The Work Of The Holy Spirit

The Work Of The Holy Spirit

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:12–16)

 

 

Note: The reader would do well to first read the following article on the Divine Essence.

 

The Scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), and thus has no beginning or ending. Thus it is when we see the very beginning, we are not surprised to find that the Holy Spirit was active in the Creation. “Inthe beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1–2) When man was created, the Spirit of God was busy. “The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4)

We then see the Spirit of God calling men to repentance for a time. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lordsaid, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:1–3) The Scripture later speaks of this as the longsuffering of God (1 Peter 3:20). Jesus also told us that the Spirit would convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11), pointing men to Jesus.

When a person trusts Jesus, the Spirit applies to that person the benefits available to us in Christ. “Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18) He sanctifies, redeems, justifies, and cleanses us. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) Taking residence within us, He is the earnest of our inheritance, thus promising to bring to us all of the blessings of Christ in this world and in that which is to come (Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Spirit has worked in people, giving them various gifts and skills that they might do the work God desired of them. “And the Lordspake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,” (Exodus 31:1–3) The Spirit was laid upon men for leadership positions also (Numbers 11:16-17;28:17). “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lordcommanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:9) We see similarly in 1 Samuel 10:6;16:13. This continues to this day within the body of Christ, as “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Corinthians 12:7 and context) We are warned that we need not think that we can work without the aid of the Holy Spirit. “This is the word of the Lordunto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, Saith the Lordof hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

The Spirit also guides us (John 16:13;Acts 8:29;10:19;11:12;16:7;21:4) Being omnipresent and omniscient, He is a perfect guide who is always with us. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7–10) In His guidance, He instructs us. “Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.” (Nehemiah 9:18–20) It is important to note that the Holy Spirit guides us by instructing us. We must never think that our feelings and opinions are important or crucial in being guided by the Spirit, because He directs and guides us by teaching us. Holy Spirit guidance is Word based guidance.

It is very important that we understand that the Spirit is deeply involved in the work and ministry of the Word. We read, “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, And the man who was raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lordspake by me, And his word was in my tongue.” (2 Samuel 23:1–2) Thus, He spoke to the prophets (Cf Ezekiel 2:1-3;Micah 3:8;Zechariah 7:12;1 Peter 1:10-12;2 Peter 1:16-21). We also find that the Holy Spirit was active in giving to us the New Testament. “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:25–26) He was promised to testify of Christ, using the apostles to bear witness (John 15:26-27), which they did (See 2 Peter 3:1-2, where Peter states that the writings of the apostles are of the same authority as those of the Old Testament Scriptures.). Jesus promised that the Spirit would guide us into all truth, telling us things to come (John 16:12-15). We see this throughout the New Testament Scriptures, as the writers often acknowledge their words as being of the Spirit, or God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:10-14;7:40;1 John 5:6,9;Revelation 1:9-20). In fact, Peter was so bold as to call Paul’s writings by the name “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:14-16), and John placed his writings on the same level as the law (Revelation 22:18-19 Cf Deuteronomy 4:1-2). Yes, the Spirit has given to us the Scriptures we have today.

Not only does the Spirit give to us the Scriptures, but also He helps us understand them. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9–16) We are taught in the Scriptures that God gives to us understanding (Proverbs 2:1-9;James 1:5;John 16:12-16;Ephesians 1:15-17;2 Timothy 2:7). Because we have the Holy Spirit within us, we can understand the wonderful gifts and words of God to us in the Scriptures.

The Scriptures present to us many promises of the Spirit being poured out upon the earth and upon men. It is then that the earth will be renewed and filled with righteousness and peace (Isaiah 32:15-20;44:1-5;Ezekiel 39:25-29;Joel 2:28-32;Acts 2:17), and men will be transformed. This promise began to be fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 2), and continues to be fulfilled in everyone who believes to the saving of the soul (Romans 5:5;8:9;1 Corinthians 12:13;Galatians 3:26-29;Ephesians 1:13-14). (See the article The Baptism Of The Spirit.)

When the Spirit comes upon a person, He also indwells him. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:15–18) This wonderful indwelling of the Spirit is the very presence of both the Father and the Son within us (See Romans 8:9-11, where the Spirit is spoken of as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. See also Colossians 1:27.) Not only so, but the promise of Jesus is that the Spirit will be with us forever. God has promised never to leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6), and His Spirit will ever be within us.

As the Spirit works within the child of God, we have already seen that He instructs us and enlightens us regarding the Word of God; but He also is at work in us to sanctify us. Paul stated, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22–25) The Spirit works within us to give us the will and the power to please God (Philippians 2:13), and He enables us to put to death sinful lusts and live holy to the glory of God (Romans 8:1-14).

The Spirit also assures us of our salvation and son ship. “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:12–16) We know that we belong to Christ because of the presence of the Spirit within us transforming us into His likeness (Ephesians 1:13-14;1 John 3:24), and giving to us promise of greater and more perfect things to come (Romans 8:9-11;Galatians 5:5;Titus 2:11-15).

