- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
STUDY OF GOD
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF GOD (THEOLOGY PROPER)
A. Everyone is a theologian in one sense or another because everyone has a view about God one way or another. The question is, “Are we good theologians or sloppy theologians. The answer will be determined by how well we embrace this particular study.
B. The name and meaning of the word, “theology” comes from two Greek words, theòs – God and logia – study of. Therefore, theology is the study of God.
C. However, there is a distinction between theology (systematic theology) and theology proper.
D. Systematic Theology is the systematized study of the relationship of God with other Biblical studies (Christ, Holy Spirit, Church etc.).
E. Theology Proper is the particular study of the revelation, existence, nature, names, and works of God.
I. THE REVELATION OF GOD
A. The Source of Revelation
1. Definition of Revelation
a) Revelation (apokálupsis) literally means to uncover. In the study of theology, it means that which God discloses about himself and his truth.
b) Everything we know about Christianity has been revealed to us by God. To reveal means “to unveil.” It involves removing a cover from something that is concealed. (Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)
c) Revelation means “unveiling” and describes the unveiling or disclosure of truth from God to mankind that man could not otherwise know. (The Moody Handbook of Theology)
d) Revelation simply means the disclosure of truth. It is initiated in the divine love and grace of God on behalf of His creatures. Revelation can be defined as the demonstration and sharing by God of His person, will, and redemptive activity. (Bancroft, Elemental Theology)
e) Revelation is a discovery afforded by God to man of Himself, or of His will, over and above what He has made known by the light of nature, or reason. (Horne from Bancroft Christian Theology)
2. Man’s Knowledge of Revelation
a) Man cannot know God in and of himself (Job 11:7-9; Rom 11:33-34; 1Co 2:14).
b) Man can only know what God reveals to him (Deut 29:29; 1Co 2:9-11; cp. Jn 17:3; Phil 3:10)
c) Man could not possibly have had any knowledge of God, if God had not made Himself known. Left to himself, he would never have discovered God. (Berkhof)
d) The Scriptures attest to two facts: the incomprehensibility of God and the knowability of God. To say that he is incomprehensible is to assert that the mind cannot grasp the [infinite] knowledge of God. To say that he is knowable is to claim that he can be known. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, pg. 27; brackets mine)
B. General Revelation
1. The Definition of General Revelation
a) General Revelation reveals aspects about God and His nature to all humanity so that they will have an awareness of the existence of God.
b) General Revelation is the truths God has revealed about Himself to all mankind through nature, providential control, and conscience. (Moody Handbook of Theology)
c) General revelation is called “general” for two reasons: (1) it is general in content, and (2) it is revealed to a general audience. (Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)
2. The Means of General Revelation
of the universe (Rom 1:20; Psa 19:1-6;
c) Creation of man (Gen 1:26-27)
d) Conscience of man (Rom 2:14-15)
C. Specific Revelation
1. The Definition of Specific Revelation
a) Special Revelation involves a narrower focus than General Revelation, was progressive, but is now ultimately expressed in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures
b) Special Revelation is the divine revealing of truth through Jesus Christ and through the Scriptures. In contrast to general revelation which is available to everyone, special revelation is available only to those who have access to biblical truth. (Moody Handbook of Theology)
2. The Means of Specific Revelation
a) Audible (Gen 1:28; 3:8-10; Ex 20:19).
b) Lots (Pro 16:33; Acts 1:21-26).
c) Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:30; Deut 33:8).
d) Dreams (Gen 20:3, 6, 40).
e) Visions (Isa 1:1; Ezek 1:1; Acts 10:10).
(Gen 16:7-14; Ex 3:2;
g) Angels (Dan 9:20-21; Lk 2:10).
h) Prophets (2 Sam 23:2; Zech 1:1).
i) Events (Micah 6:5; Ezek 25:7).
(1) Christ explains and exegetes the Father (Jn 1:14, 18)
(2) Christ is the visible of image of the
invisible God (Jn 14:9;
(3) Christ is the full revelation of God (Heb 1:1-3)
(1) The Scriptures record the life of the Son of God (Jn 5:39; 21:25; Lk 24:27).
(2) The Scriptures originated from God (2Ti 3:16-17; 1Th 2:13).
(3) The Scriptures are sent for God’s purposes (Isa 55:8-11).
(4) The Scriptures are God’s design for ministry (Acts 6:2, 4).
II. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
1. As Christians, we know that our sole authority for belief in the existence of God is based upon the presuppositions of the inspired and inerrant word of God.
2. But can we and should we use philosophical and natural arguments to postulate the existence of God?
3. The answer is that the Scriptures themselves open the door for such argumentation.
a) First of all, we are told in Rom 1:20 that it is inexcusable to miss the existence of God from the natural realm.
b) Secondly, the Scriptures teach that man is rationally responsible to perceive the existence of God (Ps 14:1; 53:1; Acts 17:23-29).
c) Thirdly, we are taught in Scripture that man is accountable to his moral conscience, which bears witness to the existence of God and his moral standards (Rom 2:14-15).
d) Therefore, such arguments can and should be used to persuade men to come to a saving knowledge of God through his Son as recorded in the Scriptures (1Pe 3:15).
(1) [Philosophical and natural arguments] …may be used to establish a presumption in favor of the existence of the God of the Bible, and they produce sufficient evidence to place the unregenerated man under a responsibility to accept further knowledge from God or to reject intelligently this knowledge and thus to relieve God of further obligation on his behalf. (Ryrie, Survey of Bible Doctrine)
4. Final note: The majority of the following arguments center on the Law of Causality. The Law of Causality can be defined as, every effect has an antecedent cause. It is also called the Law of Cause and Effect.
a) This is not to be confused with Bertrand Russell’s fallacious quote, If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God. …
b) The Law of Causality does not say, everything has an antecedent cause, rather it says, every effect has an antecedent cause.
c) Obviously, our eternal God does not have a cause. Neither does Logic insist that everything has a cause.
(1) Logic has no quarrel with the idea of self-existent reality. It is logically possible for something to exist without an antecedent cause. (Sproul, Not a Chance)
B. The Philosophical And Natural Arguments For The Existence Of God
1. The Cosmological Argument (Creation)
a) The Cosmological Argument is an a posteriori argument, which looks at the conception of the effect and infers its cause through induction.
b) The term cosmological comes from the Greek word, cósmos, which means world.
c) The argument then can be defined as, because the world exists, it must have a maker (God), because something does not come from nothing. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
d) The argument from Philosophy and Logic is…
(1) It is logically impossible for something to generate itself spontaneously out of nothing (Evolution).
(2) But it is logically possible for an eternal and omnipotent God to create out of nothing (ex nihilo - Gen 1:1 - Creation).
(3) Aristotle realized that logically there had to be a “First Cause” or Unmoved Mover.”
(a) … there is that which as first of all things moves all things… eternal unmovable substance…, the first mover must be in itself unmovable. (Metaphysics, Book XII, Part 4, 6 and 8).
