Purpose of this Session
To open the students imagination to the infinite wonders of God, and the revelation of the Godhead, His Person, Character and attributes.
The Scriptures give us the revelation of the eternal Godhead, who has revealed Himself as One God, existing in three Persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are distinguishable, yet indivisible in essence. They are co-equal in nature, power, attributes and glory.
Foundations of Christian Doctrine
Throughout church history the Apostolic doctrine concerning the Person of God has been attacked, and these heretical assignments have led to the formation of creeds, which outline explicitly the Biblical declarations regarding God’s Person, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Today also, we must “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) as the essence and Person of God continues to be maligned, and as satan tries to pervert the true revelation of God to mankind.
Some may consider this subject to be too elementary, assuming more knowledge about the essentials than they actually possess. As Paul exclaimed:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?” Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom 11:33-36 NKJV)
A genuine and pure revelation of the Person, character and attributes of God is essential if we are to exercise faith. As we revisit some of these awesome truths concerning our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit, open your heart to be awed by His majesty, confounded by His vastness and eternal nature, and delighted by His loving and beautiful character!
Quoting from Brennan Manning, let us be reminded begin, that God cannot be boiled down to mere human concepts, and that a true knowledge of God is not so much about information, but revelation and encounter with the Incomprehensible.
This, I believe, is the main business of religion. Religion is not a matter of learning how to think about God, but of actually encountering him.
Losing our illusions is painful because illusions are the stuff we live by. The Spirit of God is the great and unmasker of illusions, the great destroyer of icons and idols. God's love for us is so great that he does not permit us to harbour false images, no matter how attached we are to them. God strips those falsehoods from us no matter how naked it may make us, because it is better to live naked in truth then clothed in fantasy.
Still, there is a chronic temptation to reduce God to human dimensions, to express him in manageable ideas. Human reason seeks to understand, to reduce everything to its own terms. But God is God. He is more than a super human being with an intellect keener than ours and the capacity for loving greater than ours. He is Unique, Uncreated, Infinite, Totally Other than we are. He surpasses and transcends all human concepts, considerations, and expectations. He is beyond anything we can intellectualise or imagine. This is why God is a scandal to men and women–because he cannot be comprehended by a finite mind.”
The bible does not argue the existence of God it simply declares it.
Our Father begins His entire revelation with the simple pronouncement: “in the beginning God…” He does not seek to justify or qualify His position.
All Biblical writers follow this pattern. The existence of God is assumed as an unquestionable reality, and all else is built upon that categorical truth. As David asserts in Psalm 53:1, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God”
Unlike many of the vain philosophies abounding today which profess relative truth; “it may be true for you but not for me”; the Bible has certain absolutes which are independent of everything and everyone. If not one person on earth believed in the existence of God, or in His Son Jesus Christ, He would still be God and Jesus would still be Saviour.
“Let God be true but every man a liar.” (Rom 3:4 NKJV)
Nothing can be known or received from God if one does not believe in His existence. Faith substantiates for us what we do not perceive with the natural senses:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1 NKJV)
Many who have no problem believing in electricity or radio waves, continue in their stubbornness to reject the existence of God, even refusing the clear and visible proofs, which stare us in the face every day. In reality, all mankind is held accountable and is without excuse:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:20 NKJV)
As the Scriptures reveal, when a man’s eyes are blinded by satan, no amount of reason or proof will convince his mind of God’s Person and character.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2Cor 4:3-4 NKJV)
To many their image of God is marred by their experience of, and the awful history of, the religious establishment who claim to carry His Name. I quote from Prof. Richard Dawkin’s website as an example of this:
A preeminent scientist – and the world's most prominent atheist – asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11. With rigor and wit, Richard Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, forments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong, but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.”
As Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian novelist once wrote in answer to his critics; “Don’t judge God’s holy ideals by my inability to meet them. Don’t judge Christ by those of us who imperfectly bear His name”.
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most respected leaders of modern history. A Hindu, Ghandi nevertheless admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"
Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."
For many the only picture they will ever see of God is in His servants. May we always remember that our lives as Christians are not defined so much by our doctrine as by our love for one another:
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”” (John 13:35 NKJV)
In reality, our existence and purpose make little sense
apart from belief in a personal God. I quote now from Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible (p591):
“The greatest and most profound idea the human mind can ever conceivably entertain concerns the possibility of the existence of a personal God. The sheer importance of man’s response to this idea cannot be exaggerated, for it will not only govern his life down here but also determine his ultimate destiny. Unless one satisfactorily answers the who question, he cannot possibly solve the how, why, when, and where problems of his own existence.”