神论 – 论及神的教义
圣经教义 – 有关的重要信仰
作者： 马可. 康布隆 神学博士 Mark G. Cambron, D.D.
A. Elohim. 以罗欣
B. Jehovah. 耶和华
C. Adonai 阿多奈
“Theology”这个字源出希腊字“theos”- 意思为“神”。 因此，“theology（神论）/（神学）”所代表的就是神的教义。在开始学习圣经裡的许多教义之前，我们必需从万物之本源- 神 开始！ 没有任何人，没有任何物是存在祂之前的。在万有以先，祂已经存在了。(创世纪1:1)“ 起初，神创造天地….” ;（希伯来书1:1) “神在古时，多次多方… 晓谕列祖“ ; (约翰福音1:1）“太初有道，道与神同在，道就是神”
人`地或物的名字是根据其被人所认识/所知道的来称呼。神的名字是祂被人所认知的那些称呼。神的这些名字标示出来祂的性质。没错，神的这些名字是根据祂子民所知道的祂而来的。如(诗篇54:1a) “神啊、求你以你的名救我…”; (诗篇9:10)“耶和华阿、认识你名的人要倚靠你．”。
英文钦定版圣经（King James Version）通过使用印刷体的字体大小来区分神的名字。因此，当你在英文钦定版读到“God”这个词时，你知道那是从希伯来文的Elohim翻译出来的;而 “LORD(耶和华)”，“GOD(神)”，“LORD GOD（耶和华神）”，“LORD God （主耶和华）”等字词是从希伯来文的Jehovah（耶和华）翻译出来的。而“lord(主)”这个词是来自于Adonai这词。这些名词，Elohim，Jehovah 与 Adonai 每一个都描述到神的性格和祂对人类作为的性质，区别出圣徒和罪人。
A. Elohim（发音 E-LO-HIM).被翻译为“神”的这个字， Elohim，在圣经出现共超过二千三百次。然而，这不是神的名字，而是神的职称头衔 – 指出祂的所是， 神！ – 而（ Elohim）以罗欣，这个词不仅用于神，而且也被用在人的身上（如诗篇82:6 -“我曾说:你们是神、都是至高者的儿子。” ，与约翰福音10:34-35）；Elohim 也被用来称呼偶像，(如,出埃及记34:17：“不可为自己铸造神像。” 的原文都是使用Elohim这词)。Elohim是神的头衔/称呼，如同“总统/总裁”这个词是个职位的头衔那样，。‘总统’是一个国家最高元首的职称头衔。这不是他的名字，而是他的头衔。同样的，在民间的各公司机构裡有许多种类的总裁。神的头衔是Elohim以罗欣 – 是他的职称。
以罗欣（Elohim）是个複数名。我们说过,複数表示是二或更多。在英文的表达上是如此，但在希伯来文却不是。在英文的文法我们有两种说法： 单，表示一；而双，等于二；複词通常表示三或更多。因此， 以罗欣(Elohim) 是个複名词： 三或更多。 在创世纪1:1 记载：“ 起初神God[三或更多]创造天地”。另一处显示神是三位一体能在创世纪1:26,27 看到： “神[Elohim]说：我们要照着我们的形像、按着我们的样式造人 ”。
当LORD[耶和华]在燃烧的荆棘中向摩西显现，并交託他带领以色列人出埃及进入应许之地时，“摩西问 神说：我到以色列人那裡、对他们说，你们祖宗的 神打发我到你们这裡来．他们若问我说，他叫甚麽名字？我要对他们说甚麽呢？”。“神对摩西说：我是自有永有的．又说，你要对以色列人这样说、那自有的打发我到你们这裡来。”（出埃及记3：13,14）。耶和华是永恆的自有永有者。在耶和华本身是没有过去也没有未来的;祂是永恆的现在，是自存永存的那一位 – 启示自己给人认识的至高者。
是的，耶和华这称呼与祂的子民之间总是有一种救赎的关连，但在神与所造之物（包括尚未得救者）之间的关係上总是使用以罗欣。这在今天也是一样。神是所有未得救之人的神；但在所有得救的人中，祂是耶和华，祂是圣父。约拿书就说明了这一点。在约拿书的第三章和第四章中，城裡的人是求告以罗欣（Elohim），但约拿是求告耶和华（Jehovah）！他们是失丧的; 约拿是得救的。后来他们得救了，在他们得救恩之后，他们于是便能求告耶和华了。参见其他经文：士师记7:14, 15;历代志下19:6-9; 创世记7:16; 撒母耳记上17:46。
原文圣经裡神还有另一个名字，那就是JAH。它只在钦定版中出现过一次，但在更正后的新钦定版翻译中又出现过48次。一些圣经学者认为JAH是耶和华（Jahovah）的缩写。意思是一样的。 （诗篇68:4） “你们要歌颂神，唱扬他的名，向那乘驾密云者高献赞歌，奉耶和华他的名，在他面前欢跃。”。 JAH这个名字首次在出埃及记15:2中首次出现, 并且总是与讚美联在一起。我们相信创世纪1:1中“神”（Elohim）一词的複数形态明确无误的表明了三一神创造了天地。然而，我们也发现当代的思维在这方面所做的解释有所不同。现代思维说，圣经的这一部分应该这麽写：“起初，几位神创造了天地。”。这样解释的原因，他们说，是因为以色列人在开始时相信许多的神，但他们的宗教后来演变成一神教。这种推理的形式对于很多神学生来说，证明很困难。但是，到底有没任何经文可以反驳这一点呢？
绝对是有的。请看申命记6:4 – “以色列阿、你要听．耶和华我们 神是独一的主。” . . .好，在这段经文中将以罗欣和耶和华放在这经文的正确位置裡，你会看到神的话语很直白的启示这位在创世纪1:1裡的三一神 （三位一体神）。申命记6:4 “以色列啊，你要听，，耶和华(JEHOVAH)，我们的神ELOHIM（三或三位以上）是独一的耶和华JEHOVAH”。 由此，你能看出，人从开始是信仰一个神，后来堕落沉沦了，于是“将不能朽坏之 神的荣耀、变为偶像、彷彿必朽坏的人、和飞禽走兽昆虫的样式了”（罗马书1:23）。
C. Adonai. 阿多奈
亚伯兰说：(Lord GOD) 主耶和华啊、我既无子、你还赐我甚麽呢．并且要承受我家业的、是大马色人以利以谢。”
在钦定版（KJV)的旧约翻译，阿多奈（Adonai）一直被认为是“主” （Lord / lord）。这个词有两种不同的形式：单数的形式-Adon，与複数的Adonai。阿多奈这词在圣经裡面论到到人和这人在世上的，关係时，有两种用法：1- 如主人对僕人的关係，是他僕人的主 -（创世纪24:9，l0a） “僕人就把手放在他主人亚伯拉罕的大腿底下、为这事向他起誓。那僕人从他主人的骆驼裡取了十匹骆驼、并带些他主人各样的财物、起身往米所波大米去……“; 2- 如丈夫对于妻子的关係，是妻子的主 – （彼得前书3:6）说，“就如撒拉听从亚伯拉罕、称他为主[，称他为 阿多奈] ……”。也参见创世记18:12。
1.耶和华 – 以勒 – “耶和华必预备。” （创22: 14）“亚伯拉罕给那地方起名叫耶和华以勒〔意思就是耶和华必预备〕直到今日人还说、在耶和华的山上必有预备。”。那是亚伯拉罕带着他儿子`他的独生子以撒,来到山上时的事件。以撒带着燔祭的木头;亚伯拉罕拿着刀和火。他的儿子以撒问：献燔祭的羊羔在那裡呢？父亲亚伯拉罕回答说：“神必自己预备作燔祭的羊羔”。神确实那样做了！当亚伯拉罕伸手拿刀、要杀他的儿子作为神的牺牲祭物时，耶和华的使者止住了他的手; 亚伯拉罕举目观看、见到耶和华所赐的公羊、两角扣在稠密的小树中。
在约两千多年前，神的儿子带上，他自己，背着一个木头重担 ，十字架; 而天父止住了火（审判）和刀（死亡）的临到人类，神确实为我们的罪预备了被杀献祭的牺牲 -就是祂的儿子- 我们的主和救主，耶稣基督 – 祂献自己被杀作为祭物。你已经找到他作为你的耶和华以勒了吗？请记住，无论发生什麽，祂是耶和华 – 以勒 – “耶和华必预备。”
2. 耶和华 – 拉法 – 意思为 “耶和华- 那医治你的”。（出埃及记15:26）[耶和华]说，你若留意听耶和华你 神的话、又行我眼中看为正的事、留心听我的诫命、守我一切的律例、我就不将所加与埃及人的疾病加在你身上、因为我耶和华是医治你的。（原文为： 因为我是耶和华-拉法）”（出埃及记15:26）。祂是耶和华，是医生。这裡所採用的方式不是“我会治好你的疾病”;而是，“我不会让疾病沾染到你身上。”
这世界现被称为“病了的世界”;利文斯通（Livingstone)称非洲为“敞开的浓疮”; 造成这的原因是罪的深深伤口！ “医治”这字是个引人关注的词，意思是修复，弥补，治愈。在耶和华 – 拉法 里面有完美的医治，“因他受鞭伤我们得医治”（彼得前书2:24）。也参见诗篇41:4。
4.耶和华 – 可达许–“使人成圣的耶和华”。（利20:8） “你们要谨守遵行我的律例．我是叫你们成圣的耶和华。我是[耶和华 – 可达许]。基督徒的耶和华神与希伯来人的耶和华是一样的。（希伯来书10:9,10 ： ““看哪！我来了，是要遵行你的旨意。… 我们凭着这旨意，藉着耶稣基督一次献上他的身体，就得以成圣。” 。另见希伯来书10:14，出埃及记31:13。
5.耶和华 – 沙龙 – “耶和华赐平安” 。（士师记6:24）“于是基甸在那裡为耶和华筑了一座坛、起名叫耶和华沙龙〔就是耶和华赐平安的意思〕这坛在亚比以谢族的俄弗拉直到如今。”。今天只有一种方法可以保障平安，那就是透过主耶稣基督。他是我们的平安：“ 因他使我们和睦，将两下合而为一，拆毁了中间隔断的牆。”（以弗所书2:14）。另见罗马书5:1。
6.耶和华 – 齐恳努 – “耶和华我们的义。” （耶利米书23:6) “在他的日子，犹大必得救，以色列也安然居住。他的名必称为耶和华我们的义。” 。以色列将再次于所应许之地被建立，在千禧年期间，耶和华将被称为耶和华 – 齐恳努- 主耶和华我们的义。”。主已经来了，唯一的义人，世人却将祂钉在十字架上。但有一天，祂将第二次再来，以色列要称主耶稣基督为他们自己的义。基督耶稣是唯一可以被称为义的那一位。
7.耶和华 – 沙玛 – “耶和华的所在。”（以西结书48:35） “城四围共一万八千肘．从此以后、这城的名字、必称为[耶和华 – 沙玛] -耶和华的所在 ”。当以色列人从这片土地被重新建立以后，地上的人都认识耶和华的时候，耶路撒冷就会被称为耶和华 – 沙玛 – “耶和华的所在。”
8.耶和华 – 萨巴斯 – “万军之耶和华”。（撒母而记上.1:3a）“ 这人每年都要从本城上到示罗，敬拜祭祀万军之耶和华（耶和华 – 萨巴斯 。 ” 。以色列是那城的主持人; 耶和华是万军之主宰者。另见出埃及记12:41; 列王纪下6:14-23; 罗马书9:29; 雅各书5:4
9.耶和华 Ra-ah – “耶和华我的牧者。” （诗篇23:1）“耶和华[耶和华-Ra-ah]是我的牧者，我必不至缺乏”。… 有一次，一个小女孩引用这节经文时，她是这样说的：“耶和华是我的牧者啊，我为什麽还需要忧虑呢？” …. 你有没有找到那力量的源头呢？无论祂会带领你到哪裡，你有没有藉着跟随救主的带领而找到无比的平安呢？ 恐惧将不会搅扰你; 黑暗也无法折磨你; 如果耶稣是你的耶和华-Ra-ah – 是你的牧者的话，贫穷是无法摧毁你的。
1. El Elyon – “至高神”。 （创世记14:18）“ 又有撒冷王麦基洗德、带着饼和酒、出来迎接．他是至高神[El Elyon]的祭司。”。在英文钦定版裡，这个名字被翻译为“至高神。” Elyon 意思为至高; 与El在一起，意思为至高的神。参见申命记32:8;但以理书4:34,35。耶稣基督是我们的至高神 – El Elyon – “天上地下所有的权柄都赐给我了”（马太福音28:18b）。
2. El Olam – “永生神。” （创21:33）“ 亚伯拉罕在别是巴栽上一棵垂丝柳树、又在那裡求告耶和华永生 神的名。” 。是的，上帝是‘永生神“是“永恆的上帝” – “万世万代的神”。
3. El Shaddai – “全能的神。” 这词在创世记17:1中首次出现：“亚伯兰年九十九岁的时候、耶和华向他显现、对他说：我是 [El Shaddai]（即：我是全能的神），你当在我面前作完全人” … “El”意味着强者。 Shaddai来自shad这个词，意思是喂乳者，滋养者。出现在以赛亚书28:9 的那部分就说明了这一点， （以赛亚书28:9) “讥诮先知的说、他要将知识指教谁呢、要使谁明白传言呢．是那刚断奶离怀的麽？” 因此，El Shaddai意味着神是滋养者，力量的赐予者，是满足人的那一位。世界各地的学习圣经的人所持有的最珍贵的神的名字之一就是这一个 – 赐力量的，满足一一切的神，全然丰盛的神，完全足够的神！凡事都能的神。 “他也是能拯救到底的神”（希伯来书7:25）。。。为什麽？因为主耶稣基督是我们的El Shaddai–是“全能的神”。
2.无神论。持有这种信仰的人 – 是所谓的 – 完全排除了有神。
6.多神论。相信许多神。说有各样的神在我们之上; 这些神之上又有众神; 众神之上还有神，等等。
10.独一神论。信神是一位的教义。我们是独一神论者。犹太人-犹太教和穆罕默德的回教是一神论。如果是这样的话，他们也是得救的吗？… 不！（雅各书2:19） “你信 神只有一位、你信的不错。鬼魔也信、却是战惊。”。。。相信有一位神，这是不够的，但 “你若口裡认耶稣为主、心裡信 神叫他从死裡复活、就必得救．”（罗马书10:9）。
a.直觉论证：这在人身上，有时被称为“第一真理”; ，就是在没有人透露出那事实的情况下，就知道有一位神的那信念/那认知。小孩子知道有一位神，是谁告诉过他的？世上所有种族的人都知道有一位神，儘管他们并不敬拜独一的真神。这世上并没有真正的无神论者。神存在的证据是在人裡面 – 与生俱来的。
b.宇宙论证：这是根据因果的论证。说，你看世界 – 它是怎麽来的？每件事物的背后都有个因或力量。必需有製造者或创造者。很容易思想创造的背后是神，但却不可能思想神的背后是什麽。