(b) Though Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” did not describe in detail the God of the Bible, it described the necessary role of Creator for the God of the Bible.
e) One may argue that it could be that something or someone other than God created the world. Ryrie logically responds to such an idea.
(1) While we have to admit that this cause-and-effect argument does not in itself “prove” that the God of the Bible exists, it is fair to insist that the theistic answer is less complex to believe than any other. It takes more faith to believe that evolution or blind intelligence (whatever such a contradictory phrase might mean) could have accounted for the intricate and complex world in which we live than it does to believe that God could. (Ryrie, Survey of Bible Doctrine)
2. The Teleological Argument (Design)
a) The Teleological Argument is also an a posteriori argument, which looks at the design of the effect and infers its cause through induction.
b) The term teleological comes from the Greek word, télos, which means end or purpose.
c) The argument then can be defined as, the argument that because there is order and harmony in the universe, an intelligent designer must have created such a universe. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
d) Thiessen, in his Lectures in Systematic Theology, 28 writes,) order and useful arrangement in a system imply intelligence and purpose in the organizing cause. The universe is characterized by order and useful arrangement; therefore, the universe has an intelligent and free cause.
e) It is akin to “Intelligent Design” which argues that biological complexity and detectable design rules out chance.
f) Mathematically, chance has less of a chance of creating a complex universe than a million monkeys who randomly pound on a keyboard and reproduce a line from Shakespeare.
g) It would take more faith to believe in chance than it would to accept that an omnipotent God designed an ordered universe.
(1) The question remains, however: Can random “by chance” actions result in the highly integrated organization which is evident in the world about us? To say it can is possible, but it requires a great deal of faith to believe. The Christian answer may also involve faith, but it is not less believable. (Ryrie, Survey of Bible Doctrine)
3. Anthropological Argument (Man)
a) The Anthropological Argument is also an a posteriori argument, which looks at the effect of man’s mental and moral nature and infers his cause through induction.
b) The term anthropological comes from the Greek word, ánthropos, which means man or humankind.
c) While the Cosmological and Teleological Arguments deal with the universe as a whole, the Anthropological Argument (sometimes called “Moral Argument”) is derived from the complex nature of man.
d) Though many today would see man simply as a biological being, his nature is also made up of intelligence, moral conscience, emotions, and volition.
e) Augustus Strong in his Systematic Theology (Vol 1, pg. 161), gives the argument in three parts:
(1) Man, as an intellectual and moral being, has had a beginning upon the planet.
(2) Material and unconscious forces do not afford a sufficient cause for man’s reason, conscience, and free will.
(3) Man, as an effect, can be referred only to a cause possessing self-consciousness and a moral nature, in other words, personality.
f) Lewis Sperry Chafer writes … There are philosophical and moral features in man’s constitution which may be traced back to find their origin in God. ...A blind force...could never produce a man with intellect, sensibility, will, conscience, and inherent belief in a Creator. (Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol 1, pg. 155, 157)
g) Christians know this cause as the Living God who is revealed in the Scriptures. He is the One in whom mankind lives, moves, and exists (Ps 94:9; Acts 17:28-29).
h) As for The Moral Argument, The Moody Handbook of Theology writes, the moral argument acknowledges that man has an awareness of right and wrong, a sense of morality. Where did this sense of moral justice come from? If man is only a biological creature why does he have a sense of moral obligation? Recognition of moral standards and concepts cannot be attributed to any evolutionary process.
i) Geisler summarizes C.S. Lewis’ Moral Argument in Mere Chrisitianity,
(1) Moral laws imply a Moral Law Giver.
(2) There is an objective moral law.
(3) Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.
j) Logically and philosophically then, the mental and moral nature in man could only have come from a personal intelligent and moral Being.
4. Ontological Argument (Being)
a) The Ontological Argument is an a priori argument, which looks at an assumed cause to a necessarily related effect through deduction.
b) The term ontological comes from the Greek participle, óntos (from the “to be” verb eimí), which means to exist or have being.
c) In its simplest form it argues from the idea of God to the existence of God (Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics)
d) Anselm (1033-1109), the originator of the argument stated that, the mere idea of a being than which none greater can be conceived proves the existence of such a being (adapted from Anselm, Proslogium, by Sproul, Gerstner, and Lindsley in “Classical Apologetics”).
e) Or stated another way … since the idea
of God exists universally in the minds of men, then the basis for their ideas
must also exist. (Gibson,
f) Keathly maintains this argument is also called, The Religious or General Argument which is …since the belief in God and supernatural beings is universal even among the most backward tribes, it must therefore come from within man, it is something innate. The question is, could it have come from civilization or even from education when people all over the world possess it whether they are civilized and educated or not? The logical answer is no. (Theology Proper)
g) Some (theists and non-theists) contend that this argument has philosophical difficulties (such as the dollar in my mind but not in my pocket or the concept of Martians etc.) and therefore has little or no value.
h) The argument certainly has value when you include the presupposition from the Scriptures that God has placed within man an awareness of God. Therefore, the fact that man can conceive of God and can conceive of none greater than God proves the existence of God.
i) Geisler distinguishes this argument from the Religious Need Argument which says,
(1) Human beings really need God.
(2) What humans really need, probably really exists.
(3) Therefore, God really exists.
j) A similar argument is the Argument of Joy developed by C.S. Lewis, It basically states, Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger; food can satisfy. A duckling wants to swim; water fills its need. Men and women feel sexual desire; sexual intercourse fulfills that desire. If I find myself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, I probably was made for another world. If no earthly pleasures satisfy the need, it does not mean the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it. (Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 120)
k) One final argument is the Argument from
Congruity which states, … whenever someone finds
the best possible solution to a problem, that solution must be accepted as a
true solution until it is disproved. The belief in the existence of God best
explains the related facts of our mental, moral, and religious natures. Therefore God exists. (Gibson,
III. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
1. In my humble opinion, studying the attributes of God is the crème de la crème of theology. As we understand who God is by understanding His attributes, it results in an indelible mark on our souls.
2. We are able to worship God properly when we understand God’s attributes. In addition, we are able to know how He deals with mankind and mankind is able to know how he is to respond to God.
3. Attributes are in reality a part of God’s nature and essence. Even though we systematize them to understand them, we must realize that God’s attributes are woven together so that no attribute is manifested independently or is preeminent over the rest. Therefore, God is who He is.
B. Definition For The Attributes Of God
1. The attributes of God are the qualities or characteristics inherent in and ascribed to God. These could also be called the “perfections of God” because God is the very essence of the totality of these perfect attributes.
2. The attributes of God could be defined as, those distinguishing characteristics of the divine nature which are inseparable from the idea of God and which constitute the basis and ground for his various manifestations to his creatures. (A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1907 ), p. 244.)
C. Aspects Of The Attributes Of God
1. Customarily the attributes of God are divided into categories: Natural or Moral; Absolute or Relative; and Communicable or Incommunicable. Each has their own distinction and emphasis.
2. The terms, communicable and incommunicable express those attributes of God which are distinct to God alone (Incommunicable) and those which can be found in man albeit in an imperfect and finite resemblance (Communicable).
