What Is God ~ 20200413 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
04/13 Foundations: What Is God?; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20200413_god.mp3
God: What Is God?
In the classic by C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters; which is an imagined correspondence between a senior demon and his apprentice tempter, on the matter of prayer, screwtape says;
“If you look into your patient's mind when he is praying, ...If you examine the object to which he is attending, you will find that it is a composite object containing many quite ridiculous ingredients. There will be images derived from pictures of the Enemy as He appeared during the discreditable episode known as the Incarnation: ... There will even be some of his own reverence (and of bodily sensations accompanying it) objectified and attributed to the object revered. I have known cases where what the patient called his "God" was actually located-up and to the left at the corner of the bedroom ceiling, or inside his own head, or in a crucifix on the wall. But whatever the nature of the composite object, you must keep him praying to it-to the thing that he has made, not to the Person who has made him. ...Once all his thoughts and images have been flung aside or, if retained, retained with a full recognition of their merely subjective nature, and the man trusts himself to the completely real, external, invisible Presence, there with him in the room and never knowable by him as he is known by it-why, then it is that the incalculable may occur.”
We must direct our prayers "Not to what I think thou art but to what thou knowest thyself to be".
We need to ask ‘What is God? What kind of being is God?’ When we talk about ‘God’, we need to clarify what we mean.
I remember learning about taxonomic ranking in school. It is a method of classifying organisms; Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. It progresses from broad categories; the animal kingdom, and narrows down by traits or characteristics until we get to the specific species.
How do we categorize God? What type of being is God? What category is he in?
Who is like the LORD our God? God is in a class by himself. He is utterly unlike any other being. In Isaiah 6, the prophet has a vision of God
Holy, holy, holy. The word ‘holy’ means set apart, separate, distinct. The Lord is Holy, holy, holy. He is utterly separate and distinct, unlike any other being. He is utterly unique. Notice here, he is worshiped by the seraphim, another class of being with six wings. God is unlike anything in physical creation, and he is unlike any other created supernatural being.
There is a fundamental distinction between Creator and created being. God is the creator of both the physical and the immaterial, spiritual or supernatural realms. God is above and beyond and outside his creation. (And by the way, Colossians 1:16 is talking about Jesus!)
The Westminster shorter catechism question #4 is ‘What is God?’ and gives this answer: ‘God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.'
The catechism places God in the category of Spirit as opposed to a physical or material being. Jesus said:
God is spirit, as such is invisible.
God, in essence is spirit, and although he can appear in different forms, in his essence he has no physical form. Moses drives this point home in Deuteronomy 4
God is spirit, and must be worshiped in spirit and truth. He is not to be worshiped by making an image, either real or imagined. We must worship the God who is, not what we imagine him to be.
When Moses asked God ‘what is your name?’
I AM. The one who is, the one who exists, independent of all else, self-existent. You and I are dependent beings. Think for a moment what you are dependent on. Parents, food, water, air, climate, protection, relationships. We are truly fragile beings. God is independent. Absolutely.
Infinite, Eternal, Unchangeable
‘God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.' God is infinite. He is not finite; not limited in any way. He is not subject to the limitations of space and time and matter that we are limited by.
God is uncontainable!
God is able to do all that pleases him. Nothing that he desires to do is outside his reach.
God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. What he is, he always was. There is no improving on perfection. And he will never decline from perfection. God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable in his being, in his essence or essential nature.
God’s Moral Perfection
‘God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.' God is also infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his moral attributes. He is perfect in his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. These are characteristics we share with God. We were created in the image of God, to reflect and display who God is. We have understanding, we have ability, we have a sense of right and wrong, we love what is good and what is true. But we are limited, flawed, and imperfect in these moral characteristics.
We have some wisdom; God’s wisdom is unlimited.
God knows everything, sees everything, and is present everywhere.
We have some strength; God’s power is unlimited; “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen.18:14).
We can sometimes be good;
We have a sense of justice and truth;
What should our response be to this kind of being? We find a summary of what it should not be in Romans 1:18-25.
With the limited understanding we have of this infinite and unique being who is God, we ought to honor him as God and give him thanks. He is worthy of our worship, and looking at his character and nature should cause us to overflow with worship in spirit and truth.
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org