BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES – THE STUDY OF GOD (PART 1)

GOD’S EXISTENCE

Knowledge of God is primarily obtained from the Bible, although some knowledge can be had from natural reasoning. There are four logical arguments for God’s existence, three of which are Biblically supported. The COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT which reasons that the universe is an effect which must have an adequate cause; what exists must have come from nothing or be eternal. It is therefore logical to believe that a Supreme Eternal Intelligence created things and creatures out of nothing, concluding that God is eternal and created the complex and magnificent universe that we know today. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”  “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” . The TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTreasons that there is observable purpose, design, and order in the universe that must be accounted for; and is closely related to the previous argument. “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” . The question of suffering and evil is often raised against this argument, but we must understand that God did not create suffering or evil, such is the result of mankind’s disobedience to God’s command. The ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARGUMENT reasons that the intellectual, emotional (including religious), and the ability to make conscious choices or decisions demand an intelligent Cause with somewhat similar attributes. ” ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by man’s design and skill.” . Here again we should understand that impairment to God’s image is the result of mankind’s depravity. The ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT is not supported by Scripture. This reasoning is somewhat difficult to follow but states the idea of a Most Perfect Being, who, if such exists, is included in the concept of being the Greatest Being. Therefore that Being must exist.

These arguments indicate that apart from the Bible there is a strong suggestion favouring a Supreme Being called God.

However, we should also consider the views of those that reject the Person of God.

ATHEISM positively states that there is no God; and such a statement would suggest that such individuals know everything there is to know, and to have such knowledge atheists would have to be everywhere at the same time. Such attribute is divine and is not the characteristic of humans. “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”” . AGNOSTICISM states that “We cannot know whether God exists or not”; and this is based on lack of knowledge. POLYTHEISM is the opposite to atheism and teaches that there are many gods; and promotes creatures to the rank of gods for worship. PANTHEISM teaches that God is coextensive with His universe. This suggests that the universe is self-created and humankind is part of God and it is impossible to differentiate God from His creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” . DEISM is the disbelief that God has revealed Himself, although not denying that God exists. They teach that God created the universe then withdrew to allow things to assume their own course of action.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD

The attributes, or characteristics of God are impossible to be perfectly classified so that they have been divided into those that only God possesses (eternity and infinity) referred to as incommunicable, and those that are also applicable to humans (such as love and knowledge) referred to as communicable. These are also referred to as absolute and relative, and can also be said to be personal or shared to some extent with humans, and constitutional or not shared.

1. God’s Personal Attributes are those that are comparable to those of mankind. Although the Bible states that mankind is created in the image of God , God does not have  a human form since the Bible also teaches that God is Spirit .

  1. Intellect is God’s attribute of OMNISCIENCE and is the knowledge of all things; actual, possible, past, present, future, people, events, circumstances, places or things.
  2. Sensibility; there are four attributes: God is love and includes His goodness, mercy and grace . God is just (impartial) and signifies His justice or righteousness in redemption , and judgment . God is holy – the absence of evil and the characteristic of active righteousness; and absolute standard ; and although the standard is absolute the requirements are relative to Christian maturity . God is truth – one of the leading assets of Deity; it is the absence of falsehood and the representation of a standard; and God is the standard .
  3. Will or freedom is His unrestricted independence to do as He sees fit; but He will not act contrary to His nature. God is not obliged to do anything for sinful mankind except where He is committed to do so such as in respect to His promises to Abraham and His offer of a free salvation to all mankind. An example of His freedom is seen in Isa.40:1-31. God is OMNIPOTENT in that He is all-powerful to accomplish His perfect will, He is “The Almighty One” .

2. God’s Constitutional Attributes are much more difficult to understand and cannot be possessed by humans.

HIS SIMPLICITY is in relation to His being, He is a pure Spirit-being: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” .  HIS UNITY: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” . This suggests a union of Persons, one God and not three. HIS INFINITY in that He is unrestrained, immeasurable and unconfined, He goes beyond the limits of the universe. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” . HIS ETERNITY; meaning that He is not confined to time or events as we are constrained, He has no beginning or end; “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” . HIS IMMUTABILITY in that He is unchangeable, He will never change His character. When mankind obeys His command He will act in a specific way, and when mankind disobeys He will act in another way, but there will be no change in His Person. God is grieved over mankind’s sinfulness and will cause Him to act in righteous judgment, while He will pour out His blessings upon those that live in obedience to His will God’s promises are trustworthy and will never change . HIS OMNIPRESENCE meaning that He is everywhere, not “everything” as some would teach today (pantheism). We cannot escape His presence . HIS SOVEREIGNTY; He is the Supreme Ruler, and this approves for His direct or indirect control of people and things. Scripture affirms this in Rom.9:14-24 and Eph.1:3-14.
(Continued….)

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