FROM THE BOOK:
SURPRISING THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOD
by Jerry MacGregor and Marie Prys
All about God #1
1. Theism is the belief in a supernatural power or supernatural powers, in one or many gods. This view includes all the various beliefs in a god or gods and is opposed only to atheism. Theism is also used to describe the belief in the existence of but one God, whether personal or impersonal, whether presently active in the universe or not. Some theists believe in a personal God, both transcendent and immanent, and existing only in one person. This includes Jewish, Islamic, and Unitarian concepts of God.
A fourth view is the most discriminating and the one we hold throughout this book—the belief in one personal God, both immanent and transcendent, who exists in three personal distinctions, known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is Christian theism and is opposed to all the other views named.
[BUT CHRISTIAN THEISM IS NOT AS SIMPLE AS MADE OUT ABOVE. THE “THREE IN ONE” HAS TWO MAIN TEACHINGS - ONE IS THERE IS ONE KINDA “BLOB” OF SPIRIT SOMETHING THAT CAN MANIFEST AS FATHER, OR SON, OR SPIRIT; HOW IT FULLY WORKS IS BY THESE BELIEVERS SAID TO BE, “WELL THE TRINITY OF GOD CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD, SO DO NOT TRY TO UNDERSTAND.” THE SECOND IS: THERE ARE THREE INDIVIDUAL BEINGS AT THE HEAVENLY THRONE, EACH WITH SHAPE, MADE OF SPIRIT. THERE IS YET ANOTHER CHRISTIAN TEACHING THAT TEACHES GOD CANNOT BE PUT IN A SHAPE, GOD IS NOT UNDERSTANDABLE, SO DON’T TRY TO UNDERSTAND.
THERE IS ALSO THE TRUTH…… THE GODHEAD IS ONLY TWO LITERAL BEINGS - THE FATHER AND SON - EACH SEPARATE FROM THE OTHER; EACH MADE OF SPIRIT, WITH FORM AND SHAPE, WHO CAN IF THEY CHOOSE, MANIFEST THEMSELVES INTO FLESH AND BONE MATTER AND APPEAR TO HUMANS. BUT AS THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS “NO MAN HAS SEEN GOD [THE FATHER] AT ANY TIME.” BUT HIS CHILDREN WILL SEE HIM WHEN THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH ARE FORMED AND GOD [THE FATHER] COMES TO LIVE WITH HIS CHILDREN - REVEATION 21 - Keith Hunt]
The science of God and his works is called theology. This word is derived from two Greek words, theos and logos, the former meaning "God," and the latter, "word," "discourse," or "doctrine." In a narrow sense, theology may be defined as "the doctrine of God." However, in the broad and more usual sense, the term has come to mean all Christian doctrines that deal with the relations of God to the universe.
Theology has kept some pretty dry and dreary company, according to Dallas Willard in his book Spirit of the Disciplines. "We are tempted to leave it to the experts. But theology stands for something far too important to each of our individual lives and to the communities in which we live for us to shy away from it. Theology is an integral part of our lives. We each have one—whether thoughtless or carefully formed. Every Christian must strive to arrive at beliefs about God that faithfully reflect the realities of his or her life and experience."
Theology versus philosophy. Both theology and philosophy have the same basic objective—to seek a comprehensive worldview. However, they differ greatly in their approach to attaining this objective. While theology begins with the belief in the existence of God and the idea that he is the cause of all things, philosophy begins with the idea that it alone is sufficient to explain the existence of all other things. For some ancients, this explanation was water, air, or fire; for others it has been the mind or ideas; for still others, nature, personality, life, or some other thing. Theology does not merely begin with the belief in the existence of God but holds that he has graciously revealed himself. Philosophy denies both these ideas……..
The Christian God is omniscient, holy, loving, kind, and omnipotent. Being omniscient, he knows all about humanity's needs; since he is holy, he cannot excuse sin and take humanity in our fallen condition into fellowship with himself; because he is loving and kind, he may be moved to search for and put into operation a plan of salvation; and since he is omnipotent (all powerful), he not only reveals himself, but can also set forth in writing such revelations of himself as are needed for the experience of salvation.
Deus Absconditus. Blaise Pascal spoke of God as a Deus Absconditus (a hidden God), but he also held that this hidden God has revealed himself and therefore can be known.
The Bible and God. Because God is infinite, a comprehensive definition giving a complete and exhaustive portrayal of God is impossible. We can attempt to give a definition of God only as we know him and know about him as provided by Scripture.
The best summary of the doctrine of God as taught in the Bible is found in answer to question four of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, "What is God?" The answer: "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." The great Charles Hodge described this statement as "the best definition of God ever penned by man."
[YES I WOULD AGREE THIS IS THE BEST SHORT DEFINITION OF GOD; BUT I’D ADD OR CLARIFY, “UNCHANGEABLE” TO MEAN “UNCHANGEABLE IN CHARACTER” - THE VERSE “SAME TODAY, YESTERDAY, AND FOREVER” IN HEBREWS, APPLIES TO GOD’S CHARACTER ONLY NOT TO “DOCTRINE” - Keith Hunt]
In the Bible, life with God reads more like a mystery or a romance than a theology text. What is found in its pages differs markedly from what most people expect in getting to know God.
[CERTAINLY IN SOME PASSAGES THAT CAN BE TRUE - Keith Hunt]
God is shy. The modern writer Philip Yancey describes God as shy, meaning not that he is bashful or timid, but rather that God shows incredible "self-restraint" even in things that displease him. After creating the world and the apex of his handiwork—humanity—God planned to enter into Sabbath rest when he and all his creatures would enjoy peace and harmony. Yet sin and history keep messing up his plan. Now God must set the pace of communication so we may know him when and how he wishes to make himself known.
[GOD’S OVERALL PLAN OF SALVATION HAS NEVER BEEN MESSED UP - YANCEY AS A PROTESTANT HAS NO CLUE ABOUT GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR ALL WHO EVER WERE HUMAN - Keith Hunt
God hides. Isaiah wrote, "Truly you are a God who hides himself" (45:15). Sometimes the Bible portrays God as the initiator, yet God sets a premium on his children living by faith, which can only be exercised in circumstances that allow for us to have doubts.
[SOME THINGS IN THE BIBLE ARE HARD TO UNDERSTAND; DOUBTS COULD ARISE; WE NEED FAITH THAT GOD KNOWS BEST, EVEN IN TIMES AS DR. JAMES DOBSON ENTITLED ONE OF HIS BOOKS “WHEN GOD DOSEN’T MAKE SENSE” - Keith Hunt]
God is gentle. To describe God's gentle way of dealing with his children, contrast the possession of the Holy Spirit with that of an evil spirit described in the New Testament (Mark 9:18-21). Whenever the evil spirit seized the boy, he was thrown to the ground, his body rigid, teeth gnashing, and foaming at the mouth. God, on the other hand, humbles himself so deeply that he experiences emotional pain and suffering, so much that Paul has to warn his followers, "Quench not the Spirit" (1 Thess. 5:19 KJV) and "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God" (Eph. 4:30 KJV).
[THERE ARE MANY WAYS DEMONIC POWERS CAN GET TO MANKIND, IT IS NOT ALWAYS, IN FACT MUCH LESS SO THAN INFLUENCING THE HUMAN MIND; EVEN POSSESSING SOMEONE DOES NOT MEAN THEY GET THROWN TO THE GROUND OR HAVE CONVULSIONS - Keith Hunt]
God is jealous. Jealousy is a strong emotion. The Song of Solomon likens it to love and compares its power to that of fire. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman set out to differentiate between godly jealousy and that which destroys. "Marriage is a mirror that reflects divine-human intimacy, and although this reflection is genuine, it is dim." As we may experience jealousy for our spouse, God feels it for his bride. But we must never lose sight of the difference between divine and human jealousy. God has the right to possess and protect. We do not possess our spouse, but we do have the privilege of protecting him or her.