This is but a very small portion of the things that can be written concerning the work of the Holy Spirit within us. It is a beginning for us. Let us search the Scriptures, pleading with God to fulfill His promise of giving to us enlightenment and understanding, so that we might indeed know the things He has freely given to us. “Open thou mine eyes, That I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

 

 

Is The Transcendental Argument Circular Reasoning?

It is said that the transcendental argument, which states that truth and meaning exist and therefore the God of the Bible exists, is circular reasoning. The claim is that we are using the Bible to prove that the Bible is true.

This argument fails to take into consideration the linear nature of the transcendental argument, which would say:

There is truth and meaning.

Therefore there is a standard of truth and meaning.

There is a standard of truth and meaning.

Therefore the God of the Bible exists.

and

There is a source and standard of truth and meaning.

Therefore the God of the Bible exists.

The God of the Bible exists.

Therefore the Bible is true.

That is what is presented in the articles ( Here and here) regarding the existence of God.

See also

https://frame-poythress.org/transcendental-arguments/

https://frame-poythress.org/presuppositional-apologetics/

The Presence Of God

The Presence Of God

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; Even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; But the night shineth as the day: The darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:7–13)

Introduction

The text above presents us with three important things to meditate upon: 

1.     The omnipresence of God: the fact that God is present everywhere.

2.     The comfort of God’s presence.

3.     The awe-inspiring reality of God’s presence.

God’s presence should inspire awe within us, because we know that He is everywhere at all times, seeing all things. There is nothing secret from Him. This should inspire comfort within us as His saints, because God’s presence means that He is with His people to guide, bless, strengthen, and comfort them; and He will eventually bring us into His eternal dwelling place to forever be with Him.

In this study we shall consider that God is omnipresent, that He is always present with His people, that there are warnings regarding losing God’s presence, and the fact that one can be eternally banished from God’s presence.

The Omnipresence Of God

            The Bible begins with the presentation of God as transcending (existing above, exceeding the limits of) time, space, and matter. You ask, “how?” The Scripture tells us that He is before all things, because, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Being the Creator of time, space, and matter, we know that God is greater than these things. 

            Scripture tells us that God lives beyond time and space: “For thus saith the high and lofty One That inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15) God inhabits eternity. God does not live in time, though He does use time for His purposes (E.g. Psalm 31:15;Ecclesiastes 3:1): God lives in eternity, which is without limits. Not only so, but this also speaks of God living beyond the bounds of space. There are no limits to God’s size: He is eternal. This means that there is no place where He is not present.

            Scripture teaches us of God’s omnipresence when it speaks of God’s being larger than the universe. Solomon spoke of God’s omnipresence by saying that the newly built temple could not hold Him. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27) Though we often speak of God living in the highest of heavens, yet such speech is truly only figurative: the heavens and the highest of heavens cannot hold God, because He transcends space. God led Isaiah to write, “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, And all those things have been, saith the Lord: But to this man will I look, Even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, And trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:1–2) Here God declares that He is larger than the universe, or created space. A building cannot truly house God, because it would mean that God is limited. God is not limited, but is infinite and eternal: this is why God is omnipresent, because He is beyond the limits of space and time and is present in every place at every moment.

            God’s omnipresence is also one of the reasons that God is spoken of as being omniscient, or all-knowing. The Psalmist spoke of God’s omnipresence and omniscience as being complementary attributes of God (See Psalm 139). Jeremiah was also led to write, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? 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.” (Jeremiah 23:23–24) Because God fills the universe, He is able to see and to know all things. For the saint this is comforting (Psalm 139), but for the sinner this should be disturbing (Jeremiah 23:23-24). There is no greater comfort to the saint than knowing that God knew him even before his birth, and will be present with him beyond his death. On the other hand, the sinner should greatly fear, because there is not one thought in his heart, nor one deed that he does that can escape God’s knowledge and judgment. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) 

God’s Presence With His People

            One precious promise upon which God’s people can always rely is that of His presence with His people. God’s presence with His people is more than the fact that He is everywhere: it means that God intends to bless His people. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) God’s presence with His people is different from His omnipresence in that His presence with His people is always beneficial to them. Some tend to focus on God’s judgment and fail to remember His mercies and His grace; yet we need to recognize that God’s people are not under judgment (See John 3:17-18;Romans 8:1-4), but do forever partake of His grace (Psalm 23:6;Ephesians 2:5-7). It is for this reason that Moses pled for God’s presence to go with the children of Israel and lead them into the land of promise (Exodus 33:12-20). It was also this to which Ezra clung when heading from Babylon back to Jerusalem: “For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.” (Ezra 8:22) So, too, did David trust in this promise, saying, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: What can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6)

            Numerous times God has promised His special presence to His people. To Isaac He said, “sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;” (Genesis 26:3) Likewise to Jacob He made the same promise: “And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15) This same presence was promised to Moses: “And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12) Joshua was a recipient of this same promise: “And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:23) Israel was reminded of this once again many years later: “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, And he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, The Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” (Isaiah 43:1–3) This same promise has been repeated to the saints in Christ when Jesus said He would be with us always (Matthew 28:20), that the Holy Spirit would be with us forever (John 14:15-18), that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). With this in mind, we should embrace the glorious reality that God is gracious and merciful to His children and will never abandon them, nor leave them alone at any time.

