The Nature of God the Father I
(Begin by reading Psalm 139)
After the Apostles Creed the Nicene Creed is perhaps the most well known (or at least the most well heard of) creed of the ancient church. In the year 325 AD the council of Nicea published what is effectively an expansion and clarification of the Apostles Creed. It was necessary because in large part one of the struggles the church was dealing with was the Arian heresy which denied that Jesus Christ was God. Therefore the Nicene creed was crafted in order to clarify the deity of Jesus Christ, as such that is where the bulk of the wording rests. On a side note, the Arian heresy has been resurrected in these days under the guise of the Jehovah’s witnesses and the watchtower society. There is nothing new under the sun, and the same Biblical evidence which condemns Arianism, also condemns the Jehovah’s witnesses as a cult – condemned to hell for rejecting what the Bible clearly says about Jesus.
As we read it together, notice please at the outset how it characterizes the nature of God the Father…
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy [universal] and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. 1
The Belgic confession of 1561 goes further and describes the Father as “eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.” 2
This morning we return to the first person in the Godhead as we struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible. God is himself unknowable; that is to say that we who are not God cannot know Him in his entirety; nor can we know Him at all except that he has revealed Himself to us. If God did not reveal himself – his person and nature would remain unknown and unknowable to us.
Since God the Father is God and because He is the one whom we worship by the Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ the Son than it is toward God that our passionate attention should be drawn. So this morning I have an invitation to extend to you. I invite you to ponder anew the grandeur and glory of the Father by investigating with me what He has revealed He is like – that we might best be moved to worship Him who deserves all praise. Come then, and let us study what the Bible reveals about the nature of God Our Father.
To do that, we’re going to need two weeks – or an eternity whichever comes first. This week we’re going to talk about Infinity, and next week we’ll talk about Eternity, and I’ll explain the difference later.
Because there are no better terms we will use the tried and true terms which we may have some fleeting comprehension of. In terms of God’s Infinity we’ll talk about His Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence. But we will also add to these three some unfamiliar terms when we get to Eternity: Aseity (self existent), (eternal), (incomprehensible), (unknowable). (see Culver) And he is Holy (Isa 6 thrice holy).
God is infinite. The infinity of God means that he has no boundaries. We sometimes hear the three “omni-” terms that are used to explain God as infinite, though I have to agree with the man who said “We simply cannot explain God He is too great!”
Turning to Psalm 139 we find what is perhaps the most condensed testimony of the infinity of God our Father. Beginning with the fifth verse we encounter the same concepts we spoke of a few weeks ago, God is transcendent in that he is above all things and yet he is also immanent, or near to us. The Psalmist writes that God has “hemmed him in” and there is nowhere he can flee from His spirit.
So then we begin with God’s omnipresence because it is perhaps the most easily misunderstood. Omnipresence means simply the “everywhere presence of God.”
The omnipresence of God must never be understood as some kind of pantheism or “God is everything-ism” in which as I take a step I am “walking through God.” the omnipresence of God should emphasize the word “Presence” as much as anything. Looking at Psalm 139 we can see that whether in a rocket to the heavens or a submarine to the deepest ocean God is there. In bed or on the battlefield God is there. When we’re alone or we’re in a crowd, we’re never alone because God is present.
Another way to describe the Omnipresence of God is that All of creation in the entirety of it’s vast distances and it’s most microscopic proximity is equally in the full presence of God.
But the omnipresence of God does not mean that everyone has equal access to His presence. The unsaved cannot stand in his presence. In Genesis 3:8 immediately after disobeying God, Adam and Eve heard the sound of God in the garden and they hid from His presence. So too every man, woman and child on the planet having been born in sin, and having sinned by choice we cannot run to God, but only away from Him. But if the Psalmist cannot go anywhere to get away from God where will the sinner go?
God has already answered that question by preparing a place which will be devoid of his presence. Hell, for all of it’s flame and darkness is primarily designed as a place of permanent separation from God’s presence. In Matthew 7:23 when the unrighteous stand around Jesus and say to Him, “Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Jesus will tell them “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Math 7:21-23 NIV)
In saying “away from me” He reveals that the Lake of fire itself is the only location possible for those who reject Jesus and thus decree by their choices that they do not wish to be in God’s presence. And the Father knows that they make this choice because today by grace he endures for these sinners to remain in His presence and there is nowhere they can go to get away from the eye that always sees them and knows their heart – so that in every moment they accumulate a greater testimony of unbelief.
But for the redeemed, for those who come to the Father through Jesus Christ the Son the everywhere presence of God is a comfort and not a curse. For He who has all things in his presence sees your suffering, He is witness to your injustice; he understands your frailty and he knows your needs because He is with you forever. And because he sees, because he knows, because you are in His presence he sees your faith in Christ every moment that it is exercised.
From Omnipresence to Omniscience we move from the everywhere presence of God to the everything knowledge of God. “In your book,” Psalm 139:16 states, “were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Before that in PS 139:4, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, you know it all.”
In Isaiah 46:9-11 God our Father proclaims his absolute knowledge of past, present and future in combination with his power to make it happen,
“ Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. " (Is 46:9-11, NASB95)
I have already thrown down and trampled upon the heresy called “process theology” in which it is taught that God is essentially learning as He goes along. The God who proclaims the end from the beginning already knows all things. “He has perfect, immediate, knowledge of all events and things…whether they are past, present or future.” 3
Back in Psalm 139, David considers the omniscience of the Almighty and it staggers his mind, “
How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand ….” (Psalm 139:17-18 NASB)
The unbounded knower who has all things in His presence is God. But He is not merely Omnipresent and Omniscient he is finally also Omnipotent – All powerful. God our Father is more powerful than all things.
Psalm 139 barely nods to the great power of God when it speaks of his creative power, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Ps 139:13-14, NASB95)
But from Genesis 1:1 to the End of Revelation it is God’s power that is constantly on display. For us it is a miracle of grace that God’s power is exerted favorably to those who love Him in Jesus Christ. For Jesus says in Matthew 19:26, “With God all things are possible.”
But I think it is in the promise of 2 Corinthians 6:18 that we can take our great hope in the Omnipotence of God:
And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. (2Co 6:18 NAU)
It is this Father, this God who has power without boundary whom king David proclaims in our Psalm, “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5). You, his child are surrounded, upheld, protected by the omnipotent hand of the Almighty God of infinity!
Every boy has had the “My daddy is bigger than your daddy” arguments. Because every young boy is both abundantly in love with his Father and also quite certain that there is no other person more powerful, more knowledgeable than his father. If only everyone else knew of his father’s great power and knowledge than surely they would acknowledge that his Son also was equally great!
This is our Infinite Father God; Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. He is indeed without equal.
Hear O Israel! The Lord is Our God! The Lord is One! You Shall Love the Lord Your God with All of your Heart, and all of your Soul and all of your Might! (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
1Brannon, Rick. Editor. Historic Creeds and Confessions. 1997 (electronic ed.) (Article I). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
2Brannon, Rick. Editor. Historic Creeds and Confessions. 1997 (electronic ed.) (Article I). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
3Culver, Robert Duncan. Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical. Mentor. 2005. p.87.