Rosner’s basic motive is that everyone agrees that knowing God is an important concept for biblical theology; however, it is “barely noticed” how important the concept of being known by God is for biblical theology. His main thesis is that being known by God is roughly equivalent and linked with three other biblical notions: belonging to God, being loved or chosen by God, and being a child or son of God.
He has a great section discussing how the ‘son of God’/’child of God’ concept relates to the broader biblical theological concept of being known by God (see esp. pages 214-218, 225-228). Of interest is how Rosner links the concept of being known by God with the biblical teaching on adoption and the son of God concept: He sees two great moments of adoption in the OT–the Exodus is the redemptive moment at which Israel is adopted as God’s son and in the Davidic covenant the Davidic king is adopted as God’s son (pg.215)…the king becomes a son among sons, so to speak: “Amidst the sons of God, who are the nation of Israel, the Davidic king will be the son of God par excellence” (pg.216). Referring to Rom 8:29 ‘to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers’ Rosner says, “Here we see both Old Testament moments of adoption coalesce in their New Testament fulfillment; the sonship of the new people of God is by virtue of God’s unique Son” (pg.217).
One of the illustrations he gives for being known by God as his child is particularly meaningful to me in this season of my life because I now have a son of my own: “In human relationships parents give their children their identity by knowing them…Parents come to know their child’s personality, likes and dislikes, physical capability, needs and desires. Indeed, a child’s wellbeing depends less on knowing his or her parents than by being known by them” (pg. 218, emphasis mine). This matches well with personal experience.
When discussing the implications for the doctrine of Christology Rosner says, “the theme of being known by God is inextricably linked…to Christ knowing God and God knowing Christ…In short, we know God, because he knows God. Likewise, we are known by God, because he is known by God” (pg.226). In other words, Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, is the nexus of our knowing God and, perhaps more importantly, being known by him.
Brian S. Rosner, “‘Known By God’: The Meaning And Value Of A Neglected Biblical Concept.” Tyndale Bulletin 59.2 (2008): 207-230.