Pilgrim’s Keyboard

November 8, 2014

Attributes of God – The Spirituality of God

Filed under: Providence BC — pilgrimskeyboard @ 2:50 pm
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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.

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