is fundamental to the Christian life. We will discuss some reasons here for why meditation is a necessary component of the spiritual Christian life.
- The Nature of Meditation. Contemplating God is a spiritual discipline in itself. Scripture describes it as meditation. And so, we must understand the nature and fruit of meditation as it relates to our worship of God. We will look at the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of meditation.
- A Holistic Pursuit of God. The whole life must be consumed in the contemplation and pursuit of God, and thus disciplined thought toward Scripture is a means to experience God in every aspect of living. We cannot separate right thinking from right living. We must begin the study of God with an understanding that we must apply everything we learn.
Why does this matter?
What have we to gain from contemplating God in both the head and the heart? If God is the Creator, then creatures must thrive in being united to Him. That He is our life source is reason enough to pursue Him. To pursue Him is basic to life itself. So then, the question is actually backward: we should not be asking “What have we to gain by studying God?” but rather stating confidently that apart from understanding God there is no reason for life. “Let him that boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me” (Jeremiah 9:24). Considering Him should be normative. It should not be a question of an ideal but of normal Christianity. It is not a higher class of Christianity that considers God: it is normal Christianity that considers God. Contemplating God matters because nothing else matters compared to it. It is our life. It is our breath. It is our glory and our wealth.
To be continued…