Whether we actually know God or not depends on whether we ‘know’ Him in words or in being. One might have an internet relationship with someone on the other side of the world and even make plans to marry them online. But we do not authentically know them until we have made love to the them, lived with them and woven our lives together with them.
This is why we cannot know God through the law or any form of the letter. God being a personal cannot be known as an abstraction because I AM is not a parody the personal. I AM is the archetype of the personal and the image of who we were made to be and recreated to become.
The teaching of Jesus John and Paul emphasise that knowing God and being Godly is inextricable tied to ‘being in God.’ It is to this interwoveness that Paul alludes and that John refers when he records Jesus’ words, ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
Jesus’ revelation of our Father comes from the same place – namely that He and Father are one and that only He knows the Father and only the Father knows the Son. ‘Knowing’ here is a knowing of being that is personal, communal and a result of the fact that God is in us and we are in God.
Law based Christianity sells us short in more ways than one. It is a parody of God and a parody of all of us. No sonship here.
Law-based theology strips us of humanity and Godliness and leaves us with a fundamentalism of the letter that kills – kills because such things are never alive being the creation of abstractions rather than that which defines us as a result of relationship. This is why ideology in Islam and some sectors of Christianity strips people of spirit and life.
This kind of ‘knowing’ God is as different in its fullness to a fundamentalist style of ‘knowing’ as a skeleton is from a living person.
Such ‘knowing’ can present information but never spirit and life. When God told the prophet. ‘These bones shall live’ He was speaking of the life that is ours in Christ – the Christ life in us and as us that would come after the cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But this life in the Spirit is not just a bunch of gifts bolted on to an old covenant- separated- life -from- God. It’s the life Jesus has with Father and Holy Spirit that is now ours. Thomas Torrance writes,
“This stress on cognitive union with the incarnate Son of the Father was greatly reinforced by Pauline teaching about adoption and union with Christ and Johannine teaching about mutual indwelling between us and Christ. For Nicene theology, then, the mutual relation of knowing and being between the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ constitutes the ontological ground for our knowing of God, for in and through it our knowledge of God the Father is objectively rooted in the eternal being of God himself. Thus through union with Christ we are given access to knowledge of God as he is in his own being.” (1)
Notions of being part of the Body of Christ that deny the kind of union described here need to be rejected as the nonsense they are. They are a false gospel.
You might notice that this and the new testament record contains nothing of the fantasy or the humbug of the law and the knowledge of good and evil being resurrected as new testament living. How could it when Jesus has put the culture that sprang from this tree to death and replaced it with Himself?
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 59). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.