Today, if you happen to be conversing with a group of CHRISTIANS and you boldly, confidently, and succinctly talk about God and His characteristics, attributes and what He has done you are very likely to be accused of "putting God in a box"?
One of these Christians might even throw a Rob Bell quote or two in your face and tell you that you need to not be so arrogant and should adopt a more humble hermeneutic. According to Bell, "The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up." (Velvet Elvis, Page 25)
In the scriptures we have God's revelation of Himself and that divine self-revelation gives us some very hard neat lines and clean definitions about who God is, what He is like, what He has done and what true worship of Him entails. Those neat lines about God do not have their origin in the human imagination. Instead, their origin is God Himself (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:20-21) . In other words, God wants us to know who He is and what He has done so that we will worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH. But, we must always be careful to not allow our imaginations to go beyond what God has revealed about Himself in his word. That which God has not revealed about himself is still mystery.
Ambrose said it this way:
“The things which God wishes to be hidden are not to be examined; and the things which He has made manifest are not to be rejected, lest we as ingrates be improperly curious toward the former and damnably ungrateful for the latter.” (De Vocatione Gentium, Bk. 17)
The Apostle Paul put it like this:
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I KNOW in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12).
Notice that Paul didn't say that we "can't know" but that we only KNOW IN PART. But, that part that we do know is sure and certain and has neat lines and clear definitions. Here are just some of those neat lines and clear definitions that we glean directly from God's Holy Word about the One and Only True God, The Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Spirt of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sits at the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the livign and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke by the Prophets: And I believe one Christian and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come.
This confession about God contains neat lines and clear definitions. Yet, none of it pertains to a 'god' that we've made up or a God whom we have imposed limitations on by sticking Him "in a box". Instead, it richly, beautifully and poetically summarizes the God who has revealed Himself to us in the Holy Scriptures.
It is not God who needs to be released from the box. Instead, it is we who need to be released and set free from sin death and the devil. Holding fast to what God has revealed about Himself in the scriptures is neither bad nor arrogant, nor does it limit God. Instead, it sets us free from the bondage (box) of darkness, deception and speculation and brings us into a correct understanding of the One True Good.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–33)