The Warnings Of Losing God’s Presence

            One important thing that we must bear in mind is that God’s promise to His children is that they shall be His forever. We read that the Spirit is within the children of God until the time that He redeems us at the resurrection (Ephesians 1:13-14;Romans 8:9-11). Nothing will pluck us out of the hand of God, Jesus said. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:27–30) God’s power is so strong that there is nothing and no one that can take us out of His hand or cause us to lose His presence with us. This promise is repeated quite strongly by Paul: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35–39) Child of God, never fear! Jesus went to the cross and died for you. He went to the grave and arose for you. His promise is that He will return to take you into His presence forever (John 14:1-3;1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). Such a great love as God has for His saints compels Him to graciously bless us with His presence forever!

            That being said, we must consider the warnings that Scripture gives about losing the presence of God. What do they mean, and to whom do they apply?

            First of all, let us consider Israel, the nation who received the promises of God, and how God promised His presence and yet warned of the loss thereof. 

            1. The promise of God’s presence was given to Abraham when He promised to give him and his seed the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-7). God kept this promise and repeated it to Isaac (Genesis 26:1-3). Samuel reminded rebellious and sinful Israel of this same promise, saying, “For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.” (1 Samuel 12:22) In the midst of great destruction and woe, Jeremiah was reminded of this daily, because He knew Israel was not spared for her faithfulness, but because God remained faithful. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23) During the captivity, God did not spare Israel as a nation because they were righteous, but because He was merciful and because He is faithful to His promises. God always keeps His promises and will never leave those who trust in those promises.

            2. God did, however, give warnings regarding the loss of His presence. What does that mean? Consider: “And the spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:1–2) God warned Israel that they were not to defile themselves (Leviticus 18:24-30;Deuteronomy 28) because they would find themselves being chastened sorely should they do so. They were warned that idolatry would lead to God’s judgment upon them (Joshua 24:19-20). David’s seed received a similar warning (2 Samuel 7:14-16), and he passed it on to Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:1-10). Manasseh was warned likewise (2 Kings 21:10-15). Do these things mean that God contradicted Himself and did actually forsake His people utterly? Not at all, because we read, “I am the Lord, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) What we can say about this is that God has kept His promise to Israel and never has forsaken them. When Israel sinned, however, God did at times withdraw much of His blessing and they did appear to have been forsaken. One of those times was when Jerusalem was destroyed and many were taken captive into Babylon. It was at this time, however, that we find God promising that He would forever be faithful to His people (Jeremiah 30:1-31:40) and make a new covenant in which their sins would forever be forgotten. Despite the great suffering and heartache that sin brought to them and the judgment that God placed upon them, He remained merciful to them and faithful to the promises He made. 

Banished From God’s Presence

            Scripture tells us that one could descend into hell and that God would even be there (Psalm 139:7-10), yet those who are lost will finally be banished from the presence of God. Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22–23) He stated that, at the great day of judgment, many would hear Him say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41) How can God be present everywhere, even in hell, and yet the sinner be cast into hell and forever banished from His presence? Remember that we saw earlier that God’s presence with His people is a special presence in that it brings His promises and blessings. The lack of God’s presence must certainly bring quite the opposite of blessings. In fact, we find the following said regarding those who will experience God’s judgment: “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6–10) In other words, those who experience the second death (Revelation 20:11-15) experience the loss of the blessings of God, the loss of God’s mercy, the loss of the pleasure of His glorious saving power, and the loss of the opportunity to glorify and enjoy Him forever. Yes, sinners forfeit the rich blessings of the presence of God refusing to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior! 

The Joys Of The Presence Of God

            Time will not permit, neither can the human mind comprehend the joys of the presence of God. It is this joy, however, that the saint anticipates experiencing in eternity. David said, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11) God is eternally joyful, and so are the joys that are in His presence. Jesus prayed that we would experience God’s presence and joy, saying, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24) We will experience nothing but eternal grace (Ephesians 2:5-7) and the joy-filled love of God forever, when we are taken into His presence. Oh, how we should long for the day that we hear, “enter thou into the joy of thy lord!” (Matthew 25:21) 

The Trinity


In many of our statements of faith such as those used for our various associations, we read something like the following:  We believe that there is one and only one living and true God, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth; and there is a Godhead, one in spirit, essence and power, and that this Godhead consists of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

This foundational belief is referred to as the doctrine of the Trinity. In this article we will look at some of the evidence of this doctrine found in the Scripture. In the interest of time and space, only a portion of the evidence will be presented.  On each major point, a sampling of scripture references will be provided should you wish to study the subject further. You should understand this is a complex and fascinating doctrine. This article only provides enough on the subject so that you can be confident of its truthfulness.   