D. Incommunicable Attributes Of God
a) Unlike man, God does not have a beginning or a cause, therefore God exists in and of Himself. Thomas Aquinas said, He is the first cause; himself uncaused.
b) This means that God has the ground of His existence in Himself, and unlike man, does not depend on anything outside of Himself. He is independent in His Being, in His virtues and actions, and causes all His creatures to depend on Him. (Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine)
c) God’s self-existence is expressed in His name, “I AM” (hayah) which is connected to the name Jehovah (yhvh - four letters; Tetragrammaton or Yehovah) in Exo 3:14.
(1) The Hebrew verb, “I AM” is a common Qal Imperfect of hayah (“to be” verb) which connotes continuous unfinished action, i.e. “the One Who Always Is.”
(2) In the LXX, it is expressed, egṓ eími ó ṓn (I am the One who is) with a present “to be verb” (eími) and a present participle (ṓn).
(3) There is a connection contextually with the covenant name Yahweh. It is expresses the basic idea that God has always existed as the Self-existent One and His covenants need only be based on Himself (Isa 41:4; 42:6).
(4) Self-Existent One is His name, there is no other, and He alone gives life (Isa 45:5-7; Rom 11:36; Acts 17:28 cp. Christ - Joh 14:6).
(5) Self-Existent One is His name and He will not share His glory with another (Isa 42:8).
(6) Self-Existent One is His name and He alone is Savior (Isa 43:10-11 cp. Christ - 2Pe 1:1).
(7) Though Christ became a man it is clear He retained His deity as the great “I AM” (Joh 8:58).
d) Since God is the self-existent One and He is the giver of all life, then He alone knows our true needs and He alone can meet our true spiritual needs.
a) This attribute is a logical conclusion to God’s self-existent because if God is self-existent, He must also exist eternally and endlessly. However, it is more than a logical conclusion; it is a major theme in Scripture.
b) Eternality could be defined as, God is
without beginning, or end…God is free from all succession of time though He
is the author of it. (Gibson, Study of God,
c) Louis Berkhof defines it as, that perfection of God whereby He is elevated above all temporal limits and all succession of moments, and possesses the whole of His existence in one indivisible present. (Louis Berkhof, ibid, pg. 60)
d) God’s eternality is also seen in His name
found in Exo 3:14. The Great I AM (Self-Existent
One) has always existed and will always exist (cp. Christ - John 1:1-2, 15;
e) God exists from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psa 90:2). “Everlasting” in Hebrew is olam. In order to demonstrate God’s eternality, He revealed Himself as El-Olam, i.e. the Everlasting God (Gen 21:33; Isa 40:28). In Rom 16:26, He revealed Himself as the “Eternal (aiṓnios) God.” The Greek expression, eís toús aiṓnas tṓn aiṓnas means, “forever and ever” (Gal 1:5).
f) Since God is the everlasting God, then the life He gives through His Son is also everlasting. Since He never ceases to exist, our eternal life in Him will never cease (Mat 25:46; Joh 3:15-16, 36; Joh 5:24).
a) God is
not capable or subject to change …God never becomes
greater or lesser, better or worse ... never develops or improves, evolves or
gets older. (Gibson, Study of God,
b) Immutability is that perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises...and is free from all accession or diminution and from all growth or decay in His Being or perfections. (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 58.)
c) Once again, we are brought back to Exo 3:14. God’s name, "I AM WHO I AM," not only expresses self-existence and eternality, but also immutability (Psa 102:26-27). God is who He is and He never changes. God does not change for better or for worse. He is already perfection and perfection needs no improvement.
d) God does not lie or go back on His word. He does not need to because He decrees it perfect the first time and every time (1Sa 15:29; Num 23:19).
e) Some challenge God’s immutability when they consider passages such as Gen 6:6 where God “repented” that He made man. First of all, God is sinless and therefore never sins or makes the wrong choice by which He must repent. The word “repent” (nacham - lit. “breath deeply,” sigh) in Gen 6:6, might be better rendered “sorrowful” or “grieved.” God was fully aware that man was going to sin, but God emotionally grieves over sin. Immutability does not mean that God does not interact with man. When man repents God changes His judgment to mercy. For God is not taken by surprise nor does He work on a trial an error basis.
f) God’s immutability is meaningful to the believer because He understands God will never change His mind concerning His promises (Heb 6:17-19; Mal 3:6). God’s immutability is an anchor for the soul because God’s word and counsel do not change (Psa 119:89; Psa 33:11 cp. Christ - Joh 14:2; Heb 13:8).
g) On the other hand, God will not wink at sin or change His mind concerning His judgment upon those who reject Christ (Joh 3:36).
a) Omniscient comes from two Latin words (omnis - all and scientia - knowledge) and means, “all knowing.” It refers to God’s infinite and perfect knowledge.
b) Ryrie states, God knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well.
c) A more comprehensive definition will state that God knows all things actual and possible, past, present, and future, in one eternal act. (Moody Handbook of Theology)
(1) Note: It is important to recognize that in speaking of God’s knowledge or foreknowledge it does not imply a passive awareness of what will happen, but in connection with His knowledge or foreknowledge He has decreed all events. (Compare Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:353–58, 396–99)
(2) [God’s foreknowledge could be stated as the], selective knowledge of God that makes one an object of God’s love; it is more than mere knowledge or cognition beforehand. (House, Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, p. 91 cp. Gen 4:1, Je 1:5; Amo 3:2).
d) David understood the personal side of the omniscience of God in Psa 139:1-4.
(1) David’s life was known by God (vs. 1).
(2) David’s ways were known by God (vs. 2-3).
(3) David’s thoughts and words were known by God (vs. 2,4).
e) God not only knows all things that are possible but also all things that are actual (Ps. 139:1–6; 147:4; Matt. 6:8; 10:29–30 cp. Christ - Mat 16:21; Luk 11:17; Joh 2:24; 4:29).
f) God knows all future events. Because God
is eternal and knows all things in one eternal act, events that are future to
man are an “eternal now” to God. He knew the nations that would dominate
a) Omnipresence comes from two Latin words (omnis - all and praesens - presence) and means, “everywhere present.” It refers to God’s presence everywhere at all times.
b) One definition simply states that, God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times. (Gibson)
c) Another definition says, God, in the totality of his essence, without diffusion or expansion, multiplication or division, penetrates and fills the universe in all its parts. (Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 279)
d) God’s presence is everywhere at all times. This is not the same as pantheism, which states that God is in everything. But, omnipresence does mean that since God is everywhere, everything is in His presence, yet he cannot be contained (Gen 16:13-14 - El Raah; 1Ki 8:27; Psa 139:7-12; Jer 23:23-24; cp. Christ - cp. Christ - Gen 16:7, 10, 11; Mat 18:20; 28:20).
e) The omnipresence of God is a comfort to believers in that they are always in his presence and they are always under His protective eye (Psa 139:18).
