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…now that you know God, or rather are known by God, Galatians 4:9

These words of Paul to his Church in Galatia, fit nicely with an earlier post, where I talked about Thomas Merton’s idea that ‘Our True Self is the Self known only by God’, not the same as the ego self that we personally created out of our own day to day experiences.

This difference should give us pause to ask, which self am I operating out of?

For greater understanding of ‘known and know’, I turned to my 1954 Webster’s Dictionary.

Know, verb transitive: (known is the past participle of know)

  1. To perceive directly,
  2. To apprehend immediately,
  3. To perceive and apprehend as true,
  4. To have immediate experience of.

This definition is a powerful analogy to our intimate relationship with God. Interesting enough, the term mysticism can be defined in pretty much the same way.

The 1980 Oxford Dictionary define ‘know’ and ‘known’ in this way: 

  • to have in mind,
  • to have learned,
  • to be able to recall,
  • to recognize. 

Know and known went from an immediate, direct, and true experience, to one that finds its origin and function in the mind; initiated by thought and memory.

Our experience of God is also reflected in this same way; as a belief-system generated in our mind; with things we learned in Sunday School, through Bible verses we have memorized, and traditions that are recognizable and memorable.

But to be known by God, is more accurately communicated as our ability to perceive directly and apprehend immediately the Presence of God.

The Apostle Paul wanted ‘his followers’ to return to knowing God directly and immediately, and to re-experience, once again, the Presence of God, through the Indwelling Holy Spirit. 

I have one person who could be considered a follower, he’s an 86 year old retired pastor named Orin. He had a big ‘aha’ when I asked him, “Orin, do you realize that there are only two realities, God’s Reality and the one that we create?” With this simple statement, Orin had for the first time, a direct, immediate, intimate and life transforming experience with God. 

That is my prayer for you. 

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