The Bible is our basic source for our concept of God. If that revelation is rejected then man has rejected a vital source of information which has eternal implications. To be able to understand all that God reveals of Himself is impossible. Man has not been asked to understand God, he has been asked to trust Him. If man was able to understand God then God would be too small for man. Often we don't even understand ourselves. We are, therefore, not seeking to understand everything about God, but we desire to learn what is revealed about Him and thus learn to trust Him more and worship Him sincerely.
As the history of various people is examined there is an abundance of evidence of a concept of a Higher Being, even though that concept is marred. This is interesting. If the fact of God were merely the fancy of a few deceived nations, one might wonder. Paul makes reference to the philosophies of the Greeks, indicating their concept of God having something to do with man's existence. In Athens there was an image - among many others - to the unknown God. Paul declared that the One unknown to them was the living and true God Acts 17:28
The world in which we live, the solar system in which our world is a small speck, the universe in which our solar system is but a small part, and the vast space of which our universe is merely a spot - all speak of a majestic and intelligent design. Behind such intricate design there must be a Designer. Infinitely greater than the creation must be the Creator. Even a molecule, which is a small part of matter, is so intricate and precise that it could mean nothing less than the reality of a Divine Architect.
Anything that man has so far been able to discover, only enhances the Biblical concept of a wise, powerful and person God, rather than prove that God does not exist.
What about man himself? Some would tell us that man evolved from primitive life form through creeping things and hanging things and finally to upright man. That is an insult of the basest sort against a wise and compassionate God. It is also an insult to the intelligence of man. Because man is more than just a physical being, he is conscious of himself, his surroundings, and spiritual longings deep within him. He has personality - the ability to will, to think, to love, to feel. Surely these have their origin somewhere. Life did not all of a sudden decide to make its appearance. Back of man and his personal identity there must be a personal, intelligent, holy Being. Yes, God is. Even man's body speaks of a wise and compassionate God who made it. A small drop of blood contains five million red blood cells and five thousand white blood cells. That body contains miles and miles of blood vessels and only one pump to keep it circulating. It has a cooling system and heating system that keeps the body temperature around 98.6 degrees. If it varies more than a few degrees we are in trouble. The body has 206 bones and more than 650 muscles surrounding the bones and soft organs of the body. Nerves send messages to and from the brain. The ability to think, remember, act, love, hate, laugh, weep, worship - and much more - is all part of the creature called man. That man, because of sin, has the audacity to say that God the Creator does not exist, or if He exists He is not concerned about us. Yet a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem in the year 33 bore unparalleled testimony for time and eternity to God's love, concern, and personal interest in every human life.
We are, however, not merely left to nature and human beings to establish the fact of God's existence. There is God's revelation, the Bible. Here we are brought face to face with the fact of God from the opening words - "In the beginning God...". If the reality of God's existence is not at the beginning then all else makes no sense whatever. Where did God come from? He didn't, He always was. John 5:26 indicates that God has life within Himself. He is self-existent. There could be none from whom God had His source of being for there is non beside or above Him
Acts 17:24-28; 1 Timothy 6:15-16
We have the entire Scripture declaring the authority, power, and sovereignty of God. He causes nations to rise and He brings them down. What He declares He is able to perform. Even though the main theme of the Bible is not to prove God's existence but to reveal His redemption, yet it is abundantly clear in that revelation that behind and above all that movement is God in absolute control. "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
Tri-unity or Trinity
It will be helpful to become acquainted with some of the terms used in discussing the doctrine of God. Not all people hold to the reality of a Triune God.
Pantheism - God is everything and everything is God; the universe is God, and God is the universe; God has not separate and distinct existence.
Polytheism - many gods that are held equal or varying in power.
Tritheism - three gods, three deified beings
Unitarian - belief in one God only and rejecting the personality of God and especially the reality of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
When we speak of the unity of being in reference to God, we speak of the oneness of essence, of being, the one and only Deity. It is a compound unity and not a simple or single unity. There is one God and only one.
When we speak of the tri-unity, or trinity, we mean that in that one Godhead there is a threefold distinction of personality - Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Put another way - God is one Being and substance, eternally existing in three personal distinctions revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We must be careful that we don't "split up" the trinity as we view God's revelation of Himself. To say that only God is revealed in the Old Testament and only Christ is revealed in the New Testament, is not entirely accurate. All three persons of the Godhead are actively involved in man's redemption, and in the affairs of this world. We could look at it as follows:
In the Old Testament God, the Almighty One, is predominant in ministering to the world and especially to His people. God came down on Mt. Sinai to declare.
During the early life of Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, was active on earth. Christ came down to earth to reveal the Father, die for sin, and reconcile man to God.
In the New Testament time from the resurrection of Christ to the present time, the Holy Spirit becomes the active member of the Godhead. He works through believers in the Church upon the earth. The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost to indwell all true believers and carry on the work of God.
The following Scripture portions give us guidance concerning the fact that there is but one god.
Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 45:5; 1 Timothy 2:5
There is however, evidence that the use of the term "one" does not necessarily mean a single unity.
Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 12:20
The reason we hold to the fact that a trinity or tri-unity is revealed and not more, is that we are introduced to these three. By God's grace and mercy we have come to benefit from their varied ministries to us. The following verses will supply some of the biblical evidence upon which the truth of the trinity rests.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14
By attributes is meant the essential, permanent and distinguishing quality or characteristic by which God has revealed Himself. It is the revelation of His nature. By looking at these distinguishing qualities of God's nature we must be careful not to get the idea that we shall be able to fully explain or describe God. That is impossible. Looking at these facts will help us to gain a greater knowledge and appreciation for Him who is our God.
