When I was little, my mother used to read me a poem about a group of blind men. When they encountered an elephant, each one thought the elephant was “like” something different. The one who felt the trunk thought the elephant was similar to a snake; the one who touched the elephant’s side, said, “this animal is like a wall’; the one who grabbed the tail thought the elephant resembled a rope — and so on.
We’re reading a book in our Tuesday morning Bible study called The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. It’s making me realize that our understanding of God is a lot like those blind men with the elephant. How do we describe or understand the word holy? Of course, you may know the definition is ” separate, or set apart.” That means God is not “like” us; he is on a different level altogether. He is perfect beyond our understanding of perfection.
One of the study questions from the book was “how do you experience the holiness of God.” That’s hard for me to pin down. I’ve experienced God’s love, God’s power, God’s mercy, and so on. I know God is all-knowing, all-seeing and immutable. However, God’s holiness encompasses all of God’s attributes. Holiness is what makes God God; and that, like the elephant, is bigger than we in our humanness can grasp.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12