- 摘錄自何頓（Michael Horton）著，麥種編輯部譯，《基督徒的信仰》（麥種，編輯中），第一章
在這方面，改教家們反映出東方教會所強調的，即神在祂本質方面不能被人測透，在祂能量方面屈尊俯就的自我啟示。正如我們只因太陽光線使身體變得溫暖，才能認識太陽；我們只有按著神對我們的作為，而不是按祂自己之所是，才能認識祂。 雖然中世紀的神學系統對神的本質作了冗長的處理，但當加爾文討論三一論的時候只是匆匆的對神的靈性和無限廣大性做了必要的斷言，他說：「企圖發現神是甚麼的人，都是瘋狂的。」 「神是甚麼？提出這問題的人只是在玩弄無用的猜測……。簡單來說，認識一位與我們無關的神有甚麼用呢？」「神的本質當受人敬拜，而非探究。」
We will return several times to this crucial distinction of Eastern theology between God’s essence and energies. As I will argue more fully, Western theology — following Augustine and Aquinas — did not recognize this distinction and insisted that the only reason we do not behold God in his essence at present is our bodily form. Although the East was as susceptible as the West to the influences of Platonism, its essence-energies distinction reckoned more fully with the Creator-creature difference and often guarded against the pantheistic tendencies evident in Western mysticism.
In this respect, the Reformers reflect the East’s emphasis on God’s incomprehensibility (in his essence) and God’s self-revealing condescension (in his energies). As we know the sun only as we are warmed by its rays, we know God only in his activity toward us, not as he is in himself. While medieval systems contained lengthy treatments of the divine essence, Calvin moves quickly through a necessary affirmation of God’s spirituality and immensity to discuss the Trinity. “They are mad who seek to discover what God is,” he says. “What is God? Men who pose this question are merely toying with idle speculations. . . . What help is it, in short, to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? . . . The essence of God is rather to be adored than inquired into.”
——Michael Horton, The Christian Faith, p. 52
[I]f you look back to Psalm 119 again, you will see that the psalmist’s concern to get knowledge about God was not a theoretical but a practical concern. His supreme desire was to know and enjoy God himself, and he valued knowledge about God simply as a means to this end. He wanted to understand God’s truth in order that his heart might respond to it and his life be conformed to it. Observe the emphasis of the opening verses: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statues and seek him with all their heart …. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” (vv.1-2, 5).
The psalmist was interested in truth and orthodoxy, in biblical teaching and theology, not as ends in themselves, but as means to the further ends of life and godliness. His ultimate concern was with the knowledge and service of the great God whose truth he sought to understand.
And this must be our attitude too. Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it.
J. I. Packer, Knowing God: 20th Anniversary Edition (IVP, 1993), pp. 22-23.
Of course, the discipline sometimes gets in the way of personal knowledge. If a person spends all day Googling a friend or digging up facts about him in a library, and never talks to the friend or spends time with him, that can affect the personal quality of the relationship. The same can be said similarly with God. Academic knowledge of God is not forbidden, but it is not sufficient to sustain a vital relationship with God. There must also be worship, prayer, trust, repentance, and faith, rejoicing together.
“The Academic Captivity of Theology,” in John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings: Volume 2 (P&R, 2015), 64.