c. 目的论证： 这裡的意思是设计的目的。在整个宇宙中有完美的设计和秩序。雪花的图桉很美，但人累永远无法複製出两片一样图桉的雪花。为什麽水冻结成冰后是浮在到水面而不是冻结后沉到底部呢？因为如果不是这样的话，那麽所有的水最终都会冻结，所有的鱼就会全部死亡的。春夏秋冬是怎麽可能如此有序的交替，这样持续了几千年以上？为什麽太阳不再靠近地球一点（会融化）也不离开地球太远（会冻结）呢？所有这些创造的背后都一定有位设计者 -而 那位设计师就是神，是上帝！
2.从历史的证明。真的，历史的英文history 是His -story 祂的故事！历史验证出有一位神的事实。历史证明了神反对那些拒绝祂律法之人的事实。因此，基督徒们永远不应该担心世界的状况。神正坐在祂的宝座上。若不是在祂的旨意下的话，什麽事都不会发生的。有人曾说过，“预言是历史的模子。”。神说话，多年后他所说的话就会全部成就，不多也不少，历史只能实现神所曾说过的将要发生的事。历史证明了有一位神！
b.基督的启示。神在耶稣基督裡，来到人间告诉我们神是什麽样的。如果耶稣不是神的话，那麽就没有神。神永远不会为人所知道。（约翰福音1:18） “从来没有人看见 神．只有在父怀裡的独生子将他表明出来”。但耶稣基督是神的儿子，耶稣和祂的生命证明出神的存在！
c. 预言的宣布。神预告未来。任何能做到这一点的人都超乎人以上。人连过去都无法都能说的对，更不用说预告未来了。当基督被钉十字架上时，有二十五个明显的预言都应验了 – 而那些预言都是在 几个世纪以前就写下来的预言。
a. 神是灵 – （约翰福音4:24）“神是灵．所以拜他的、必须用心灵和诚实拜他。”
b. 神是光 – （约翰一书1:5）“神就是光,在他亳无黑暗.这是我们从主所听见,又报给你们的信息”
c. 神是爱 -（约翰一书4:8）“没有爱心的、就不认识 神。因为 神就是爱”
d. 神是烈火 – （希伯来书12:29）“因为我们的 神乃是烈火。”
b. 斯特隆博士（Strong）： – “神是无限的和完美的灵。是万物的源头，是万物的维繫，万物的终结。”
c.富勒 （Andrew Fuller）： – “神是万物的第一因和最后的结局。”
d. 埃布拉德（ Ebrards）： – “神是一切短暂间隙的永恆根源。”
1.他的本质。他是一个属灵的存在（“神是个灵” – 约翰福音4:24），人是看不见的（“爱子是那不能看见之 神的像” – 歌罗西书1：15a）。灵是什麽？灵是无骨无肉的一种存在。（路加福音24:39） “你们看我的手、我的脚、就知道实在是我了．摸我看看．魂无骨无肉、你们看我是有的。 ”。灵有一个体，一个灵体; 但它没有自然界的身体，没有物质的身体。人眼看不到神;从来没有看到过神纯全的本体。 “从来没有人看见 神。只有在父怀裡的独生子将祂表明出来。”（约翰福音1:18）。
在圣经裡似乎有一些矛盾之处;比如在某些地方，说有人们看见神：（出埃及记33:11）“耶和华与摩西面对面说话、好像人与朋友说话一般” ; “然后摩西、亚伦、拿答、亚比户、并以色列长老中的七十人、都上了山。他们看见以色列的 神……”（出埃及记24：9,10）。… 而在其他地方，圣经说人不可能看见神：（出埃及记33:20）“耶和华说：你不能看见我的面、因为人见我的面不能存活。”。事实上，人类从来没有看见过神真实本体的面，而是当神以某种形式显现自己时，人看到神，并且与神面对面说话。（民数记12：8a）耶和华论到摩西时，说 “我要与他面对面说话…并且他必见我的形像…”。
我们确实知道，灵（圣灵）是可以用可见的形式显现自己的。 “约翰作见证说：我曾看见圣灵彷彿鸽子、从天降下、住在他的身上。”（约翰福音1:32）。在主耶稣的洗礼中，施洗约翰看到的是圣灵所显现的形式，却不是看到圣灵的实体; 然而圣灵是显现了。
a. 以生物的形像现象。我们并不是说耶和华以动物的形式出现，而是以人的形像出现。创世纪3:8和12:7充分地说明了这一点：“天起了凉风、耶和华 神在园中行走。那人和他妻子听见 神的声音、就藏在园裡的树木中、躲避耶和华 神的面”；…（创世记12:7）“耶和华向亚伯兰显现、说、我要把这地赐给你的后裔．亚伯兰就在那裡为向他显现的耶和华筑了一座坛”。参见创世纪16:7,10,13; 出埃及记24:9-11; 创世纪18:1-16; 士师记13:22,23; 创世纪32:24-30。
神也以耶和华的使者的身份显现 – （诗篇34：7“耶和华的使者、在敬畏他的人四围安营、搭救他们。”（诗篇34：7）; （创世纪16:9-11）“耶和华的使者对他说、你回到你主母那裡、服在他手下。又说、我必使你的后裔极其繁多、甚至不可胜数。并说、你如今怀孕要生一个儿子、可以给他起名叫以实玛利、因为耶和华听见了你的苦情。”。大多数圣经学者都同意，耶和华的使者不是别人，正是主耶稣祂自己。
c.在基督耶稣裡显现。我们再次说，我们欢喜，神选择在祂的儿子耶稣基督的形式显现自己！神并没有选择以烟气来显现自己，而是以人的形式显现出来：“太初有道、道与 神同在、道就是 神。 。 。道成了肉身、住在我们中间、充充满满的有恩典有真理。我们也见过他的荣光、正是父独生子的荣光 。”（约翰福音1:1,14）。另见提摩太前书3:16; 希伯来书1:3。
1.從名字中。（出埃及记3:14） “神对摩西说、我是自有永有的．又说、你要对以色列人这样说、那自有的打发我到你们这裡来。”。 “我是自有永有者”这个词暗示着位格。
2.在对比上。藉此我们的意思是，圣经将全智慧的独一真神与异教徒的诸神做了对比：（帖撒罗尼迦前书1:9）“你们是怎样离弃偶像归向 神，要服事那又真又活的 神”。参见耶利米书10:16; 使徒行传14:15。
a. 神会伤心。 唯那有位格的才可能会悲伤：（创世记6:6）“耶和华就后悔造人在地上、心中忧伤。”
c.神会爱。 “神爱世人，甚至将他的独生子赐给他们，叫一切信他的，不至灭亡，反得永生”（约翰福音3:16）。…. “凡我所疼爱的、我就责备管教他．所以你要发热心、也要悔改。”（启示录3:19）。只有有位格的才可能会爱。
d. 神会恨。“耶和华所恨恶的有六样，连他心所憎恶的共有七样。” (箴言6:16)
e.神会听。“ 造耳朵的、难道自己不听见麽．造眼睛的、难道自己不看见麽．管教列邦的、就是叫人得知识的、难道自己不惩治人麽？” (诗篇94:9,10)
b.神供应。（诗篇104:27-30） “这都仰望你按时给他食物。你给他们、他们便拾起来。你张手、他们饱得美食。你掩面、他们便惊惶．你收回他们的气、他们就死亡归于尘土。你发出你的灵、他们便受造．你使地面更换为新。” 整个世界的物质需求都是靠神供应而满足的。
c.神使人高升。有些人似乎超越在其他人之前。这世上有一个说法，叫 – 幸运。但更确切的答桉，是耶和华使人高升的！王从耶和华那裡得到权柄;牧师们从祂那裡得到充电; 丈夫们从神那裡领受他们的妻子。所有的高升都是来自于主。 “因为高举非从东、非从西、也非从南而来。惟有 神断定．祂使这人降卑、使那人升高。”（诗篇75:6,7）。
d.神看顾。神有颗心; 只有有位格的才有心。神顾念：“ 你们要自卑、… 要将一切的忧虑卸给 神、因为他顾念你们。”（彼得前书5：6,7）。
我们知道圣经是神的话语，这就是为什麽我们有三位一体的启示，没有其他的原因。如果圣经是出于人而不是出于神的启示默示，那麽写的人是不会在圣经裡写到三位一体的;因为三位一体太难理解了 – 人的思想无法理解这奥秘。神的儿女唯一能做的就是凭着信心接受三位一体的这启示，并且在神在这启示上所说的持守。仅只因为我们似乎无法全面的理解三位一体，并不足以表明它并不是真的。
还有另一个该受谴责的说法，不但完全否认了三位一体，更是让神子耶稣和圣灵成为受造物，成为先有神的存在之后再产生的那些生命。换句话说，坚持这谬论的人们宣称有一段时间没有神子耶稣; 说有一段时期，神的儿子从未存在过。他们的推理说：“一个儿子不可能像他父亲一样的年长 – 父亲必须在儿子之前先存在才能生下他;父神是子神的的爸爸; 因此，父必须在儿子之前存在才能生下他。”。。。。。。对于这推理，我们的回答是：”如果一个人宣布说他是个父亲，并且已经当了十年的父亲了，那麽我们知道他已经有一个孩子十年了。若是没有孩子，这人不可能当父亲啊。没错，一个已经做了十年父亲的人是已经有了儿子十年了。即便如此，在神性中 – 如果神是永恆的父，那麽他一定有一个永恆的儿子！”
三位一体的教义是纯粹由神所启示的教义。请记住，我们不是敬拜三个神，而是敬拜一神 – 圣父，圣子和圣灵。
实际上我们不可能举例子说明三位一体。有些人以三叶草作为例子; 有些人用水的三态为例：在自然状态下，是液体; 被加热后，是气体; 被冷冻时，是固体。仍然，这样的解释还是不清楚。 因为神是三合一的！因此，我们提出最好的例证是人自己：身体，魂和灵；并不是三个人，而是一个三合一的人。而有三件事物分别与这三样有关：食物之对于身体，音乐之对于魂，敬拜之对于灵 – 但这三件东西在这个人身上同时具备。
来自太阳的光线可以用来作另一个例子。当阳光照在地球上时，它由三个元素所组成：1-热射线，可以感觉到但却看不见; 2- 光线，可以看到，却感觉不到; 3-化学射线（紫外线），看不见，也感觉不到，但确实会对人有影响。这些在一起造成了阳光。我们无法理解光 – 三种射线但却是一道光。缺少这些元素的其中之一就不会有光; 而灵`魂`体只要缺了一样，人就不再是人; 同样的，缺少神格的其中一个位格，上帝就不会是上帝了！
（1）複数名词“起初[Elohim]创造了天地”（创1:1）。 Elohim是複数名词，意思是三个或更多。当然，这表明在创造时是三位一体。参见创世记3:5; 出埃及记20:3; 申命记13：2,3。很多时候Elohim在英文被翻译出来是以单数和复数来呈现。
（2）複数的人称代名词。（创世记3:22） “耶和华 神说、那人已经与我们相似、能知道善恶．现在恐怕他伸手又摘生命树的果子喫、就永远活着．……” 。另参见创世记1:26; 以赛亚书6:8。这是神在对神说话 – 因此是三位一体。
（3）圣经的陈述。圣经说神膏抹了神，如果神不是三位一体，这怎麽可能呢？（诗篇45:6,7） “神阿、你的宝座是永永远远的．你的国权是正直的。你喜爱公义、恨恶罪恶。所以 神、就是你的 神,用喜乐油膏你,胜过膏你的同伴”。另见希伯来书1:8-12;诗篇110:1。
圣子，三位一体的第二位格也被单独指出来：（诗篇2:7,12a）“受膏者说：“我要宣告耶和华的谕旨：耶和华对我说：‘你是我的儿子，我今日生了你。。 。 。 。当以嘴亲子、恐怕他发怒、你们便在道中灭亡……”。旧约圣经中的神的使者就是耶稣基督自己，在圣经裡，底下的部分经文，宣告祂与父神以及圣灵是分开的：（创16：7）“耶和华的使者在旷野、书珥路上的水泉旁遇见她（夏甲）“。
以下的经文清楚地揭示了神格的三位一体：创世纪18:1,2,33; 以赛亚书48:16; 63:8-10。
（5）三重表达。任何时候当圣经表达对神的讚美或祝福时，都会宣告三次，指出这一个事实，即神是三位一体的神，这些讚美或祝福的表达也必须是三个：（民数记6:24-26) “愿耶和华赐福给你,保护你。愿耶和华使他的脸光照你,赐恩给你。愿耶和华向你仰脸,赐你平安”…; 还有在（启示录4:8） “四个活物各有六个翅膀，里外布满了眼睛。他们昼夜不停地说：“圣哉！圣哉！圣哉！主、全能的 神，是昔在`今在`以后永在的。”。
（1）基督的洗礼。基督的洗礼是证明三位一体的最好的例证之一：（马太福音3:16,17）“耶稣受了洗、随即从水裡上来．天忽然为他开了、他就看见 神的灵、彷彿鸽子降下、落在他身上。从天上有声音说、这是我的爱子、我所喜悦的。”。这裡显示出来有：天父，水中的圣子，与如鸽子降下来的圣灵。（2）洗礼的程式。在基督耶稣裡的神的教会一直使用其建立者耶稣基督所立下了的的那个公式：“所以你们要去、使万民作我的门徒、奉父`子`圣灵的名、给他们施洗．…..“（马太福音28:19,20）。请注意，圣经裡并不是用複数名称说“奉…的名”;而是用单数名词说，“奉…的名。” 是三合一;一个神，但三个位格：圣父，圣子和圣灵。
（4）其他经文。下面的经文清楚地揭示了三位一体的事实：(约翰福音14:26) “ 但保惠师、就是父因我的名所要差来的圣灵、他要将一切的事、指教你们、并且要叫你们想起我对你们所说的一切话。”。
2.存在的合一：不可分割和无法见到的。有一位神;他是独一无二的神：“主耶和华阿、你本为大．照我们耳中听见没有可比你的．除你以外再无 神。”（撒母耳记下7:22） ; “谁行作成就这事、从起初宣召历代呢、就是我耶和华、我是首先的、也与末后的同在。”（赛41：4）。参见以赛亚书43:10,11; 44:6; 申命记6:4。
神 – 伊罗兴（Elohim） – 是一个複合/融合的合一;也就是说，这个名词，神（複名词），总是与单动词一起被使用：（创1:1）“起初，神[複名词]创造了[单动词]天地”; （约书亚记22:22）“大能者 神耶和华。大能者 神耶和华、他是知道的。以色列人也必知道。我们若有悖逆的意思、或是干犯耶和华．（愿你今日不保佑我们）”。这一节经文在原文裡是“耶和华（单词），众神之神（複词）。耶和华（单词），众神之神（複词）、他是知道的。以色列人也必知道。我们若有悖逆的意思、或是干犯耶和华（单词），（愿你今日不保佑我们）”。另见创世纪1:5,8,13; 33:20。
(1) 圣父被认定是神。（罗马书1:7） “我写信给你们在罗马为 神所爱、奉召作圣徒的众人。愿恩惠平安、从我们的父 神、并主耶稣基督、归与你们。”。另见约翰福音6:27;彼得前书1:2。
(2) 圣子被认定是神。（希伯来书1:8） “论到子却说：神阿、你的宝座是永永远远的、你的国权是正直的。”; （提多书2:12,13）“教训我们… 在今世自守、公义、敬虔度日．等候所盼望的福、并等候至大的 神、我们救主耶稣基督的荣耀显现。”。
