“Lessons in Theology” – The Nature of God

N. Theology

I. Trinity
II. Self-Existent
III. Transcendent
IV. Eternal
V. Immutable
VI. Omnipotent
VII. Omniscient
VIII. Omnipresent
IX. Sovereign
X. Justice
XI. Love
XII. Glory
XIII. Volition
XIV. Holy

Extras:
A. Man made in His Image
B. Dimly Mirror

Aside: Infinitude fallacy

FAQ’s

. . .

N. Theology : Theo- means “God” and -ology means “study of.” So “Theology” is the “study of God.”

I. Trinity :

Define: Tri- means “3” and -unity means “oneness.” So “Trinity” is the Oneness of Three.
Verse – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
Further Reading – Trinity Operating as One (Mt. 3:16-17; Jn 15:26; Ro. 5:5-6; Ro. 8:11, 16-17; 1Co. 12:4-6; 2Co. 13:14; Gal. 4:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6; 1Th. 1:2-5; 2Th. 2:13; Tit. 3:4-6; 1Pe. 1:2; 1Jn. 4:2; Jude 20-21) Only One (Deu 4:35; Deu 6:4; Deu 4:39; Isa 44:8; Isa 45:21)
Explanation – The Trinity is the doctrine that God is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are One in Substance and Three in Form.

II. Self-Existent :

Define: Self means “one; own” and Existence means “being.” So “Self-Existent” is One’s Own Being.
Verse – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you [Moses] are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14)
Further Reading – Jesus is the I AM (Mk 6:50; Jn 8:28; Jn 8:58; Jn 18:8) God Was, Is, and Is to Come (Rev 1:8; Rev 4:8) Jesus is… (Jn 14:6) We’re contingent (Act 17:28; Col 1:17b)
Explanation – God is the only one who is sufficient to sustain His own existence; everything else must have a cause. God is the Cause of causes; and therefore is Source by which all axioms derive. All beings are contingent on something else other than itself. God is the only One capable of true aseity.

III. Transcendent :

Define: Transcend means to “be beyond” and -ent means to “exist in a condition of.” So “Transcendent” means to “exist in a condition of being beyond.”
Verse – “For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1)
Further Reading – Above Heavens (Eph 4:10a; Heb 7:26) Highest (De 10:14) Most High (Ps 9:2; Ps 18:13) Above Our Ways (Ps 23:1; Isa 55:9; Ro 11:33) Incomprehensible (Rom 11:33; Ps 145:3)
Explanation – To be Transcendent is to be a higher form of something. This is not a statement of location (like saying God is “outside” of the universe), but it is a statement that means God is a higher order of Being.

IV. Eternal :

Define: Characterized in terms of endless age or agelessness.
Verse – “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2)
Further Reading – Created Time (Ge 1:1; Ps 102:25; Jn 1:1, Col. 1:17a) Eternal/Everlasting (Ge 21:33 Job 36:26; Ps 55:19; Ps 93:2; Ps 102:24; Ps 102:27b; Isa 26:4; Isa 40:28; Jer 10:10; Mic 5:2; Hab 1:12; Heb. 1:12; Jud 1:25) Word is Eternal (Ps 119:89; Jn 1:1-2) Ancient of Days (Dan 7:9,13,22) King of Ages (Rev 15:3) Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8; Rev 21:6; Rev 22:13)
Explanation – God created time, and is therefore independent (or “outside”) of time, but also acts within it simultaneously to/from the moment of creation. In Greek the word is “pro,” meaning antecedence (“before” without the connotation of time).

V. Immutable :

Define: -Im means “not” and Mutable means “changeable.” So “Immutable” means “not changeable.”
Verse – “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (Mal 3:6)
Further Reading – Doesn’t Change (Ps 102:27; Ja 1:17) Keeps Promises (Ps 145:13) Cannot Lie (Ts 1:2; He 6:18) Swears By Himself (Ge 22:16; Ex 32:13; Isa 45:23; Je 22:5; Je 44:26; 2 Tm 2:13) Same Forever (Heb 13:8)
Explanation – God always remains the same. He cannot lie, nor break a promise. He even swears by His own Name because there is no one higher, and no one else who can always keep their promise.

VI. Omnipotent :

Define: Omni- means “all” and Potent means “able power.” So “Omnipotent” means “all powerful.”
Verse – “For without God nothing is possible, but with God everything is possible.” (Luke 1:37)
Further Reading – All Possible (Mat 19:26) Made and Controls Everything (Job 38; Psalm 135:5-7; Isa 40:26b)
Explanation – God has the ability to do anything He chooses. In fact, He has the choice of creating His own choices. Man can only decide between what choices he has been given by God.

