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November 24, 2014

Attributes of God – The Sovereignty of God

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The Sovereignty of God

Whatever the LORD pleases he does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places | Psalm 135:6.

 

Wayne Grudem

God’s sovereignty is his exercise of rule (as “sovereign” or “king”) over his creation.[1]

 

Steve Lawson

The Sovereignty of God

This is the foundational truth of all Christian theology! God is, and the God who is – is the God who reigns. … This is the bed-rock doctrine of all doctrines.[2]

 

Don Fortner

The Sovereignty of God

With the word [found in Psalm 135:6] … [the Psalmist] declares God’s absolute, universal sovereignty and calls upon us to trust, worship and praise him because he is the sovereign God of the universe.[3]

The very foundation of our confidence and faith in our God is his sovereignty. Were he not sovereign, absolutely, universally sovereign, we could not trust him implicitly, believe his promises, or depend upon him to fulfill his Word. Only an absolute sovereign can be trusted absolutely. We can and should trust our God implicitly because he is sovereign.[4]

 

When I say that God is sovereign, I am simply declaring that God is God. He is the most High, Lord of heaven and earth, overall, blessed forever. He is subject to none. He is influenced by none. God is absolutely independent of and sovereign over all his creatures, He does as he pleases, only as he pleases, and always as he pleases. None can thwart him. None can resist him. None can change him. None can stop him. None can hinder him. He declares, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10). “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35). Divine sovereignty means that God sits upon the throne of universal dominion, directing all things, ruling all things, and working all things ‘after the counsel of his own will’ (Ephesians 1:11).[5]

 

NOTE: The Sovereignty of God | is simply to declare that “God is God” [A.W. Pink[6]] or that “God is, and the God who is is the God who reigns” [S. Lawson[7]].

Psalm 115:3 | … our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

Natural, unregenerate, unbelieving men and women are happy enough to have God everywhere, except up the throne of total universal sovereignty.[8] However God is sovereign in every aspect concerning man. Theses aspects can be categorized into three basic areas:

  • Creation
  • Providence
  • Salvation.

Creation

 

Genesis 1:1 | In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

  • Colossians 1:16-17 | For by Him [Jesus Christ – God] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things consist.
      •  
  • Revelation 4:11 | You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.
      •  
  • Proverbs 16:4 | The LORD has made all things for Himself.

 

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26 | Then God said, “Let there be …”

 

    • Psalm 33:6-9 | By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth … For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
    • Hebrews 11:3 | By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which were visible.
    • Job 38:4 ff | Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. …

 

NOTE: Scripture is very clear that God is the Creator of all things of which He “rules [i.e., sovereign] over all” (Psalm 103:19) for which “of Him and through Him and to Him are all things [i.e., He created], to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36).

 

 

Providence

 

Isaiah 46:9-10 | Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasures.

  • Psalm 33:11 | The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

 

  • Proverbs 16:9 | A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

 

  • Acts 17:26 | And He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has predetermined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation – cf. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Hebrews 9:27 | “To everything this is a season – birth to death.

 

Romans 8:28 | And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

  • Genesis 45:4-8 | … I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for god sent me before you to preserve life. … So now it was not you who sent me here, but God …
      •  
  • Acts 2:22-23 | Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth … Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death.
      •  
  • Ephesians 1:3-6 | Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace,, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
    •  

NOTE: Scripture is very clear that God is in control of every aspect of His creation whether it is inanimate or animate. There is nothing that He has not predetermined for the good of His own and for His glory (Psalm 148:1-14 | … He has made a decree which shall not pass away).   

 

 

Salvation

 

2 Timothy 1:9 | Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

 

  • Romans 8:29-30 | For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified; these He glorified.

 

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 | But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      •  
  • Romans 9:10-16 | … when Rebecca also had conceived by one man … Isaac

(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.

What shall I say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! – [KJV – God forbid.]

For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

 

  • John 1:12-13 | But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believed in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

NOTE: Scripture is very clear that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) a gift of God’s grace not our works so that we will not nor cannot boast before Him (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:28 & 4:2).

