On the necessity of Knowing - I

If we accept that knowing God is possible, our next question should be “is it necessary?”
What makes us move almost unthinkingly from the assumption that God can be known, to the conclusion that we should therefore seek to know him?

Chemistry of LifeI was struck by this question while reading the first paragraph of our Doctrine notes. Don’t for a moment hear me disagreeing with the idea that our chief end is to know God.
No, what I’m interested in is why we think this, what actions and evidence have we to sustain this belief.

The claim to know God is both extraordinary and important. If the claim were
true it would solve many of the riddles of life and make it possible for us to know
how we are expected to live as human beings. It suggests that personal and
corporate fulfilment is possible and that the future can also be knowable.
(Peter Jenson, Knowing God in the Gospel, Chapter 1 Doctrine 1)

Life is a riddle to us.
Isn’t that tremendously strange?
The very act of asking questions about meaning and purpose, something we are all engaged in at different times and ways, this activity witnesses to us that there is something unknown at our core. There is an aspect of what it means to be human that we are unsure about, unsettled, questioning.
These are not merely mechanical questions, as in, ‘how the chemistry of life occurs’. Our unique interest in such things is evidence of more fundamental questions – which are ultimately haunted by the spector of death, the great unknown.
In our (not so) secret moments we succomb to fantasies driven by the desires to leave something behind, to be acknowledged, adulated. We are citizens of an economy of discontent. Groping after the hidden truth at our core.

What are we here for?
This question that gains urgency and terror through the pressing-in future of death.
What are we here for?
Isn’t it remarkably strange that we would be asking that question? Shouldn’t we just know?

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