(3) 圣灵被认定是神。 （使徒行传5:3,4）“ 彼得说、亚拿尼亚,为甚麽撒但充满了你的心、叫你欺哄圣灵、把田地的价银私自留下几分呢? 田地还没有卖、不是你自己的麽．既卖了、价银不是你作主麽．你怎麽心裡起这意念呢．你不是欺哄人、是欺哄 神了。。b. Three Are Described as Distinct Persons. 三位是以不同位格的区分被描述出来
（b）圣父和圣子分别被区分为 Begetter(生的）（和Begotten（被生的）。见约翰福音3:16 “神爱世人、甚至将他的独生子赐给他们、叫一切信他的、不至灭亡、反得永生。”。
（a) 圣子将圣灵与自己及圣父区分出来。 （约翰福音14:16-17）: “我要求父、父就另外赐给你们一位保惠师、叫他永远与你们同在、就是真理的圣灵、乃世人不能接受的．因为不见他、也不认识他．你们却认识他．因他常与你们同在、也要在你们裡面。”
（b) 圣灵是从圣父那裡而来。 （约翰福音15:26）：“但我要从父那裡差保惠师来、就是从父出来真理的圣灵．他来了、就要为我作见证”。
（c) 圣灵是由圣父与圣子差来的。（约翰福音15:26） “保惠师、就是父因我的名所要差来的圣灵、他要将一切的事、指教你们、并且要叫你们想起我对你们所说的一切话。”
我们的生命来自于一个外在的源头; 在某个时间点，我们人开始有了生命。（约翰福音5:36）耶稣说 “我有比约翰更大的见证．因为父交给我要我成就的事、就是我所作的事、这便见证我是父所差来的。”。我们人却不能这样说。
神性的本质无穷又无尽。（诗篇147:5） “我们的主为大、最有能力．他的智慧、无法测度。”; （约伯记11:7-9） “你考察、就能测透 神麽．你岂能尽情测透全能者麽。 他的智慧高于天、你还能作甚麽．深于阴间、你还能知道甚麽？其量,比地长、比海宽。”;（列王记上8:27） “神果真住在地上麽? 看哪!天和天上的天、尚且不足你居住的、何况我所建的这殿呢？” ; （罗马书11:33）“深哉! 神丰富的智慧和知识。他的判断、何其难测、他的踪迹何其难寻！”。另外参见以赛亚书66:1;诗篇113:5,6。
(诗篇113:5,6) “谁像耶和华我们的 神呢．他坐在至高之处、自己谦卑、观看天上地下的事。”
神的属性是一种完美存在的基本品质 – 属于神的。
这意味着神是全能的，无所不能的：“我听见好像群众的声音、众水的声音、大雷的声音、说、哈利路亚．因为主我们的 神、全能者、作王了。”（启示录19:6）; “耶稣看着他们说、在人这是不能的．在 神凡事都能。“（马太福音19:26）; “耶和华岂有难成的事麽？”（创18:14a）。
只有一件事可以限制神，那就是祂自己的圣洁的旨意。有些愚蠢的人可能会以提摩太后书2:13 来抗议：“我们纵然失信、祂仍是可信的．因为祂不能背乎自己。”。这人说，“这是神不能做的事。”….. 但,这不是能不能做的问题, 而是神要不要做的问题。
- 神拥有超乎自然的大能。（诗篇33:6-9） “诸天藉耶和华的命而造、万象藉他口中的气而成。他聚集海水如垒、收藏深洋在库房。愿全地都敬畏耶和华．愿世上的居民、都惧怕他。”; (哈该书2:6) “万军之耶和华如此说、过不多时我必再一次震动天地、沧海、与旱地．“。另见创世记1:1-3; 那鸿书 1:3-6。人必需有工具来造物 – 但是神需要开口说，事就完成了。
- 神有掌管人的权柄。（雅各书4：12-15） “设立律法和判断人的、只有一位、就是那能救人也能灭人的。你是谁、竟敢论断别人呢。嗐！你们有话说、今天明天我们要往某城裡去, 在那裡住一年,作买卖得利。其实明天如何,你们还不知道。你们的生命是甚麽呢？你们原来是一片云雾、出现少时就不见了。你们只当说、主若愿意、我们就可以活着，也可以作这事、或作那事。”。另见出埃及记4:11。
- 神有管辖天使的权力。 “地上所有的居民，在祂来说都是虚无；在天上的万军中，祂凭自己的意旨行事；在地上的居民中，也是这样；没有人能拦住他的手，或问祂说：‘你作什么？’。？” （但以理4:35）。
- 神有管辖撒旦的权柄。在约伯记1:12; 2:6我们注意到撒但是服在上帝之下的;（ 约伯记1:12） “耶和华对撒但说、凡他所有的、都在你手中．只是不可伸手加害于他。于是撒但从耶和华面前退去. . . . .（约伯记 2:6）耶和华对撒但说、他在你手中．只要存留他的性命。。 “我们从下面的经文中知道撒但的终结:（罗马书16:20a）“赐平安的 神、快要将撒但践踏在你们脚下。……”; （启示录20:2,10） “他捉住那龙、就是古蛇、又叫魔鬼、也叫撒但、把他捆绑一千年……那迷惑他们的魔鬼、被扔在硫磺的火湖裡、就是兽和假先知所在的地方．他们必昼夜受痛苦、直到永永远远。”。另见路加福音22:31,32。5.神有权柄胜过死亡。保罗祈祷，以弗所人能知道“ 神向我们这信的人所显的能力、是何等浩大、就是照他在基督身上、所运行的大能大力、使他从死裡复活、叫他在天上坐在自己的右边、远超过一切执政的、掌权的、有能的、主治的、和一切有名的。不但是今世的、连来世的也都超过了。”（以弗所书1:19-21））。最终，死亡将会被毁灭：“ 死亡和阴间也被扔在火湖裡．这是第二次的死。 ”（启示录20:14）。
B. 神的全知 （无所不知）
无所不知意味着“全都知道。” 神是“知晓万事万物的神” – 祂知道一切！（约翰一书3:20） “我们的心若责备我们， 神比我们的心大、一切事没有不知道的。”。
a.祂所造的无生命的创造物。 “他数点星宿的数目、一一称它的名。“（诗篇147:4）; “你岂不曾知道麽？你岂不曾听见麽？永在的 神耶和华、创造地极的主、并不疲乏、也不困倦．他的智慧无法测度。”（以赛亚书40:28）。
b.祂所造的野生动物。 “两个麻雀、不是卖一分银子麽？ 若是你们的父不许、一个也不能掉在地上。”（马太福音10:29）。
c.祂所造的人。 神完全了解人：（马太福音6：8）“你们不要喜欢他们，因为在你们问他之前，你们的父知道你们需要什麽你们不可效法他们．因为你们没有祈求以先、你们所需用的、你们的父早已知道了。”。他知道人的需要;他了解人需要什麽。他知道人的各种意念：（诗篇139:2 ） “我坐下、我起来、你都晓得．你从远处知道我的意念”。（诗篇94:11） “耶和华知道人的意念是虚妄的”。另见历代志上28:9和希伯来书4:13。
2. 涵盖所有的世代 。（使徒行传15:18）“这是自古以来就显明了这些事的主所说的”。这涵盖了过去，现在和未来。上帝可以看到过去，因为他已经告诉了我们几千年前发生的事（创世记）;现今的当前，对神而言是一本赤露敞开的书：希伯来书4:13）“被造的在 神面前没有一样不是显明的，万有在他的眼前都是赤露敞开的”（; 而未来，如过去和现在一样的被知晓。
神从一开始就知道结局会如何了。（彼得前书1:20）：“基督在创世以前、是预先被 神知道的，却在这末世、才为你们显现。”。列王纪上13:2也是神知道未来的一个奇妙的例证：一个婴儿在其出生前的三百年就被命名，它的名字来自于它将来的家庭和以后生活中要做的事情： （列王记上13:2)“神人奉耶和华的命令，向那祭坛喊叫，说：“祭坛哪，祭坛哪，耶和华这样说：‘看哪，大卫家要生一个儿子，名叫约西亚；他要把邱坛的祭司，就是在你上面烧香的，作祭物献在你上面。人的骨头也要在你上面焚烧。’” 另见以赛亚书44:28; 耶利米书1:5; 加拉太书1:15-16; 出埃及记3:19; 但以理书2:8。
3.包括一切的可能性。只有神知道，如果某些已经发生的事没有发生的话，结果会是如何 。（马太福音11:23） “迦百农啊！你会被高举到天上吗？你必降到阴间。在你那里行过的神迹，如果行在所多玛，那城还会存留到今天吗？”。又见撒母耳记上23:12; 以赛亚书48:18。
2. 保障这一目的的最好方式。在这裡，智慧坚固其本身，不仅选择能带荣耀给至高者的事物，并且也定出了保障最终结果的最好方法。 （罗马书11:33）“深哉！神丰富的智慧和知识。他的判断、何其难测、他的踪迹何其难寻”。另见罗马书16:27; 哥林多前书2:7; 以弗所书1:8; 3:10; 提摩太前书1:17。
可是，神并不在任何的物件裡面啊。 神不在 每一个物件裡，但祂无所不在！祂无处不在的例证是，好比在课堂裡的老师对于那教室裡的每个学生而言，他是无所不在的; 但这位老师对于教室外面的人并不是无处不在，对那些在隔壁房间裡的人，他也不是无处不在的。为什麽呢？因为牆壁，地板和空间在这位老师和在同一栋建筑物裡别处房间的人造成了障碍。但是，神超越了所有的障碍 – 空间，物质和一切的东西。
然而，我们相信，在某个地方，神显现自己，神在祂所在之处显现自己 – 并且从那个地方对于宇宙一切万物显现出祂的无所不在。 （列王纪上8:30） “ 你僕人和你民以色列向此处祈祷的时候、求你在天上你的居所垂听、垂听而赦免。”。另见耶利米书23:24; 以弗所书1:20;启示录21:2。
虽然神的居所在天上，但我们确实知道祂在其他地方显现了自己：1-在地上显现，如祂住在燃烧的木丛中一样，（出埃及记3:4）：“耶和华 神见他（摩西）过去要看， 就从荆棘裡呼叫说：摩西、摩西．他说、我在这裡。”; ….. 2-在肉体中显现，在耶稣基督的道成肉身中：（腓利比书 2:5-8）“你们当以基督耶稣的心为心。他本有 神的形像、不以自己与 神同等为强夺的。反倒虚己、取了奴僕的形像、成为人的样式．既有人的样子、就自己卑微、存心顺服、以至于死、且死在十字架上。”圣灵无处不在。祂在信的人裡面：（约翰福音14:16,17）“我要求父、父就另外赐给你们一位保惠师,叫他永远与你们同在,就是真理的圣灵,乃世人不能接受的．因为不见他、也不认识他．你们却认识他。因他常与你们同在,也要在你们裡面。”。…（约翰福音16:7,8）：“然而我将真情告诉你们．我去是与你们有益的．我若不去、保惠师就不到你们这裡来。我若去,就差他来。他既来了,就要叫世人为罪、为义、为审判、自己责备自己。”。
无论我们身在何处，神都与我们同在; 他是无所不在的; 祂显在每一个地方！
这是人类头脑从未能理解的一件事：神是无始又无终的,没有开始也没有结束。祂是永恆的现在。他是唯一的那一位。在永恆裡并没有过去没有未来。神是永恆的;因此，在神`是没有过去或未来的。 （诗篇102：24-27） “我说：我的 神阿、不要使我中年去世。你的年数、世世无穷。你起初立了地的根基．天也是你手所造的。天地都要灭没、你却要长存．天地都要如外衣渐渐旧了。你要将天地如裡衣更换、天地就改变了。”。也另见诗篇90:4。有人可能会问：“创世记1:1 和约翰福音1:1之间有什麽不同呢？” 创世记1:1说：“起初，神创造了天地。”。约翰福音1:1说：“太初有道，道与神同在，道就是神。” 。这两个”初” 是一样的吗？如果是这样，那麽，道- 耶稣基督，就有一个开始了！ 在这问题的回答，我们说： 两个经文都从同一个点开始 ;创世纪1:1从起初开始，往前看永恆 ;而约翰福音1:1 的太初也是从这点开始，往后看永恆。因此，这道 -主耶稣基督，是无始又无终的。
换句话说，这意味着“神的不变。”。神的所是，祂的态度和施行是不改变的; （玛拉基书 3:6 “因我耶和华是不改变的、所以你们雅各之子没有灭亡。”; （雅各书1:17）“各样美善的恩赐、和各样全备的赏赐、都是从上头来的．从众光之父那裡降下来的．在他并没有改变、也没有转动的影儿。”; （希伯来书6:17）“照样，神愿意为那承受应许的人、格外显明他的旨意是不更改的、就起誓为证．”
关于神的后悔,请看 第叁章的C, 3,b
1.爱的经节引用。 （约翰一书4:8,16）“没有爱心的、就不认识 神．因为 神就是爱. . . .神爱我们的心、我们也知道也信。 神就是爱．住在爱裡面的、就是住在 神裡面、 神也住在他裡面” 这是神的一个定义之一。有许多形容词被用来定义神，但名词需要名词来定义。神的爱来自于启示。它不是靠人自己的知识而来的。这定义在自然界中看不到。只有从神的话语中得知 神就是爱。有些人否认圣经的默示启示，但仍然会说神就是爱。如果圣经不是神的话语，我们怎麽知道神就是爱呢？你可以搜索世界各地，一遍又一遍，绝对不会在异教徒的信仰中找到“神就是爱”的。他们有他们的诸神和偶像，但他们不认识“神就是爱”的耶和华 。圣经是神的话语 – 唯有圣经告诉我们 “神就是爱”。
b.信徒。所有相信主耶稣基督的人都是上帝神圣之爱的对象。祂日日都显现出那爱。 （约翰福音16:27）“父自己爱你们、因为你们已经爱我、又信我是从父出来的。”。 …（约翰福音17:23）“ 我在他们裡面、你在我裡面、使他们完完全全的合而为一．叫世人知道你差了我来、也知道你爱他们如同爱我一样。”。
c.以色列人。因此你要小心不要轻易的说他们是“低贱”的犹太人。他们是神所爱的对象，如同我们基督徒是神所爱的一样：（耶利米书31:3）“耶和华曾在古时 向以色列显现，说：我以永远的爱 爱你、因此我以慈爱吸引你。”。
d.罪人。神对于罪的态度永远不会改变。神恨恶罪，但祂却爱罪人！（以弗所书2:4,5） ） “然而 神既有丰富的怜悯．因他爱我们的大爱、当我们死在过犯中的时候、便叫我们与基督一同活过来．（你们得救是本乎恩））” 。….（罗马书5：6-8） “因我们还软弱的时候、基督就按所定的日期为罪人死。为义人死、是少有的、为仁人死、或者有敢作的。惟有基督在我们还作罪人的时候为我们死、 神的爱就在此向我们显明了。”
a.在他儿子裡给罪人的恩典。（约翰一书4:9） “神差他独生子到世间来、使我们藉着他得生、 神爱我们的心、在此就显明了”。另见约翰福音3:16; 罗马书5:6-8。人无法看着各各他（耶稣被钉之处）而说：“神并不爱我。”。一位亲人谈到看着他儿子处于死亡痛苦的当时。他所曾做过最难的事就是对神说：“愿你的心意成就。如果你要取走我的儿子，你可以带他走。“ … 哦！何等不捨放弃一个独生子啊！但人类是放手自己的儿子交给神啊，神会比人更好的照顾他们。但是，神是舍了祂唯一的儿子交到审判的手裡 – 为偿还罪，为我们的罪而偿还啊！….
