Questions and Answers (1:1)

In the original conversations, Graham Maxwell delivered a monologue on each topic and then Lou Vended (pastor of the Loma Linda University Church at the time) followed up with his own questions triggered by the monologue and questions written down by people in the audience. The questions and answers sometimes ramble, as conversations do, but they are always interesting.

Lou Venden: We’re calling this book Conversations About God. But just above you said that Jesus is the one who reveals God; if we’ve seen Him, we’ve seen the Father. Then why shouldn’t this book be called “Conversations About Jesus”?

Graham Maxwell: I’ve run into that question several times. Since Jesus is the one who came to reveal the truth, why don’t we talk more about Him? This implies some interesting things. If we believe that Jesus Christ is God, when we talk about Christ we are talking about God anyway. If the whole purpose of His coming to this earth is to reveal the truth about His Father, He is also revealing the truth about Himself. So whether we talk about God or Christ, we’re talking about God. But I think it adds focus to our discussion to say that the ultimate question really is about God. It is God who came in human form as Christ; this is the ultimate method He used to reveal the truth about Himself. In a sense it is much ado about nothing when someone asks, “shall we talk about God, or shall we talk about Christ?”

Lou: If I’m hearing you rightly, you’re saying that Jesus Himself would really be happiest if we’re talking about the One He came to reveal.

Graham: I’m impressed that when Jesus was here, He would suggest, “Don’t look to Me, look to the Father” (see John 5:19, 30; 8:28-29; 14:6-11; 15:15; 16:26-27) It suggests to me that we should always outdo one another in giving honor. The Trinity does that. The Son is always outdoing Himself to give honor to the Father. But I have noticed that it comes back the other way as well—the Father gives the Son a name above every other name (Phil 2:9-11). And the Holy Spirit, in a self-effacing way, is always drawing our attention to the Father and the Son (John 4:23-24; 15:26; 16:13-14). The way those three divine persons behave is a model to us.

Lou: Here’s a related question: How can you really have a conversation about God? After all, how can we really know God? Take Paul’s statement in Romans 11:33 (RSV): “How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable are His ways.” If that’s the case, who are we to question? God is sovereign, so why should we be sitting here having conversations about God?”

Graham: Ah, who are we to question the inscrutable ways of God? And that’s in Romans. But we need to balance that with Romans 1:19-20, where Paul says (in my words) “you’re without excuse if you don’t know God.” So on the principle of taking the Bible as a whole, and not just “here a little and there a little,” I would have to put Romans 1 alongside Romans 11.

I think when Paul is saying that God’s thoughts are so far above ours (see also Isaiah 55:8-9), that is a reverent recognition that God is infinite. Think of all He knows! We’ll never fully understand God; we’re mere creatures. And at times we need to be reminded of His infinite superiority. But then it’s marvelous that the Infinite One would want to be known.

All through the Bible He says things like “Israel is destroyed because they don’t know Me” (see Hos 4:6) and “I’ve come to this earth that you may know Me” (see John 17:1-5). So it’s pretty clear God wants to be known. But we shouldn’t pretend we’re gods who could know everything that He knows.

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