The Nature of God
"The study of God is the greatest one in which we can engage. It is one subject which is truly inexhaustible."
This is the opening line from our text. The goal of this course is not only to know God, but also to correct unworthy notions about God by consulting God's Word. As we do this, it will become more and more obvious how practical it is to know the true God of the Bible. The knowledge of God should lead to both proper and effective ministry to others. In other words, we are to know Him, to grow in Him, to show Him.
I. Knowing God is Important!
You are going to tell us why. The spaces below are for you to fill out. Give four or five reasons why knowing God is important -- from the Bible. With reference. We will discuss your answers next week. (Actually, we won't. This is from my outline I handed out. It would be a good thing to do if you are teaching on the attributes of God. The original outline also has blank spaces below, numbered one to five).
II. How can we Know God?
The text mentions five rational arguments (and one scriptural) that imply the existence of God: Cosmological, Teleological, Moral, Ontological, Religious, and Scriptural. All of these, however, without God's enlightenment, will not lead to a saving and abundant knowledge of God.
According to the Bible there are really only two ways of knowing God: Natural and spiritual revelation.
A. Natural (or General) Revelation: "The heavens declare" certain facts about God, but not others. Reveals God as Creator, but not as Redeemer (Acts 14:17; 17:27, Psalm 19: 1 - 3). It especially reveals nothing about the Good News of Christ Jesus*.
B. Spiritual (or Special) Revelation: Reveals God as Redeemer, not just Creator.
"Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hasn't revealed it unto you, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 16:17)
III. Obstacles to Knowing God:
A. Idolatry (including unworthy concepts of God)
1. "Ignorance" of God: Many have no knowledge of the God of the Bible. Rom. 1:18- 23.
2. Misunderstanding of God: Psalm 50:22.
One of the first task of the Holy Spirit is to first teach what God is not like. ("Michael" - "Who is like God"). These misconceptions must first be taken away.
B. Lack of the Word
C. Disobedience darkens our understanding of Him (Luke 8:18; Matt. 25:29) and arrests our progress (Heb. 5:11- 14).
IV. The Nature of God: Overview
A. God is a Personal Being
B. God is Spirit
C. God is One = Triune
The "Shema" - "Hear, Oh Israel, the LORD your God is one LORD..." (Deut. 6:4)
D. God is Trinity = Triune
1. Trinity defined:
2. Trinity illustration: There is none.
Illustrations not to use: Every single one you may have heard.
3. Trinity necessary
a. Taught and implied in Scripture. (See text)
b. Implied by God's nature. God is an eternal personal Being. His communicated attributes (His love, for instance) necessarily imply an object to be expressed toward. (God's love couldn't wait until there was something else to love, because this would imply a changing, growing God. However, God always was a God of love. Thus, Trinity is necessary.
c. Required in our salvation. (Jonah 2:9)
Next Lesson: The Infinitude of God.
* There are a number of good books that are good general studies of the nature of God. Here are just two. The first is somewhat daunting in style, but richly rewarding. The second is much more accessible, being fairly recently written:
"The Nature and Attributes of God" by Stephen Charnock
"Knowing God" by J.I. Packer
** There is a trend today to treat natural revelation as being on equal par with the written Word. Hugh Ross, for instance, says that the visible creation is "the 67th book of the Bible". How is this counter to what the Bible actually states? See also this Web page which examines Ross' view in light of Psalm 19: