On Fridays for the next several months, I will be posting on doctrinal issues to give a complete understanding of the basics of Christian beliefs. This week as we begin, we will be looking at the Christian belief in God the Father and the Trinity. We will also be looking at the characteristics that make God…well God.
A few general things about God:
- God created everything and he delights in his creation (Acts 17:24-27).
- We can know God but we cannot fully comprehend him (Psalm 145:3).
- God reveals himself in nature.
- God reveals himself to humanity. God must reveal himself to each of us in order for us to believe.
- Every human is created with a “God-shaped hole,” the result is that every person thinks about the existence of God at some point in life.
- No one has ever contributed anything to God (Job 41:11).
- God is eternal, and while He is outside of time, we still observe Him acting in time.
- God is also invisible (John 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17).
A few things about God as a being:
- God is independent, his existence does not depend on anyone or anything. He does not need us or creation to exist. (Acts 17:24-25)
- God does not change. His actions often appear to change, but that is because human obedience and human rebelliousness bring about different consequences. (Psalms 102:25-27)
- God is infinite and personal.
- God is eternal. (Psalm 90:2)
- God sees all time. (2 Peter 3:8, Isaiah 45:21, Isaiah 46:9-10) God sees all of these events at the same time: Creation, the life of Christ, 2014, the Final Judgment. Humans will always be in time.
- God acts in time wherever and whenever he wills to do so (omnipresence). (Psalm 139:7-10) God does not have spatial dimensions. God can be present anywhere to punish, sustain, or bless. (Amos 9:1-4)
- God is: eternal, omnipotent, all knowing, jealous, merciful, truthful, blessed, holy, loving, just, wrathful, independent, free, and wise.
A few things about God’s character:
- God is spirit (John 4:24)
- God is invisible. (1 Timothy 1:17) – God shows himself to us through created things.
- God is all-knowing. (1 John 3:20)
- God is perfectly wise. (Romans 16:27, Job 9:4) – God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals.
- God is truthful and faithful. (John 17:3) – God is the ultimate standard of truth.
- God is perfectly good. (Luke 18:19).
- God loves perfectly. (1 John 4:8) – God eternally gives of himself to others.
- God is perfectly merciful, gracious, and patient. This means that that God mercifully shows his goodness to those in misery and distress. God shows grace to those who only deserve punishment. God shows patience by withholding that punishment for a period of time. (2 Corinthians 1:3, Romans 3:23-24, and James 1:19)
- God is holy. (Exodus 26:33) – God is completely separate from sin.
- God is a God of peace and order. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
- God is righteous and just. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
- God is jealous. (Exodus 34:14) – God seeks to protect his own honor.
- God is wrathful. (Romans 1:18) – God hates sin.
- God is free. (Psalm 115:3) – God does whatever he wills/pleases.
- God is all-powerful. (Jeremiah 32:17) – God is able to do all he wills to do.
- God is perfect. He possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no quality that would be desirable for him to have.
- God is blessed. God delights in himself and all that reflects his character.
- God is beauty. He is the sum of all desirable qualities.
- God is able to determine and approve of every action necessary for his existence and every activity he does in all of creation. This is God’s will.
- God eternally exists as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God, and there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21; Psalm 139:7-8; John 1:1-4; and Acts 5:27-32).
- God is three persons. Each person is fully God, and there is one God. If you deny the Trinity, there is no basis for order in the universe; but more importantly, if you deny the Trinity, you deny the God of Christianity and have no place in salvation.
- Hebrew Scripture allusions to the Trinity include Genesis 1:1 (Elohim is plural), 1:2, 1:26 (use plural pronouns to refer to God with singular nouns), Zechariah 3:2 (the entities of Yahweh talk to one another), and Genesis 6:3.
- New Testament allusions to the Trinity include Matthew 3:16-17, 28:18-19, and 2 Corinthians 13:14. The New Testament refers to each member of the Trinity as deity (God the Father–Romans 3:7 and Galatians 1:1, the Son–John 1:1 and Colossians 1:9, and the Holy Spirit–Acts 5:3-4).
- Working Together: All things are delivered to the Father (1 Corinthians 15). The Father sends the Son, but the Father is sent-less. Jesus Christ is not self-governing, He submits to the Father. The Son is the agent of all things. God the Father does all things through the Son and by the Spirit. The Son is not created but eternal with the Father; the Spirit is also uncreated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is also eternal with the Father. Salvation is given to us from the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit.
Christians are to approach God humility and reverence. While we do know certain things about God, we certainly do not have Him all figured out. He is greater in His being than our minds are able to comprehend. Think about how great and mighty God is based on what we do know, and think about how much we have yet to learn. Spend some time in prayer praising God for who He is, and thanking Him for what He has done.