"Knowing God" is a phrase we often bandy about, but what does it really mean? Can we really know the great I AM? And if so, how? Pastor and author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook and Invitations from God, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun is passionate about helping Christians pause and pay attention to how God has uniquely made us, is connecting with us, may be speaking to us through our experiences, or is drawing us to him through our desires. KYRIA spoke with Adele about the big question, "Who is God?" and what it means to know him deeply.
When we look at the big, profound question "Who is God?" a natural place to start is Exodus 3 in which God first reveals himself as I AM to Moses. What does this name tell us about God?
ADELE: In Hebrew this name means "I was, I am, I will be"; it's the entire essence of the being verb. This "I AM"-ness of God is ineffable, unnamable, more-vast-than-any-known category name. Because it's hard to grasp the idea of the God who is I AM, we often quickly add other descriptors onto God's name, such as, "I AM all-knowing" or "I AM all-powerful." These are certainly important attributes of God, but we must understand that first I AM stands alone.
God, I AM, has existence in and of himself—it's not an externally defined existence. God is who he is not because of a role or because of something he does. It's because of who he is. In this sense, knowing God as I AM challenges the way we understand our own identity.1