One of the major problems in the modern debate between Atheism and Theism is that both the Christians and the Atheists have lost a good understanding of what is called Apophatic Theology. Apophatic Theology is that theology which insists that we can really say almost nothing about God because all of our language is inadequate to speak about God. Apophatic Theology says that it is inappropriate to say that “God Exists” because “existence” is a category that we only understand within the confines of our universe. God is not in the universe, and thus does not fit within the context of this category. To say that God has a mind is inappropriate because all minds that we know are too small and too material for them to be adequate descriptions of the reality of God’s own self knowledge and knowledge of all other things. To say that God is powerful is wrong, because power as we know it is the application of force within all manner of realms that God is not contained by.
This tradition of Apophatic theology is heavily associated with the mystical tradition of the eastern church. Theologians and monks who prayed deeply and sought to be drawn into union with God did so because they realized that our words utterly fail us when we try to talk about God. The greatest theologians, no matter how precise their words, no matter how technical their language, cannot escape the fact that the human mind is, and must, function within the constructs of human thought. Human thought cannot contain the proper idea of God, because God is prior to human ideas. Here I do not mean temporally prior, but logically and ontologically prior. Nothing about God can be properly contained in human thought because human thought is a creation of God, and exists in a far more limited way than God.
Therefore human language is highly inadequate to speak about God in an ultimate sense. Of course there are modern philosophies that say that human language is highly inadequate to talk about anything at all. If these philosophies are true (and I don’t think they are) then a mode of communication that is inadequate to talk about cabbages is all the more inadequate to talk about the king of kings. But we need not think that human language is wholly useless to know that, when we come down to the most rock bottom assertions about God, we do not have the tools to communicate the ultimate realities of a being who transcends our universe.
One might ask, after such a discouraging project as the above paragraphs, why we bother to talk about God at all. If we cannot get at the real truth, then why are we so adamant about saying things like “God exists” and “God is good” when existence and goodness are, by our own admission, too small to describe God. One might say that we are conceding ground to the skeptics who say that the “God Hypothesis” is a useless one. If, they might say, we cannot talk about God, let us stop talking about him. Problem solved.
First, we should say that those who were most adamant about Apophatic theology were also often some of the greatest Cataphatic Theologians. “Cataphatic Theology” is the kind of theology that says things like “God is good” where Apophatic theology says things like “God is beyond goodness.” The reason for this is because while Apophatic theologians insist that “God is beyond goodness and being” they also insist that the reality that is beyond those things is far more like them than evil and non-being. Goodness, though inadequate, is a pointer to God in a way that Evil is most definitely not. Knowledge, love, peace, mercy, and joy are all inadequate ways of describing God, for the ideas that they convey are limited and created ideas. But they are all pointers to the unlimited and uncreated reality of God that is in a very real way continuous with them.
Thus peace, as we understand it, is not a big enough idea to describe the unshakable and imperturbable God. However, peace when it is magnified, exalted, and brought to its uncreated ends, shows itself to be identifiable with God. This is true for Goodness, being, joy, love, and mercy. But it is not true for hatred, fear, destruction, and evil. For when they are expanded, and made transcendent, they are not identifiable with God, they are identifiable with non-entity. In other words, when peace is made big enough that our word “peace” no longer encompasses it, we say that that transcendent peace is God’s, though we no longer know what to call it. The same is true for goodness and being and all of the attributes of God.
And for those who wish for a Biblical root for all of this, there are numerous examples of human knowledge failing to describe God well in Scripture. Paul speaks of a “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7) and there is of course the well known statement about God whose “ways are higher than [our] ways.” (Is 55:9) As well, it is important to remember that the highest of all divine revelations is not a statement, or a document, but a man.
What is so important about all of this, is that we must firmly say that there are some things that, when brought to their ultimate and transcendent state, are identifiable with that One who is ultimate and transcendent. However, there are most definitely things that are not identifiable with God. God may be “beyond good” in the way that goodness, when elevated beyond our conception of it, is true of God, but God is not “beyond good and evil” in the way that Nietzsche described. God is beyond good because good is, to the reality of God, what a child’s drawing of the stars is to the real night sky. God is beyond evil because, being beyond goodness, evil is hateful to God.
Now in our debates with Atheism, we must remember that God is ultimately beyond human predication. We cannot expect God to be definable in the way that something in nature is definable. And this is where what Stephen J. Gould calls the “non-overlapping magisteria” comes in. Science’s job is to tell us about “stuff” in the universe, or about the universe. God is not “stuff” in the universe. God is not a “local cause” but a “transcendent cause” that is not compassed by human thought, scientific or logical.
Thus when an Atheist asks, as they have several times, “Would you be convinced if science somehow showed that God exists?” the answer must be “no.” The answer is “no” because the thing is not possible. Whatever science might show, it cannot encompass God, it cannot prove God. God cannot be detected in nature, because God is not part of nature. But neither can God be deduced with logical certainty, because logic does not encompass God. And this is where revelation comes in. No one deduces “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth;” it just shows up. It appears, unlooked-for, and novel. It is not the answer to a scientific or logical question, it is a lightning bolt from beyond the world.
And this is where I break with some of the more prominent Apologists of the Christian faith. I do not believe that we can concretely and unavoidably prove God logically or scientifically. I think that the transcendence of God necessitates this. The nature of a created order necessitates this. The thing is too big to prove, too close, to far.
And I think, if we continue to drive people away from the concept of revelation, the concept of personal experience, and into the laboratory, we will find that people will in fact lose their grounds for believing in God. For it was never in answer to a philosophical question that the “God hypothesis” arrived. Instead, thoughts came into people’s minds, and words came out of strange and remote places stating new and unlooked-for ideas. Ideas that had no root in the natural progression of thought that came before them.
And then one idea came to life in a small village, again not looked for in the minds of men and women. And He dwelt among us to show us what God, whom no idea or theory could encompass, is like.
 Even “Knowledge” is an ultimately inappropriate category for what God does, for all of our models of knowledge have to do with data storage, access, and association. We cannot assume that the utterly simple God stores knowledge, accesses it, and associates it with things.
 It should be mentioned there that a thoroughgoing Apophatic Theology will also say that “God is beyond ‘beyondness’” and thus draw God back into the intimate relationship that transcends transcendence.
 Here we must say that while God transcends logical bounds, we believe that God is the ground of logic, and thus will not be “illogical” but instead, perhaps, “super-logical” in the sense of transcending what we can deduce.