 

 

 Closing Thot

 

A. W. Pink

The Sovereignty of God

What do we mean by this expression?

  • We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the Godhood of God.
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God.
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His Will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35).
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that he is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that non can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3).
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best.
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).
  • Such is the God of the Bible. [9]

Simply put: God does what He wants, when He wants, where He wants, and how He wants with whom He wants!

NOTE: Such is the Attribute: The Sovereignty of God.

[1] Grudem, 217.

[2] Lawson, The Attributes of God [DVD], “The Sovereignty of God”.

[3] Fortner, 109.

[4] Fortner, 109.

[5] Fortner, 112.

[6] A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1979), 19.

[7] Lawson, “The Sovereignty of God”.

[8] Fortner, 110.

[9] A.W. Pink, 19 (adapted).

November 16, 2014

Attributes of God – The Oneness/Essence of God | Unity of Trinity

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The Oneness/Essence of God – Unity of Trinity

 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! | Deuteronomy 6:4

We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ | 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. 

One the hard teachings from Scripture is understanding God’s attribute of His Oneness/Essence in regards to the Unity of Trinity.

Trinity – Defined:

The doctrine that God eternally exists as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and each person is fully God, and there is one God.[1]

T.P. Simmons

The Principles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary set forth the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: “God is revealed to us as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”[2]

 

John Gill

The doctrine of the unity of the divine Being, is of great importance in religion; especially in the affair of worship. God, the one only God, is the object of it.  This is the sense of the first and second Commands, which forbid owning any other God but one, and the worship of any creature whatever, angels or men, or any other creature, and the likeness of them; which to do is to worship the creature, besides, or along with the Creator. But this hinders not but that the Son and Spirit may have acts of worship performed to them equally, in the name of the Father … see [Matt. 18:19; Rev. 1:4, 5]. … And this doctrine also serves to fix and settle the object of our faith, hope, and love, without division and distraction of mind; which are not to be exercised on different objects, and to be divided between them; but are to centre [sic.] in one object, the one only true God, Father, Son, and Spirit; whom alone we are to make our confidence, our hope, and the centre [sic.] of our affections, [Jer. 18:7; Psalm 73:25].[3]

 

C.D. Cole

There is one Divine essence of being subsisting in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is a tri-unity – three in one. In the early part of the fourth century when Arianism threatened to prevail, a young theologian named Athanasius formulated the statement that was incorporated in the Nicene Creed. He said, “We worship one God in trinity and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.” This is a remarkable statement, profound in its clarity and simplicity … as a Spirit He is three persons, but only one substance, and each person is all of God. Of the Son we read, that in Him dwelt, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9). And again He is called the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). …

God has three modes of Being, three centers of personal consciousness. He is one essentially, but three persons relatively. And in these relations He existes as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [4]

 

Wayne Grudem

In one sense the doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery that we will never be able to understand fully. However, we can understand something of its truth by summarizing the teaching of Scripture in three statements:

  1. God is three persons.
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.

 

1. God Is Three Persons.

The fact that God is three persons means that the Father is not the Son; they are distinct persons. It also means that the Father is not the Holy Spirit, but that they are distinct persons. And it means that the Son is not the Holy Spirit. These distinctions are seen in a number of passages:

 

Matthew 3;16-17 | Then Jesus, when He had been baptized … He saw the Spirit of God descending … and suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son

Matthew 28:19 | make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:14 | The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Ephesians 4:4-6 | There is one body and one Spirit … one Lord … one God and  Father of all

1 Peter 1:2 | Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Jude vv. 20-21 | But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

NOTE: As seen here Scripture teaches that God is three persons | Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  

 

2. Each Person Is Fully God.

 

A. God the Father is clearly God. This is evident from the first verse of the Bible, where God created the heaven and earth. It is evident through the Old and New Testament, where God the Father is clearly viewed as sovereign Lord over all …

Matthew 6:9/Luke 11:4 | Our Father in heaven.