神看到他了。神看到罪人将祂的儿子钉在十字架上。 刺祂儿子耶稣的那些罪人`他们的手刺痛父神的心。 神本可以将他们从地球上消灭的，但祂没有。我们永远无法理解为什麽祂不那样做…。 “因为神爱世人，所以赐下祂的独生子给了他们……”。 圣父舍了祂的儿子交给审判的手，为我们的罪还债。
b. 在基督裡赐予人生命和地位。那神圣的地位 – 在基督裡的地位只赐给相信主耶稣的人;我们在基督裡 – 得救，并且不受审判。（约翰一书3:2） “亲爱的弟兄阿、我们现在是 神的儿女、将来如何、还未显明．但我们知道主若显现、我们必要像他．因为必得见他的真体“ 。。。 （以弗所书2:5,6）“当我们死在过犯中的时候、便叫我们与基督一同活过来．（你们得救是本乎恩）他又叫我们与基督耶稣一同复活、一同坐在天上” 。
c.赐我们权柄让我们得以被称为神的儿女。 “你看父赐给我们是何等的慈爱、使我们得称为 神的儿女．我们也真是他的儿女．世人所以不认识我们、是因未曾认识他。“（约翰一书3:1）。
d.在管教所爱的人这事上 （希伯来书12:6-11）“因为主所爱的他必管教、又鞭打凡所收纳的儿子。 你们所忍受的、是 神管教你们、待你们如同待儿子．焉有儿子不被父亲管教的呢？管教原是众子所共受的、你们若不受管教、就是私子、不是儿子了。 再者、我们曾有生身的父管教我们、我们尚且敬重他、何况万灵的父、我们岂不更当顺服他得生麽? 生身的父都是暂随己意管教我们, 惟有万灵的父管教我们、是要我们得益处、使我们在他的圣洁上有分。凡管教的事、当时不觉得快乐、反觉得愁苦。后来却为那经练过的人、结出平安的果子、就是义。 ”….. 请记住，主的管教是为我们好 – 为了我们的得益处。我们需要被管教;这是基督徒的生命中的一个必需;我们从天父那裡领受祂的管教。
e.在生命裡无论在任何光景都记念祂的儿女。这个问题关于父母的照顾上被提出来问也给出了回答。有比母爱更伟大的爱吗？… 来听一下神是怎样说的：（以赛亚书49:15）“妇人焉能忘记他喫奶的婴孩、不怜恤他所生的儿子？”….. 母亲有可能离弃她的孩子吗？ 答桉为“ 是的，他们可能会忘记”。… 在我们的一生中，曾目睹有父母抛弃了他们的小孩。很令人羞愧，美国和世上美个国家必须要制定法律强制裁父母必须照顾养育子女，才能避免这种事情发生。然而，这种（遗弃）是肉体血气的本性; 这是属亚当的本性，罪的本性 – 父母抛弃所生的儿女。你可能知道某些那样做的人 。你，你自己也可能是被人遗弃的孩了。但是，请听神所说的：“我必不忘记你”（以赛亚书49:15）。有位永远不会抛弃祂儿女的神！
亲密关係可能会失去，但父子的关係不会失去。这儿子决心要回到父亲那裡亲自对父亲说些话，只是还没机会。他确实曾告诉自己：“我要起来、到我父亲那裡去、向他说、父亲、我得罪了天、又得罪了你,…我不配称为你的儿子” 。当他回家见到父亲就这样对父亲忏悔，还没说完‘把我当作一个雇工罢 ’之前，父亲 就动了慈心、抱着他的颈项、连连与他亲嘴。向僕人们喊道：“把那上好的袍子快拿出来给他穿．把戒指戴在他指头上．把鞋穿在他脚上。把那肥牛犊牵来宰了、我们可以吃喝快乐。因为我这个儿子、是死而复活、失而又得的。”（路加福音15:21-24）。
让浪子知道，如果他曾经从天上出生，他仍然是上帝的孩子。就让他决心“起来，到”父亲那裡。父亲就张开双臂迎接，用嘴吻在他这个任性孩子忏悔的脸颊上。 如果你像这个浪子的话， “起来吧，到父亲那裡去！”
(1) 表现在创造中。 “神看着….一切所造的都甚好。“这是创世纪第一章的特徵。神是良善的，祂所创的和所造的一切事物都是为了人类的益处。
(2) 表现在祂对一切所造之万物的看顾。 “万民都举目仰望你．你随时给他们食物。你张手、使有生气的都随愿饱足。”（诗篇145：15,16）
(4) 表现在他儿子的恩赐中。这证明了神的良善 – 上帝是美善的。
(5) 表达在允许罪人的悔改上。 （罗马书2:4）“还是你藐视他丰富的恩慈、宽容、忍耐、不晓得他的恩慈是领你悔改呢？”。
b. 表现在神的慈爱中。（罗马书8:32） “神既不爱惜自己的儿子为我们众人捨了、岂不也把万物和他一同白白的赐给我们麽。？”。既然神已经赐给我们最大的礼物 – 祂的儿子了 – 我们可以放心，我们将会得到伴随着礼物来的“包装纸”。儿子是礼物，包装纸是神供应的“事物”，使我们的灵魂欢畅。
c. 表现在神的恆久忍耐中。（彼得后书3:9） “主所应许的尚未成就、有人以为他是耽延．其实不是耽延、乃是宽容你们、不愿有一人沉沦、乃愿人人都悔改”。。。（出埃及记34:6） “耶和华在他面前宣告说、耶和华`耶和华`是有怜悯,有恩典的 神,不轻易发怒,并有丰盛的慈爱和诚实。”（出埃及记34:6）。另参见民数记14:18。
d. 表现在神的忍耐中。（罗马书15:5） “但愿赐忍耐安慰的 神、叫你们彼此同心、效法基督耶稣”。在这裡我们注意到神的忍耐是神的一个称号，因为祂是忍耐的神！这清楚地体现在以下几点：
（1)他对待罪人的处理上：洪水前的人。（彼得前书3:20） “就是那从前在挪亚豫备方舟， 神容忍等待的时候、不信从的人．当时进入方舟、藉着水得救的不多、只有八个。”。 主在那至少一百年的期间裡表现了祂的耐心。只要方舟还在被建造，福音就继续被传讲 – 世人继续被警告。最后，神的耐心等待到了一个限度，洪水一来就将不信的人冲走了。 在末世大灾难时，在祂的启示裡人子的来到也是如此。一切没有进入耶稣基督这方舟裡的人都将会被毁灭。
（2) 在祂对待以色列。 “虽是这样、他们在仇敌之地、我却不厌弃他们、也不厌恶他们、将他们尽行灭绝、也不背弃我与他们所立的约、因为我是耶和华他们的 神。我却要为他们的缘故、记念我与他们先祖所立的约、他们的先祖是我在列邦人眼前、从埃及地领出来的、为要作他们的 神。”（利未记26:44-45)
1.有关神怜悯的引用。 “（申命记4:31）（因为耶和华你的神是有怜悯的神;）他总不撇下你、不灭绝你、也不忘记他起誓与你列祖所立的约。”… （诗篇103：8,17。 “耶和华有怜悯、有恩典、不轻易发怒、且有丰盛的慈爱。。 。 。 。但耶和华的慈爱、归于敬畏他的人、从亘古到永远．他的公义、也归于子子孙孙。”…（以弗所书2：4-5）。 “然而 神既有丰富的怜悯．因他爱我们的大爱、当我们死在过犯中的时候、便叫我们与基督一同活过来.”。另参见诗篇130:7; 145:8; 136:1。
2.关于怜悯的解释。怜悯和恩典的含义几乎没有什麽区别。一般来说，怜悯在旧约中被使用，而恩典在新约圣经中被使用。在旧约中，怜悯和慈爱常一起出现。… 有人解释说：怜悯是消极的，而慈爱恩惠是积极的。怜悯是向不听话/不顺服的人显示，慈爱则浇灌在顺服的人身上 – 两者（怜悯&慈爱）在一起则代表恩典。
a.在赦免罪人。 （提摩太前书1:13）“ 我从前是亵渎 神的、逼迫人的、侮慢人的．然而我还蒙了怜悯、因我是不信不明白的时候而作的。”。
b.在除去过犯和惩罚。 “他没有按我们的罪过待我们、也没有照我们的罪孽报应我们。天离地何等的高、他的慈爱向敬畏他的人、也是何等的大。东离西有多远、他叫我们的过犯、离我们也有多远。”（诗篇103 :10-12）。
d.在拯救所怜悯的对象上。路加福音10:33-37 记载了好撒玛利人的比喻。耶稣告诉他三个比喻之后，问 “你想这三个人、哪一个是落在强盗手中者的邻舍呢？”。。。答案来了：“是那显示怜悯他的人。” 毋庸置疑，那良善的撒玛利亚人所代表的耶稣基督，是透过怜悯来拯救祂所关心之对象的。
1.关于恩典的经文引用。（提多书3:5-7）“ 他便救了我们,并不是因我们自己所行的义,乃是照他的怜悯、藉着重生的洗、和圣灵的更新。圣灵就是 神藉着耶稣基督我们救主、厚厚浇灌在我们身上的。好叫我们因他的恩得称为义、可以凭着盼望承受永”。 (以弗所书1:7) “我们藉这爱子的血、得蒙救赎、过犯得以赦免、乃是照他丰富的恩典．”。。。（彼得前书5:10 ）“那赐诸般恩典的 神、曾在基督裡召你们、得享他永远的荣耀、等你们暂受苦难之后、必要亲自成全你们、坚固你们、赐力量给你们。”。另见哥林多前书6:1。
a.在恩典裡称义。（不但不称为有罪）相反的，恩典宣称信徒为有义：“世人都犯了罪、亏缺了 神的荣耀。如今却蒙 神的恩典、因基督耶稣的救赎、就白白的称义。“（罗马书3:23,24）。
c.在那恩典裡赋予人新的本性。 “你们得救是本乎恩、也因着信、这并不是出于自己、乃是 神所赐的．也不是出于行为、免得有人自夸。我们原是他的工作、在基督耶稣裡造成的、为要叫我们行善、就是 神所预备叫我们行的。”（以弗所书2:8-10）。
d.在那恩典裡拯救。神为什麽要拯救我们？唯一的答桉是出于恩典！ “你们得救是本乎恩、也因着信,这并不是出于自己,乃是 神所赐的。”（以弗所书2:8）。
e.在那恩典裡教导。 “因为 神救众人的恩典、已经显明出来、教训我们除去不敬虔的心、和世俗的情慾、在今世自守、公义、敬虔度日．” (提多书2:11-12)
1.信实的引用/摘录。许多经文指出了神的信实：“所以你要知道耶和华你的 神、他是 神、是信实的 神、向爱他守他诫命的人、守约施慈爱、直到千代．”（申命记7: 9）; “神是信实的、你们原是被他所召、好与他儿子、我们的主耶稣基督、一同得分”（哥林多前书1:9）; “你们所遇见的试探、无非是人所能受的、 神是信实的、必不叫你们受试探过于所能受的．在受试探的时候、总要给你们开一条出路、叫你们能忍受得住”（林前10:13）。参见申命记32:4; 帖撒罗尼迦前书5:24; 帖撒罗尼迦后书3:3; 约翰一书1:9。
2.信实的解释。 “忠心信实”的意思是留下，依靠，撑着，支持。神是我们的支柱; 他是我们可以依靠的;当我们步履蹒跚时，他就是我们的支撑 – 在任何时候都是！
3. 信实的显现。 神如何证实祂是信实的？
a.在履行祂的诺言上。（希伯来书10：23,36,37） “让我们也要坚守我们所承认的指望、不至摇动．（因为那应许我们的是信实的）……你们必须忍耐、使你们行完了 神的旨意、就可以得着所应许的。因为还有一点点时候、那要来的就来、并不迟”。在以赛亚书7:9的应允由童女生子，在路加福音1:26-38 与 2章7节 中得以实现;…在创世记15:13，神给亚伯拉罕的应许，即他的后裔将会下到埃及去并在那裡待四百年的应许，在出埃及记的12:41实现了。另见以下的这些其他经文：申命记7:9; 列王记上8:23,24,56。
(耶利米书51:5）“以色列和犹大、虽然境内充满违背以色列圣者的罪、却没有被他的 神万军之耶和华丢弃。”。其他的经文证明了神在保守祂得到子民是忠心信实的：（彼得前书4:19）“所以那照 神旨意受苦的人、要一心为善、将自己灵魂交与那信实的造化之主”（彼得前书4:19）。参见诗篇89:20-26; 提摩太后书2:13。
d.在饶恕我们的罪。“我们若认自己的罪、 神是信实的、是公义的、必要赦免我们的罪、洗淨我们一切的不义。” （约翰一书1:9)
e. 在回答我们的祷告上。我们怎麽知道我们的祷告会得到回应呢？神命令我们要不住的祷告。我们怎麽知道祷告会有什麽好处呢？ 因为我们知道神会回应我们的祈祷，因为神的忠心信实保证祂的耳朵永远敞开聆听祂儿女的呼喊：(诗篇143:1)“耶和华阿、求你听我的祷告、留心听我的恳求、凭你的信实和公义应允我”。
他们轻看救赎，因为他们轻忽神的圣洁：（出埃及记15:11）“耶和华阿、众神之中谁能像你、谁能像你至圣至荣、可颂可畏、施行奇事。”; … （利未记11:44,45）“我是耶和华你们的 神、所以你们要成为圣洁、因为我是圣洁的．你们也不可在地上的爬物污秽自己．我是把你们从埃及地领出来的耶和华、要作你们的 神、所以你们要圣洁、因为我是圣洁的。”; … （以赛亚书6:2,3）“其上有撒拉弗侍立．各有六个翅膀．用两个翅膀遮脸、两个翅膀遮脚、两个翅膀飞翔．彼此呼喊说、圣哉、圣哉、圣哉、万军之耶和华．他的荣光充满全地。”;… （以赛亚书57:15) “因为那至高至上、永远长存、名为圣者的如此说、我住在至高至圣的所在、也与心灵痛悔谦卑的人同居、要使谦卑人的灵甦醒、也使痛悔人的心甦醒。”;… （约翰福音17:11）“从今以后、我不在世上、他们却在世上、我往你那裡去。圣父阿、求你因你所赐给我的名保守他们、叫他们合而为一像我们一样。”;…. (以弗所书4:30)“不要叫 神的圣灵担忧．你们原是受了他的印记、等候得赎的日子来到。”。另见利未记19:1,2;约书亚记24:19;诗篇22:1-3; 99:5,9;彼得前书1:15,16：
（2）解释。在祂裡面是光明的。在祂裡面毫无黑暗。光永远是纯淨的。没有肮髒的光这种东西，也没有人能製造肮髒的光。神就是光 – 纯淨，没有污秽。关于纯淨，可以从两个层面理解：从负面的说，纯淨是没有任何的玷污; 从正面的说，就是纯全。神在祂的圣洁中是纯全的：没有任何的污秽，在本质上是纯洁的。
（ 1）其引用。（申命记32:4） “他是磐石、他的作为完全、他所行的无不公平．是诚实无伪的 神、又公义、又正直。”。…（耶利米书12:1） “耶和华阿、我与你争辩的时候、你显为义．但有一件、我还要与你理论．恶人的道路为何亨通呢．大行诡诈的为何得安逸呢．”;…（约翰福音17:25）“公义的父阿、世人未曾认识你、我却认识你．这些人也知道你差了我来。”（约翰福音17:25）。
(1)经节引用。（西番雅书3:5) “耶和华在他中间是公义的、断不作非义的事、每早晨显明他的公义、无日不然．只是不义的人不知羞耻。” 另见 申命记 32:4.
