Archive for February, 2011

“Knowing” God in the Old Testament

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

In my experience in popular theology, I have frequently read and heard the notion that the God of the Old Testament scriptures was somewhat distant from his people in relation to how the modern Christian experiences him today. With the advent of the coming of Christ and the ushering in of the New Covenant, a new closeness and intimacy with God was now possible to a degree not experienced before through the impartation of the Holy Spirit.  This concept may be further solidified by Jesus’ comment that “the Counselor” will not come to his people until Christ had completed his work and returned to the Father.[1] This idea of God’s closeness to his people being different from one Covenant to the next has always bothered me, most likely because of a perceived consistency of God’s character and his dealings with people summarized by the author of Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”[2] It seems odd to me that he would treat his people differently in terms of relational intimacy from one covenant to another.

In order to understand this issue better, I have chosen to examine the Old Testament’s use of the Hebrew word yāda , (to perceive, to know) in terms of God “knowing” man or man “knowing” God.  With a thorough study of this word and its nuanced meanings found throughout the Old Testament and a brief look at its counterparts in the Ancient Near Eastern languages of the time, a good foundation can be laid for further studies in the disciplines of theology and philosophy.  None of these disciplines or any topic within them, however, will be addressed. Read the rest of this entry »