Romans 8:15 | You received the Spirit of adoption where by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 1:3/Philippians 1:2/Colossians 1:2 | Grace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 | Blessed be the god and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 John v. 3 | Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

B. The Son is fully God. … John 1:1-4 clearly affirms the full deity of Christ … Here Christ is referred to as “the Word,” and John says both that he was “with God” and that he “was God.” The Greek text [John 1:1] echoes the opening words of Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning …”)and reminds us that John is talking about something that was true before the world was made. God the Son was always fully God.

John 1:1, 14, 17 | In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. … grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 20:24-29 | … Thomas answered and said to Him [Christ Jesus], My Lord and my God! …

Titus 2:13 | Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:5-6 | … Jesus Christ … did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.  

Colossians 2:9 | For in Him [Christ – v. 8] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

 

C. The Holy Spirit is also fully God. Once we understand God the Father and God the Son to be fully God, then the trinitarian expressions in verses like Matthew 28:19 (“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) assume significance for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, because they show that the Holy Spirit is classified on an equal level with the Father and the Son.

Acts 5:1-11 | … Peter said, Ananias, why … lie to the Holy Spirit… you have not lied to men but to God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 | … diversities of gifts, but the sam Spirit … same Lord … same God who works all in all.

Ephesians 4:30 | And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  

1 Thessalonians 1:5 | For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance.

Romans 8:16, 26-27 | The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God … the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us … for the saints according to the will of God.

3. There Is One God.

Scripture is abundantly clear that there is one and only one God. The three different persons of the Trinity are one not only in purpose and in agreement on what they think, but they are one in essence, one in their essential nature. In other words, God is only one being. There are not three Gods. There is only one God.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 | Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Isaiah 45:5, 21-22 | I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me … And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is not besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved, for I a God, and there is no other.

Mark 12:29 | Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Romans 3:28-30 | Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

1 Timothy 2:5 | For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

James 2:19 | You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble![5]

 

Closing Thot

R.C. Sproul

God does not exist in the way human beings do, because that would make Him a creature, giving Him a dependent and derived existence. We say, rather, that God is. God is being, not becoming or changing. He is eternally the same, so we say He is one being. Theologians speak of the Trinity not as three existences but as three subsistences; that is, within one underived being of God, at at lower dimension, we must distinguish among these subsistences, which the Bible calls Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are not three existence or beings but rather three subsistences within that one eternal being.

That we distinguish among the three persons is necessary because the Bible makes the distinction. It is a real distinction but not an essential distinction, and by “not essential” I do not mean unimportant. I mean that although there are real differences within the Godhead, there are not within the essence of the deity Himself. One being, three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[6]

 

[1] Grudem, 1255.

[2] Simmons, 77.

[3] Gill, 92.

[4] Cole, 7.

[5] Grudem, 231-239 (adapted)

[6] Robert Charles [R.C.] Sproul, Everyone’s A Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2014), 60.

November 8, 2014

Attributes of God – The Spirituality of God

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The Spirituality of

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth | John 4:24

Often when people think of God in heaven they conjured up an image of an “old ancient man” having a long white beard wearing a white robe (Greek or Roman) who is sitting on his throne overlooking the earth with a stern and concerned look.

Is this what God looks like? Is he an old man? Is he a man made up of in flesh and blood like ourselves? Is he made up of matter at all? Is he pure energy? Is he just a force (e.g. Star Wars)? Is he just a voice? Or is he just pure knowledge, Etc.? Questions of this type can go on and on without any conclusion, other than speculation, found outside of Scripture. However, when we look to the Scripture we quickly see that the Bible is very plain in answering these questions or any other of a similar nature.

