Who and What is God?

Thoughts on Westminster Confession of Faith, articles II.1-2, which you can find here.

There is only one God.  “Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one [or, Yahweh alone]” Deuteronomy 6:4.  While the Bible speaks of angels and rulers as gods figuratively (Ps 82:6; 97:7), and calls Satan the god of this world, there is no question the Bible affirms only one true God.  1 Corinthians 8:4 says, “we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.”

This God is a Spirit.  He is not to be identified with the world, or the laws of nature.  He has an “intelligence, feeling and will.”  He is personal, not a force.  We are made in his image and are spirit, too.  God has no body or passions.  Many mistakenly assume from this that God is devoid of emotion or feeling at all, which is not true.  Our emotions are changeable and mixed with sin.  Our feelings act upon us and get us in trouble.  But God has consistent feeling for us, no temper tantrum or weak moment of sentimental love.  God is angry with the wicked every day.  He is compassionate to His people.  The Bible speaks of the zeal of God (Isaiah 9:7).  These aren’t just pictures to help us understand.  God really does relate to us with personal intensity.  He isn’t a block of ice.  But His “passions” are not like ours - changeable or arbitrary. 

God has absolute and relative perfections.  Absolute perfections are His alone, not shared with His creatures.  In this class would be His eternity and self-existence.  Relative perfections are those He does relate to us, share with us in part, like His holiness, goodness and knowledge.  They are communicable attributes, we say.

God is self-existent.  He needs nothing, and He didn’t create us out of need.  “All things are open” – God never troubleshoots His creation, trying one thing, then another if that doesn’t work.  Everything God plans and does works.  He is sovereign.  And not just in the sense of having control to manipulate things how He wants them.  But also in the sense of rightly having sovereignty.  (“To Him is due…”).

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