(2)其解释。希腊语和希伯来语中的正义，这词的意思为相同。正义是神的立法要求 – 对圣洁的要求。正义是司法的圣洁 – 神的司法行为要求那些没有达到上帝正义命令的人s受惩罚。公义，司法的圣洁，管理那些受到审判的人，导致那些不遵守神律法的人遭受刑罚。公义是用在悖逆神的圣洁命令的人的审判者。人的正义有时是错误的，但神的公义永远是正确的 – 因此圣洁！
(1)其引用。（诗篇25:5,10） “求你以你的真理引导我、教训我．因为你是救我的 神, 我终日等候你. . . . 凡遵守他的约和他法度的人、耶和华都以慈爱诚实待他。”（民数记23:19; “神非人、必不致说谎、也非人子、必不致后悔．他说话岂不照着行呢、他发言岂不要成就呢？”; ..（提多书1:2） “这都是根据永生的盼望，这永生就是没有谎言的 神在万世以前所应许的。”。另见以下经文：申命记32:4;诗篇31:5; 86:15。
b.藉着祂的律法。所有的律法都是对的 – 它们是真理。在神的的整个律法中，没有一条律法是不真实的。因此，神的律法彰显了上帝的圣洁。
c.透过祂恨恶罪而彰显出来。你知道为什麽基督徒同伴间容忍另一个人的罪，或者对于不信者的罪愿意容忍吗？这是因为他们不像神那样厌恶罪。我们经常说神恨恶罪，但祂并不恨罪人。事实并非如此！上帝确实恨恶罪人; （诗篇5:5-6） “狂傲人不能站在你眼前．凡作孽的、都是你所恨恶的。说谎言的、你必灭绝．好流人血弄诡诈的、都为耶和华所憎恶”（诗篇5:5）。这可以作为对我们某些人的启示。神因为人的罪而恨恶这罪人，并不是因为他是人所以神恨恶他。神恨恶罪人，但神也爱他，因为神知道人虽然被罪所毁，但人有能力圣洁。神为什麽要惩罚罪人呢？因为罪人的过犯因此神惩罚！因此，无论在何处发现罪了，无论是在一个还未重生的罪人身上，还是信徒的生命中犯了罪，神都恨恶！神对于罪的态度和行动揭示出来神的圣洁。
d. 藉着祂正直公义的爱显示。神喜爱公义，就像祂恨恶罪一样：（列王记上8:32“求你在天上垂听、判断你的僕人、定恶人有罪、照他所行的报应在他头上．定义人有理、照他的义赏赐他。”）;. . . . （希伯来书1:9; 6:10） “ 你喜爱公义、恨恶罪恶．所以 神、就是你的 神、用喜乐油膏你、胜过膏你的同伴。……因为 神并非不公义、竟忘记你们所作的工、和你们为他名所显的爱心、就是先前伺候圣徒、如今还是伺候。”。
e.通过他对相信之罪人的称义。如果人“按他所该得的”，他是会落到地狱去的; 但是如果他接受那位宣告相信的罪人为有义的神，便能得救；那是神的怜悯和恩典提供了救恩的计划给人：（罗马书3:25,26）“神设立耶稣作挽回祭、是凭着耶稣的血、藉着人的信、要显明 神的义．因为他用忍耐的心、宽容人先时所犯的罪。好在今时显明他的义、使人知道他自己为义、也称信耶稣的人为义。”
f.透过祂对与圣徒的看顾，（诗篇103:6）“耶和华施行公义、为一切受屈的人伸冤。”。 （诗篇129:1-4）“从我幼年以来、敌人屡次苦害我. 以色列当说:从我幼年以来、敌人屡次苦害我、却没有胜了我。如同扶犁的、在我背上扶犁而耕．耕的犁沟甚长。耶和华是公义的．他砍断了恶人的绳索。”。另见以下经文：诗篇98:1-3; 145:15-19;提摩太后书1：6-9。
g.透过祂的十字架而显明。（诗篇22:1） “我的神，我的神，你为什麽离弃我？”。我们可以通过诗篇22篇 和其馀经文的引用,得以预先暼见十字架。这诗篇的确是在基督被钉死在十字架之前九百多年前的预言，无论是口头的或是写下来的。而基督的死，是神圣洁的完美彰显。…. 有些人，肯定会问:怎麽会是神祂圣洁的完美彰显呢？！…
‘耶稣从未成为罪人，但他成为罪’。而因为神恨恶罪（“耶和华定意将他压伤、使他受痛苦．” – 以赛亚书 53:10上），神在那时离弃祂的儿子，因为神一直都离弃罪。神的圣洁并没有改变。
神被称为父，是因为人与祂之间的相互关係，。 “天父”一词的普及化是由于基督教而来。在异教当中，没有人称上帝为父的情事 – 这称呼只能在基督教裡面找到。在今天有许多关于上帝是天父的幻想。天父教和兄弟会的教导只不过是普遍主义而已：它的教义说没有人会被送到地狱去。普遍主义者认为上帝永远不会将祂的任何一个孩子送到地狱去。的确如此：神不会让自己的儿女送进地狱裡去 – 但并非所有人都是神的儿女。普世主义者用来传讲上帝是全人类之父的经文是以弗所书4:6： “一神、就是众人的父、超乎众人之上、贯乎众人之中、也住在众人之内。”。但这经文所指的是所有信主的基督徒，而不是那些不信的人，也不是那些没有重生的人。
(以赛亚书 63:16; 64:8)“亚伯拉罕虽然不认识我们、以色列也不承认我们、你却是我们的父．耶和华阿、你是我们的父．从万古以来、你名称为我们的救赎主。……现在，主啊，你是我们的父亲;我们是泥土，你是我的陶工;我们都是你手中的工作耶和华阿、现在你仍是我们的父．我们是泥、你是窑匠．我们都是你手的工作。”（以赛亚书 63:16; 64:8）。
主耶稣是那位介绍神是个人之圣父的那一位。祂是第一位承认神是每个基督徒之天父的那一位。以下经文证实这一点：（约翰福音1:14）“道成了肉身、住在我们中间、充充满满的有恩典有真理。我们也见过他的荣光、正是父独生子的荣光。” ;….（约翰福音5：17,18）“耶稣回答他们说：我父作事直到如今、我也作事。所以犹太人越发想要杀他．因他不但犯了安息日,并且称 神为他的父、将自己和 神当作平等。”;… (约翰福音10：29-33）“我父把羊赐给我、他比万有都大．谁也不能从我父手裡把他们夺去。我与父原为一。犹太人又拿起石头来要打他。耶稣对他们说、我从父显出许多善事给你们看、你们是为那一件拿石头打我呢。犹太人回答说、我们不是为善事拿石头打你、是为你说僭妄的话．又为你是个人、反将自己当作 神。”….（约翰福音11:41） “他们就把石头挪开．耶稣举目望天说:父阿、我感谢你、因为你已经听我。”（约翰福音11:41）。
1. 在那‘神是我们主耶稣基督的父’ 的教导上。这一个表达，如我们所常称呼的，“神的父性”这个表达并不意味着神在活了很长的时间之后生了祂的儿子。记住，神是永恆的父 – 而要成为一个永恆的父，祂必须要有一个永恆的儿子。圣经中的“儿子”这个词并不总是意味着藉着生产/繁衍而来的儿子; 它也可能意味着一个因关係而有的儿子。拿旧约圣经来说好了：（以赛亚书7:14） “因此、主自己要给你们一个兆头、必有童女怀孕生子、给他起名叫以马内利。”… 还有（以赛亚书9:6）：“因有一婴孩为我们而生、有一子赐给我们．政权必担在他的肩头上．他名称为奇妙`策士`全能的 神`永在的父`和平的君。” 。请注意婴孩和儿子。婴孩是被出生出来的;儿子不是被生的，而是被赐予的。是的，伯利恆的婴孩是出生的，但那生命一直都是永恆的圣子。婴孩有一个生命的开始; 圣子没有生命的开始。圣子永远存在于永恆之中，与圣父同在。因此，基督是圣子，不是靠着繁衍（藉着生产），而是靠着关係而成为圣子的。祂与圣父和圣灵有关係; 全部在一起都是彼此相关的，因而构成了神格，如果没有神格裡的所有成员在永恆中永远存在的话，那麽神就绝不可能是神。
为了使神成为肉身，祂必须如任何其他人一样的出生;因此，祂在自己的儿子的肉身裡显现，靠着圣灵的能力感孕而生：（路加福音1:35） “天使回答说、圣灵要临到你身上、至高者的能力要荫庇你．因此所要生的圣者、必称为 神的儿子。”（路加福音1:35）;… （加拉太书4:4）“及至时候满足、 神就差遣他的儿子、为女子所生、且生在律法以、”。
a.父认耶稣是祂自己的儿子。（马太福音3:17 “从天上有声音说、这是我的爱子、我所喜悦的。”（马太福音3:17）; ….（路加福音9:35）“有声音从云彩裡出来、说、这是我的爱子、我所拣选的、你们要听他”
b.子认神是祂的父。（马太福音11:27 “一切所有的、都是我父交付我的．除了父、没有人知道子．除了子和子所愿意指示的、没有人知道父。”….（路加福音22:29）“我将国赐给你们、正如我父赐给我一样。”（路加福音22:29）;…（约翰福音17:1）. “耶稣说了这话、就举目望天说、父阿、时候到了．愿你荣耀你的儿子、使儿子也荣耀你．”（约翰福音17:1）。
c.世人认耶稣是神的儿子。（马太福音16:16） “西门彼得回答说、你是基督、是永生 神的儿子。”（马太福音16:16）;…. （约翰福音1:34,49）“我看见了、就证明这是 神的儿子。…….拿但业说、拉比、你是 神的儿子、你是以色列的王。“。
2.神是信主耶稣基督之信徒的父，（以弗所书4:6） “ 有一位 神、就是众人的父、超乎众人之上、贯乎众人之中、也住在众人之内。“ ”
我们无论如何强调这个事实也不为过 – 神不是全人类的父。祂是已经重生之儿女才有的父。所有人都是神的创造物，但不是所有人都是神的儿女。一个人是藉着创造而成为受造物; 而这个人需要藉着再造才成为神的儿女。 （彼得后书1:2,4）: “愿恩惠平安、因你们认识 神和我们主耶稣、多多的加给你们．…因此他已将又宝贵又极大的应许赐给我们、叫我们既脱离世上从情慾来的败坏、就得与 神的性情有。”。
神与任何属亚当的人没有任何相交，因为亚当是一切处在有罪的光景和本性裡所有人的代表。神只要与自己的圣子有相关。这世界分为两个阵营;事实上，全世界上，神只承认两类的人：属亚当的人和属基督的人; 就这样，罪人的身份根据其所认定的这两人而被分开来。未得救的人被归于属亚当的人;得救的人被认定是属基督的人。所有人都是因自然的出生被定为是书亚当的;在基督裡，重生的人被定为是属基督的，在基督裡超自然而重生。没有得救的人只能称呼神为“神”。没有得救的人不能称呼神为“父”。只有神的儿女才能呼唤神为“父”。当主耶稣被钉在十字架木头上时，他大声呼叫：“我的神 ，我的神，你为什麽离弃我？” 。 请注意，耶稣基督那时并不是呼叫，“我的父，我的父…. ” 而是“我的神，我的神…”。…. 为什麽？为什麽他那时不喊神“父亲”呢？因为他在那裡快要死时 -是代替罪人的位置受死 – 义的代替不义的而死。当祂接下罪人的位置，处在罪身裡时（罪人是不能称神为“父”的，只能称呼“神”），他只能对神呼叫“我的神”我们是在哪裡呢？在亚当裡吗？还是在基督裡呢？ “在亚当裡众人都死了。照样、在基督裡众人也都要复活。”（哥林多前书15:22）。
========================== 神论 英文稿 =======================
OUTLINE FOR CHAPTER I
I. The Names and Titles of God.
D. Jehovistic Combinations.
E. Eloistic Combinations.
II. The Existence of God.
A. False and True Systems of Theology.
B. Evidence of the Existence of God.
III. The nature of God.
A. Definitions of God.
B. Spirituality of God.
C. Personality of God.
D. The Trinity of God.
E. The Self-existence of God.
F. The Infinity of God.
IV. The Attributes of God
V. The Fatherhood of God.
A. Old Testament Teaching.
B. New Testament Teaching.
The word “theology” comes from the Greek word theos, meaning God. Thus, theology is the doctrine of God. To begin the study of the many Bible doctrines we must begin with the Source of all things – God! We must begin with God — there is no one, nothing, before Him. Before anything came into being, He was: “in the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1); “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners (Heb.1:1); “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was withGod, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
The first things we shall study are:
I. THE NAMES AND TITLES OF GOD
The name of a person, place, or thing is that by which it is known. The names of God are those by which He is known. They denote His character. Yes, the names of the Lord are those by which He is known to His people; “Save me, 0 God, by thy name” (Ps. 54: la); “They that know thy namewill put their trust in thee” (Ps: 9: 10).
The King James Version distinguishes the names of God by the use of printer’s type. Thus, when you read in the Bible the word “God,” you know that it is translated from the Hebrew wordElohim; the words “LORD,” “GOD,” “LORD GOD,” “LORD God” are from the Hebrew wordJehovah; and the word “lord” is from the word Adonai. Each of these words, Elohim, Jehovah and Adonai, describes the character of God and of His actions toward mankind, distinguishing between the saint and the sinner.
The word Elohim, which is translated as “God,” is found more than twenty-three hundred times in Scripture. Yet this is not a personal name of God, but it is God’s official title — what He is, God!— Elohim! The word Elohim is not only used for God, but for men (“I have said, Ye are gods;and all of you are children of the most High” — Ps. 82:6 with John 10:34, 35) and for idols (“Thou shalt make thee no molten gods” — Ex. 34:17). It is the title of God just as the word “president” is the title of an office. The President is the official title of the chief executive of theUnited States. It is not his name, but his title. And likewise, there are many kinds of presidents: of companies, missionary societies, etc. God’s official name is Elohim — His office.
Elohim is a plural noun. At once we say plural means two or more. This is true in English, but not so in the Hebrew language. We have two numbers in English: singular, meaning one; plural, two or more. In the Hebrew, however, we have three numbers: singular, meaning one; dual, equaling two; plural, denoting three or more. Thus, Elohim is a plural noun — three or more. Genesis 1:1 states: “In the beginning God [three or more] created the heaven and the earth.” Another suggestion of the Trinity is found in Genesis 1:26, 27: “And God [Elohim] said, “Let us make man in our image.”
The literal meaning of Elohim is The Putter-forth of Power, The Strong One. And in the first chapter of Genesis, Elohim is described as putting forth His power in these ten words: created, made (fashioned), moved, said, saw, called, divided, set, ended and blessed.
No creature has power but that which God has given him. Power belongeth unto God. Man has to work for his power in all phases of life; God only has to speak, and it is done. God not only creates, but keeps what He brings forth out of nothing.
Elohim (God) has power in government. Daniel pointed this out, and Nebuchadnezzar had to experience it “that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, andgiveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Dan. 4:17). With pride filling his heart, Nebuchadnezzar was struck with madness until he acknowledged that the Most High did rule. Then only did his reason return unto him, and he became a firm believer in this truth.
Elohim (God) has power in judgment, whether upon man or nation. When He smites, none can resist Him.
El is the singular form of Elohim. It is found two hundred and fifty times in Scripture. It is used in the proper names of men, such as Samuel (asked of God) and Elijah (Jehovah is my God).
Remember, the words GOD and LORD (all capital letters) in the King James version are best translated Jehovah. Jehovah is the personal name of God. It is that Name which is above every other name. The meaning of the word is Redeemer. Every time it is used in the Scriptures it is connected with deliverance by God: “And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out and the LORD [Jehovah] helped him; and God moved them to depart from him” (II Chron. 18:31).
While the personal name of God, Jehovah, was written, it was never pronounced. The Jews considered that name too sacred to be spoken by human lips. It is a possibility that this pronunciation is not correct even today, for the Hebrew language is written without any vowels. The name Jehovah, in the Hebrew, is spelled JHVH. We trust that we are pronouncing it correctly: It could be pronounced Jeheveh, or Jihivih, or Jahavah, or many other different ways. When the scribes came to this name Jehovah to copy, they washed their bodies, and the pens with which they spelled this name were cleansed. Even in public, when readers of sacred Scriptures came to this word they would not pronounce it, fearing they would take it in vain, but would substitute the word Elohim or Adonai in its place. One reason why the word Jehovah was suppressed was to impress its sacredness upon the minds of the people.
When the LORD [Jehovah] appeared unto Moses in the burning bush, and commissioned him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land, Moses asked, “When I come unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” God said unto him, “I AM THAT I AM … I AM hath sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:13, 14). Jehovah is the eternal I AM. There is no past nor future with Jehovah; He is the Eternal Present, the self-existent One — One that made Himself known.
In Exodus 20:2 we read: “I am the LORD thy God…” “I am Jehovah thy Elohim.” There were many different Elohims, but there was only one Jehovah. You read in the Word, the “Elohim of Israel”; but never, the “Jehovah of Israel”; for there were no more Jehovahs. When Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a contest, it was to determine which was Elohim (God), Jehovah or Baal.
Yes, Jehovah was always related in a redemptive way with his own people, but His relationship to His creatures (this includes unregenerate men) was always as Elohim. The same today. God is God of all the unsaved, but He is Jehovah, the Father, of all who are saved. The Book of Jonah illustrates this. In chapters three and four the people called upon Elohim, but Jonah called uponJehovah! They were lost; he was saved. They became saved, and could, after their salvation, call God Jehovah. See other Scriptures: Judges 7:14, 15; II Chronicles 19:6-9; Genesis 7:16; I Samuel 17:46.
We have another name for God, and that is JAH. It is found only once in the King James version, but it occurs forty-eight other times in the corrected translations. Some Bible scholars believe thatJAH is an abbreviation of Jehovah. The meaning is the same. “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him” (Ps. 68:4). The name JAH is always connected with praise, and is first found in Exodus 15:2.
We believe that the word “God” (Elohim), being plural in Genesis 1:1, definitely suggests that the Trinity created the heavens and the earth. Yet we find that modern thought interprets this differently. Modern thought says that this portion of the Word should read, “In the beginningGods created the heavens and the earth.” And the reason for this, they say, is that Israel, to begin with, believed in many gods, but that their religion evolved into monotheism. This form of reasoning has proved difficult to many college students. Is there any Scripture which will refute this? Absolutely. Turn to Deuteronomy 6:4 — “Hear, 0 Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.” Now, put the correct words of Elohim and Jehovah in this passage and you will see that the Word plainly reveals the Trinity of Genesis 1:1: “Hear, 0 Israel, JEHOVAH our ELOHIM [three or more persons] is one JEHOVAH.’ Therefore, man began with a belief in one God and later degenerated into the depths “and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom. 1:23).
The term Adonai really means master, or owner; one who owns, one who rules, one who blessed his own. It is found first in Genesis 15:1, 2: “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?”
