The first notion
"To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate, but He remains personally unknown to the individual. 'He must be,' they say, 'therefore we believe He is.'"The second notion
"Others' do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with various odds and ends that make up their total creed."The third notion
"To many others, God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse behind the phenomena of existence.
These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds."He goes on to say that in Christianity, things are different. Throughout the Bible there is a consistent theme of the personality and fatherhood of God that carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. But Tozer doesn't pull any punches...
"...but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle."This kind of situation completely stands against the regularity and clarity of verses in the Bible that tell us that God can be known in personal experience. I love it that we are encouraged to 'taste and see' God, but to be honest, just knowing that something can be tasted isn't usually enough to make me want to! I've eaten quite a lot of things at a dare; concoctions of condiments or Columbian warrior ants, but there are plenty of things that I know can be tasted that I would leave well alone.
The good news is there's more to Psalm 34:8 than I've quoted so far: 'O taste and see... that the Lord is good!'
We're not dared to experience God (or warned that it might happen when we least expect it) we are encouraged to know Him tangibly, just because He is good.
My next post will be looking at how Tozer develops his point!