The Bible simply states that God is spirit – John 4:24. Just as the Bible states explicitly, “In the beginning God created …” (Gen. 1:1) w/o any explanation so too does it simply state that God is spirit as a “faithful saying and worthy of acceptance” by us

Wayne Grudem

We should not think of God having size or dimensions, even infinite ones. We should not think of God’s existence as spirit as meaning that God is infinitely large, for example, for it is not part of God but all of God that is in every point of space (see Psalm 137:7-[12]). Nor should we think that God’s existence as spirit means that God is infinitely small, for no place in the universe can surround him or contain him (see 1 Kings 8:27). Thus, God’s being cannot be rightly thought of in terms of space, however we may understand his existence as “spirit.” … Thus, God does not have a physical body, nor is he made of any kind of matter like much of the rest of creation. Furthermore, God is not merely energy or thought or some other element of creation. He is also not like vapor or steam or air or space, all of which are created things: God’s being is not like any of these. God’s being is not even exactly like our own spirits, for these are created things that apparently are able to exist only in one place in one time.

Instead of all these ideas of God, we must say that God is spirit. Whatever this means, it is a kind of existence that is unlike anything else in creation. … God’s spirituality means that God exists as a being that is not made of any matter, has no parts or dimensions, is unable to be perceived by our bodily senses, and is more excellent that any other kind of existence.[1]

Don Fortner

God is Spirit. He is not just a spirit. He is Spirit. He has no body or parts like we do. He is the pure, underived, eternal Spirit (Genesis 1:2; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Psalm 139:7; Isaiah 60:1; Ezekiel 37:14; 39:39; Joel 2:28-29; John 4:24; Acts 17:28; Romans 8:9; 13:1; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Philippians 3:3; Hebrews 12:9).[2]

Milburn Cockrell

In John 4:24, [emphasis mine], our Saviour gave a true definition, description, and declaration of God.  According to the literal Greek, He said to the Samaritan woman: “God is a Spirit.” This is the first truth of Christianity, and one of the most profound ever presented to the mind of man. The Sovereign of the universe is pure spirit, equally in every place and in all points of duration. He has a spiritual nature, without form or material organization. Therefore He cannot be confined to mountaintops or closed by temple walls. Our God has no necessary connection with matter or space.[3]

Steve Lawson

When we speak of the “spirituality of God” [in essence] we mean: that God is a Spirit-being who is immaterial, invisible, and infinite.[4]

Immaterial

  1. Immaterial means that God is spirit w/o a physical body, w/o physical composition.
    1. John 4:24 | God is Spirit.
    2. Deuteronomy 4:15 | Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst fo the fire.

John Gill

[With] God being a Spirit, we learn that he is a simple and uncompounded Being, and does not consist of parts, as a body does; his spirituality involves his simplicity: some indeed consider this as an attribute of God; and his spirituality also: and, indeed, every attribute of God, is God himself, in his nature …[5]

Milburn Cockrell

The being of God does not consist of parts; God is in no sense compounded. Instead, He is indivisible. His spirituality involves His simplicity. He has neither body nor members of a body such as we have, neither shape nor form, neither passions nor limitations. He is exclusively spiritual. … The spiritual nature of God is essential to His attributes. If God were matter He could not be omnipresent, for matter is confined to one place. If God were a material substance He could not be eternal, for all material substance is subject to decay and decomposition. If God had a body He could not be immutable, for all bodies are capable of change. The absolute perfection of God excludes a bodily organism, for such would limit God to time and space.

Spirituality is … a simple declaration of what His nature is …[6]

Invisible

  1. Invisible means that God can’t be seen.

Wayne Grudem

God’s invisibility means that God’s total essence, all of his spiritual being, will never be able to be seen by us, yet God still shows himself to us through [His beloved Son and,]  visible, created things.[7] 

    1. Colossians 1:15 | He is … the invisible God.
    2. 1 Timothy 1:17 | Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible … be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
    3. 1 Timothy 6:16 | Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to who be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
    4. 1 John 4:12 | No one has seen God at any time.
    5. John 1:18 | No has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
      1. John 14:8-9 | Philip said to Him, “Lord show us the Father” … Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
    6. Psalm 19:1 | The heavens declare the glory of God [i.e., testify to His existence!].

 The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

The Lord our God … is a most pure spirit, invisible, without body … John 4:24.[8]

Infinite

God has no bounds or limits. He is infinite in that he is not subject to any of the limitations of humanity, or of creation in general.

