The Psalmist tells us that God’s “greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3b).
What does “unsearchable” mean except that no amount of searching can ever exhaust the wonder of the thing being explored? Not a million eternities would be sufficient time to explore every nook and cranny of that which is “unsearchable.” No amount of distance covered could ever be sufficient to have covered the landscape of that which is “unsearchable.” You would exhaust your lifetime and eternity trying to exhaust all that which is truly unsearchable.
As I pondered this recently, a series of questions came to my mind (for a reasons I don’t understand, can’t explain, or should I say: “search-out”). These are not Biblical questions, but they help me think more fully about what it means that God’s “greatness is unsearchable.”
If God’s greatness was a color, what color would it be? Green? Red? Blue? And how many shades and hues would each color possess? Well, I guess I’d have to conclude that it would be infinite! Along the spectrum of color which we call “green” we find names we’ve assigned to various tints such as chartreuse and lime. But those are simply names we’ve applied to specific points along that spectrum of color. What would we call that which is halfway between chartreuse and lime? And what is half way between whatever that is and chartreuse? We quickly see that searching out the infinite possibilities of color leads us on a chase of that which is ultimately unsearchable.
If God’s greatness were a flavor, what flavor would it be? And how many flavors are there anyway? What would a few grains of this or that spice do to an already existing flavor? Well, it would create a whole new culinary vista that would have to be explored! The world of flavor has never been fully explored!
If God’s greatness were music, what kind of music would it be? You have an opinion about that—I’m sure. Many of you are quite sure what kind of music it would not be. But others are just as convinced the other way. Whatever kind of music you might finally select, how many possible combinations of notes are there within that genre of music? Unsearchable! There are an infinite number of songs waiting to be written.
If God’s greatness were a language, what language would it be? And with what accent would it be spoken? With whatever language you may pick, what are the possible combinations of letters and characters to make new words? Words that would need to be invented just to describe some landscape of God’s character, Person and works that no one has yet seen or perhaps ever will see? Innumerable!
And if God’s greatness were a place, where would that place reside? Would it be more like Africa or like Asia? Like Europe or like South America? Would it be on our planet? Or perhaps on another? Would it be within our solar system? Or would it be the entire solar system? Would it be within the dimensions of which we have some awareness? Or would it (does it) reside in dimensions of reality to which we are presently oblivious? Astonishing!
Now before you get the wrong idea let me say that God’s greatness is not a color, a flavor, a kind of music, a language or a place. These are created things. He is the Creator. The created order in which we live is finite, but it is filled with intimations of the infinite. Something of the Creator’s glory is seen in His creation (Rom. 1:20).
Could it be that these are simply hints at the greatness of our Creator? Maybe these are clues left to remind us that truly, God is greater than we know – or can ever know. Not even the transformation awaiting us at Christ’s return and not even the deliverance in a glorified state into God’s eternal heaven will enable us to exhaustively discover all that is true of God. True, “we know that when he appears . . . we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Granted, “we know in part . . . but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears . . . Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13:9, 10, 12). This is true. But even then we will not be infinite. We will exist in redeemed finiteness. And it will be our eternal joy will be to spend forever discovering the wonder of His greatness.
So go for a walk through nature; notice and name the various shades of green, brown or orange you encounter. Go spice up dinner a little differently than you normally would or go try some ethnic food you’ve never sampled before. Listen even for a few minutes to a kind of music you aren’t naturally drawn to. Purposefully listen to a language that is foreign to you or learn a new word or two in English. Go to the library and spend some time reading about and wondering over pictures of a place you’ve never been.
Then turn your heart toward heaven and think again about God, who He is, the expansiveness of His character. Contemplate just how far His goodness, love, mercy, grace, holiness, and justice range in every direction. Then bow your head and lift your voice, confessing “Truly, O God, Your ‘greatness is unsearchable’!”