Years ago, I read J. I. Packer’s Knowing God. For some reason when I think of that book, I think of cold weather. After all, it was winter, and we were living in North Alabama. For weeks, I waded through Packer’s work, chapter by chapter. It was a book that helped me see that my perception of God was much, much too small.
It is early morning. I sit at our kitchen table drinking coffee (Drew’s Brews from Nashville). A few minutes ago, my mind raced as I began to think about all that needs to be done today, this week, etc. Then I decided to simply meditate on the rich reflections of Athanasius (297-373). These words, excerpts from On the Incarnation, remind me of the importance of God becoming human in the form of Jesus, his son. In particular, I find this section meaningful this morning:
When God the Almighty was making mankind through his own Word, He perceived that they, owing to the limitation of their nature, could not of themselves have any knowledge of their Creator, for He Himself had no body and was not a creature Himself — He was uncreated. He took pity on mankind, therefore, and did not leave them destitute of the knowledge of Himself, lest their very existence should prove purposeless.
For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its Maker? How could humans be reasonable beings if they had no knowledge of the Word and Reason of the Father, through whom they had received their being? They would be no better than the beasts, had they no knowledge beyond earthly things. And why should God have made them at all, if He had not intended them to know Him?
But, in fact, our good and gracious God has given us a share in His own Image, that is, in our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, God has made us after the same Image and Likeness. Why? Simply in order that through this gift of Godlikeness in themselves they may be able to perceive the Image Absolute, that is the Word Himself, and through Him to apprehend the Father; which knowledge of their Maker is for men the only really happy and blessed life.
(Devotional Classics, Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, eds., pp. 339-340)