It’s amazing how quickly, when challenged, Christians will retreat behind their platitudinous disclaimers. “God moves in mysterious ways” they’ll say. Or perhaps “we can never know the mind of God”. Or, of course, that old favourite, that it’s “ineffable”. Anything that doesn’t make sense is ineffable, which means that it does make sense, but only in the mind of God, so shut up and do as I tell you, you blasphemously questioning sinner.
Yeah, I don’t think so.
Just to get things clear, ineffable actually has two meanings: the first means a thing that is incapable of being expressed in words (e.g. an accurate description of Nyarlothotep). The second means not to be spoken of because of its sacredness.
The argument that we can never know the mind of God is actually disproved in the very first book of the Bible. Seriously. Allow me to quote from Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever
Notice how God outright states that the only thing man lacks to become God’s equal is immortality. Since the fruit that Adam and Eve ate granted “the knowledge of good and evil” (G 2:17), which is obviously a purely mental gift, the logical implication is that Adam, Eve, and all their multitudinous descendants are the mental equals of God. We have God’s own word on the subject to prove it.
So, assuming that God was not lying, it follows that, if our minds are the equal of his, we can know his mind after all. It might not be easy, but if we can know any mind from Dahmer to Ghandi, from St Francis to Gilles de Rais, we can surely know God’s
Whither ineffability? It seems to me that not a few Christians are attempting to hide the second definition within the first, but as we’ve just seen, the first one does not apply to the mind of God. We have the same knowledge of good and evil that he does. Which rather exposes all uses of the second definition as the special pleading that they are.