“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. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6)
The words of Deuteronomy serve as a fitting backdrop to our study as it gives us purpose in studying the Doctrine and Theology of God Himself. But our study is not unique, in fact through the centuries the church as repeatedly wrestled with the questions of God and salvation. As a result we have several creeds handed down to us which effectively encapsulate the essentials of the faith.
This is why, each week so far we have started with one of the creeds – so that we understand and experience that the Christianity we live in today is the same faith handed down through the years. And thus I invite you again to join me in reading the Nicene Creed…
The Nicene Creed:
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.
We return again this week to a Theology of God the Father, so that we might know Him better and Love Him with all of our Heart, Soul and Might, that we might Worship Him more completely and Serve Him more willingly.
Last time we spoke about God’s infinity, this time we will talk about His Eternity. You might be inclined to think that they are the same, but that is not the case. Infinity speaks of God our Father having no boundaries, While eternity speaks of our Father having no beginning and no end.
It is in Psalm 90:2 that we read: "
Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
" (Ps 90:2, NASB95)
The Eternity of God is first a declaration that before the universe, God. It is in essence a recitation of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God….” Outside of Time, and outside of Space: God is.
Where did God come from? The answer isn’t “nowhere” that would be the big bang, which is a doctrine which says “’nothing‘ exploded and became everything including you and I”. Now when they say “nothing” exploded they do not mean that there wasn’t an explosion, they mean that the non-substance called “nothing” …exploded. Which is truly a masterful denial of every single law of physics and math ever devised; and yet you have to believe it to be considered a real scientist these days. All I want to know from them is “where and how did “nothing” get the power and capacity to explode in order to make something? Because whatever made that “nothing” explode is, in essence, the big banger’s god. Ask any hard question of universal evolutionary theory and you’ll hear some variant of the same mantra, “It took more time than we used to think, and it was a bigger chance than we realized….” In other words, the trinity of the big bang is time, chance and nothing. Now to be fair, some big bangers don’t say that nothing
exploded, they claim that all matter was combined in a singularly superdense microdot smaller than an atom and that is what exploded. In which case the god of the big banger is matter itself for matter alone is eternal.
That’s not to say that I don’t believe in a Big Bang. Mine is just different than theirs. I believe that God spoke and “BANG” there it was. Now the only fair question to ask then, is where did God come from? And the answer is, “He didn’t.” God is self-existent. This is the doctrine of God’s Aseity. (Remember, I said we’re going to have to learn some new words as we go through this.)
Aseity is comprised of a Latin words meaning “from self” and it quite simply means that God exists because he is God. To build the case let’s examine a few brief passages of scripture which combine in particular to teach the Aseity of God.
The first is Genesis 1:1 which is variously interpreted but which clearly at least means that before anything else, God created. Now logically speaking if God created in the beginning, than he must have been there before
the beginning. In the least, we have in Genesis 1:1 the doctrine that God is eternal for he existed before anything else did.
The second text is one we’re all familiar with in Exodus 3:14. As Moses stands barefoot before the burning bush he asks, “Who should I say is sending me?” And God reveals a new name, “I AM WHO I AM” The term itself, “I AM’ is a statement of existence. It is God’s declaration that He exists In Himself.
The Third is Jesus’ statement in John 5:26 that, “
…The Father has life in himself…
Where did God come from? He didn’t. He has life in Himself, which is to say that God is self-existent. He exists because it is His nature to exist. He exists in eternity because it is impossible for Him not to exist. He exists in Himself as creator and sustainer and it is here that we begin to see the personal application.
Assurance of Eternity and freedom from Fear.
It is the same application echoed in Isaiah 40:28-
. Because He is the Everlasting God he does not become weary or tired. Because He is the Everlasting Self Existing God His understanding is inscrutable. Therefore because he is self-existent it is He who gives strength to us and He is able to do so. Because he is Self Existent He is able through strength and wisdom to accomplish the promises He has made to us. Our Very stability and the assurance of an
with God are not dependent on the Space, Matter, Time or even Chance, they are dependent entirely upon the Self existence of God. Thus, “The garish threats of extinction proposed in the pages of the Sunday newspapers may safely be ignored, as also some of the less rational predictions of the environmentalists.” (Culver, Systematic Theology p84).
Now since God is self-existent he also exists separate from our Universe. Which means that He is not like anything in the universe. So Isaiah asks, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?” (Isa 40:18 NAU)
Last week I was sitting in my office when Theresa came in. She asked why I was just sitting there staring at the screen and I said, “I have a headache because I’m trying to define God.” Her prompt reply was, “You can’t, He’s indefinable.” Her theology is flawless.
Nevertheless it is a worthy endeavor to describe and understand what the Bible does reveal about God for in the Scriptures God has revealed Himself. This is essentially what is meant by the study of Theology, the study of God and His works. The study of theology is part of loving God with our mind, for in it great thoughts of God turn unprompted to Great love of God.
My wife’s excellent theology is entirely accurate, God is incomprehensible and indefinable, and yet He has revealed Himself to us! Don’t get bogged down in terms like incomprehensible or unknowable. Both terms are meant to communicate A) that God alone fully understands Himself – He cannot be fully comprehended by any human. And B) that God cannot be known apart from the fact that He reveals Himself.
How great is the Love of the Father who has revealed Himself to us in His son so that we might know Him personally!
In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we read the question, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
And again in Romans 11:34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?”
The Bible teaches that God is in Himself incomprehensible and unknowable. We cannot know God except that he reveals Himself.
And the good news is that God HAS revealed Himself. And He has done so in the most amazing manner according to the writer of Hebrews,
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son,…” (Heb 1:1-2 NAU)
And again in John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (Joh 1:18 NAU)
Because God exists in Himself and Eternally without being created as part of this universe He is unknowable without revealing Himself, but God has revealed Himself to us so that we might know Him. God, the self-existent creator has made Himself known to you through His word, and through His Son.
1Brannon, Rick. Editor. Historic Creeds and Confessions. 1997 (electronic ed.) (Article I). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.