From Taking God at His Word, Kevin DeYoung’s fantastic little book on the doctrine of Scripture:
At the heart of the postmodern skepticism about knowing God is an inferior conception of what God is like. The question is not whether we are haughty enough to think we have peered into the recesses of eternity and understand God omnisciently. The question is whether God is the sort of God who is willing to communicate with his creatures and able to do so effectively. Can God speak?
In other words, our culture’s well-celebrated assertion that absolute truth cannot be known absolutely assumes that God is either mute or gagged. But what if he is not? What if he has communicated with his people?
DeYoung goes on to make this point:
You may have come across the little story about the six blind men and the elephant. There are six blind men touching an elephant, trying to determine what it is they feel. One man touches the belly of the animal and thinks it’s a wall. Another grabs his ear and thinks it’s a fan. Another thinks his tail is a rope. On they go, each grabbing a part of the elephant without any one of them knowing what it is they really feel. The point of the story? We are all blind men when it comes to God. We know a part of him, but we don’t really know who he is. No one is more right than anyone else. We are all just grasping in the dark, thinking we know more than we do.
But of course there are two enormous problems with the analogy. For starters, the whole story is told from the vantage point of someone who clearly knows that the elephant is an elephant. For the story to make its point, the narrator has to have clear and accurate knowledge of the elephant. The second flaw is even more serious. The story is a perfectly good description of human inability in matters of the divine. We are blind and unable to know God by our own devices. But the story never considers this paradigm-shattering question: What if the elephant talks? What if he tells the blind men, “That wall-like structure is my side. That fan is really my ear. And that’s not a rope; it’s a tail.” If the elephant were to say all this, would the six blind men be considered humble for ignoring his word?
Our God has spoken. Through his Word, we can know who he is, what he is like, and how we can come to know him. We never have to guess. If we have Scripture in our hands, we are never blind.