Interestingly, the doctrine of the Trinity is unique to Christians.  No other religion believes in a triune God. It is also a doctrine that is rather difficult to understand.  There is not really anything quite like it to which we can point as an illustration which fully displays its character.  As a result, we sometimes neglect to teach it as we should. It is a mistake to avoid such an important doctrine.  As we will see today, the Scriptures clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity and we should therefore embrace its wonder and recognize that God is far greater than we can imagine.

What does the Bible say About the Trinity?

            The word “Trinity” does not show up anywhere in the Bible.  Rather this is just a word that has been coined to give short hand to the doctrine presented in the opening paragraph of this lesson.  While the word does not appear in Scripture, the doctrine does. 

            The word Trinity is made up of two words – “tri” and “unity” or three in one.  There are three statements that summarize this doctrine: (1) There is one God (2) God is three persons (3) Each person is fully God.  If we remove any of these three, we are no longer thinking Biblically about the Godhead.  Let’s consider each of these vital points.

            God is One.  The Trinity does not mean that there are three Gods.  That is a belief known as “tritheism.” Such a belief is in direct conflict with a mountain of Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:4 states it succinctly “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” You can also see this truth presented in a variety of other passages (A sampling from the Old Testament: Psalm 86:10; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 18, 21-22; 46:9; And a sampling from the New Testament: Mark 12:29; John 10:30; John 17:3; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). 

It is evident from these samplings of scripture that the Bible is very clear that God is one. You might wonder why.  Historically, Israel was surrounded by polytheists.  These are people who believe in multiple gods. Israel was called to counter this wrong view of God. Some people think that mankind was originally polytheist and then came to believe in one God.  The Bible presents the opposite.  Man was made to know the one true living God and then became corrupt and began worshipping many false gods.  God separated Abraham from these idol worshippers so that He might have a people that would serve as a witness to Him. That responsibility has now been passed on to the Church today.

Polytheism was a tool of Satan to confuse mankind.  He later tried another tool – to present God as one, but not the God of the Bible.  Perhaps the most fundamental teaching of Islam is that there is only one God and Mohamad is his prophet.  To the Muslim, the idea of God having a son or that there can be three persons in the godhead is anathema – a strong curse.  But Biblically we know that to deny the Son is to deny the father (John 5:23, 8:19, 10:30, 15:23, 24; 1John 2:23; 2 John 1:9-11).  We see then that it is important that we get this doctrine right.    

            God is three persons.Though God is one, He exists in three distinct persons.  This is contrary to the teaching of some that say the Fatherbecamethe Son, and then becamethe Holy Spirit. No, the Bible presents them as three distinct persons. We see this for example in the command to baptize.  Jesus said we are to baptize “in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).  Notice how each person of the Godhead is separated and distinguished by the article “and.”  This is a method in language that accentuates each item in a list. It means that God would have us know and understand that each person is distinct.  That each are distinct is evident in Scripture.  We see all three listed in 2 Corinthians 13:14. We can find a distinction made between the Father and the Son (the Word) in John 1:1-2, 14. We see Jesus praying to the Father in John 17 – if he is praying to the Father then he must be distinct from the Father. Likewise, the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our High Priest that makes intercession with the father for us (Hebrews 7:24-28).  The Scriptures also make a clear distinction between the Son and the Holy Spirit.  For example, Jesus speaks of his leaving so that the Holy Spirit might come (John 14:15-31). All three are of course present at the Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11). 

            While the Trinity is not fully presented until the New Testament, there were hints of this doctrine  in the Old Testament.  In particular, we see that the Godhead was presented as a plurality (consisting of multiple persons). This was evident for example when God said “Let usmake man in ourimage after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We likewise see this idea presented in many other scriptures (Genesis 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8).

            How do we reconcile the idea that there are three person and yet God is one?  Frankly, we cannot.  Our minds cannot comprehend a being that exists as three persons, just as we cannot fathom a being that is eternal.  There is nothing like it; there is no illustration to help us comprehend it.  Perhaps this is by design.  Perhaps God would have us in awe of a being more glorious than we can imagine.  

Each person in the Godhead is fully God. This means that each possess the whole essence of God. Every attribute of God is present in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  For example, the Bible speaks of the “fullness of God” dwelling in Jesus (Colossians 1:19). We see this truth presented in a variety of ways in the scripture (Matthew 1:23; John 10:10; 14:9-10; 17:21; 1 John 5:7,8). Many of the attributes of God are explicitly applied to Jesus: Eternalness (John 8:58), Immutability (never changing, see Hebrews 13:8); Omnipotence (having all power see Matthew 28:18), Omnipresence (present everywhere see Matthew 28:20), omniscience (having all knowledge see John 1:48).  He is likewise presented as the creator, the one in whom all things consist, and the judge of all mankind (See Colossians 1:15-19).  

We can likewise see that the Holy Spirit is presented as fully God.  For example, in Acts 5:3-4, Peter speaks of a man lying to the Holy Ghost as lying to God. He is likewise presented as being eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omnipotent (Luke 1:35), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10), and omniscient (John 14:26). He is presented as the creator (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4). There are a multitude of other passages which demonstrate that both Jesus and the Holy Ghost are fully God. These references are sufficient to demonstrate the truthfulness that each person in the Godhead is fully God. 

