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Bible Doctrine

God: An Introductory Study

No greater subject can occupy the mind than the study of God and of man's relationship to Him.

I. The Existence of God

1. The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God. The fact that there is a God is assumed throughout the Scriptures. The first verse of the Bible is an example. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." God's existence is presented as a statement of fact that needs no proof. The man who says that there is no God is called a fool in Psalm 14:1—"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..."

2. However, even apart from the Bible, there are certain evidences for the existence of God. (1) Mankind has always believed in a universal being.  (2) Creation must have a creator. The universe could not originate without a cause. (3) The wonderful design which we see in creation demands an infinite designer. (4) Since man is an intelligent, moral being, his creator must have been of a much higher order in order to create him.

II. The Nature of God

1. God is a spirit.

John 4:24—God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

This means that God does not have a body. He is invisible. However, He can reveal Himself to man in visible form. In the person of Jesus Christ, God came into the world in a body of flesh.

John 1:14,18—And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth...No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Colossians 1:15—Who [the Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

Hebrews 1:3—Who [the Son] being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

2. God is a person. Personal names are used in reference to Him.

Exodus 3:14—And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Matthew 11:25—At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Personal characteristics are ascribed to Him, such as

(1) knowledge, Isaiah 55:9-10—For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.

(2) emotions, Genesis 6:6—And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

(3) and will, Joshua 3:10—And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

3. The Unity of God. Scripture clearly teaches that there is one God.

1 Timothy 2:5—For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

The false teaching that there are many gods is contrary to reason. There can be only one Supreme Being.

4. The Trinity. The Bible teaches not only that there is one God, but also that there are three persons in the Godhead,—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a mystery to the human mind, but although it cannot be understood, it can be believed because God's Word says it is so. The word "trinity" is not found in the Bible, but the truth is found in the following passages.

(1) Baptism of Jesus, Matthew 3:16-17—And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

(2) The great commission, Matthew 28:19—Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

(3) The benediction of II Corinthians 13:14—The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

The Father is called God in Romans 1:7—To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Son is called God in Hebrews 1:8—But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3-4—But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

III. The Attributes of God

It is difficult to define God. One of the best ways is to describe certain of His qualities or characteristics. These are known as His attributes.

1. God is omnipresent. This means that God is present everywhere at the same time.

Jeremiah 23:24—Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

2. God is omniscient. In other words, He knows all things. He knows every thought and deed of man.

Proverbs 15:3—The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

He knows every thing that takes place in nature, including even the death of a sparrow.

Matthew 10:29—Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

"Though limitless the universe, and gloriously grand, He knows the eternal story of every grain of sand."

3. God is omnipotent. He has all power. He created the universe, and now controls it by His power. There is nothing that He cannot do.

Matthew 19:26—But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

4. God is eternal. He never had a beginning, and He will never cease to exist.

Psalm 90:2—Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

5. God is unchangeable. "I am the LORD, I change not..." Malachi 3:6.

6. God is holy. He is absolutely pure and sinless. He hates sin and loves goodness.

Proverbs 15:9,26—The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness...The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

He must separate Himself from sinners, and must punish sin.

Isaiah 59:1,2—Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

7. God is just. Everything He does is right and fair. He fulfills all His promises.

Psalm 119:137—Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

8. God is love. Although God hates sin, yet He loves sinners.

John 3:16—For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

From What Christians Believe: Basic Studies in Bible Doctrine and Christian Living by Alfred P. Gibbs... [et al.]; staff members of Emmaus Bible School. Chicago: Moody Press, 1951.

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