Adonai can always be known by the word “Lord,” or “lord” in the Old Testament of the King James Version. There are two different forms of this word: Adon, which is singular, and Adonai,which is plural.
Adonai is used two ways in the Scriptures when related to man and his earthly relationships: As amaster of his slaves — “And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, andsware to him concerning that matter. And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master,and departed; for all the goods of his master…” (Gen. 24:9, l0a); and as a husband to his wife —“Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [Adonai]…” (I Peter 3:6a). See also Genesis 18:12.
A Hebrew could sell himself to another Hebrew, who became his master. But he could not sell himself forever; for at the Sabbatical Year, or the Year of Jubilee, all slaves were freed. Yet, there was a way by which a slave could become a slave forever, and that was by choice: “And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever” (Ex. 21:5, 6). Paul said that he was a bond slave (servant) of Jesus Christ, bought by blood and bound by Love! Every time you use the name Lord Jesus Christ, you say, “He is my Master.” “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13).
D. Jehovistic Combinations.
1. Jehovah-jireh — “the Lord will provide.” “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen. 22:14). This was the occasion when Abraham led his son, his only begotten son, Isaac, to the mount. Isaac carried the wood; Abraham carried the knife and the fire. His son asked the whereabouts of the sacrifice. To this Father Abraham replied, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering.” And God did! Before Abraham could kill his son as a sacrifice demanded by God, the angel of the LORD stayed his hand; his eyes looked upon the thicket and saw the ram which the LORD had provided. Nearly two thousand years ago the Son of God carried, Himself, a wooden burden, the Cross; and the Father held the fire (which speaks of judgment), and the knife (which speaks of death), and God did provide Himself a Sacrifice for our sins — His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Have you found Him to be your Jehovah jireh? Whatever may come, remember, He is Jehovah-jireh — “the LORD will provide.”
2. Jehovah-Rapha — “the Lord that healeth.” [“The LORD] said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD [Jehovah Rapha] that healeth thee” (Ex. 15:26). He is LORD, The Physician. The way this is used is not, “I will cure your diseases”; but, “I won’t put sickness upon you.”
The world is called the “sick world”; Livingstone called Africa the “open sore”; and the reason for this is the deep wound of sin! The word “heal” is an interesting word and means to repair, mend, cure. And there is perfect cure in Jehovah-Rapha, for “by his stripes we are healed” (I Peter 2:24). See also Psalm 41:4.
3. Jehovah-nissi — “the Lord our Banner.” “Moses built an altar, and called the name of itJehovah-nissi” (Ex. 17:15). The LORD is our Victory. Christ crucified is our Banner of Victory!
4. Jehovah-Qadash — “the LORD that doth sanctify.” “Ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD [Jehovah-Qadash] which sanctify you” (Lev. 20:8). And God is the same LORDof the Christian as of the Hebrew: “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God. . . . By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:9, 10). See also Hebrews 10:14, and Exodus 31:13.
5. Jehovah-shalom — “the LORD our Peace.” “Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD,and called it Jehovah- shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites” (Judg. 6:24). There is only one way to secure peace today, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Peace: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 2:14). See also Romans 5:1.
6. Jehovah-Tsidkenu — “the LORD our Righteousness.” “In his days Judah shall he saved, andIsrael shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 23:6). Israel shall be restored to the Land of Promise once again, and during the Millennium Jehovah shall be called Jehovah-Tsidkenu — “the LORD our Righteousness.” The LORD did come, the only righteous one, yet they crucified Him. But one day He shall come the second time, and Israel shall claim the Lord Jesus Christ as their ownRighteousness. Christ Jesus is the only Righteousness that any can claim.
7. Jehovah-Shammah — “the LORD is There.” “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD [Jehovah-Shammah] is there” (Ezek. 48:35). When Israel is restored to the land, and the earth shall be full of knowledge of the LORD,Jerusalem shall be called Jehovah-Shammah — “the LORD is There.’
8. Jehovah-Sabaoth — the LORD of Host.” “This man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts [Jehovah-Sabaoth] in Shiloh” (I Sam. 1: 3a). Israel is the Host; the LORD is the LORD of Hosts. See also Exodus 12:41; II Kings 6:14-23; Romans 9:29; James 5:4.
9. Jehovah Ra-ah — “the LORD my Shepherd.” “The LORD [Jehovah Ra-ah] is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1). One time a little girl was quoting this verse, and this is the way she said it: “The LORD is my Shepherd, why should I worry?” Have you found that Source of Strength? Have you found perfect peace by following the Saviour wherever He leads? Fears will not annoy; darkness cannot distress; poverty is not able to destroy if Jesus is your Jehovah Ra-ah— your Shepherd.
E. Eloistic Combinations.
As there are the Jehovistic combinations, so are there the Eloistic combinations.
1. El Elyon — “Most High God.” “Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God [El Elyon]” (Gen. 14:18). Here in the King James Version the name is translated “most high God.” Elyon means highest; with El it means the most highGod. See also Deuteronomy 32:8; Daniel 4:34, 35. Jesus Christ is our El Elyon — “All power[authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18b).
2. El Olam —“Everlasting God.” “Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting [El Olam] God” (Gen. 21:33). Yes, God is the “Everlasting God” — “the God of All Ages.”
3. El Shaddai — “Almighty God.” This is first found in Genesis 17:1: “When Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God [El Shaddai]; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” “El” means the Strong One. Shaddai comes from the word shad, meaning a breast, a woman’s breast. This is illustrated by that portion found in Isaiah 28:9. El Shaddai, therefore, means the Breast of God, the Nourisher, Strength-giver, theSatisfier.
One of the most cherished names of God held by Bible students everywhere is this one — the Breast of God, the Strength-giver, the All-Sufficient God, the All-Bountiful God, the God Who is Enough! the God Who is Able. “He is able also to save them to the uttermost” (Heb. 7:25). Why? Because Jesus Christ our Lord is our El Shaddai — “The God Who is Able.”
II. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
A. False and True Systems of Theology.
1. Deism. This system acknowledges that there is a God, but denies that God sustains the creation. “God is the Maker, but not the Keeper.”
2. Atheism. Those who hold to this belief — so called — exclude God altogether.
3. Skepticism and Infidelity. Skeptics and infidels are full of doubt and disbelief with regard to God, especially the God of Revelation. 4.
4. Agnosticism. This school of thought does not deny God, but denies that God can be known.
5. Pantheism. Everything is God, and God is everything. Everything you see is God. God is ineverything. God and creation are synonymous.
6. Polytheism. This is belief in many Gods. There are various gods over us; these in turn have gods over them; and these have gods over them, and so on.
7. Tritheism. This is the doctrine of three Gods.
8. Dualism. This is the belief in two Gods; a God that is Good, and a God that is Bad. They are both equal in power and persuasion.
9. Theism. The belief in the existence of a personal God is known as theism. Should one boast in this, his boasting is vain, for one must know who God is, what His name is, in order to trust Him.
10. Monotheism. This is the doctrine of one God. We are monotheists. Jews and Mohammedans are monotheists. If that is true, are they saved? No! “Thou believest that there isone God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble” (Jas. 2:19) Believing in one God is not sufficient, but “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
B. Evidence of the Existence of God.
May the student realize that the Bible never tries to prove there is a God. It assumes that man knows that there is a God, and states, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps. 14:1).
There are many evidences of the existence of God, the first being:
1. From Reason. (The Intellectual).
a. The Intuitional Argument: That which is in man, sometimes called the “first-truths”; that belief that knows that there is a God without anyone revealing that fact. A child knows there is a God. Who has told him? All races of the world know there is a God, though they are not worshiping the One and Only and True God. There is no such thing as a true atheist. The evidence of the existence of God is in man — born in him.
b. The Cosmological Argument: This is the argument from cause and effect. Here is the world — how did it come to be? There is a Cause or Power behind everything. There must be a Maker or Creator. It is easy to think that back of the Creation is God, but it is impossible to think back of God.
c. The Teleological Argument: By this we mean design. There is perfect design and order in the universe. The snowflake is a beautiful pattern that man could never duplicate. Why does ice rise to the top of the water and not to the bottom when it freezes? Should this not be so, then all water would eventually freeze, and the fish would perish. How is it possible that spring, summer, fall and winter all come in order, and have been doing so for millenniums? Why is it that the sun comes no closer to the earth (melting it) nor goes further away from it (freezing it)? There must be a Designer behind all creation — and that Designer is God!
d. The Anthropological Argument: This argument is based upon the moral and intellectual qualities of man. Man is a direct result of the creation of God, as other creatures are, yet these creatures do not possess the moral and intellectual qualities of man. Why? If man could create them, so could animals. But man has the capacity to know, to reason. If man did not get these qualities from some One, where did he get them?
2. From History. Truly, history is His story! History verifies the fact that there is a God. History has proved the fact of God against those who have repudiated His law. Thus, Christians should never worry over world conditions. God is on His throne. Nothing can happen, but by His will. Someone has said, “Prophecy is the mould of history.” God speaks, and years later what He spoke is fulfilled to the letter, History only fulfills what God has said would happen. Historyproves there is a God!
3. From Experience. This is one of the greatest proofs yet for the existence of God. Men have been transformed by the power of God. There is no explanation other than God! Prayers which have been answered attest to the existence of God.
4. From Scripture.
a. Biblical Assumption. The Bible is the only Book that is God-inspired. The Bible is the standard for all right conduct in the world. If the Bible is not the Word of God, then we have no God; we can never know God.
b. Christological Revelation. In Jesus Christ, God came down to man to tell us what God is like. If Jesus is not God, then there is no God. God can never be known. “No man bath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). But Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He and His life prove the existence of God!
c. Prophetical Declaration. God forecast the future. Anyone who can do this is more than man. Man cannot always tell the past, much less the future. It is said that when Christ was crucified there were twenty-five distinct prophecies fulfilled — prophecies written centuries before.
III. THE NATURE OF GOD.
A. Definitions of God.
1. Scriptural Definitions.
a. God is Spirit — “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
b. God is Light — “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).
c. God is Love — “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (I John 4:8).
d. God is a Consuming Fire — “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).
2. Theological Definitions.
a. Westminster Catechism: — “God is a Spirit, Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in His Being, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth.”
b. Dr. Strong: — “God is the Infinite and Perfect Spirit. The Source of all things, the Support of all things, the End of all things.”
c. Andrew Fuller; — “God is the First Cause and Last End of all things.”
d. Ebrards: — “God is the Eternal Source of all that is temporal.”
B. Spirituality of God.
1. His Essence. He is a Spiritual Being (“God is a Spirit” — John 4:24), invisible (“Who is the image of the invisible God” — Col. 1:15a). What is a spirit? A spirit is a being without flesh and bones. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). A spirit has a body, a spirit-body; but it has no natural body, no material body. God cannot be seen by human eye; God, in His pure essence, has never been seen. “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 1:18).
2. His Manifestations. While God, in His true essence, has never been seen, yet He hath shown Himself, revealed His Person to man in different forms. The Scriptures ask, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Is. 40:25). Man cannot know God but in the way He has revealed Himself. Are we not glad that God has revealed Himself in His Son? Where Christ is the image of God, the Anti-christ shall be an imitation.
There seems to be some contradictions in the Word; in some places it says that people saw God: “The LORD spake unto Moses face to face” (Ex. 33:11); “Then went up Moses, and Aaron,Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel…” (Ex. 24:9, 10). In other places the Word says that it is impossible to see God: “He said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). The truth is, man has never looked upon the face of God in His true essence, but has looked upon His face and spoken mouth to mouth with God when God manifested Himself in some form other than his true essence. “With him will I speak mouth to mouth…” (Num. 12:8a).
We do know this, that the Spirit (Holy Spirit) can manifest Himself in a visible form. “John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him” (John 1:32). It was at the Lord Jesus’ baptism that John saw the form, but not the Spirit; yet the Spirit was manifested.
God has manifested Himself in many forms; among them are the following:
a. In Creature Forms. By this we do not mean that the LORD appeared in the form of animals, but rather in the form of human beings. Genesis 3:8 and 12:7 illustrate this fully: “They heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8); “The LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and therebuilded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him” (Gen. 12:7). See also Genesis 16:7, 10, 13; Exodus 24:9-11; Genesis 18:1-16; Judges 13:22, 23; Genesis 32:24-30.
God also manifested Himself as the Angel of the LORD — “The angel of the LORD encampethround about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Ps. 34:7); “The angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction” (Gen. 16:11). It is agreed among most Bible scholars that the Angel of the LORD is no other than the Lord Jesus Himself.
b. In Material Forms. Man could not see God; therefore, God manifested Himself in forms from which He spoke to and led him. One such form was the Burning Bush: “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I” (Ex. 3:4); Another form was the Pillar of a Cloud and a Pillar of Fire: “The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night” (Ex. 13:21).
c. In The Person of Christ Jesus. Again we state that we are rejoicing that God does not choose today to reveal Himself other than in His Son, Jesus Christ! God does not choose to manifest Himself in a vapor, but rather in human form: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . 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” (John 1:1, 14). See also I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3.
C. Personality of God.
God is a Person, One possessing Self-consciousness, Self-determination, and Power.
People have many vague ideas of God as a force, a power, an influence. But it is impossible to have fellowship with a force or an influence. The Words of our Lord as He was in the Garden suggest fellowship with God: “Now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). See also Exodus 3:14; I Corinthians 2:11.
Never confuse personality with visibility. Substance has nothing to do with personality. The personality of God can be seen:
1. In Names. “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” (Ex. 3:14). The words “I AM THAT I AM” suggest personality.
2. In Contrasts. By this we mean that the Scriptures contrast the only wise God with the gods of the pagans: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (I Thess. 1:9). See also Jeremiah 10:16; Acts 14:15.
3. In Attributes. That which is characteristic of God is called an attribute. That which He does,denotes personality, such as:
a. God Grieves. Only a person can grieve: “It repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Gen. 6:6).
b. God Repents. In the above Scripture (Gen. 6:6) we note that God repents. I Samuel 15:29 says: “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” Here one portion of the Scriptures states that God repents, another declares that He does not repent. What is the answer? When man repents, he repents of some moral deed; when God repents, He repents of some judicial act. God’s attitude toward sin never changes. Take the case of Jonah and Nineveh. Nineveh repented; it changed its mind; it changed its character. God, however, did not change His mind; He did not change His attitude toward sin. But inasmuch asNineveh had repented, there was no need of judgment against sin. Its sin had been confessed and forgiven.
c. God Loves. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19). Only a personality can love.
d. God Hates. “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him” (Prov. 6:16).
e. God Hears. “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know” (Ps. 94:9, 10)?
4. In Acts.
a. God Creates. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). See also Isaiah 45:18.
b. God Provides. “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:27-30). The material needs of this entire world are met and supplied by God.
c. God Promotes. Some people seemingly are pushed ahead of others. The world has a name for this — luck. But the correct answer is the LORD! Kings receive their power from Him; pastors receive their charges from Him; husbands receive their wives from Him. All promotions are from the Lord. “Promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps. 75:6, 7).
d. God Cares. God has a heart; only a person has a heart. God has concern: “Humble yourselves . . . casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:6, 7).
D. The Trinity of God.
1. Trinity in Personality. By this, of course, we mean that God is Three in One. There are some errors concerning the Trinity; some have been proposed ignorantly, and others deliberately.
We know that the Bible is the Word of God, if for no other reason than that we have the Trinity in it. If man had written the Bible, he would have left the Trinity out of it; for the Trinity is too hard to understand — the mind of man cannot comprehend it. The only thing that the Child of God can do is to accept it by faith and stand upon what God says about it. Just because we cannot seem to understand all about it is no sign that it is not true.
There is one error which proposes that there are three Individuals in the Godhead. But remember, God is not a Triad.
Another error is that the Trinity is just one Person, manifesting Himself in three. That is. there are three essences in one Person, Jesus Christ. The Father and the Holy Spirit are only manifestations.
Still another, and damnable, denies the Trinity altogether, and consequently makes the Son and Holy Spirit creatures of God, those who came into existence after God. In other words, they who hold to this erroneous theory declare that there was a time when the Son was not; that there was a time when the Son of God never existed. They use this sort of reasoning: “A son cannot be as old as his father — a father always has to exist before his son in order to beget him; God is the Father of the Son of God; therefore, the Father had to exist before the Son in order to beget Him.” To this we reply: “If a person should declare that he is a father, and has been one for ten years, then we know that he has had a child for ten years. A man cannot be a father without having a child. Yes, a man who has been a father for ten years has had a child for ten years. Even so in the Godhead — if God is the Eternal Father, then He must have had an Eternal Son!”