 C. D. Cole | He is infinite as to space and time.[9]

 R. C. Sproul

“God has no ontological* boundaries”[10]

*Ontological – Relating to or based upon being or existence. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

 Wayne Grudem

To be “infinite” is to be unlimited, and this doctrine teaches that time does not limit God.

This doctrine is also related to God’s unchangeableness … time does not change God: it has no effect on his being, perfections, purposes, or promises …  time has no effect on God’s knowledge … God never learns new things, or forgets things, for that would mean a change in his perfect knowledge. This implies that the passing of time does not add to or detract from God’s knowledge: he knows all things past, present, and future, and knows then all equally vividly. [11]

                        Cf. – Romans 11:33-36

Closing Thot

The Spirituality of God – God is Spirit

Milburn Cockrell

God must be spiritual in essence since He is the Creator of spirits. The highest order of existence is that of a spirit, and the Creator must have the nature which belongs to that order. In Hebrews 12:9 He is denominated “the Father of spirits.” and in Numbers 16:22 He is called “the God of the spirits.” Angels are created spirits (Zech. 6:5; Heb. 1:13; 12:23). Even in man “there is a spirit,” and God is said to form “the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1).

God is spirit in the highest sense of the word. The Bible presents Him as an eternal, infinite, and immense spirit. He is nothing like any creature He has made. Whiles He created innumerable spirits, He has nothing in common with them in the absolute sense. His nature transcends the spirituality of all created spirits.[12]

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” | John 4:24.

[1] Grudem, 186-188.

[2] Don Fortner, Basic Bible Doctrine (Durham, England: Go Publications, 2004), 61.

[3] Cockrell, 71.

[4] Lawson, “The Spirituality of God”.

[5] John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity (London, England: Whittingham and Rowland, 1815; republished, Streamwood, IL: Primitive Baptist Library, 1980), 24.

[6] Cockrell, 73.

[7] Grudem, 188.

[8] Masters, 11.

[9] C. D. Cole, Definitions of Doctrines (Lexington, KY: Bryan Station Baptist Church, nd), 6.

[10] Lawson, “The Spirituality of God”.

[11] Grudem, 168-169.

[12] Cockrell, 71.

November 3, 2014

Attributes of God – Self Existence

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The Self-Existence / Aseity / Independence

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).

The Bible begins with the premise | God existed before anything else. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the first cause. Romans 11:33-36!

The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection, whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit … [1 Cor. 8:4, 6, Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10, Isa. 48:14; Exod. 3:14; John 4;24]. [Peter Master, 11]

Wayne Grudem

Independence

God’s independence is defined as follows: God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation can glorify him and bring him joy. This attribute of God is sometimes called self-existence or Aseity (from the Latin words a se, which means “from himself”).

Scripture in several places teaches that God does not need any part of creation in order to exist or for any other reason. God is absolutely independent and self-sufficient. Paul proclaims to the men of Athens, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25). The implication is that God does not need anything from mankind. [Grudem, 160-161]

Milburn Cockrell

The Independency of God 

“And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:14).

The title of God used in this passage is of profound importance to our subject. There is in the name “I AM” a height, a depth, a length, and a breath which truly pass beyond the utmost stretch of human conception. This name contains each tense of the verb “to be,” and it might be translated I was, I am, and I shall always continue to be. The words express unchanging and eternal being. In the text they simply declare God to be self-existent, self-sufficient, and all-sufficient being.