Why Does the Trinity Matter?

            As we have seen, the Trinity is something that has been revealed in Scripture – it is part of the specific revelation which we call God’s Word, the Bible. While it is hinted at in the Old Testament, it becomes clear in the New.  It is also in the New Testament that we get the clearest view of God’s plan of redemption.  We see how God will be both just and merciful: He sends His only begotten Son to take our place as an atonement for our sins. The Trinity is then essential to the plan of redemption.  It is only through a plurality in the Godhead that God can be both just and justifier of those that believe (Romans 3:23-26).

            The Trinity provides the only means of truly knowing God.  If there is a multitude of gods, as the polytheists believe, we would never know which god to worship and we could not possibly worship them all. Even if there were only two gods, we could not possibly give total devotion to both, even as we cannot serve God and mammon.  Likewise, if everything is god as the pantheist believe, then God is not a person but a force – spread so widely that knowing that force requires knowing the universe! But if God is one in the sense that Islam teaches, God is distant and unknowable as he does not reveal himself as does the God of the Bible. In contrast to these views of God, the triune God of the Bible, in whose image we are made, is touched by the feelings of our infirmities.  He reveals himself to us and is therefore truly knowable.

            The Trinity is also essential for the Glory of God.  For example, we are told that God is love (1 John 4:8).  This is part of His glory; it is what makes Him worthy of praise. But love must have an object. If God is love, who did He love before the beginning when there was only God? The answer is He loved Himself, but not the way you and I might love ourselves. There was a circle of love flowing between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  Jesus spoke of this love in John 17:24. In fact, we see later in that chapter, the plan of redemption means the expansion of that circle to include all that believe (John 17:26). With this expansion, the Glory of God is magnified.

            It is in the doctrine of the Trinity we see unity in diversity and through that, the glory of God.  This theme of unity in diversity is beautiful. Think of a husband and a wife, though different in so many ways yet joined together as one. Think of a church filled with so many different personalities, yet unified in the service to the Lord. Think of millions of voices, from every nation, unified in praises to Jesus Christ (Revelation 7:9-12) – unity in diversity bringing the glory and honor due to God.  It is then through the Trinity, that God will tear down the walls between people and unify them with Himself, bringing Himself honor.

Conclusion

            The doctrine of the Trinity is not some obscure notion for theologians locked in ivy covered towers. The Trinity is a fundamental doctrine to the Christian faith. It is a Christian distinction. We believe that God the Father, sent His only begotten son to provide a means that we might be justified. We further believe that when someone repents and trusts Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them, giving them the desire and power to please God (Philippians 2:12,13).  We are then to give full devotion and worship to each of the three persons in the Godhead. We pray to the Father, in the name of the son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Notes On The Deity Of Christ

Why Call Jesus God?

John 1:1-4,14;Colossians 1:15-19;Hebrews 1:1-4 He is Creator

 

 

Psalm 90:1-2 Being Creator, He is before time and thus eternal Micah 5:2 cf Matthew 2:1-6 see also Hebrews 7:1-3;13:8;1 John 1:1-3;5:20-22 (Isaiah 57:15)

Cf Revelation 1:8,11;21:6

This also shows us that the Son of God has no beginning. He is the beginning. He is timeless and eternal.

 

John 1:1-4;1 John 1:1-3;5:20-22 cf Genesis 2:7 He is life Deuteronomy 32:39-41

 

 

He is the JEHOVAH, the I AM Isaiah 40:3 (Here He is explicitly called God.) Matthew 3:1-3;John 1:19-34 cf John 8:58

 

 

He is Savior Matthew 1:21;Luke 1:47;2:11;John 4:42;Acts 5:31;13:23;Ephesians 5:23;Philippians 3:20;1 Timothy 1:1;4:10;2 Timothy 1:10;Titus 1:1-4;2:10-15;3:4-6;2 Peter 1:1,11;2:20;3:2,18;1 John 4:14;Jude 1:25

2 Samuel 22:3;Psalm 106:21;Isaiah 43:3,11;45:21-22;49:25-26;60:15-16;Hosea 13:4

These texts show us the following: there is only one Savior, God is that Savior, Jesus is that Savior. Seeing there is only one Savior, who is God, and that Jesus is our Savior, it follows that Jesus is God.

                                                                                    

 

God knows all things. This is an attribute that belongs to God alone. Isaiah 46:8-11 cf John 21:17;Hebrews 4:12-13;

 

 

 

Scripture calls Him the unchanging, eternal God. Hebrews 1:8-12 cf Psalm 102:24-27  and Malachi 3:6;Hebrews 13:8

 

He is the Lord from Heaven 1 Corinthians 15:44-49

 

 

He is omnipresent John 1:18;3:13

 

 

He is almighty Genesis 17:1;18:14 cf Revelation 1:8,11;(19:6-16)Here we see that the Lamb is the almighty God, who is King of kings.

