A Christian Reply to the Words of Moon Kook Jin
A video of Moon Kook Jin was posted recently in which he made several statements regarding Christians’ beliefs regarding God. I would like to respond to his misrepresentation against Christians.
And do you know that one of the fundamental teachings of Christianity is that God’s divinity is a mystery. The mystery of God. God almighty. Infinite. Omniscient. Omnipotent, So vast that he is unknowable to us little human beings.
You understand that this is one of the fundamental teachings of Christianity. But have you thought about what that means?
Not particularly, since neither I nor my Christian friends from various denominations believe this. We know God. If you don’t, I am sorry for you. If you truly believe Christians lack knowledge of God, then maybe you should look for a different tradition to base your beliefs on. Islam or Zoroastrianism, or even extreme Confucianism might be better suited to your concept of God, than Christianity.
This is about Christianity, right? And Jesus Christ, the one in the Bible? According to Hebrews, Christianity’s fundamental teachings include repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings (baptisms) and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2). Six first principles. God’s unknowableness is not listed in Hebrews. It is not a seventh principle. Atheists believe God is unknowable. Christians know God:
Galatians 4:8 They did not know God formerly, as they know him now.
Galatians 4:9 Now they know God and are known by him.
Romans 1:21 Some who knew God would not worship him.
1 John 5:20 Christ gives us the understanding necessary to know God.
1 Thessalonians 4:5 Christians behave differently from those who do not know God.
1 John 4:12-15 Knowledge of God is inherent in Christians.
Colossians 1:10 We are told to increase in the knowledge of God.
What does it mean if God is a mystery? What does it mean if God is unknown? If God is a mystery and unknowable, what does God teach us?
The words “unknown” and “unknowable” are not synonyms. God may be unknown yet still be knowable. If I do not know God today, I might know him tomorrow. If I am an atheist today, or imagine Zeus is God, tomorrow I might realize that God is more than Zeus. If God is “unknown”, well, we all are unknown to some degree, aren’t we, even to our own parents? If God is “unknown”, it is just partial; because he certainly is knowable, although knowable only in part. Just as anybody is. There are many Christians where I live, and none of them has suggested to me, that they believe their God is unknowable. Most are proud to testify that they do “know” God, as well as Christ.
What does Christ teach us? You know – you’ve heard of the Trinity, right? God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Three is one and one is three.
What do you mean, “three is one and one is three”? Isn’t that extremely over-simplified? You should properly explain the doctrine of the Trinity, as believed in by certain denominations, according to their different understandings. Non-trinitarianists also believe in their single god differently. To know the Jewish Yahweh is not the same as knowing the Muslim Allah. To know the Mormon Elohim is not the same as knowing the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Jehovah. Unitarianism can be as confused as Trinitarianism. You should give both equal time for your disparagement.
And, you know, we’re taught that we should – as Christians – Christians are taught that we should learn to try to be like Christ. But how can you be like Christ if you can’t know Christ? How can you love Christ if you can’t know him?
What religion is he talking about now? If there are Christians who teach as part of their “fundamental teachings” that they cannot know Christ (!), I have not had the honor to meet them, nor even to read about them. Such a discordant group ought not be presented as typical of Christianity. That would be deceitful. The Bible stresses the need to know Christ, and to know God. To become a Christians is to know Christ. To know Christ is to know God.
St. Jerome said, “To know scripture is to know [Jesus] Christ”
How does Kook Jin “know” Christ? Is it not from the Bible and traditions he has been taught? This is how all Christians know Christ. Through the Bible. Through the Fathers and Professors of the early church. Through the Patriarchs and Bishops. Through prayers and devotions. Through obeying Christ’s commandments and following Christ’s instructions.Through living as Christ lived. Does Kook Jin have a better method? Now after demeaning Christians for ignorantly worshipping God, would be a good time to present that method.
How can you emulate him if he is unknowable to you? How do you solve this theological conundrum of Christianity?
Many languages have one word for knowing facts, and another word for knowing people and places. We are not called to know God as a fact, to know the factoids that compose him. We are called to encounter God, to have a relationship with him, to know Him as God, as our Creator, our Sustainer, our Compassionate Lord. And we who are Christians do know Him so.
What Christianity does teach is that God is made known through Christ, so God is knowable to the degree that Christ is knowable. Christ is knowable through the writings of the apostles.
If by “theology” is meant “theological scholarship”, then I admit erudite minds might argue over the knowability of God in pauses during their arguments over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Fortunately, theological scholars are less common than those people who have embraced God and Christ for reasons more down-to-earth, personal, out of love of God and faith in Christ rather than love of intellect and faith in mental gymnastics. For the lay person, theology is simply knowledge about God. They’ve got it. They suffer no puzzlement over whether God is knowable; they know they know him. They are not puzzled by God being unknown. For them, there is no puzzle. They do know him.
Someone has written, “God as he actually is in his totality is unknowable, and many aspects of him are difficult to understand, but certain conceptual aspects of God are within the grasp of human understanding. God can and does make these aspects known to us, either directly or through the life and teachings of Jesus. These aspects include his love (to the degree our limited faculties allow), his power (to the degree it comes within range of our contrasting capacity to recognize it), his mercy (to the degree we need it and to the degree we are able to give it), and more.”
You realize that this is a very difficult and problematic theological problem for Christians, and as a result when many Christians who are deep in their faith go to theology school and study, they become atheists, primarily because of these kind of theological inconsistencies which just don’t make sense.
I have known people who have left seminaries, and some of them have become radicalized, some are even atheists. But the issues that led them to stop believing in God were not contradictory statements about God being unknowable and we being obligated to know him.
Maybe a UTS graduate can shed some light on Kook Jin’s exposition of Christian theology.
- howwelldoyouknowyourmoon reblogged this from whatisonthemoon and added:
- whatisonthemoon reblogged this from yookey
- explodingthemoons said: this is retarded. kookie is right, read your religious history. mystery of the trinity is fundamental to Catholicism post council of Nicaea. And atheists don’t believe god is unknowable - we believe that you religious nuts made him up!
- yookey posted this