The doctrine of the Trinity is a doctrine of pure revelation from God. And remember, we worship not three Gods, but One — God: the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
It is practically impossible to give examples of the Trinity. Some have offered the three-leaved clover as an example; others have suggested water: in its natural state, liquid; when heated, vapor; when frozen, solid. Still, this is not clear. For God is Three in One! Therefore, we propose that the best illustration is man himself: body, soul and spirit. He is not three persons, but a three-in-one person. And there are three things which pertain to each separately: food to the body, music to the soul, and worship to the spirit — yet all three of these things appeal to the one man.
Rays from the sun may be used as a further type. When the sunshine breaks upon the earth it is composed of three elements: heat rays, which can be felt but not seen; light rays, which can be seen, but not felt; chemical rays, which cannot be seen, nor felt, but do have effects. All together make sunshine. We cannot understand light — three rays and yet one light. Without one of these elements there would be no light; without one part of man, man would cease to be; and without one Person of the Godhead, God would not be God!
a. Old Testament Names
(1) Plural Nouns “In the beginning [Elohim] created the heaven and earth” (Gen. 1:1). Elohim is the plural noun, meaning three or more. This, of course, suggests the Trinity in creation. See also Genesis 3:5; Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 13:2, 3. Many times Elohim is translated (in English) in the singular and the plural.
(2) Plural Pronouns. “The LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever…” (Gen. 3:22). See also Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 6:8. This is God speaking to God— thus the Trinity.
(3) Scriptural Statements. The Scriptures state that God anointed God, and how could this be if God be not a Trinity? “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Ps. 45:6,7). See also Hebrews 1:8-12; Psalm 110:1.
(4) Scriptural Designations. That is, in Genesis 1:1 God declares that He created the heavens and the earth, and in verse 2, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is singled out: “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (See also Job 24:13). And elements of personality are accounted for by reference to the Holy Spirit: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD (Is. 11:1, 2).
The Son, the Second Person of the Trinity is singled out also: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. . . . Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way…” (Ps. 2:7, 12a). The Angel of the LORD of the Old Testament is no other than Jesus Christ Himself, and in the following portion of Scriptures He is declared as being separate from God the Father and Holy Spirit: “The angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water . . . in the way to Shur” (Gen. 16:7).
The following Scriptures plainly reveal the Trinity of the Godhead: Genesis 18:1,2,33; Isaiah 48:16; 63:8-10.
(5) Triple Expressions. Whenever the Scriptures express praise or benediction of the Godhead, a triple exclamation is declared which points to the fact that as God is the Three-In-One God these expressions must also be three: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:24-26). “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).
b. New Testament Disclosures.
(1) Baptism of Christ. The baptism of Christ is one of the best illustrations which prove the Trinity: “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 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” (Matt. 3:16, 17). Here there is presented the Father in heaven, the Son in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove.
(2) Baptismal Formula. The Church of God in Christ Jesus has always used that formula laid down by its Founder Himself, Jesus Christ: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…” (Matt. 28:19, 20). Note that the Scriptures do not say, “in the names of”; but, “in the name of.” One in Three; one name,but three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(3) Apostolic Benediction. The Church has used this benediction (which was first used by the Apostle Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) for the last nineteen hundred years: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (II Cor. 13:14).
(4) Other Scripture. The following verse plainly reveals the fact of the Trinity: “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 14:26).
2. Unity of Being: Undivided and Invisible. There is one God; He is the one and only God: “Thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears” (II Sam. 7:22); “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he” (Is. 41:4). See also Isaiah 43:10, 11; 44:6; Deuteronomy 6:4.
God — Elohim — is a compound unity; that is, the noun, God (which is plural), is used always with a singular verb: “In the beginning God [plural] created [singular] the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1); “The LORD [singular] God [plural] of gods, the LORD [singular] God [plural] of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against theLORD [singular], (save us not this day,)…” (Josh. 22:22). See also Genesis 1:5, 8, 13; 33:20.
3. A Scriptural Summary.
a. Three Are Recognized as God.
(1) The Father is Recognized as God. “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” (Rom. 1:7). See also John 6:27; I Peter 1:2.
(2) The Son is Recognized as God. “Unto the Son he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8); “We should live soberly, righteously, and godly . . . looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12, 13).
(3) The Holy Spirit is Recognized as God. “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” (Acts 5:3, 4).
b. Three Are Described as Distinct Persons.
(1) Father and Son Are Persons Distinct From Each Other.
(a) Christ Distinguishes the Father From Himself. “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:26, 27). See also John 5:32.
(b) Father arid Son are Distinguished as the Begetter and the Begotten. See John 3:16.
(c) Father and Son are Distinguished as the Sender and the Sent. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). See also John 10:36.
(2) Father and Son Are Persons Distinguished from the Holy Spirit.
(a) The Son Distinguishes the Holy Spirit From Himself and the Father. “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” (John 14:16, 17).
(b) The Spirit Proceeds From the Father. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
(c) The Spirit Is Sent by the Father and the Son. “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 14:26); “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
c. These Three Persons Are Equal.
(1) The Father is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
(2) The Son is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
(3) The Holy Spirit is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
E. The Self-existence of God.
Existence of God is within Himself. We are dependent upon Him; He is not dependent upon anything. Something caused us to be; nothing caused Him to be; He always was; God does not exist because He brought Himself into existence. God exists because it is his nature to be.
Our lives come from an external source; there was a time when we began. “I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). We cannot say this.
F. The Infinity of God.
Divine nature has no limit or bound. “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Ps. 147:5); “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9); “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? (I Kings 8:27); “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33). See also Isaiah 66:1; Psalm 113:5, 6.
The world is a bud from His bower of beauty —
The sun is a spark from the light of His wisdom —
The sky is a bubble on the sea of His power.
IV. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
The attributes of God are the essential qualities of a perfect Being — the property of God.
A. The Omnipotence of God.
This means that God is all-powerful, all-mighty: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6); “Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26); “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14a).
There is only one thing which can limit God, and that is His own holy will. Some foolish person may propose II Timothy 2:13: “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” This person says, “Here is something God cannot do.” But this is not a question of what God can do, but what God will do.
1. God Has Power Over Nature. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as anheap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6-9); “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land” (Hag. 2:6). See also Genesis 1:1-3; Nahum 1:3-6. Man has to have tools to make things — God only has to speak, and it is done.
2. God Has Power Over Men. “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and thenvanisheth away. For what ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (Jas. 4:12-15). See also Exodus 4:11.
3. God Has Power Over Angels. “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35).
4. God Has Power Over Satan. In Job 1:12; 2:6 we notice that Satan is subjected to God; “The LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. . . . And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” And we know of the end of Satan from the following Scriptures: “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…” (Rom.16:20a); “He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years…And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:2, 10). See also Luke 22:31, 32.
5. God Has Power Over Death. Paul prays that the Ephesians may know “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:19-21). Ultimately, death shall be destroyed: “Death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev. 20:14).
B. The Omniscience of God.
Omniscience means “all knowing.” God is the “All-Knowing God” — He knows everything! “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (I John 3:20).
1. Includes All Nature. God, the Creator, knows everything concerning His creatures.
a. Of His Inanimate Creatures. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Ps. 147:4); “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding” (Is. 40:28).
b. Of His Brute Creatures. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matt. 10:29).
c. Of His Human Creatures. God has full knowledge of man: “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matt. 6:8). He knows man’s need; he has knowledge of the need of man. He knows the very thoughts of man: “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Ps. 139:2). “The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity” (Ps. 94:11). See also IChronicles 28:9 and Hebrews 4:13. God knows the heart of man: “Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” (I Kings 8:39). See also Psalm 44:21 and Acts 1:24. God knows the experiences we have gone through: “The LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Ex. 3:7). How absurd for man to try to deceive God!
2. Covers All Time. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). And this covers the past, the present and the future. The past can God see, for He has given to us those things which have happened millenniums ago (Book of Genesis); the Present is an open book to Him: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13); and the future is known as the past and present is known. He knows the end from the beginning: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (I Peter 1:20). I Kings 13:2 is also a marvelous illustration of God knowing the future: a baby was named three hundred years before it was born, its name given, from what family it was to come and the things it was to do in later life: “And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD: Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.” See also Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15. 16; Exodus 3:19; Daniel 2:8.
With God knowing the future, we must put ourselves in His hands.
3. Includes All Possibilities. Only God knows what would have happened if something had happened which did not happen. “Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done inSodom, it would have remained until this day” (Matt. 11:23). See also I Samuel 23:12; Isaiah 48:18.
C. The Omni-sapience of God.
By this we mean the “All-Wisdom of God”; that is, God has all wisdom. There is a vast difference in wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is what one knows; wisdom is the perfect display of that knowledge. Wisdom includes discernment and judgment.
1. Choice of The Highest End. All things are chosen which will bring about the highest end for God’s glory.
2. Best Way of Securing That End. Here wisdom asserts itself, not only choosing that which will bring about the highest end, but devising the best ways of securing that end. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33). See also Romans 16:27; I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:8; 3:10; I Timothy 1:17.
D. The Omnipresence of God.
There are many vague ideas concerning the omnipresence of God. “Omnipresent” simply means everywhere present. God is everywhere present. God is everywhere, but He is not in everything. The belief that He is in everything is Pantheism. If God were in everything, then all man would have to do would be to bow down to a stone, a tree, a desk, a table, or any object, and he would be worshiping God. God is not in everything, but He is everywhere! He is everywhere present. The best illustration of this is of a teacher before his class. The teacher is omnipresent to every student in that classroom; but he is not omnipresent to those on the outside, nor to those in the basement, nor even to those who are in the next room. Why? Because the walls, floors and space are barriers between him and those in other parts of the building. But God transcends all barriers— space, materials, all things.
We believe, however, that there is a certain place where He manifests Himself, where He is located — and from that locality He is present to everything of the universe. “Hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive” (I Kings 8:30). See also Jeremiah 23:24; Ephesians 1:20; Revelation 21:2.
While God’s dwelling place is in heaven, yet we do know that He has manifested Himself in other places: on earth, as when He dwelt in the burning bush (Ex. 3:4): “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I”; and in the flesh, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ: “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” (Phil. 2:5-8).
The Holy Spirit is everywhere. He is in believers: “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 dwellethwith you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17). He is with the unbelievers: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7, 8).
God is with us no matter where we are; He is omnipresent; He is everywhere present!
E. The Eternity of God.
This is one thing which has never been grasped by the human mind: God is without beginning and without ending. He is the Eternal Now. He is the only One who is. There is no past, and there is no future in eternity. God is eternal; therefore, there is no past nor future with God. “I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end” (Ps. 102:24-27). See also Psalm 90:4.
Some one may ask, “What is the difference between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1?” Genesis 1:1 says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Are both “beginnings” the same? If so, then the Word, Jesus Christ, had a beginning! Both passages start at the same point — the beginning; Genesis 1:1 begins with the beginning and looks forward into eternity; while John 1:1 begins with the beginning and looks backward into eternity. Therefore, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, had no beginning.
F. The Immutability of God.
In other words, this means the “unchangeableness of God.” His Being, attitude and acts are without change; “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6); “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17); “God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath” (Heb. 6:17).
For a discussion of the repentance of God see Chapter I, III, C, 3, b,.
G. The Love of God.
1. Its Citation. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:8-16).
This is the one definition of God. There are many adjectives defining God, but a noun needs a noun. The love of God comes from revelation. It does not come by one’s own knowledge. It cannot be seen in nature. Only from God’s Word comes that knowledge that God is love. There are those who deny the inspiration of the Scriptures, but who still say that God is love. If the Scriptures are not the Word of God, how do we know that God is love? You can search the world over and never find a “God is love” among the heathen. They have their gods and idols, but a God that is “God is love” is unknown to them. The Bible is the Word of God — it, and it only, tells us that “God is love.”
2. Its Objects. If God is love, then that love must be directed to someone. And it is, for we learn from the Scriptures that the objects of His love are:
a. His Son. God loves His Son more than man could ever love his own offspring. “Lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). See also Matthew 17:5. God’s love is a perfect love and transcends all bounds: “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).
b. Believers. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are the objects of God’s divine love. He manifests that love day by day. “The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:27). “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23).
c. Israel. Be careful how you speak of the “lowly” Jew. He is the object of God’s love, the same as we Christians: “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3).
d. Sinners. God never changes concerning His attitude toward sin. God hates sin, but lovesthe sinner! “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )” (Eph. 2:4, 5). “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:6-8).
3. Its Manifestations.
a. In the Gift of His Son for Sinful Man. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (I John 4:9). See also John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8.
Man cannot look upon Calvary and say, “God doesn’t love me.” One dear man told of the time when his own son was in the pangs of death. The hardest thing he ever had to do was to say, “Thy will be done. If thou wantest my son, thou canst have him.” Oh, to give up an only son! But mankind gives up its sons to God, who takes care of them better than man ever could. But God gave His Only Son to sin — to pay for sin, to pay for the sins of sinners! Yes, we may see our children in the throes of death, but God saw His Son suffer as no man ever did. The dearest child on earth is only a stranger compared with the love of God toward His Son. God points towardCalvary and says, “See my Son! See Him mocked, smitten and bruised?” God saw Him. God saw sinners as they crucified His Son. God could have wiped them off the face of the earth, but He did not. The nails that pierced His Son pierced the heart of the Father. We can never understand it. “For God so loved the world, that He gave…” The Father gave him up to the hands of justice, to pay for our sins.
Many a murderer has had to pay with his life for his crime. Jesus was delivered up to pay for our crimes of sin.
b. In Giving Life and Position In Christ. To believers only is given that sacred position — in Christ; there is where we are — saved, and uncondemned. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2): “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5,6).
c. In Granting That We Should Be Called the Children of God. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not” (I John 3:1, R. V.).
d. In Chastening of His Loved Ones. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgethevery son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12: 6-11). Remember, the chastening of the Lord is for our benefit — for our profit. We need chastisement; it is a must in the life of the Christian; and we receive it from our Father in Heaven.
e. In Remembering His Children in All Circumstances of Life. The question is asked and answered in the Word concerning the care of parents. Is there a love greater than mother love? Listen to what God says: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” Is it possible that a mother could ever leave her child? The answer is, “Yea, they may forget.” In our own lifetime we have witnessed the desertion of children by their parents. It is a shame that the United States and the separate States have to have laws which compel parents to take care of their children. However, this is the nature of the flesh; this is the Adamic nature, the sinful nature, that parents desert their offspring. You may know someone who has. You, yourself, may have been deserted by some one. But listen to the rest of God’s Word: “Yet will I not forget thee” (Is. 49:15). There is One who will never desert Hischildren!
f. In Rejoicing Over the Return of the Prodigal Son. This great story is found in Luke 15:11-24. It is the story of a Son, not a sinner. A sinner is not a son. Only a son is a son, and you cannot un-son a son. A son is born a son forever. But here was a son who sank so low that the testimony he might have had was lost. Remember, he was still a son, and as much so while feeding swine as he was in his Father’s house. Relationship was still there, but fellowship was broken. You can lose fellowship, but you cannot lose sonship. He made up his mind what he would say to his father upon his return, but he did not get the chance. He did say, “I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son”; but before he could add, “Make me as one of thy hired servants,” the Father, holding his son in his arms, cried to the servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:21-24).
Let the prodigal know that if he has been once born from above he is still God’s child. Only let him resolve to “arise and go” to his Father. The Father stands with open arms ready to plant His kiss upon the penitent lips of His wayward child. “Arise and go!”
4. The Forms of God’s Love.
a. In the Goodness of God.
(1) As Manifested in Creation. “God saw . . . that it was good.” This is characteristic of the first chapter of Genesis. God is good, and all things that He creates and makes are for the good of man.
(2) As Manifested In His Care of Brute Creation. “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thougivest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:15, 16).
(3) As Manifested In the Variety of Pleasure for His Creatures. Why all the beauty of nature, if not to be enjoyed by the eye of man?