f) The omnipresence of God is a warning to those who sin because they are sinning under His watchful eye (Pr 5:21; 15:3; Job 14:16). In addition, because God is omnipresent He is able to see man’s inner thoughts (Mat 5:28; 6:4)
a) Omnipotence comes from two Latin words (omnis - all and potentia - power) and means, “all powerful.”
b) Gibson states, God is able to accomplish anything He designs or desires, and it will not be contrary to His nature.
c) Thiessen, in his Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 82 writes, God is all-powerful and able to do whatever he wills. Since his will is limited by his nature, God can do everything that is in harmony with his perfections.
d) Sadly, there will always be those who ask the ridiculous questions such as, Can God create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it? Or, Can God make a square triangle? The answer is that, God can never do anything that violates his own attributes and nature. If he did, he would cease to be God. Augustine argued that God could not do anything or create any situation that would in effect make God not God.
e) The psalmist declares God’s omnipotence when he contemplates his own creation (Psa 139:13-16).
f) The name, God Almighty (Heb El Shaddai - Strong One) declares that God is an “all powerful” being (Gen 17:1; 28:3; Isa. 13:6; Joel 1:15).
g) Christ also has the attribute of omnipotence (Mat 28:18).
h) The believer is entirely encouraged by the omnipotence of God because all things are possible with God (Gen 18:14; Mar 10:27). This does not mean that God will do whatever the believer wants, but if it is in accordance with His will (Mar 14:36), no one or nothing will thwart Him (Psa 115:3; Eph 1:11 cp. Christ - Mat 28:18; Mar 5:11-15; Mar 5:30; Joh 11:43-44).
is accomplished by the power of God (Rom 1:16; 1Co 1:18) and the believer is
kept by the power of God (1Pe 1:5). In addition, God empowers the believer
j) The unbeliever who rejects Christ will experience the omnipotent power of God with eternal punishment (Mat 10:28).
k) All of God’s “omni’s” are referred to in Psa 139:
(1) God’s Omniscience (1-6)
(2) God’s Omnipresence (7-12)
(3) God’s Omnipotence (13-16)
(4) Man’s Omni - Response (23-24)
E. Communicable Attributes Of God
a) We will begin the Communicable Attributes with the attribute of holiness. As was previously stated, the Communicable Attributes of God are those attributes, which can be found in man albeit in an imperfect and finite resemblance.
b) Though God possess all attributes perfectly and equally, His holiness is vigorously stressed in the Bible (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). It is emphasized because sinful man must grasp how far short he has fallen from God’s glory (Rom 3:23; Isa 6:5).
c) Gibson defines the holiness of God as, set apart from all uncleanness, impurity and is completely moral in all things.
d) Ryrie defines the holiness of God as, not only that he is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others.
e) Berkhof defines the holiness of God as, that divine perfection by which He is absolutely distinct from all His creatures, and exalted above them in infinite majesty. But it denotes in the second place that He is free from all moral impurity or sin, and is therefore morally perfect. In the presence of the holy God man is deeply conscious of his sin. (Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine)
f) The Hebrew word for holy is qadosh and carries the literal meaning of “cut” or “separate.” In one sense, God is separate from all that is sinful and unholy (cp. Hab 1:13; Job 34:10 cp. Exo 26:33; Lev 16:16-17; Isa 1:4). In another sense, God is transcendent and separate from all others because He is perfect in holiness (Exo 15:11; Isa 57:15). Still, in another sense, qadosh refers to that which is set apart for God’s holy use (Exo 3:5; Lev 11:44). The Greek word for holy is hágios and reflects the same meanings as qadosh in the LXX and NT.
g) Because God is holy, everything He does is done in holiness (Psa 77:13). His name is holy (Lev 22:2; Psa 105:3) as is His word (Psa 105:42; Rom 1:2).
h) Because God is holy, he is to be worshipped in holiness (Psa 96:9; Psa 99:5).
i) Since God is holy, His people are to be holy (1Pe 1:15-16; 1Pe 2:9).
(1) This is the prime way of honoring God. We do not so glorify God by elevated admirations, or eloquent expressions, or pompous services of Him, as when we aspire to a conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him. (Charnock, The Attributes of God)
a) Holiness could be described as an attribute that expresses God’s intrinsic character. While righteousness, though inherent to God’s character, describes more the outworking of holiness, especially in his dealing with his creation.
b) Though related to holiness, righteousness is nevertheless a distinct attribute of God. Holiness relates to God’s separateness; righteousness, to His justice…law… [and] morality. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, pg. 48)
c) [God’s righteousness] signifies not only
God’s inherent righteousness and perfection of nature, but also his method of
treating others; his plan of redemption; his method
of saving others. (
d) The righteousness of God is that perfection by which He maintains Himself as the Holy One over against every violation of His holiness. In virtue of it He maintains a moral government in the world and imposes a just law on man, rewarding obedience and punishing disobedience. (Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine)
e) Righteousness (Heb tsedaqah) originally meant, “to be straight.” It was used for a straight measuring rule. Figuratively, this root connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard. It is the ethical and moral standard based upon the nature and will of God. The Greek equivalent is díkaios.
f) God alone is inherently righteous upon which his actions are based (Psa 119:137; Psa 145:17).
g) God’s righteousness is an eternal constant (Psa 119:142) and therefore so is His Word (Psa 19:9; Psa 119:138, 142, 144).
(1) It is not left to our choice whether we will accept them or no; they are issued by royal command, and are not to be questioned. Their characteristic is that they are like the Lord who has proclaimed them, they are the essence of justice and the soul of truth. God’s word is righteous and cannot be impeached; it is faithful and cannot be questioned it is true from the beginning and it will be true unto the end.
h) When God’s righteous standard (based on His own attribute of righteousness) is violated by any unrighteousness or sin, it evokes His eternal righteous indignation, i.e. wrath (Rom 1:18; Rom 2:5, 8; Rom 5:9; Rom 9:22; Rom 12:19).
i) God’s righteousness coincides with His immutability and therefore guarantees the fulfillment of His covenants and promises (Isa 51:6).