VII. Omniscient :

Define: Omni- means “all” and Science means “knowledge.” So “Omniscient” means “all knowing.”
Verse – “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)
Further Reading – Knows All Things (1 John 3:20) Perfect Knowledge (Job 37:16) Jesus Knows All Men (Lk 21:15; Jn 2:24) Father Knows What You Need (Mat 6:8,31-32) Spirit Teaches All Things (1 Co 2:10-11) Calls Stars By Name (Psalm 147:4; Isa 40:26a) Numbers the Hairs on Your Head (Lk 12:7; Mat 10:30) Eyes are Everywhere (Pro 15:3) Teaches Man (Pro 25:2; Jer 33:3)
Explanation – God calls the stars by name as well as numbers the hairs on you head. He knows all men and teaches all men. Not only did He make all things, but He also knows all things.

VIII. Omnipresent :

Define: Omni- means “all” and present means “to preside in.” So “Omnipresent” means “to preside in all.”
Verse – “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths,a you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
Further Reading – Everywhere Present (Jer 23:24; Eph 4:6; Eph 4:10b) All Things Hold Together Through Him (Col 1:17b) Operates Through Time (Isa 46:10a; Ma 28:20; Jn 13:19; 2 Pe 3:8) All in All (Col 3:11; Eph 1:23)
Explanation – God occupies all things; material and non-material. Though this does not mean God is all things, God acts through all things.

IX. Sovereign :

Define: Super- means “over” and reign means “to have authority.” So “Sovereign” means “to have authority over all.”
Verse – “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
Further Reading – Authority Over Everything (Ps 83:18; Ps 97:9; 1 Co 15:24-27) King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Ti 6:15; Re 17:14; Re 19:16) Forever (Ps 45:6-7; Ps 92:8; Heb 1:8-9)
Explanation – God has holds authority over everything and controls all situations and circumstances.

X. Justice :

Define: Just means “righteous” and -ice means “quality.” So “Justice” means having the “quality of righteousness.”
Verse – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)
Further Reading – Law is Perfect (Ps 19:7; Ps 119:1; Ja 1:25) Sowing and Reaping (Job 4:8; Hos 8:7; Hos 10:13; 2 Co 9:6) Fair & Balanced (1 Sam 2:3; Ez 18:30; Ps 62:12; Lk 12:48; Lk 18:14; Ro 2:6; 1 Co 10:13; Rev 16:7) Jesus Justifies (Isaiah 45:7; John 5:22; Ac 13:39; Ro 8:30; Ga 2:16; Php 3:12) Punishment for Wrongdoing (Exodus 21:23-25; Am 3:6) Treasure for Righteousness (Pro 8:20-21; Pro 15:6; Ma 6:20) Judgment Day (Mt 12:36-37; Ro 14:10-12; 1 Pe 4:5-6)
Explanation – God pay’s what is due, so to speak. His Judgment administers punishment to the evil and reward to those already justified by Christ.

XI. Love :

Define: The willful charity of communion; unity of wills.
Verse – “For God loved the world this way: He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have opportunity for Eternal Life.” (John 3:16)
Further Reading – Is All Pervading (Ro 8:38-39) Definition (1 Co 13:4-7,13) Fulfillment (Ro 13:8-10)
Explanation – Love is to intentionally extend good will towards another. God showed His Love for all by Crucifying His Son on the Cross; a Will of Good that extends to all. From there it is up to each individual to accept it and return the love.

XII. Glory :

Define: Worthy of all-united praise; honor; splendor; majesty.
Verse – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Further Reading – God Firstly (Isa 42:8; Mt 4:10; 1 Co 10:31) Through Jesus (1 Pe 4:11) Man Secondly Only If Not Done By God (Act 14:11-14; 1 Co 11:7) Not To Angels (Col 2:18; Heb. 1:5,13; Rev 19:10)
Explanation – God is the most worthy because God is the source of meaning and values. He alone deserves glory, and is able to give glory and receive praise through the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

XIII. Volition :

Define: An act of deliberate will; conscious action.
Verse – “I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10b)
Further Reading – Willful Purpose (Isa 14:24) Uses Evil For Good (Ge 50:20; Ne 13:2) Has A Purpose For All Good (Ro 8:28) Greater than Man’s Purpose (Pro 19:21)
Explanation – God is completely free in the full sense of the world. He is not limited to do anything other than what He has set for Himself.

XIV. Holy :

Define: Holy means “reverent,” “set apart,” “complete,” “distinct,” and “pure”.
Verse – “And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.'” (Isaiah 6:3)
Further Reading – Holy, Holy, Holy (Rev 4:8) Distinct (Isa 46:5) Whole; Complete (Eph 3:19) Perfect (Ma 5:48) Real Reality (Jn 6:55) Cannot Stand with Evil (Ex 33:20; Ps 5:4,5; Hab 1:13, 1 Ti 6:16) Be Holy As He (Lev 11:44-45; Lev 19:2; Lev 20:7; 1 Pe 1:15-16) The Way is Holy (Ps 118:20; Pro 16:17; Isa 35:8; Mat 7:13-14; Heb 12:14)
Explanation – God is set apart from all things, in that, all things necessarily exist because of Him. In being Holy, God is wholly complete in all aspects; in everything, and is therefore perfect. In a pious respect, to be Holy, is to be sacred.

