The cornerstone of Christian belief is REVELATION.
We believe that it is not really possible to figure God out "from below", but that God in his love chose to "reveal" his nature. By "from below" we mean from down here--of the earth, or worse. By revelation we mean a knowledge that comes from "above".
This is key to why we are always referring to scripture: We believe it is a reliable guide to describe the nature of God and the nature of man.
Contained in this revelation are stern warnings NOT to imagine a "god" of our own liking--this is idolatry, which the real God rather dislikes. Our God is the living God, the self-existent I AM, the Creator God. He is not to be re-designed or second-guessed by humans. If he is to be believed, there is nothing that makes him more angry than people choosing to deliberately ignore his revelation and "make-up" their own man-made notions about his nature. He has spoken and confirmed his word.
And some day we will be face to face with our Maker. Then we can lecture him about what we think he should "really be like", that hell is not real, that he is a she, etc. How do you think this will fly with him... who spent so much to be so clear?
As scripture says so vividly, "prepare to meet your God!"
As a parable to illustrate this...
Suppose a potential "lover" took an attitude towards you of ignoring whatever you said about yourself. He or she might even claim to be having a relationship with you, etc.For more on this see our cute little skit attached to the Theology Bible study.
But instead of getting to know the real you, he/she just "makes it up" to suit his/her fancy, goes out with other suitors and says it is you, blows-off anything you say about yourself as "dogmatic", and projects on to you his/her own preference of what you "ought to be" in their opinion.
In this deceived lover's mind, you love him/her, you approve of him/her, regardless of your vehement protests to the contrary. "All paths lead to YOU," he/she asserts. "Don't be so narrow-minded," you are told as you try to describe what you really are like. But the "lover" is too intoxicated with his/her own ideas to be bothered with the truth of who you really are.
How would you feel about this person's "knowledge" about you. Some "relationship", eh?
If God exists at all, then he has a nature. That nature exists independent of what you or I or anyone else happens to have coursing through our little heads. If he has indeed revealed himself, then we can confidently approach him and revel in the bounty of his self-disclosure. We can have a "real" relationship with the Living One. But if we are wrong... He does not change. Only we are cut off from the joy of his presence, or take the bait of a rival suitor.
John 1:1-5 (Phi) At the beginning God expressed himself. The personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. All creation took place through him, and none took place without him. In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.For more on this, see our expanded Bible study on the nature of The Truth.
Mat 17:5-7 (NIV) While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."
In summary:1) God can speak.
2) God has spoken--and that very clearly--what he wanted to say.
3) His "Word" was Jesus Christ, the "visible expression of the invisible God" (Col 1:15-19).
4) He has pointed out that his self-revelation is TRUE, which makes some people go into a major snit, but it is what you would expect if God took the trouble to really reveal himself.
5) Some humans think they are wiser than God, who somehow botched the job of revealing himself. They are going to improve on God's message by editing out what they do not like.
6) God and these "editors" will someday meet. Place your bets, but play to win!