(1) [God’s] righteousness is unchanging and endures from age to age. This is the joy and glory of the saints, that what God is he always will be, and his mode of procedure towards the sons of men is immutable. (Spurgeon in loc.)
j) Based on the righteousness of God, the believer need never fear that God will not do right by Him. Indeed in salvation, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believing sinner (Rom 4:23-24) and in sanctification, the Holy Spirit imparts righteousness (Rom 8:4).
a) The truthfulness of God, which is also related to the veracity and the faithfulness of God, could be defined by the following:
(1) This is that perfection of God in virtue of which He is true in His inner being, in His revelation, and in His relation to His people. (Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine)
(2) That God is truth means He is absolutely dependable, without falseness of any kind. Gods plan, principles, and promises are completely reliable, accurate, real, and factual. (Keathly)
(3) To say that God is true is to say, in the most comprehensive sense, that He is consistent with Himself, that He is all that He should be, that He has revealed Himself as He really is, and that He and His revelation are completely reliable. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, pg. 49)
b) The Greek word truth is alếtheia and literally means “to not escape notice,” or non-concealment, or “real state of affairs.” Truth is that which is true or real as opposed to that which is false and not real.
c) First, God is truth in the sense (metaphysical) that God is everything conceived in the idea of God. He is God, the true God (Joh 17:3), as opposed to idols and false gods (Psa 96:4-5; Jer 10:8-10; 1Th 1:9).
d) Secondly, God is truth in the sense (veracity) that God is everything He revealed about Himself. The God of the Scriptures is true because He revealed the truth about Himself. For God to do otherwise would make Him a deceiver (Num 23:19; Rom 3:4; Heb 6:18). Jesus Christ claimed to be the truth (Joh 14:6) and by doing so declared Himself God.
e) Thirdly, God is truth in the sense (logical) that God knows all things as they really are and created man to know the reality of God’s truth (1Jo 5:20).
f) Fourthly, God is truth in the sense (ethical) that God communicates everything truthfully to man so that he might rely on God’s truth (Psa 119:160; Joh 17:17; 2Ti 2:15).
g) It is in this last sense that we understand God’s faithfulness, which is a major theme in the Scriptures.
(1) God’s faithfulness is the basis for His promises and covenants (Heb 10:23; 2Ti 2:13).
(2) God’s faithfulness is a timeless security for His children (Psa 119:90).
(3) God’s faithfulness is the believer’s assurance of God’s mercy (Lam 3:22-23; 1Jo 1:9).
(4) God’s faithfulness provides escape for His children from temptation (1Co 10:13).
(5) God’s faithfulness is the basis for the believer’s perseverance (1Co 1:8-9; 1Th 5:23-24).
h) By understanding the truthfulness and faithfulness of God, the believer knows reality because He knows God, is able to live morally because he knows God’s truth in the Scriptures, and walks in security because God cannot be anything other than faithful concerning His promises.
a) This is often called the most central attribute of God, but it is doubtful whether it should be regarded as more central than the other perfections of God. (Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine). Such a statement may surprise us, but we must remember that God possesses, enjoys, and glories in all His attributes equally.
b) The love of God, like the holiness of God, is emphasized in the Bible because man is in desperate need of understanding it.
c) The love of God has been defined as the following:
(1) The quality in God which moves Him to give of Himself and His gifts. (Gibson)
(2) God seeks the highest good of humans at His own infinite cost. (House, Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine)
(3) [It is] … that perfection of the divine nature by which God is eternally moved to communicate himself. It is not a mere emotional impulse, but a rational and voluntary affection, having its ground in truth and holiness and its exercise in free choice. (Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 86.)
d) When the Bible speaks in reference to God’s love, it is almost exclusively from the Greek word agápê.
(1) Agápê denotes a reasoned-out love, rather than an emotionally-based love (but not devoid of emotion)—one that loves the object irrespective of the worth of the object and even though the love may not be reciprocated. (Enns, Moody Handbook of Theology)
(2) Agápê is the love that God possesses and is a selfless love that seeks to benefit another. It was coined almost exclusively by the New Testament writers. It is distinguished from phílos love, in that its devotion is not based on emotion but on the will.
e) References to the love of God in Scripture:
(1) Love is an attribute of God’s nature (1Jo 4:8; 2Co 13:11) as is His holiness (1Jo 1:5).
(2) The death of Christ on the cross was motivated by God’s love (Joh 3:16).
(3) The love of God was ultimately demonstrated in Christ’s death on the cross (Rom 5:8).
(4) Christ is the special object of God’s love (Joh 15:9).
(5) Believers are special objects of God’s love (Joh 17:23; Eph 1:5).
(6) God’s love is unfailing and everlasting (Jer 31:3).
(7) God’s love is so prevalent in His nature that those who claim to be His children must abide and exhibit His love (1Jo 4:16, 19; Joh 13:34-35).
f) The unmerited love of God which reveals itself in pardoning sin is called His grace…that love relieving the misery of those who are bearing the consequences of sin is known as His mercy or tender compassion …and when it bears with the sinner who does not heed the instructions and warnings of God it is named His longsuffering or forbearance. (Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine).
a) The divine attribute of goodness could be defined as:
(1) Goodness covers two areas, what God is in and of Himself, and what God is to His creatures. In other words goodness covers His character and the expression of His character. (Derickson’s Notes on Theology)
(2) It is that perfection which prompts Him to deal kindly and bounteously with all His creatures. (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 70)
b) The Hebrew word good or goodness is tōb or tūb which when speaking in reference to God means, the intrinsic quality of graciousness and benevolence toward others.
c) The Greek word for goodness is agathosúnê which comes from agathós. Agathós can refer to God’s moral excellence and His relational willingness to give. The original Saxon meaning of our English word “God” is “The Good.” (Pink, The Attributes of God)
d) We see God’s goodness in a general sense to everyone (Mat 5:45) and all things (Luk 12:24 cp. Psa 145:9, 15-16).
e) There is also the goodness of God in a specific sense to those who are His (Psa 23:6; Isa 63:7).
f) Likewise, God’s children are to exemplify God’s goodness in their lives (Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9).
g) God’s goodness is a source of encouragement to those who know Him (Psa 27:13; Jer 31:14).
h) The goodness of the Lord is a reason for giving praise to God (Psa 135:3; Psa 100:4-5).
i) One can trust in God’s sovereignty because God is good, does what is good, and brings about ultimate good (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).
a) Mercy can be defined as…
(1) [Mercy] is the goodness or love of God shown to those who are in misery or distress, irrespective of their deserts. (Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, p. 72)
(2) [Mercy is] God’s tenderhearted, showing compassion toward the miserable, needy people he loves and also his not bringing on fallen people what they deserve. (House, Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine)
b) The Greek word for mercy is éleos and carries the idea of an attitude and emotion roused by the affliction of another (Friberg), often of a superior to an inferior. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word chesed, which was translated, “lovingkindness” and referred to God’s faithful and covenantal love and mercy (Exo 34:6, 7; Isa 54:10; Jer 31:3).
c) References to the mercy of God in Scripture:
(1) The mercy of the Lord is according to His own divine choice (Rom 9:15-16, 18, 23).
(2) The mercy of the Lord is the basis of man’s salvation (Tit 3:5; Eph 2:4-5).
(3) The mercy of the Lord comes through the death and resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3).
(4) The mercy of the Lord is not mutable (Ps 21:7; Neh 9:17; Mic 7:18).
(5) The believer can find mercy from the Lord for help at the throne of grace (Heb 4:16; 2Co 1:3).