It is difficult to define life. Some declare it as existence, or activity between the organism and the environment. But this does not suffice to define life as it relates to God. The condition of being, as related to God, is infinite. God hears, sees, feels, acts - He is a living Being.
The basic consideration here is that which is opposed to purely material. God as spirit is incorporeal, invisible, without material substance, without physical parts or passions, and therefore free from all temporal limitations. For this reason one cannot lay hold of the reality of God by body senses but by the abilities of the soul, quickened and illumined by the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:15-17; 1 Timothy 1:17
Instead of a pantheistic view of God we declare that our God is separate and distinct from His creation. He is a personal God. Personality could be said to be existence possessed of self-consciousness and the power of self-determination. Three elements that make up personality are intellect, or the power of thinking; sensibility, or the power of feeling; and volition, or the power of willing. Thus a physical body is not really essential to being a person. Our bodies are the means here of expressing the personality we have.
Eternal and Self-Existent
God being self-existent indicates that He is absolutely independent of all else than Himself for the continuation of His being. The eternal aspect of His being means simply that He had no beginning and has no end. He always was, always is and always will be. God is not dependent for existence upon the continued existence of His creation.
Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 46:9-10; Isaiah 57:15;
John 1:1-2; John 5:26; Revelation 1:8
When we refer to immutability as it relates to God, we mean that God in His nature, attributes and counsels is unchanging. Because He is an infinite Being He is absolutely perfect. God is not inactive, nor does He refuse to unfold progressively His plans and purposes. He is in absolute control and moves according to His will. It is a comforting reality for the believer for we can count on the fulfilling of His promises. For the unbeliever it is a solemn truth, for judgement on the unbelieving sinner is also a definite reality.
God's understanding is infinite, His intelligence is perfect. He knows all things in one eternal and simple act. his knowledge reaches from everlasting to everlasting, comprehends all things in all places to the minutest detail. Therefore there is nothing hid from Him. No calamity or adversity can come to the Christian that He does not know perfectly. He does not only know, He cares.
Matthew 10:29; Acts 15:18; Romans 11:33
This word describes for us the concept that God is all-powerful. He has unlimited power, He can do whatever He chooses to do. He can bring to pass anything He wills. God's declaration of His intention is the pledge of its accomplishment. Nothing is too hard for Him, all things are possible with Him. This truth can be especially comforting to the believer. Because God is omnipotent there is no circumstance or difficulty which He will not be able to handle. Whatever He has promised He is fully able to perform.
Jeremiah 32:17; Nahum 1:3; Matthew 19:26
God is everywhere. He is not bound by time, space or limitation of any kind or anything. He is everywhere present at the same time. That is an encouragement to us for we do need the assurance of God's abiding, constant presence.
Holiness, Righteousness, Justice
Holiness as it refers to God, is to be understood first of all as being entirely apart from all that is evil or defiles. Then it speaks also of the totality of perfection, purity and absolute integrity of His being. His holiness is revealed in His hatred of sin and his delight in righteousness. Because of God's holiness no one can come into His presence without an adequate covering for sin.
Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 1:5
Righteousness is the practical outworking, the manifestation of God's holiness. It concerns His dealings with His creation. There is no falsehood or evil connected with His work in our lives. This leads Him to do right, imposing righteous laws and demands.
Justice is the carrying out of the righteousness of God. Here the penalties attached to the laws are carried out. He reveals His hatred of sin in dealing justly with man. There is no malice or revenge in His actions of justice, but rather a proper and effective dealing with the issue of all evil.
Hebrews 6:10; 1 John 1:9
Love, Mercy, Grace
Love is the attribute of God by which He is inclined to seek the highest good for His creatures and the communication of Himself to them regardless of the sacrifice involved. It is a love that gives, not expecting anything in return. Yet that love is specially manifested toward those who have been united to Him in faith and love.
Mercy is God's kindness in action. It is that principle and quality which describes His disposition and action in relation to the sinful and suffering, withholding deserved penalty. God's mercy is a holy mercy which knows how to pardon sin, not protect it.
Grace is God's undeserved favor directed toward man. Grace is love at work in redemption. There is no way that it can be merited. Where penalty is deserved it is withheld from the repentant believer who puts his trust in Christ, the God-approved payment for sin. Two things are involved - God's favor and God's gift.
Mercy pardons; Grace justifies.
1 Timothy 1:13; Romans 3:24
Mercy removes the guilt; Grace imputes righteousness
Proverbs 28:13; Romans 4:5
Mercy saves from peril; Grace imparts a new nature
Psalm 6:4; Ephesians 2:8-10
Mercy rescues its object; Grace transforms him.
Luke 10:33,37; Titus 2:11-12
|God prohibiting and requiring
|God beseeching and bestowing
2 Corinthians 5:18,21
|A ministry of condemnation
|A ministry of forgiveness
|Redeems from the curse
|Shuts every mouth before God
|Opens every mouth to God; praise Him
|Puts a great and guilty distance
between God and man
|Makes guilty man nigh to God
|Says do and live
|Says believe and live
|Utterly condemns the best man
|Freely justifies the worst
|Stones the adulteress
|Says neither do I condemn thee
|The sheep dies for the shepherd
1 Samuel 7:9
|The Shepherd dies for the sheep