The word “independent” means “Not dependent; not subject to control by others; self-governing and sovereign; not contingent or conditioned.” Strictly speaking, God is the only person to who this definition can be applied. In all the universe God is the only independent being. All creation depends on the Creator, the Creator depends on neither creature nor thing. [cf. Job 41:11 | Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.] …

The God of the Bible is self-existence. He has in Himself the ground of His existence. It is His very nature to be. Man is dependent on something outside of himself for his existence, while God’s existence is underived and absolute. He is independent in His being and everything else. Everything in the universe depends on Him for its existence; He is dependent on none. [Cockrell, 86-87]

T.P. Simmons

God’s being is underived. He is a self-caused existence. His existence is independent of everything else. The self-existence of God in implied in the name “Jehovah,” [YHWH (Yahweh)] which means “the existing one,” and also in the expression “I am that I am” (Ex. 3:14), which signifies that it is God’s nature to be. [Simmons, 64]

Summation

A.W. Pink

“In the beginning, God” (Gen. 1:1). There was a time, if “time” it should be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. … There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but “from everlasting.” During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they also had been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Mal. 3:6), therefore His essential glory can be neither augmented nor diminished.

God is under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure; for He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). [Pink, 9-10]

Closing Thot

God is Self-Existent & Independent

“God is from everlasting to everlasting” | 1 Chronicles 16:36; Psalm 103:17.

He is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End … who is and who was and who is to come … | Revelation 1:8.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist | Colossians 1:16-17.

“In the beginning God …” | Genesis 1:1.

 

 References –

                                    

Cockrell, Milburn. 2009. The Attributes of God. Mantachie, MS: Berea Baptist Church.

Grudem, Wayne. 1994. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Masters, Peter. 2008. The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689. London: The Wakeman Trust, Ashland, OH: BookMasters Publishers.

Pink, Arthur W. [A.W.]. 1975. The Attributes of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.

Simmons, Thomas Paul [T.P.]. 1969. A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine. Daytona Beach, FL: Associated Publisher.

Attributes of God – Introduction

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INTRODUCTION

Jeremiah 9:23-24

Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD

James P. Boyce

The fundamental doctrine of Theology is that there is a God; for if this is not true, there can be no science of God. The first duty of Theology, therefore, is to set forth the reasons men have for believing that such a being exists, and is a true object of dependence and worship. [Boyce, 8]

A.W. Tozer

“What comes into our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us. Our entire worldview is determined by how we understand God.”

High views of God – lead us to high and holy living. By studying God’s attributes within the framework of His revealed self-revelation, i.e., the Scriptures we gain knowledge as to the right views of God. Thus determining that “Theology Matters” we come to see who we are and how we are to live because we understand who is God. “God is God! We are but creatures of His hands!” [Steve Lawson, Introduction]

 

THE NATURE OF ATTRIBUTES

Attribute

A quality or characteristic of a person or a thing. To ascribe as belonging to or resulting from. [F&W Dict., 41] Thus it is that aspect which is the very being of one’s essence or nature. When speaking about God it is that aspect of God’s character that describes his essential mode of existence. [bea]

A.H. Strong

The attributes of God are those distinguishing characteristics of the divine nature which are inseparable from the idea of God and which constitute the basis and ground for His various manifestations to His creatures. [T.P. Simmons, 63]

Millard J. Erickson

When we speak of the attributes of God, we are referring to those qualities of God that constitute what he is, the very characteristics of his nature. … The attributes are qualities of the entire Godhead. …The attributes are permanent and intrinsic qualities, which cannot be gained or lost. … God’s attributes are essential and inherent dimensions of his very nature. … The attributes are inseparable from the being or essence of God. … It is better to conceive of the attributes of God as his nature, not a collection of fragmentary parts or an addition to his essence. … Further, we do not totally understand or know comprehensively that which he has revealed to us of himself. Thus, there is, and always will be, an element of mystery regarding God. [Millard Erickson, 291-292]

 

References –

Boyce, James Petigue [P.]. Nd [original copyright 1887]. Abstract of Systematic Theology. Greenwood, SC: Attic Press.

Erickson, Millard J. 1998. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker. 2nd Ed.

Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary [F&W]. 1976. Vol. 1, A-M. New York: F&W.

Lawson, Steve. 2013. DVD. The Attributes of God, “Introduction”. Ligonier.org.

Simmons, Thomas Paul [T.P.]. 1969. A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine. Daytona Beach, FL: Associated Publisher.

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