(6) The mercy of the Lord is extended to the repentant (Isa 55:7; Psa 32:5; 1Ti 1:11), to those who fear Him (Psa 103:17; Luk 1:50), to the afflicted (Isa 49:13), to the fatherless (Hos 14:3).
d) The believer can rest assured in the mercy of God. Positionally the believer has been forgiven from all sin. Conditionally, he but needs to confess his immediate sin and gain instant forgiveness (1Jo 1:9). It is akin to what Jesus told Peter, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet” (Joh 13:10). The believer is positionally clean and needs only to be conditionally cleansed in his walk.
a) The following are definitions of the sovereignty of God:
(1) God’s sovereignty means that He is the absolute and sole ruler who is independent of all other rule. Keathley
(2) Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things after the counsel of His own will. Pink
(3) The sovereignty of God … may be considered from two different points of view… His sovereign will and His sovereign power. The will of God is represented in Scripture as the final cause of all things…. [The power of God means] that God can, by the mere exercise of His will, bring to pass whatsoever He has decided to accomplish. Berkhof
(4) The sovereignty of God involves God’s preordained plans and purposes which He sovereignly performs (Eph 1:11).
(a) “Predestined” (from proorízō - a boundary set beforehand) means that God has decreed certain things to take place in order to accomplish His will.
(b) “Purpose” (próthesis - to set forth ) means that God has decreed certain things to take place according the purposes God has previously set forth.
(c) “Counsel” (boulê - plan or deliberation) means that God has decreed certain things to take place according to the purposes which God has deliberated and decided upon.
(d) “Will” (thélê - bring about by action) signifies that God is actively performing (present participle of maenergéō) that which He has planned and preordained.
b) God is sovereign over everything that happens and does whatever He pleases (Isa 46:10; Psa 103:19; 115:3; 135:6).
c) God is sovereign over everything that happens and no one or no thing is able to thwart His will (Isa 46:10; Job 11:10; Dan 4:35; Psa 135:6).
d) God is sovereign in regard to the affairs and hearts of men (Pr 21:1; 2Ki 19:28; Job 12:19)
e) God’s sovereignty does not violate the responsibility of man.
(1) God is sovereign but can never be accused of evil or making anyone do evil (Jam 1:13).
(2) All creatures are responsible for their own sin (Satan - Eze 28:15; man - Rom 5:12).
(3) God is sovereign and at the same time man is responsible for his own sin (Acts 2:23).
(4) At times, God sovereignly removes the restraints from evil in order to accomplish His will (Exo 7:3 cp. Exo 8:15; Pro 16:4; Rom 9:22; Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).
(5) God has a plan (Act 15:18), which is all inclusive (Eph 1:11), which He controls (Psa 135:6), which includes but does not involve Him in evil (Pro 16:4), and which ultimately is for the praise of His glory (Eph 1:14). (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 49)
(6) They say that to press the sovereignty of God excludes human responsibility; whereas human responsibility is based upon Divine sovereignty, and is the product of it. Pink
f) God is absolutely sovereign in the salvation of man.
(1) God is sovereign in salvation because God is first and foremost sovereign. To be a sovereign God, God must be sovereign over everything. If God is sovereign over everything then is stands to reason that God is going to be sovereign in salvation. The major issue is not God’s sovereignty in salvation, but God’s sovereignty.
(2) God must be sovereign in salvation because man is unable in and of himself to respond to God’s salvation (Rom 3:11; 1Co 2:14).
(3) God sovereignly chooses and appoints whom He will for salvation (Eph 1:4-5; Act 13:48; Rom 9:11, 19-23).
(4) God sovereignly draws those whom He sovereignly chose (Joh 6:37, 44, 64-65; Jon 2:9; Psa 3:8; 37:39).
(5) God sovereignly chose believers to be part of His ministry of reconciliation (2Ti 2:10; 2Co 5:20).
g) Practical Considerations
(1) God’s sovereignty is one of the most important attributes to understand but sadly is one of the most neglected.
(2) God’s sovereignty is the comfort of comforts to believers.
(a) There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation--the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands--the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust. (Spurgeon).
(3) In some cases, God sovereignly chooses to accomplish His will through the prayers of His people (Jam 4:2-3; 2Ch 7:14; Luk 11:8).
(4) God’s sovereignty demands that believers submit to His will and not our own (Luk 22:42); to His Lordship and not ours (Luk 6:46; 1Ti 6:15).
(5) Sanctification is the believer’s responsibility in cooperation with the sovereignty of God (Phil 2:13).
(6) We are to have dominion and leadership but are to do it in the same wise, righteous, and merciful way that our sovereign Lord does it (Gen 1:26, 28; Col 4:1).
IV. THE NAMES OF GOD
1. Names can and do carry meanings. This was especially true in Old Testament times. For instance, “Cain” means, “to get or acquire,” because Eve declared that she had gotten a manchild by the help of the Lord. Isaac’s name means “laughter” because Abraham and Sarah were filled with the joy of the Lord in their old age at the fulfillment of God’s promise.
2. God’s names also have meaning and that meaning revealed God’s attributes, acts, and personal dealings in the world. In addition, the believer can find great comfort and strength in the names of God.
a) The many names of God in the Scriptures provide additional revelation of His character. These are not mere titles assigned by people but, for the most part, His own descriptions of Himself. As such they reveal aspects of His character. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, pg. 51)
3. The English Bible distinguishes the primary names of God particularly with capitalization. “LORD” with all capitals is the designation for Yahweh. “Lord” with small letters is the designation for Adonai. “God” is the designation for Elohim.
B. Primary Names Of God
a) Elohim is plural form in Hebrew (im). There is some discussion as to why it is plural in the name Elohim. Some say that it refers to the multifaceted attributes of God whereby it is called, “a plurality of majesty.” While this is true, Elohim could be the first implication of God’s triune nature (Gen 1:1) as the plurality of persons. This plurality of persons of the Godhead is also seen in Gen 1:26.
b) The root El in Elohim means might or strength. The idea of Elohim is the Strong One, the Great One, or the Chief God among all others.
c) Elohim is the name of God introduced and emphasized in Genesis chapter one (1-31 except 13, 15, 19, 23, 30). Elohim is the Mighty Creator who created everything that exists.
d) There are no other gods besides Elohim. He alone is the Mighty One (Isa 45:5, 18, 21).
e) He is the God (Elohim) of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 28:13), of all flesh (Jer 32:27), of the earth (Isa 54:5), of the heavens (Neh 2:4).
f) As believers we are to have a worshipful reverence toward Elohim (Psa 66:19), to trust in His strength (Psa 46:10), and to rely upon His strength (Psa 18:31-32; 46:1; 59:9).
a) The next name for God is Yahweh. It occurs some 5,321 times in the Old Testament, making it the most frequently used name for God.
b) This is the personal proper name of
c) Yahweh is really an enhancement of the actual four letters YHVH. YHVH is called the tetragrammaton, the four letters that spell the name Jehovah. This particular name was so sacred to the Jewish scribes that when they would come to this name, they would stop and make themselves ceremonial clean. Furthermore, they added letters from Adonai to comprise Yahweh.
d) The root of Yahweh (hawa, rare synonym of hayah) signifies existence as in a “tree trunk, being at rest where it fall - Eccl 11:3” (TWOT). It also carries the idea of development as in Neh 6:6. Both ideas combined denote that God is the active Self-existent One.