(4) As Manifested in the Gift of His Son. This proves the goodness of God — that God is good.
(5) As Manifested In Allowing Sinners to Repent. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).
b. In the Loving-kindness of God. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Since God has given us the Greatest Gift — His Son — we can be assured that we shall be given “the wrappings” withit. The Son is the Gift, and the wrappings are “things” of His supply which make our souls happy.
c. In the Long-suffering of God. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). “The LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6). See also Numbers 14:18.
How many of us praise the Lord that the Saviour gave us “time” in trusting Him for our salvation? Oh, the long-suffering of God which is manifested toward us, in that we were able to hear the Gospel twice, when there are millions who have never heard it once!
d. In the Patience of God. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus” (Rom. 15:5). Here we note that the patience of God is a divine title, for He is the God of patience! This is clearly manifested in:
(1) His Dealings With Sinners: Those Before the Flood. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (I Peter 3:20). The Lord demonstrated His patience for at least a hundred years. As long as the ark was a preparing, the Gospel was preached — the people warned. His patience was exhausted, finally, and the flood carried the unbelievers away. It will be the same with the coming of the Son of Man at His revelation, at the end of the Tribulation. All those who are found not to be in the Ark, Jesus Christ, shall be destroyed.
(2) His Dealings With Israel. “And yet for all that [Israel’s sin], when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD” (Lev. 26:44, 45).
Israel today is Godless, and by this we do not mean that Israel is worse than any other nation, but simply that it is without God. Jehovah has sent prophets unto her, but she has stoned them. He sent even His Son, and Him they crucified. They have been driven unto the uttermost parts of the earth because of it. Yet, for all of this, God has shown His patience, and that patience shall be rewarded, for that nation shall be born anew in a day, and all Israel (those alive at the time of the Revelation of Jesus Christ) shall be saved!
(3) His Dealings With the World Today. Why does not God strike today? Why are men allowed to blaspheme the God of heaven and His Son Jesus Christ? The answer is found in the patience of God.
H. The Mercy of God.
1. As To Its Citation. “(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them” (Deut. 4:31). “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. . . . But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children” (Ps. 103:8, 17). “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . hath quickened us together with Christ” (Eph. 2: 4-5). See also Psalms 130:7; 145:8; 136:1.
2. As To Its Explanation. There is very little difference in the meaning of mercy and grace.Mercy, generally speaking, is used in the Old Testament, and grace in the New Testament. Old Testament mercy and loving-kindness go together. Someone has said that mercy is negative, and loving-kindness is positive. Mercy is shown to the disobedient, and loving-kindness is showered upon the obedient — both together mean grace.
3. As To Its Manifestation.
a. In Pardoning the Sinner. “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (I Tim. 1:13).
b. In Removing the Guilt and Penalty. “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:10-12).
c. In Delivering the Periled. “Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Ps. 6:4).
d. In Saving Its Object. Luke 10:33-37 records the parable of the Good Samaritan. After He has told the parable Jesus asks, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” And the answer comes: “He that shewed mercy on him.” There can be no doubt but that Jesus Christ is typified by the good Samaritan, and it is He who saves, through His mercy, the objects of His concern.
I. The Grace of God.
1. As To Its Citation. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ ourSaviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect,stablish, strengthen, settle you” (I Peter 5:10). See also I Corinthians 6:1.
2. As To Its Explanation. Grace is said to be undefinable. Grace always flows down. We might be able to love our equal, or one above our equal, or sometimes one below our equal, but look at the vast difference between God and us; there can be no comparison. The grace of God toward us is unmerited favor.
3. As to Its Manifestation.
a. In That Grace Justifies. Rather, grace declares the saint to be righteous: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23, 24).
b. In That Grace Imputes Righteousness. This means, that by the act of God’s grace, the righteousness of God is put to the account of the believing sinner, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4: 4, 5).
c. In That Grace Imparts a New Nature. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
d. In That Grace Saves. Why should God save us? The only answer is grace! “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
e. In That Grace Instructs. “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2: 11, 12).
J. The Faithfulness of God.
Unfaithfulness is the greatest sin of today. This is true in every walk of life, whether in business, church, or state. But we have a God who is faithful at all times, under every circumstance. The Word bears out the faithfulness of God by the following:
1. Citation. Many Scriptures point out the faithfulness of God: “Know therefore that theLORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9); “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:9); “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer
you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). See also Deuteronomy 32:4 (R.V.); I Thessalonians 5:24; II Thessalonians 3:3; I John 1:9.
2. Explanation. The meaning of “faithfulness” is stay, lean, prop, support. God is our support;He it is upon whom we can lean; when we are faltering, He is our Prop — at all times!
3. Manifestation. How does God prove faithful?
a. In Keeping His Promise. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)… For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Heb. 10: 23, 36, 37). The promise of the virgin-born son in Isaiah 7:9 is fulfilled in Luke 1:26-38; 2:7; the promise of God to Abraham in Genesis 15:13, that his seed would go toEgypt and stay there for four hundred years, is fulfilled in Exodus 12:41. See also these other Scriptures: Deuteronomy 7:9; I Kings 8:23, 24, 56.
b. In Preserving his People. Take Lamentations 3:22, 23 with Jeremiah 51:5 and you can see that once a people becomes God’s people, they are His forever. That is because God is 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” (Lam. 3:22, 23); “Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel” (Jer. 51:5). Other Scripture bears out the faithfulness of God in preserving His people: “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:19). See also Psalm 89:20-26; II Timothy 2:13 (R.V.).
c. In Chastening His Children. God is faithful in carrying out the “spankings” He has promised to His wayward children: “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Ps. 119:75). Correction is needed when we disobey our Lord, and verily we can always count on the faithfulness of God to render the expression in this respect.“Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).
d. In Forgiving Our Sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
e. In Answering Our Prayers. How do we know that our prayers will be answered? God commands us to pray to Him without ceasing. How do we know that it will do any good? We know that God answers our prayers, because the faithfulness of God guarantees that His ears will always be opened to the cries of His children: “Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness” (Ps. 143:1).
a. It will preserve us from worry.
b. It will check our murmuring.
c. It will increase confidence in God.
K. The Holiness of God.
While we mention the holiness of God as the last of God’s attributes, let us never forget that it is not the least at all. Consider first:
1. Natural holiness. This is called the fundamental attribute, and is one attribute by which God wants His people to remember Him. Some Bible scholars declare that this is the most important of all of God’s attributes. We know why they make such a statement. It is because holiness is named most often in the Scriptures. God is called holy more times in the Scriptures, and His holiness is mentioned more, than His might. Holiness is indeed the “attribute of attributes.” When we think not of God’s holiness, we think light of sin. We are living in the day of compromise, when people hold “light views.” It is hard to get people to consider their lost condition and the peril of hell ahead. They think lightly of salvation, because they have a light view of God’s holiness: “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex. 15:11); “I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringethyou up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11: 44, 45); “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is. 6:2, 3); “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” (Is. 57:15); “I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11); “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). See also Leviticus 19:1, 2; Joshua 24:19; Psalms 22:1-3; 99:5,9; I Peter 1:15, 16.
2. Aspects of holiness. By this we mean the mien of holiness that of which holiness is composed.
(1) Its Citation. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).
(2) Its Explanation. In Him is light. In Him is no darkness ever. Light is always pure. There is no such thing as dirty light, nor can anyone make dirty light. God is Light — pure, free from defilement. There are two phases of purity: negative, free from all that defiles; positive,pure. God in His holiness is pure: free from all that defiles, and pure in essence.
b. Righteousness. This is another element of holiness.
(1) Its Citation. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4). “Righteous art thou, O LORD,when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jer. 12:1); “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou has sent me” (John 17:25).
(2) Its Explanation. The formula for righteousness is found in Ezekiel 18:5, 9: “If a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right…” that is, do things right, in a right way, “he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.” God is always right. He possesses character that makes Him do everything right. Righteousness always requires that which is right in character. God never asks anything that is not right. God never commands that which will make us do wrong.
(1) Its Citation. “The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame” (Zeph. 3:5). See also Deuteronomy 32:4.
(2) Its Explanation. The Greek and Hebrew words for justice mean the same. Righteousness is the legislative demand of God — the demand for holiness. Justice is judicial holiness — that judicial act of God which demands the penalty for those who have not measured up to the righteous commands of God. Justice, judicial holiness, governs those who are judged, and that brings about the execution of those who carry not out God’s laws. Justice is the Executor of those who wrong God’s holy commands. Man’s justice is sometimes wrong, but God’s justice is always right — thus holiness!
d. Truth of God.
(1) Its Citation. “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. . . . All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Ps. 25:5, 10); “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19); “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). See also the following Scriptures: Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 31:5; 86:15.
(2) Its Explanation. That which God has revealed to man in His Word is Eternal Truth. God never contradicts Himself. One portion of His Word never contradicts another. Are we not glad that the Word of God has not agreed with all the dead theories of the past? Certainly! Be not dismayed should the Bible not agree with any modern day theory concerning creation, man, etc. Man does not know apart from the Word of God. Anything apart from the revelation of God is mere supposition.
3. Manifestation of God’s holiness.
a. By His Works. Everything that God has created and made is perfect, holy. God did not create sin. God did not create a sinful nature which is in the unsaved man. God created man, who, has sinned. Man, by sinning, has passed on to man that perverted nature, that Adamic nature, or as we have called it, that “sinful” nature. Yes, God created man who was capable of sinning. If God had created man so that man could not have sinned, then He would have made a machine rather than a being with a free will. And if God had created man so that man could not sin and yet was not a machine, man would not only have been like God, but he would have been God Himself. God does not make God. Man is inferior to God. God cannot sin; that is His nature. Man would be God if he could not have sinned.
b. By His Laws. All the laws are right — they are truth. There is not a single untruth in the whole of God’s laws. Thus God’s laws manifest God’s holiness.
c. By His Hatred of Sin. Do you know one reason why fellow Christians are tolerant toward the sins of another, or toward the sins of the unbelievers? It is because they do not hate sin as God hates it. Often we say that God hates sin, but He doesn’t hate the sinner. That is not true. Goddoes hate the sinner; “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps. 5:5). This may be a revelation to some of us. God hates the sinner because of his sin, and not because of himself. God hates the sinner, but He loves him, too, because He knows that man is capable of holiness, although ruined by sin. Why does God punish the sinner? Because of the sinner’s sins! God thus hates sin, no matter where it may be found, whether in the life of an unregenerated sinner, or in the life of His own believer! God’s attitude and conduct toward sin reveal the holiness of God.
d. By His Love of Righteousness. God loves righteousness as much as He hates sin: “Hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness” (I Kings 8:32);“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows… For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb. 1:9; 6:10).
e. By His Justification of the Believing Sinner. If man had his “rights,” he would be in hell; but it is the mercy and grace of God which offers him the plan of salvation, which if he receives declares the believing sinner to be righteous: “God hath set [Christ Jesus] forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25, 26).
f. By His Care of His Saints, “The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (Ps. 103:6). “Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows. The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked” (Ps. 129:1-4). See also the following Scriptures: Psalm 98:1-3; 145:15-19; II Timothy 1:6-9.
g. By His Cross. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1). We can catch a glimpse of the Cross by reading the quoted verse and the remaining verses of Psalm 22. This Psalm is, of course, prophetical, spoken or written some nine hundred years before Christ actually died upon the Cross of Calvary. And Christ’s death is a perfect manifestation of God’s holiness. Some, no doubt, will ask how this could be. We know that God hates sin; therefore, when His Son was made “sin for us, who knew no sin,” yea, when even God’s Son became sin, God’s attitude toward sin did not vary. God hated sin as much as ever, even when He made His Son sin. His Son did not change His view at all. Jesus, therefore, became hated of the Father because of sin. Jesus never became a sinner, but He became sin. And as God hated sin (“It pleased the LORDto bruise him” — Is. 53: l0a), God forsook His Son, for God will always forsake sin. God’s holiness did not change.
V. THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD
God is called the Father because of the association with Him. Popularity of the term “Father” is due to Christianity. There is no such thing as God being a Father in heathenism — this can be found only in Christianity. Today there are many fancies concerning the Fatherhood of God. The teaching of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man is nothing but Universalism: that which teaches that no one will ever be sent to hell. The Universalists reason that God will never send any of His children to hell — and that is true: He will not send any of His children to hell —but not all men are the children of God. The Scripture which the Universalists use to preach that God is the Father of all mankind is Ephesians 4:6: “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” But this means all Christians, all believers, not the unbelievers nor the unregenerated.
A. Old Testament Teaching.
“Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting… Now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Is. 63:16; 64:8).
God is mentioned in the Old Testament as a Father, but not the Father of the individual. Rather He is considered to be the Father of the nation Israel. You cannot find in the Old Testament where God is spoken of as a Father of a born-again sinner.
B. New Testament Teaching.
The Lord Jesus is the One who introduced God as the Father of the individual. He is the first to recognize that God is the Father of each separate Christian. The following Scriptures bear this out: “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” (John 1:14); “Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:17, 18); “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. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:29-33); “They took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me” (John 11:41).
1. In That God is the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The expression, as we use it, “the Fatherhood of God,” does not mean that God lived for a long time and then begat His Son. God, remember, is the eternal Father — and to be an eternal Father, He must have an eternal Son. The term “son” in Scripture does not always mean a son by generation; it may also mean a son byrelationship. Take the Old Testament Scriptures: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14); and: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6). Notice the child and the son. The child is born;the Son is not born, but given. Yes, that Babe in Bethlehem was born, but that Life was the Son who has been forever. The Babe had a beginning; the Son had no beginning. He has existed always, from eternity, with the Father. Thus, Christ is the Son, not by generation (by birth), but by relation. He is related to the Father and the Holy Spirit; all together are related to each other, and thus compose the Godhead, God could never be God without all members of the Godhead being present from eternity throughout eternity.
In order for God to become flesh, He had to be born as any other man; thus, He manifested Himself in His Son, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit: “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35); “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).
a. And the Father Recognizes Jesus as His Own Son. “Lo a voice from heaven, saying, Thisis my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17); There came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him” (Luke 9:35).
b. And the Son Recognizes God as His Own Father. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt. 11:27); “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me” (Luke 22:29); “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (John 17:1).
c. And Men Recognize Jesus as God’s Own Son. “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16); “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God ….Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:34, 49).
d. And Demons Recognize Jesus as God’s Own Son. “Behold, they cried out, saying, Whathave we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:29).
2. In That God is the Father of Believers On the Lord Jesus Christ. “There is . . . one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:6).
We cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that God is not the Father of all mankind. He is only the Father of born-again children of God. All men are the creatures of God, but not all are children of God. Man is a creature of God by creation; he becomes a child by re-creation: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord . . .whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be par- takers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:2, 4).
There can be no sonship apart from the spiritual re-birth. A child has, always, the nature of his father. Man, who is born of Adam, has Adam’s nature, which is corrupt, which is perverted, which is sinful. And the father of Adam’s sinful nature is Satan. Thus, the nature of our father (Adam) is the same nature as Adam’s father’s (Satan); therefore, our nature is the same as Satan’s. All unregenerated sinners have Satan as their father: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is aliar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Summing it all up, if Satan is the father of the unsaved by the natural birth, we must have a supernatural birth in order for God to be our Father!
God does not have any fellowship with anything which is of Adam, for Adam is all that is of a sinful condition and nature. God only has to do with His Son. The world is divided into two divisions; in fact, there are only two men whom God recognizes: Adam and Christ; thus, sinners are divided as to their identity with these two men. The unsaved are identified with Adam; the saved are identified with Christ. All men are identified by the natural birth in Adam; born-again men are identified by the supernatural birth in Christ.
The unsaved man can only call God “God.” The unsaved man cannot call God “Father.” Only the child of God can call God “Father.” When the Lord Jesus was hanging on the tree, He called out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Notice that Christ did not cry, “My Father, my Father.” but “My God, my God.” Why? Why did He not call God “Father”? Because He was taking the sinner’s place there in death, dying — the Just for the unjust. And as He was taking the sinner’s place (a sinner can not call God “Father,” but only “God”), He could only call God “God.”
Where are we? In Adam or in Christ? “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22).