 

 

He is the Son of God and one with the Father. John 1:1-3,14;10:27-30;14:9;Philippians 2:5-8

Why Is This Doctrine Important?

Mediator- 1 Timothy 2:5-6 cf Galatians 3:  The only way that our mediator could truly understand the way of God, represent God (John 1:18), accurately convey the heart and will of God (John 1:1-3,14;),and reconcile man to God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), He must be God.

Savior-If Jesus is not God, He cannot save us. Only God is Savior Isaiah 45:21-22 cf Titus 2:11-14If Jesus is not God, we have no hope of future salvation at His return.

Worship- If Jesus is not God, He cannot rightfully be worshiped. No mere man is worthy of worship.

Service- The exalted Christ is the One Who is to be served and obeyed, not some mere human who deserves no honor and obedience as God deserves. Philippians 2:5-16

 

In short, this truth affects the whole of the Christian experience.

God Is Spirit

 

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

 

Introduction

The subject which is at hand is the subject of the spiritual essence of God. God is a spirit.  When we speak of essence we speak of the basic, unchanging nature of something or someone.  Thus, God’s basic, unchanging nature is spirit.  It would be in order at this time to attempt to define, or describe, what is meant by spirit.  In the New Testament, the word spirit comes from the Greek word pneuma,which simply means wind.  It is from this word that we get our English word pneumatic, which means wind powered. Spirit is non-material like the wind.  That is, spirit is not a shape or form that can be perceived by the senses of man.  Spirit cannot be seen, smelled, touched, heard, or tasted.  Spirit may be manifest to the senses by that which is material, but pure spirit is not material.  Thus, when we state that the essence  of God is spiritual, we are saying that the very basic nature of God is not a bodily nature that can be seen, felt, touched, heard, or tasted.

Another thing we need to notice is that, while God may make Himself manifest to us in a variety of ways (the ultimate revelation being Jesus Christ Heb.1:1-3), God, in His essence cannot be perceived by our senses.  He cannot be confined or limited to a body. God transcends (or, rises above, and goes beyond the limits of) that which is material.  God is greater than flesh, or material things. Thus, what we are saying is that, while God may manifest Himself to our senses, He is far greater than the things in which He manifests Himself to us.  God is above a book, a man, a voice, a sight.  God is spirit and is not limited by the constraints of material boundaries.

Lessons From John Chapter One

One of the greatest passages in the Bible that deals with the nature of God is found in John chapter one.  Here much is said concerning who Jesus is, and His existence before the creation.  The passage also tells us that God was manifest in Christ Jesus when He became flesh and lived among us.  From this passage we shall learn several lessons.

The first thing we must notice is the fact that God transcends material existence.  While this has already been mentioned, let us notice the passage which deals with this great truth.  (John 1:1-3 KJV) “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”   The first thing we must notice is, that before everything else, God is. While this may seem to be grammatically incorrect, God is eternal.  There is no past or future with God: He is eternal and lives in the “everlasting now.”  Before there were any angels, before there was an earth, there was God.  We also find (Heb 11:3 KJV) “ Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” In other words, everything that we see about us is a product of the creative power of God.  There’s not one thing that was not made by God. This means that God was before matter.  God is not material: He is pre-material, so to speak.  God created material things.  This being so, God must be something other than matter.  God is spirit.

In John chapter one we also find that God is spoken of as the Word.  A word is “An articulate or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom expressing an idea or ideas; a single component part of human speech or language.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) When a word is reduced to its basic components, there are two things remaining; the vocal sound , and the thought behind the articulation.  This means that a word is essentially something that is not physical or material.  A word, in its most basic of states is a thought in a mind.  A word, or thought, presupposes intelligence. Now, before there was anything else, there was the Word.  This Word is God.  In the beginning, then, there was simple, pure, eternal intelligence – the Word/God.  This means that, before there was any creation of material things, God is; and this signifies to us that God is spiritual in nature.

John also states, (John 1:4 KJV)  “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  We also read of Christ , (1 John 1:1,2 KJV)  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;).  Here we find that God is life.  As we consider what life is, we see that life is not necessarily material in nature.  In fact, life is spiritual in nature. As we read the account of the creation, we find God breathing life into the nostrils of man.  Man had been created from the dust of the ground, but did not live.  God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.  Life came from the spirit of God in man.  James tells us that “the body without the spirit is dead.”  (Jas.2:26)  Solomon stated that both man and beast had the spirit of God in them to give them life (Eccles.3:19-21).  Today we see the manifestation of life in men and in beasts.  We don’t see the life itself, but we do see the manifestation of it.  We can also tell when the life is gone from the bodies of men and beasts.  Job understood that the life which was his own self actually existed independently of his body by the power of God.  He stated, (Job 10:11,12 KJV) “ Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.  Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”  Job knew that his body was but a dwelling place for the spiritual life which was the true Job. It is the same with all of us. This is why our body is referred to as being a tabernacle, or tent.  (See 2Cor.5:1)  Our body is simply the temporary place in which the spiritual man lives. Thus we see that life is spiritual, and God being the source of all life, and life Himself, is in essence spiritual.

In the passage before us, Jesus is also spoken of as having an existence before He took unto Himself a body.  (John 1:1-4,14 KJV)  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  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.”  God took upon Himself the earthly tent of human flesh.  Before this, however, He existed.  Jesus Christ had an eternal existence independent of anything and anyone, and that before He became flesh.  We read in Hebrews 10:8 that a body was prepared for Jesus.  In other words, Jesus existed in His spiritual state before the incarnation (His becoming flesh).  Paul told the Philippian church, (Phil 2:5-8 KJV)  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Again we see that Jesus existed with the very same nature as God before He was made flesh.  In fact, He was still God after He took upon Himself the human body in which He dwelt for above thirty years.  (Col 2:9 KJV)  “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” He was also still spirit. Just as heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain God (1Kings 8:27), so also an earthly body could not confine Jesus.  This is why Jesus spoke of  Himself as being in Heaven.  (John 1:18 KJV) “ No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  (John 3:13 KJV) “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”  Jesus, being God, transcends fleshly existence so that, though He dwelt in a body of flesh, He was/is not confined to that body.  While this may be hard to comprehend, let us remember that God does not change (Mal. 3:6;Jas. 1:17), and Jesus was God.  Though Christ can be seen as willingly limiting Himself in some areas (knowledge, for example Mt. 24:36) He was still fully God in human flesh. This means that it was necessary for Christ to have surpassed the mortal, human, physical limitations that you and I have.

God Is Invisible

Another thing that points to the spiritual essence of God is the fact that He is invisible.  Paul speaks of Jesus as(Col 1:15 KJV)  “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”  God is invisible.  Just as we cannot see the wind, we cannot see God who is spirit.  (John 1:18 KJV) “ No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” He is spoken of as being the one whom no man hath seen, nor can see. (See 1 Tim.6:16) When you consider that even miniscule particles of matter can be seen when aided by a microscope, we understand that God is not made of matter.  He is spirit, which is invisible as the wind is invisible.

What About The Appearances of God?

One thing that may be raised as an objection to the spiritual, or non-corporeal (immaterial, or without a body) nature of God is the fact that there have been times in which God appeared in the form of a man or an angel.  This is a very valid point that must be addressed.  In addressing this issue, two points must be made: one, God cannot be seen of man; two, the manifestation of God to man.

The first point is a reiteration of a point that has already been made: God, as spirit, is invisible and cannot be seen. Added to this is the fact that man cannot see the fulness of God’s glory and live (Ex.33:19-23)  When Isaiah saw the Lord, he fell upon his face confessing that he was a sinful man.  (Isa.6:1-8)  (John 12:41 KJV) “ These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”  Isaiah did not see God as a bodily essence.  Isaiah saw the magnificence of God shining forth in all of His splendor.  John also stated that“no man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18)  God cannot be seen (1Tim. 6:15,16), for God is spirit.

The second point is of great significance. The invisible God has been seen of men.  This is not a contradiction that is found in the Bible.  This is a paradox, or a situation that seems to be a contradiction, but isn’t a genuine contradiction.  We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Bible teaches us that God is invisible and cannot be seen.  We also know it to be true that God has manifest Himself to men in visible ways.  Let us now dig a little deeper into this matter.

That God cannot be seen is evident. What, or who, was it that Moses, Isaiah, and others saw, then?  One point that needs to be made is that God, while in essence spirit and not confined to a body, can at times take unto Himself a body.  We know this is so from manifold instances in the Scriptures, and from the fact that Jesus was God in human form.  The basic nature of God is still spiritual when He does appear in a material way.  When Moses saw God, he saw God’s glory.  (Exo 24:11,17 KJV) “ And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.  And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.”  In fact, that was what Moses requested to see in Exodus chapter thirty-three.  (Exo 33:18 KJV)  “And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.”  While space would not permit an in depth study of the glory of God, we can find from reading Exodus chapters thirty-three and thirty-four that the glory of God is the beauty of His nature, character, and attributes.  Moses saw the beauty of God in His person more than His physical appearance.  You see, when God appeared to men, it was not for the purpose of demonstrating to them His looks.  God has never appeared to man in such a fashion as for man to get a good picture of a physical appearance.  There is a reason for this: God knew man would make an image of what he saw if God appeared to Him in such a way.  (Deu 4:15-19 KJV)  “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” 

God appeared for the purpose of communicating with man.  From the time God met with Adam in the garden till the time Jesus came, God’s appearances were for the purpose of revealing His will, way and purpose to man.  (See Hebrews 1:1-3;2:1-4;12:25-27 for examples and teaching concerning this truth)  Jesus Himself is the Word of God.  He is the eternal Word, yet He is the revealed Word, too.  (John 1:18 KJV)  “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”   Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God to sinful man.  Jesus manifest God to us.