e) The attribute of self-existence means, that God has the ground of His existence in Himself, and unlike man, does not depend on anything outside of Himself. He is independent in His Being, in His virtues and actions, and causes all His creatures to depend on Him. (Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine).
f) Yahweh is closely related to God’s self expressed name, “I AM” in Exo 3:14. The Hebrew verb, “I AM” is a common Qal Imperfect of hayah (“to be” verb) which connotes continuous unfinished action, i.e. “the One Who Always Is.” The LXX translated as, egṓ eími ó ṓn (I am the One who is) with a present “to be verb” (eími) and a present participle (ṓn).
g) The first usage is in Genesis 2 (4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22) where Yahweh is combined with Elohim. The first usage without the combination of Elohim is in Gen 4:3ff in the narrative of Cain.
h) Yahweh not only means that God is self-existent and eternal, but it also refers to God’s covenantal name for His relationship with Israel (Exo 3:15). Believers also have a relationship with Yahweh through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 8:58). All believers ought to give praise to Yahweh (hallelujah, hallelu - praise; jah or yah - Yahweh; Psa 106:48; 150:1, 6)
a) Adonai means one with authority and is translated Lord or Master. It also is in plural form in Hebrew.
b) It is used for human masters or authorities (Gen 24:14, 27, 35, 37); to show the quality of servanthood and respect (Gen 24:18); and it was used by Sarah in reference to her husband (Gen 18:12 cp. 1Pe 3:6).
c) When used of God, Adonai refers to His absolute Lordship among men (Psa 2:3-4).
d) David uses Adonai to indicate his submission to God (Psa 16:2).
e) Isaiah is overcome with the holiness and authority of Adonai and therefore submits his life to Him (Isa 6:1, 8-11).
f) Every believer bows to Adonai when he confesses that Jesus is Lord (kúrios) (Phil 2:11 cp. Isa 45:23).
C. Compound Names Of God
a) El Shaddai
(1) Shaddai (shadday) is said by some to be connected with the Akkadian word, šadu which means "mountain." Thus El Shaddai would translate into English something like "God/El of the mountain," or “king of the hill.” Thus it has the meaning of “all powerful” and is usually translated as, “God Almighty.”
(2) God used this name when He met with Abraham in regard to His supernatural fulfillment of the promise (Gen 17:1 cp. 18:14).
(3) God describes Himself as El Shaddai when confronting Job with His sovereign power (Job 40:2).
(4) Believers will find rest in the shadow of El Shaddai (Psa 91:1).
b) El Elyon
(1) Elyon is a word that means highest or utmost. In regard to God, it declares His total supremacy over all other gods. (Psa 91:1)
(2) It is translated, “Most High God.”
(3) Isa 14:14 - Satan declares to ascend above El Elyon.
(4) Gen 14:18-22 - Melchiedek, king of
(5) Believers will find joy in the presence of El Elyon (Psa 46:4).
c) El Olam
(1) Olam means something that is perpetual or forever. It is translated “everlasting God.”
(2) The attributes of El Olam are everlasting (Psa 117:2; 118:2; 119:142).
(3) Abraham called upon and worshipped the, “everlasting God” because of His everlasting covenants (Gen 21:33)
(4) Believer’s find everlasting rest and strength in El Olam (Isa 40:28).
d) El Roi
(1) The root meaning of roi means, “to see,” Therefore, God is the God from which nothing is hidden because He sees all.
(2) Hagar had run away from Sarai and Abraham. No one could find her, but the God who sees (El Roi), He saw her. In response to her discussion with God, she called the Lord, El Roi (Gen 16:13).
(3) This name of God is a comfort to those who walk with the Lord for God always has His protective eye upon them.
(4) But for those who do not know the Lord, God sees all their iniquity.
(5) Believers walk in the light of the protective eye of El Roi.
e) Various Compound Names of Elohim, Elohay, Elah, and El
(1) El HaNeeman - The Faithful God (Deut 7:9)
(2) El HaGadol - The Great God (Deut 10:17)
(3) El HaKadosh - The Holy God (Isa 5:16)
(4) El Yisrael - The
(5) El HaShamayim - The God Of The Heavens (Psa 136:26)
(6) El Deot - The God Of Knowledge (1Sa 2:3)
(7) El Emet - The God Of Truth (Psa 31:5)
(8) El Gibbor - The Mighty God (Isa 9:6)
(9) El Hakkavod - The God of Glory (Psa 29:3)
(10) El Hannora - The Awesome God (Neh 9:32)
(11) El Yeshuati - The God Of My Salvation (Isa 12:2)
(12) El Rachum - The God of Compassion (Deut 4:31)
(13) Immanu El - God Is With Us (Isa 7:14)
(14) El Echad - The One God (Mal 2:10)
(15) Elah Yerush'lem - God of
(16) Elah Yisrael - God of
(17) Elah Shamaya - God of Heaven (Ezr 7:23)
(18) Elah Shamaya V'Arah - God of Heaven and Earth (Ezr 5:11)
(19) Elohay Kedem - God of the Beginning (Deut 33:27)
(20) Elohay Mishpat - God Of Justice (Isa 30:18)
(21) Elohay Selichot - God Of Forgiveness (Neh 9:17)
(22) Elohay Marom - God Of Heights (Mic 6:6)
(23) Elohay Mikarov - God Who Is Near (Jer 23:23)
(24) Elohay Mauzi - God Of My Strength (Psa 43:2)
(25) Elohay Tehilati - God Of My Praise (Psa 109:1)
(26) Elohay Yishi - God Of My Salvation (Psa 18:46, 25:5)
(27) Elohim Kedoshim - Holy God (Lev 19:2, Jos 24:19)
(28) Elohim Chaiyim - Living God (Jer 10:10)
(29) Elohay Elohim - God Of Gods (Deut 10:17)
2. Jehovah (Yahweh)
a) Jehovah Jireh
(1) The meaning of jireh contains the root , “to see.” The idea is that the LORD not only sees but also meets the needs that He sees.
(2) Abraham gave this name to Jehovah in Gen 22:14, when God provided a sacrifice in the place of Isaac. In the same way and at the same place (Mt. Moriah), some 1900 years later, God became Jehovah Jireh again when He provided the sacrifice of His Son in the place of sinners (Rom 3:25).
(3) Jehovah Jireh is the believer’s provider, especially in salvation (1Th 5:9; Phil 4:19).
b) Jehovah Nissi
(1) Nissi is a word that means a sign, signal, flag, or banner, i.e. a symbol by which to rally troops.
(2) In Exo 17:8-16, Jehovah taught
(3) In remembrance of Jehovah’s great victory and so that they would not soon forget their dependence upon God, Moses erected an altar and named it, “Jehovah Nissi,” “The LORD is my Banner.”
(4) Christ is the believer’s focus and banner (Jehovah Nissi) as He leads from above at the right hand of God (Col 3:1-2).
c) Jehovah Shalom
(1) Shalom is not only the customary gesture for “hello” and “goodbye,” but also its root means, “peace.” The customary Jewish greeting literally means, “Peace to you.” This perhaps is what Paul meant in his salutations when he writes, “grace” (Gentile greeting) and peace (Jewish greeting) to you.”