Extras:

A. Made in His Image :

Define: The word for made used here is “bara'” in Hebrew. Brown-Driver-Briggs shape, fashion, create, always of divine activity [out of nothing], with accusative of thing, or “father of” in terms of the individual man. The word for image used here is “tselem” in Hebrew. Strong’s Concordance says it’s from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively).
Verse – “So God made man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Further Reading – Originally (Ge 5:1; Mt 19:4; Mk 10:6; 1 Co 11:7) Continues to Be (Ge 9:6; Renewed (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10;
Explanation – In laymen, to be made in His Image means to have the form, resemblance, or likeness of Him. This means inheriting characteristics God has. Though it is uncertain exactly what this meant, it is suggested that Adam was made perfect in all these qualities. This is not to be confused with being “begotten” of God as Jesus was. God can only beget God, but He can create anything He wants.

B. Dimly Mirror :

Define: The word for dimly used here is “ainigma” in Greek. Strong’s Concordance says it’s from a derivative of praise (in its primary sense); an obscure saying (“enigma”), i.e. (abstractly) obscureness — X darkly. The word for mirror used here is “esoptron” in Greek. Help’s Word-studies says it’s a metallic mirror (not made of glass). Ancient mirrors (merely made of polished metal) only produced an indistinct image (reflection). So, to get an accurate picture (reflection) the viewer had to look from several different angles (“standpoints”). This has profound implications in “doing theology”!
Verse – “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Further Reading – Sin Corrupted (Ge 3; Ecc 7:29)
Explanation – To be a dimly mirror simply means that we are only an imperfect form of what we soon will be in our eternal bodies. Our eternal bodies are what God intended us to be (and possibly how Adam and Eve looked before eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden). One idea is that we will be radiating with, engulfed in, and surrounded by, light.

Aside:

Infinitude Fallacy

-When a person says, “God is infinite” it doesn’t mean He infinity (as in infinite number of consecutive moments in time), it means He is “not finite.” If He were infinity, He would be infinity in presence (and therefore be a pantheistic God; because everything would be God; while also being limited).
 

FAQ’s

How can God be ___?

. . .

Q: How can God be a Trinity and Holy?

A: God is One Essence and Three Persons. When discussing God’s Being, you are talking Ontology. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not separate entities functioning as parts. Though they are distinct, they are all complete. The late Dr. Henry Morris used the analogy of space/time matter/energy universe. Each is interdependent, co-equal to one another, and cannot exist apart from one another.

. . .

Q: How can God be Self-Existent?

A: Everything is contingent on something other than than itself. God is the Ultimate Axiom [Source] by which all axioms come.

. . .

Q: How can God be Immutable and Volitional?

A: Change is different than interaction. Many people use the word “change” (in terms of shift of one essence to another) as synonymous with “change” (in terms of interaction between two or more essences) but they are different. God can remain the same while performing different actions. Essence precedes action and action does not change immaterial absolutes.

Note: God did change in the sense that Jesus is material and that material body was altered (during growth, transfiguration, and resurrection), but God’s changeless nature refers to His promises–not material state.

. . .

Q: How can God be Transcendent and Omnipresent?

A: God Exists is not one with history and nature, but He is still able to use them how He desires. To work within something does not mean you have to be one with that something. A mechanic can be working under a car and stick his arms and tools inside, though he is still not the car.

. . .

Q: How can God be Omnipotent and Love?

A: This is only a problem if you don’t take into account the freedom of will and man being made in His Image. He has used His Volition to give us volition. God is not evil for giving us the capacity to choose between Good and evil, He is actually allowing the possibility for real Love.

. . .

Q: How can God be Omniscient and have/give Free Will?

A: God can position peoples lives and give them choices, yet account for the choices He knows they will choose (molinism). I can ask my wife if she wants to go to McDonalds or a restaurant in Whole Foods and already have planned for the outcome of Whole Foods (by bringing more money) because I know she is a healthy person.

. . .

Q: How can God be Omnipresent and Spacio-Temporal (in space and time)?

A: Just as a mind is not necessarily confined to a brain/body, God does not need to have necessary have spacio-temporal temporal attributes to be/act in a spacio-temporal world. An example of this would be information. It is not necessarily spacio-temporal but exist/shows-up in this world.

. . .

Q: How can God be Sovereign and Man be made in His Image?

A: This is only a problem if you don’t take into account God’s Omniscience and Eternal aspects. He is outside of time and therefore can predestine each individual to be birthed in the time and location which He sees fit. Each individual is still able to make his own volitional decisions, but God already foreknew those decisions and could have positioned them to have their will done according to His Purpose.

. . .

Q: How can God be Love and Justice?

A: He showed His Love by justifying our sins through Christ. Jesus took the punishment we deserved; and it’s within that same act that He gave us His Love.

. . .

Q: How can God be Immutable but have made changes to reality?

A: This term only applies to the laws He has already decreed (and it probably only refers to moral laws; He doesn’t “go back on what He says” so to speak). In terms of modality God is mutable (potentially changeable) and “was” changeless at least sans creation.

. . .

[Disclaimer: We can never know exactly how or why God would do something other than what He has revealed to us. This is just to show that it is logically possible to reconcile different aspects.]

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