God intends for us to feel righteous rage in order to mock the Evil One and destroy sin. Even though such rage appears to be the dark side of emotion, it bears the imprint of what God intended. As one modern writer puts it, "If we allow ourselves to join God's fury and then focus on what we are to hate—evil, sin, ugliness—our hearts may discover a new dimension of the character of God."
God has holy contempt. Contempt reflects something about the character of God that is often overlooked: God is a mocker. In fact, God does more than rage against arrogance; he plans on humiliating it. The psalmist writes, "The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at [those who rage against him]" (Ps. 2:4). "The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming" (Ps. 37:12-13).
The redemptive power of divine shame. Shame is an exposure of our idolatry because it reveals our foolish trust in ourselves. But it is also a great gift, because it is an invitation to grace. We encounter God's own humiliation in his Son's incarnation, earthly suffering, and crucifixion. Because God submitted to the shame of humility and lowliness, we are invited to enter into his humility by allowing our hearts to be grieved and broken through the exposure of sin.
He is a suffering God. "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old" (Isa. 63:9 NASB).
"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion" (Isa. 30:18; cf. Gen. 21:15-17; 1 Samuel 1). Yet Scripture also says, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil. 1:29). Our call to suffer comes from a God tender beyond description.
Jesus' compassion drove him to open blind eyes and rouse lifeless limbs—he never glorified illness or eulogized pain and sorrow. But God's plan includes suffering. Despite Christ's compassionate death for our sins, God's plan calls for all Christians to suffer, sometimes intensely.
[BUT NOT ALL CHRISTIANS SUFFER AS JESUS SUFFERED SCOURGING AND THE CROSS. YES SOME DO SUFFER PHYSICAL PAIN; SOME DO DIE BEFORE FULL AGE; YES SOME EVEN TODAY DIE FROM PERSECUTION; BUT SOME, MOST AT PRESENT, LIVE A NORMAL LIFE AGE AND DIE OF OLD AGE, AS DID THE APOSTLE JOHN; I PERSONALLY, SO FAR IN LIFE AT 75 [MARCH 2018] HAVE NOT SUFFERED GREATLY IN PHYSICAL LIFE, AS SAY THE APOSTLE PAUL DID - Keith Hunt]
God is fully at peace. Only God is perfect in this. As a result, inner peace is not something we attain by eliminating pressure points or by the cessation of war or conflict. Rather, peace is allowing the perfectly integrated character of God to express himself through us.
The suffering God. When we read of Jeremiah mourning for his people, we see the heart of God through the words of his prophet: "Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for . . . my people" (Jer. 9:1). Hear the pain in God's heart when he pleads, "My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you?" (Micah 6:3). The pain described is that of a lover searching for the reason his people ignore his tender affection and protective love.
Frederick Buechner once wrote, "God puts Himself at our mercy not only in the sense of the suffering that we can cause Him by our blindness and coldness and cruelty, but the suffering that we can cause Him simply by suffering ourselves. Because that is the way love works, and when someone we love suffers, we suffer with him, and we would not have it otherwise because the suffering and the love are one, just as it is with God's love for us."
J. I. Packer challenges his readers to plug their ears to those who say there is no road to knowledge about God, and to travel a little way with him and see. "Anyone who is actually following a recognized road will not be too worried if he hears non-travelers telling each other that no such road exists."
We know God only through knowing Jesus Christ, who is himself God manifest in the flesh. Scripture makes this clear: "Hast thou not known me . . . ? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:9, 6 KJV). We must be clear in our minds as to what "knowing" Jesus Christ means.
WE KNOW JESUS CHRIST BY READING HIS WORDS; RED LETTERS IN A RED LETTER BIBLE. WE KNOW JESUS BY READING ALL THE BIBLE; WE KNOW JESUS BY DOING WHAT HE TAUGHT US IN WORD AND ACTION; WE KNOW JESUS BY SURRENDERING OURSELVES TO THE FATHER AND TO JESUS, SO BOTH CAN LIVE IN US VIA THE HOLY SPIRIT - Keith Hunt