Can We Know God by Hugging a Tree?
How can someone know God? There are many these days that claim they do, but the ways they claim to know Him do not harmonize with what the Bible teaches on the subject. I have met people in the past who claim they know who God is by going out into nature. Can a person role in the grass and hug a tree to really know God? Will frolicking through the woods enter us into a saving relationship with the Heavenly Father? When they leave the woods and brush the grass and tree bark off their clothes, can they say they really know God any better than before? The Bible teaches that we can know that God exist from nature (Rom. 1:20), but it does not say we can know anything about his personality, characteristics, or will for mankind from nature alone. I have also met people who claim to know God based on an emotional experience they had. They usually claim to know God by the feelings they have deep down in their hearts. The Bible teaches us the many dangers of trusting those inner most feelings and emotions as a spiritual guide in life. Many a good sincere person has been led down the wrong path by trusting the feelings of his or her own heart (Prov. 16:25, Jer. 10:23).
Lets ask ourselves a question that will help us understand this. How do you know that you have a soul and spirit? Stop reading for a moment and really think about that question. The only way that anyone knows they have a spirit is because God told us that we do in the Bible. If it weren’t for God revealing to us that we have a spirit, none of us would have ever known that we do. God is a spirit (John 4:24), and the only way we can know anything about him is through the reading and study of the Bible. Faith is believing that something exist in which we cannot see with our own eyes. If we want to have faith in God, we must read the divine revelation He gave to us about Himself. Paul said, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). God chose to reveal himself to us through His Word. We may be able to look at the wonders of nature and realize there must be a creator, but we must have divine revelation to really know anything about Him or His will.
The apostle Paul elaborated on this subject in 1st Corinthians chapter two. Paul said, “Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:11-13). Paul is stating that God has revealed to man what He wants us to know about Him by the giving of the Holy Spirit. God gave of His spirit to the apostles and inspired men of the 1st century so they could write down and record what God wanted us to know about Him. It is through these divinely inspired writings that we now have the Bible. God revealed to mankind what He wanted us to know about Him, His nature, and His will. The only way to know who God is, is to know His inspired Word. John said we can know that we know God when we keep his commandments (1 John 2:3). I guess we could try get to know God better by hugging a tree, but it would be much more productive to study the Bible, not to mention less embarrassing. -Ed