All the while that God has manifest Himself to us, however, He has manifest His word, will, way, character, and glory.  While God by nature is invisible, to communicate with man, He must appeal to the senses which He has given man.  Man’s main avenues of perceiving facts are seeing and hearing. The manifestation of God to man has been through these avenues.  Man cannot perceive that which is not presented to his senses.  Thus God has revealed Himself to us.  While God has thus manifested Himself to us, believe it or not, in so doing He has hidden Himself from us.  God is so great that He fills Heaven and earth. (Jer 23:24 KJV)  “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.”  Again, this shows us why God must be spirit, and not confined to a body.  He fills Heaven and earth.  God transcends material existence.  God also, by manifesting Himself to us through that which is material, has not shown us many things about Himself.  Just as the natural creation cannot show all the glory of God, even more so is a human body unable to show the fulness of God.  As Habakkuk saw the glory of God, he realized that, while God revealed much about His greatness, much was hidden from man. Man does not have the capacity to receive unlimited knowledge.  If God were to fully reveal Himself to us, He would be giving unlimited knowledge to finite man.  God is so great that, when He reveals Himself to us, there is so much more that is not revealed that it is, as it were, hidden.  (Hab 3:3,4 KJV)  “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.  And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.”  What a revelation of how great God is!  He cannot be fully manifest by anything material, nor comprehended fully by the human mind!  (Job 26:14 KJV)  “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?”

Another objection that is raised is the fact that God is spoken of as having bodily parts.  (See Isa.51:9;53:1 the arm of the Lord; Deut.8:3;Isa.1:20 the mouth of the Lord; 2Chron.16:9; Ps.33:18 the eye of the Lord; Ex.7:5; Ps. 75:8;Isa.62:8 the hand of the Lord)  Again, this is a good point that must be addressed.  One cannot assert one truth to the exclusion of another.  What is meant by these statements if God is spirit and not material?  This writer is convinced that these are anthropomorphisms, or an interpretation of what is not human in terms of human characteristics.  In other words, these references are God’s means of taking the truths of His greatness and communicating them to us in words and terms to which we can relate.  In other words, while God does not have hands, eyes, ears, or any other bodily parts, He speaks of Himself as having these terms so we can grasp the truth He is presenting about Himself.  This may be compared to adults talking “baby talk” to children so that the child can understand what is being said.  This is an accommodation to the infirmity of humans.  These statements that portray God as having bodily features are God “lisping” as He speaks to us, that we might know Him better.  Remember, God is first, foremost, and eternally spirit.  We must allow every other representation of God to fit within this framework, or else we misrepresent God.

Making God in Our Own Image?

There is a clear danger to be seen in believing that God has always inhabited a material body such as we have.  That danger is the possibility of idolatry.  Man has an incredible tendency to create an idol, even if that idol is in his own mind and not a physical reality.  (Let us not forget that covetousness is idolatry Col. 3:5)  This is the reason God did not appear to Israel in any bodily manner at Mt. Sinai.  The Lord knew that, if Israel saw a bodily representation of God, they would make an image of that appearance of God, and worship the image instead of God.  It is probably for this same reason that the manifestation of God at other times was so awe-inspiring, fear inducing, and the message and character of God overshadowed the physical appearance which was before men.

Paul told the Roman church that the condemnation of the human race came because men did not give God the glory due Him.  In fact, they lowered God by trading His magnificence for an image that was like men (See Rom.1:18-23).  They actually decided to make God in their own image!  In doing so they tried to elevate man, and obscured the glory of God.  God simply cannot be fully represented by or in anything material.  God is spirit and transcends material existence.  The Lord complained of the Israelites, “thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.” (Ps. 50:21)  God is not like we are.  We made in the image of God, but God is so much greater than we that we will never measure up to what God is.   If we could, then we would be God, and that is an impossibility.

Finally, we must see that this truth carries great implications for our worship.  (John 4:24 KJV)  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  Many times we think of worship as something we do in the flesh.  Worship is spiritual because God is spirit.  God does not need anything from us (See Ps.50:9-15,22,23; Acts 17:22-31).  He does not hunger, thirst, or suffer need of any kind.  He is self-sufficient and all sufficient. God has no bodily passions or desires to be fulfilled either.  Worship is spiritual in our giving Him the honor that is His due.  He is worthy of our praise.  Remember that God rebuked the Pharisees for their fleshly worship saying, (Mat 15:7-9KJV)  “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  True worship is the acknowledging the worth of God.  While it may manifest itself by deeds done in the flesh, worship is spiritual because God is spirit.  If we consider God to be flesh, we will worship Him in a way that corresponds to our belief.  We will seek to present fleshly worship, because we feel that is how God is to be approached.  Knowing that God is spirit, we can come to Him at all times, at any place and worship Him from the depths of our hearts.  Worship is not about Mt. Gerizim or Jerusalem, Samaritan or Jew, black or white.  Worship is to be in spirit and in truth.  Worship must conform to the truth of who God is.  When we recognize the infinite glory of God in His spiritual essence and praise Him for that greatness, we have worshipped in spirit and in truth.  (John 4:24 KJV)  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.