(2) Jehovah brought peace to Gideon’s soul in assuring Gideon that he had found favor in Jehovah’s eyes. As a result, in Jud 6:24, Gideon builds an altar and names it, “Jehovah Shalom.”
(3) The believer’s soul is at peace because he has peace with Jehovah Shalom (Rom 5:1).
d) Jehovah Sabaoth
(1) The Hebrew word, sabaoth, does not mean Sabbath as in the day set aside for worship. Rather, sabaoth means, army, war, and warfare. It is usually translated, “LORD of Hosts,” which literally means, “LORD of Armies.”
(2) Martin Luther used this name of God in his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” (Lord Sabaoth, His name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle).
(4) In particular, it was used by David to praise God as a “very present help in trouble” because Jehovah Sabaoth was his stronghold (Psa 46:7, 11).
(5) It is Jehovah Sabaoth that will accomplish the future
(6) If Jehovah Saboth is for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31).
e) Various Compound Names of Jehovah
(1) Jehovah Tsidkenu - The LORD Our Righteousness (Jer 33:16).
(2) Jehovah Osaynu - The LORD our Maker (Psa 95:6).
(3) Jehovah M'kaddesh - The LORD Who Makes Holy (Eze 31:13; Eze 37:28).
(4) Jehovah Rohi - The LORD my Shepherd (Psa 23:1, Eze 34:2)
(5) Jehovah Rophe - The LORD who Heals you (Exo 15:26)
(6) Jehovah Sali - The LORD my Rock (Psa 18:2)
V. THE TRIUNITY OF GOD
1. The Trinity is one of the most fundamental doctrines in historical orthodox Christianity. We study the Trinity because we desire to accurately understand the nature of God. In addition, the Trinity is intricately related to other fundamental doctrines (deity of Christ, person and work of the Holy Spirit, etc.).
2. It is interesting that in the study of the doctrine of the Trinity, the word, “Trinity” is never found in the Bible. That being the case however, the truths of the Trinity are clearly revealed in the Scriptures.
3. The Trinity is understood by logically deducting propositional truths from Scripture regarding the essence of God and the personage of God. When properly understood, the Trinity is not a contradiction because Christianity is not maintaining that there is one God while at the same time three Gods. But, in the sense of God’s essence He is one, and in the sense of God’s personage there are three.
4. The members of the Godhead are mentioned in the Old Testament but in somewhat of a shadowed sense. It is not until the New Testament that we are given the fuller revelation regarding the Trinity and the three distinct persons and their roles.
5. Because of so many erroneous views regarding the Trinity, it might be better to describe it as, “Tri-unity.”
B. Definition Of The Triunity Of God
1. One God in three Persons.
2. One God in three Persons, each being deity, and not contradictory nor inferior to the other.
3. God in essence or nature is one, yet eternally existing in three Persons (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit), co-equal in nature, power, and glory; having the same attributes and perfections.
4. Within one essence of the Godhead we have to distinguish three “persons” who are neither three gods on the one side, not three parts or modes on the other, but coequally and coeternally God. (Bromily, Geoffrey, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, p. 532-33).
5. There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal persons, in the same substance but distinct in subsistence. (Warfield, ISBE)
C. The Triunity Of God In Scripture
1. Oneness of the Triunity (God is One)
a) The belief that God is one, has been held by Judaism since its inception. Judaism’s monotheism (one-God) has distinguished itself from all other poly-theistic (many-gods) religions.
b) God has revealed Himself and instructed
(1) However, even in the Hebrew word, “one” there is an allusion to the Triunity.
(2) “One” (echad) can be used for a unity of one. For example, it is used in Gen 2:24 for “they shall become ‘one’ flesh.” Husband and wife become a unity of “one” flesh.
c) We see there is one Creator God in Gen 1:1 and Isa 45:18. The name Elohim is used in both passages.
(1) However, Elohim is in its plural form. Some claim that it is plural in the sense of “plural majesty” of attributes.
(2) Others see an allusion to the Trinity, especially in light of the fact that in Gen 1:26, Elohim says, “Let us make man in our image.” Who is the “us” and “our?” It cannot be angels because they were not created in the image of God and they are creatures not Creator. Gen 1:26 is the first allusion to the Godhead (Triunity) who is one in essence but is three in personage.
d) Monotheism’s great claim was that there are no other gods besides God (Deu 4:35; Isa 45:14; Isa 46:9) therefore maintaining that God is one.
e) The New Testament reiterates the same monotheistic theme.
(1) In 1Co 8:4, Paul makes reference to the Old Testament teaching that God is one. Yet in vs. six, Paul supports the Trinity mentioning Jesus Christ as Creator.
(2) Other NT passages clearly state that God is one (Eph 4:6; 1Ti 1:17, 2:5; Jam 2:19).
2. Distinction of the Triunity (Three Distinct Persons)
a) It is also clear in the Scriptures that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead. Even in the OT, there is ample evidence of such distinction.
(1) As was already mentioned, Gen 1:26 speaks of a plurality of persons.
(2) The Angel of the LORD (preincarnate Christ) is identified as God (Gen 16:13; 22:15-16; 31:11-13), but also is a distinct person (Zech 1:12-13).
(3) The LORD speaks to His distinct Son (Psa 2:7; Psa 45:6 cp. Heb 1:8).
(4) The Spirit of God was involved in creation (Gen 1:2) in addition to Elohim (Gen 1:1).
b) The NT gives an even greater revelation regarding the distinctions of the three members of the Godhead.
(1) The designation of the first person of the Godhead is God the Father. He is the eternal Father of Christ and Father of believers (1Co 15:24; Gal 1:4; Eph 4:6; 1Pe 1:2; 2Pe 1:17).
(2) The designation of the second person of the Godhead is God the Son. He is the eternal Son of God and Savior of believers (Mat 16:16; 26:61-64; Joh 3:16; 20:31; Rom 1:4; Heb 1:8; 4:14).
(3) The designation of the third person of the Godhead is God the Holy Spirit. He is the eternal Spirit of God and indweller of believers (Joh 14:16; 15:26; 16:12-15; 1Co 2:10-14).
3. Manifestation of the Triunity
a) The concept of the Triunity was manifested in the OT (Isa 48:16; 6:3).
b) The Triunity was manifested at the baptism of Jesus (Mat 3:16-17).
c) The Triunity is manifested in the Great Commission (Mat 28:19-20)
d) The Triunity is manifested in sharing the same works and attributes (See Chart).
e) The Triunity is manifested in salvation. The Father “allocated” it, the Son “accomplished” it, and the Spirit “applies” it.
f) The Triunity is manifested in indwelling. The Godhead dwells in the believer
(1) Father - 2Co 6:16
(2) Son - Joh 15:4;
(3) Spirit - Joh 14:17; 1Co 3:16; 6:19