Sunday, February 7, 2010

Search For God

“Look up. Aspire. Push back your horizons. Seek for the answers. Search for God.”
-Hugh B. Brown [1]

Who is God? The question itself, asked in this manner, presupposes the idea of a divine personality. There are many ideas and beliefs concerning this very point, some of which would say that asking “who” God is would not be that right question in the first place. Still others would suggest that asking any question at all about God is meaningless because God is incomprehensible or even ineffable. This is not a question to be trifled with nor is it question with an easy answer. Were it easy it would not weigh so heavily on the minds of so many people.

Jesus gave the matter special importance: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Thus, knowing God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ is the quest of life, life eternal. Joseph Smith said: “Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” [2]

He said later in the King Follett Discourse: “There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God... If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink and sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, the beast comprehends the same things. It eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more about God; yet it knows as much as we, unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. I want to go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds into a more lofty sphere and a more exalted understanding that what the human mind generally aspires to.” [3] This quest for exalted understanding makes all the difference. It is not only to understand some fantastic being off light-years away from here or who-know where. The journey to comprehend God is a journey of self-discovery “for in him we live, and move, and have our being... for we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).

What is this kind of knowledge worth? To the King Lamoni and his father it was worth a great deal. When Aaron came to him he did not know anything about God. He had permitted the Amalekites to build sanctuaries to worship but did not even have a belief in God himself. Aaron taught him to pray and to speak with God. King Lamoni prayed: “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day” (Alma 22:18). Lamoni was willing to give up all his sins. This is significant. This was a life-changing moment. This was the turning, his teshuvah or repentance. He was willing to put away everything that kept him from God.

We ultimately rely on God to reveal himself but we must seek after him. This is not only a theological exercise. It is a relationship that we build, a relationship of unity, the transformation of our character into the likeness of Christ, the image of God on earth. It is ultimately through the revelations and God that we are able to find him. “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8)


[1] Brown, Hugh B. Continuing the Quest. Deseret Book Company. 1961. p. 252
[2] Lectures on Faith. Bookcraft. p. 41
[3] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Covenant Communications. 2002. p. 355

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