...of the attributes of God
Consider the mind of God. He
dwells in eternity, and is not subject to time.
Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
This means that from our
time-bound perspective, He can
think billions - yes, billions - of thoughts instantly. His
cognitive power - His ability to reason, -is infinitely greater than
Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
He may have designed and created
the complex intricacies each of the wonderful, beautiful creatures that
He placed on this planet in a tiny fraction of a second, or even in no time at all.
The wonderful flowers, the stunning butterflies - and even man, who
beholds them in awe and rapt fascination.
Consider the vastness and power of
God. All of creation exists within Him,
and all of the matter within the universe is upheld and consists in Him.
Col 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Ac 17:28a For in Him we live, and move, and have our being...
To help you comprehend this, think of how a software game world runs
entirely within a computer. Just as a programmer determines the virtual
physical laws in a computer game, God has determined and set the
physical laws of the universe. And as a
programmer can make a computer game character appear at will within a
computer game, God has absolute power and control over His creation - to
bring into being, to destroy, to wound or to heal. He is a God of order,
logic and reason. Because of this, normally, He allows the physical laws
that He has designed to govern the course of creation, in such a
consistent manner that we may in all but very exceptional circumstances
rely upon them - for scientific inquiry, for instance. But whenever He
chooses, He may interrupt or change the course of nature. Such
exceptions are what we call miracles. And they have been recorded
throughout history. They occur more often where we find men, women and
children who, by His undeserved favor and mercy, trust and lean upon
Him, and thereby are empowered by Him to live lives that are pleasing to
Him, praying according to His will.
Since we live and move in Him, He is of course invisible
and undetectable to all but those to whom He reveals Himself. And to
whom does He reveal Himself? Blaise Pascal
It is invariably true, that He
conceals Himself from those who tempt him, and manifests Himself to
those who seek Him.
While I would not say that this is
invariably true - I think that God makes some exceptions to this
rule, it does seem to be generally true. The apostle Paul said something
along the same lines:
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
And yet even though those who
tempt Him and reject holiness usually deny themselves the privilege of personal
revelation, they still are able to see the evidences of Him through His
handiwork. As King David and the Apostle Paul wrote,
Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Ro 1:20 For, from the very creation of the world, His invisible perfections—namely His eternal power and divine nature—have been rendered intelligible and clearly visible by His works, so that these men are without excuse.
Selah is a Hebrew word,
used in the psalms, which means, "Pause, and think calmly about
I invite you to engage now, if you
will, in this ancient Hebrew practice. Meditate upon the attributes of
God that we have so far considered: His mighty intellect, His
omnipresent vastness, and His unlimited power over His creation. I'm
quite serious. Please look away from this article for a short time, and
ponder these things.
When I did so, though I am not a
man given to fear of physical heights, I felt as frightened as a man who
wanted to avoid looking down a very high cliff. But I forced myself to
look (though I was looking up, not down). And the fear of that vast and
awesome Height never left me during the entire experience.
If you accepted my invitation and
shared this experience with me, doesn't the question, "How could God have created the world in only six
days?" seem terribly out of place and inappropriate? Instead,
"Why did He take six days to create it when He could have done it
instantly?" is much more fitting.
King David also shared our
experience, and meditated on these attributes of God. Here is what He
wrote after having done so:
Ps 139:1 O LORD, You have searched me and have known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
3 You search my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have closed me in behind and in front, and laid Your hand on me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot go up to it.
7 Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
8 If I go up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the furthest parts of the sea;
10 even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light around me.
12 Yea, the darkness does not hide from You; but the night shines as the day; as is the darkness, so is the light to You.
13 For You have possessed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully formed in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my embryo; and in Your book all my members were written, the days they were formed, and not one was among them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.
...of the character of God
Oh yes, God is indeed awesome,
vast and powerful.
But what is His character like?
He is Love.
1Jo 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
He is good.
Ps 135:3 Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
Ps 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
He is Holy. He does not sin, but always, always does
what is good, just and right.
Is 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
This is one of the most important aspects of His nature.
We are told that He is Love, but we are not told that He is "Love,
Love, Love". Yet we are told that He is "Holy, Holy,
Given this vital aspect of His nature, we would expect
Him to require holiness of all who desire to come near Him.. And He
does. To the Israelites He said:
Le 20:26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
And this command was extended to all of mankind who
choose to serve Him in the New Testament:
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
1Pe 1:16 Because it stands written, "You are to be holy, because I am
God is also just:
Zep 3:5 The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth
He bring his judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.
God's good character is pure and
unchanging. Purer than virgin snow. Purer than even Ivory soap. Yes,
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.
...of the new creation
In light of His purity of
character, we would expect a
good, loving, holy and just Creator to produce a very good creation. And that is exactly what
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
- Genesis 1:31
God would not have
said that everything He had made was very good, if there had been pain
or death after His initial creation.
We know from this, that
before our first parents Adam and Eve sinned,
There was no
pain or death.
There were no
There were no
harmful parasites. Mosquitoes did not suck blood and spread
disease; parasitic worms did not weaken and destroy higher forms
When God, delighting to
see His newly created man put his intelligence to work, brought the
animals before Adam to name, none of them were fierce, fearful or cruel.
Awesome, wonderful, and fascinating, yes. But harmful, no. Think of how
it must have been for him to pet a lion and hug it's furry mane; to ride
upon the neck of a great dragon (called a dinosaur today), or
to have an elephant lift him upon it's shoulders and take him for a joy
ride. What a delight each of these creatures must have been, including
the little monkeys who amused him by leaping from branch to branch, the
birds who flew across the invisible air, and the river dolphins and
otters who frolicked in the Euphrates, one of the two rivers which
watered the garden.
beautiful, innocent, and good these animals were. In this pristine
creation, where there was no sin, pain or death, we see the heart of our
Creator. He is not "capriciously malevolent," as
Richard's Dawkins calls Him in his tragically misguided book, "The
God Delusion," but rather a loving, kind Creator, whose heart was
expressed in this harmonious, beautiful creation.
...of the fall of
Why Did Things
Change? Why is the creation no longer like
that? Why do we have sin, pain and death now?
Writing long after Moses
penned the book of Genesis, the
Apostle Paul explained that it was through sin that death entered into
Ro 5:12 ...Through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and so death passed to all mankind in turn, in that all sinned.
Why did sin and death
enter into the world through one man? Because when Adam sinned and
thereby merited death, we were all "in him" for we are
descended from him. We have therefore inherited his fallen condition.
When he sinned, we, like his blindly obedient hands, could not help but
sin with him, because we were a part of him. It is for this reason (and
others I will mention as well) that God is willing to grant forgiveness to us through
His Son Jesus, because we did not consciously and willingly sin with
Adam. Granted, we also sin willingly, but this is counterbalanced by the
fact that we have also inherited from
Adam a natural inclination to sin. Just as a fallen lion cannot overcome
it's instinct to consume meat without assistance from man, so we too
find ourselves unable to conquer our disobedience and unbelief without
assistance from the Spirit of God. (This condition is what we call the depravity of man). For this reason also, God is willing to offer
mercy to us. As Paul wrote,
Ro 11:32 For God shut up all in disobedience, that He may show mercy to all.
To which of the angels
who sinned has God made the offer of eternal life through His Son Jesus?
They, as created, undescended beings, not having sinned unwillingly in
their parents, and not having inherited a disposition to sin, are not,
so far as we know, offered the same mercy.