Consider this maxim: Our knowledge of God deepens through relationship, not study. It seems simple enough. A reader could take that, memorize it, and use it as a measuring stick to gauge their own belief about God. People with many different perspectives can look at that statement and find something important to use as a talking point or a position from which to launch their own discussion. Let’s take a look at the parts that compose this particular saying.
Our knowledge of God deepens through relationship, not study.
Each word brings its own dish to the table. Immediately, the concept of having a knowledge of God stands out. For the person that does not believe in God, the idea of knowledge of God could mean a variety of things ranging from ideas concerning a certain set of values or a belief system that incorporates the actions of a divinity with the workings of human experience. For many people, the lack of empirical data limits the idea that a divinity could possibly exist. So, that idea of a knowledge of God seems distant from the very beginning of that simple statement.
The next words through relationship then leap from the sentence as extraordinarily foreign, but the fact of the matter is that the human mind could not come to terms with the idea of God, it could not create or understand it, if there was not some sense of relationship. Inherent to the idea of God is an omniscient, omnipotent, all good being. The truth of the matter is that the human mind could not possibly grasp God to the point that He would ever be real in the sense that human beings believe their parents are real. Parents are seen, touched, and generate conversation verifiable by other people.
A child can grow up and study her father. She can note how hard he works at certain things. She can consider the things that upset him and the things which bring him contentment. The daughter could, then, put them all down into a book and try to explain to her father and his personality to other people. Surely, she could potentially come away with a wonderful biography of her father that lined up perfectly with some of his wants and needs, but what if she did something more than just observe him and take notes?
What if she cuddled up next to him and honestly shared all of her own hopes and fears with her father? What if the two talked and shared experiences? If someone came up to her, then, and asked her about her father, she would vouch for something about her father beyond a daily schedule and a rational explanation for what he does the things that he does. There would be a level of intimacy and her knowledge would be of a much different kind.
So many people treat God like the daughter in the first example. God is a study, a means of developing a philosophy rather than an entity that they try and experience intimately. That illustrates the idea of the maxim: Our knowledge of God deepens through relationship, not study. The concept is certainly not an easy one to understand, but try spending time with God rather than attempting to figure Him out. Sometimes, the two have become indistinguishable.
Consider it a learning process.