Thinking About God (1)

Sermon for Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thinking About God (1)

Today I will ask you to think about God.  Too often, people fail to do this.  As a result, people fail to know truth about the God of creation and the Bible.

This reminds me of the preacher who told me his faith was shaken when someone ask him, “Who made God.”  This question should not be difficult to answer for those who have thought about God.

Perhaps the preacher had never thought about the attributes of God.  Or, he missed this in his training.  Or, the question is not the real reason his faith was shaken.

Exodus 33:

[13] If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.

Jeremiah 9:

[23] This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, [24] but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord…”

Someone said, “All thinking people believe in God.”  I know that atheists think but the point being made is that few people are willing to think about the evidence for God.

We also need to think about the evidence that leads us to define God.  This evidence is found in both Scripture and creation.  This is the mistake the preacher made who could not answer the question, “Who created God?”  If God could be created then he is not God.

By definition, God is the First Cause of all things in the universe.

God is also self-existent and does not require anything outside of himself for his own existence.

To think about God, we must use words even though the concept of God is likely beyond the words of any human language.  For example, the Bible uses a masculine personal pronoun with reference to God but he is neither male nor female in the since that humans are.

There are words we use in English that try to explain the God we worship and the God described in the Bible.  We will now look at some of these words and phrases:

1) God is Omnipresent:

This word describes how big God is.  God is and can be everywhere he wants to be and be there all at the same time.  God is everywhere.  You cannot escape God.

Proverbs 15:

[3] The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Jeremiah 23:

[23] “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away?  [24] Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Psalm 139:

[7] Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

[8] If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

[9] If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, [10] even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

[11] If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” [12] even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

2) God is Omniscient:

This word means that God knows everything there is to know.

1 John 3:

[20] If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Psalm 147:

[5] Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

3) God is Omnipotent:

This means God is all powerful.  It also means that God is self-sufficient and does not need anything outside of himself for his existence.

Self-existence means that nothing has given God life because life is in himself:

John 5:

[26] For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

God is self-existent and does not depend on anything for his existence:

Acts 17:

[24] The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.

[25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.  Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

God has no external limits.  His only limits are those he places on himself.

Job says of God, “I know that you can do all things” (Job 42:2).

Genesis 18:

[13] Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’  [14] Is anything too hard for the Lord?  I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

4) God is timeless:

God exists outside of time and is not measured by time.

Job 36:

[26] How great is God—beyond our understanding!  The number of his years is past finding out.

Genesis 1:

[1] In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God has always existed and there never was a time when he was not.  God existed before the beginning of time.

This is not just the beginning of created matter but of the time to put it in.

Revelation 1:

[8] “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

1 Timothy 1:

[17] Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Psalm 90:

[2] Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

God is not limited or constrained by time:

2 Peter 3:

[8] But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

[9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

[10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

5) God is spiritual:

God is spiritual in the sense that he is not made from the elements of this created universe.  This is the point Jesus makes:

John 4:

[24] God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

This verse contains a play on words.  There are two uses of “spirit” in both English and Greek.  Spirit can mean something that is not physical and also an attitude of mind or heart.

The point:  Just as God is not physical, we must worship in the right attitude of mind as well as truth.  Note that “spirit” in the last part of the verse is joined by “truth” indicating the two requirements for worship.  (For some reason, the updated NIV decided to capitalize “spirit” as if Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, which would miss the point being made in the last part of the verse.)

We think of spiritual as something we cannot see but this misses the point.  Air cannot be seen by human eyes but it is a part of the created universe.

A part of the nonphysical God came to earth and became physical for our benefit.  We call this event the incarnation of God.

The incarnation refers to God’s Son leaving his spiritual presence and becoming physical.  Jesus took on flesh and physical attributes at the incarnation and became a part of the created universe.  For a time, the Son of God became a part of the physical universe.

Paul says Jesus took the form or nature “of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man…” (Philippians 2:7-8).

God intends that humans have the opportunity to move past their physical existence here on earth.

Jesus says:

Matthew 10:

[28] Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

God is not limited by physical constraints.  Jesus took on flesh and physical attributes only at the incarnation to help us better understand the invisible and ourselves. Technically, we are both material and immaterial. There is a part of us that can be distinguished by the five senses.

Conclusion:

To think about God correctly, we must consider the important attributes we have discussed in this lesson.  Understanding the nature of God will increase our faith and help us avoid mistakes in our understanding of God.

There are many characteristics of God, but these are foundational in our understanding:

1) God is omnipresent.

2) God is omniscient.

3) God is omnipotent.

4) God is timeless.

5) God is spiritual.

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices