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Friday, November 18, 2011

Admissions Building #01

            In the two and a half years that the institute has existed we have completed the foundational Administration building which contains the basses upon which the whole institute is built and we have also constructed the Biblical studies wing, the Archaeology wing and the Biology wing.  Here in the admissions building we must first address the foundation upon which the worldview of this institute is built; The Triune God.   
            As we examine the mysteries of the faith there are some pre-qualifying statements that should be made.  I cannot, nor will I try to prove that God exists, although He most certainly does.  What I will humbly here attempt to do is clearly and briefly define God as He reveals Himself to us in His word and in His creation.  For those who wish to treat this as a Bible study, I will site biblical references.  I will deal with scriptural authority in subsequent posts.  If you say “this is circular logic,” I would agree, but if archaeologists can use geologic layers to date bones and geologists can use bones to date geologic layers, then why can I not use the Creator of the universe to site the authority of His word?
            It would be folly for me—a fallible creation—to try to define the Creator.  However, He reveals himself to us in His word and in His creation, so what I share with you is only His revelation—not my own wisdom.  How He reveals Himself in His creation will be the topic of a number of these posts, but in His word (Romans 1:20), it says: For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
            Before getting deeper into God’s attributes, I thought it would be helpful to first state briefly who or what God is not.  Many attempts are made and many claims are made that sound wise and nice, but they are clearly not how God has reveled himself to us.  God is not in everything—that is called pantheism. While He is evident in all things, He is not in and does not reside in all things.  God is not indifferent, aloof, or apart from His creation—that is Deism.  God did not create the vast universe and is now just sitting back to see what happens. He is daily caring for His creation as a loving gardener regularly cares for his garden. Nah 1:7, Eph 5:29, 1 Pet 5:7   He is not one God among many—that is Polytheism. He is the one and only true God.  And contrary to the claims of the atheist, He does exist; and contrary to the claims of agnostics, He is knowable—but He is knowable on His terms and not ours.  There are many other things that God is not, but these are the main false teachings that plague our generation. 
            Now let’s move on to God’s attributes.  God is triune and God is one. That statement seems to contradict itself, but this is a revealed mystery, not a logical statement.  God’s singular nature (Deuteronomy 6:4); His triune being (Genesis 1:1-3—verse 1: God the Father, verse 2: God the Holy Spirit, Verse 3: God the Son). This is further clarified by going to John 1:1.  If God is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then why would He have us baptize in the name of all three (Matthew 28:19)?  The fully divine, separate, coequal and singular nature of all three parts of the Holy Trinity are clearly revealed in His word, while impossible for the rational mind to comprehend.  God tells us everything we need to know—not everything we want to know.
            God is eternal (Psalm 90:2; 102:12) with no beginning or end, with the exception of Christ’s human nature which did have a beginning.  However, Christ’s human and divine natures are eternally commingled into His nature and the Trinity’s nature. (I will later provide A further discussion on the nature of Christ.)  God’s eternal nature also means that He functions outside of linear time as we understand it.  So when we are confronted with issues of time that confound us, we must simply take Him at His word.
            God is everywhere or is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7, 8; Jeremiah 23:23, 24).  That means that He is with you 24/7, working for the good of those who love Him and patiently waiting for those who reject Him.
            God knows all or has omniscience (1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 139:2).  His knowledge of all things past, present and future does not remove our will from the equation, nor does it reduce all things to an issue of destiny.  While we can take comfort in our predestined nature with regard to salvation, Rom 8:29-30, Eph 5: 1 & 11,we cannot take a passive role in our lives. No one is predestined to damnation.  That contradicts Christ’s universally sufficient atoning sacrifice. 2 Cor 5:14-15   (This will get further discussion in future posts.)
            God is all powerful or omnipotent (Isaiah 42:5). God’s power is unlimited. All His actions are in keeping with all the rest of His attributes. 
            God is unchanging or immutable (Psalm 33:11; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). He never changes and we can take comfort in this as we trust that He will faithfully keep all His promises.
            God is sovereign (Job 42:2; Ecclesiastes 7:13-14; Romans 8:28; Psalm 104).  His sovereign nature declares His place in His creation as superior to all others.
            God is holy and perfect (1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 99; Exodus 15:11), set apart from all that is imperfect and sinful.
            God is love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; I John 4:7-21; Psalm 106:1; Hebrews 12: 5-13). Love is not a feeling. Love is action that reflects concern and care. God nurtures His creation. He is merciful to it, good to it, and longsuffering toward it.
            This list is far from exhaustive but is a clear reflection of the revealed truth contained in His word about some of His attributes.  Lets conclude this review of who God is with His just and gracious natures, because it is God’s just nature that leads to our need for His gracious nature.
            God is just and since He is also holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin or that which is unholy, as defined by Him! –not by us or the politically correct police.  His also desires to spend eternity with us leading to His gracious nature.
            God is gracious toward us—a wholly undeserving sinful people.  While we were still sinners, He sent His only begotten son to suffer and die on the cross to satisfy His just nature.  Christ who is fully God and fully man, came to take upon himself the sin of all human kind from Adam and Eve to the last child to be conceived on Judgment day.
            And on that first Easter morning, He proved --He is who He says He is—the Son of God!
            The Tomb is empty!!!               Our Savior Lives!!! 
            He Is Risen!!!      He Is Risen indeed, Alleluia!!!
In Christ,
Pastor Portier

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