Sunday, May 22, 2016

God: Beyond Comprehension

Chance has no capacity for introducing itself. On the other hand the Lord God of the Bible reveals Himself and what He has done, and how. This is the exciting discovery you make from the opening verse of Genesis. 'In the beginning God created...' In our English translation of the names for God we have been robbed of their meaning and the significance of when and why used. This is a shame.

‘God’ in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. This is the plural form of El, God. Straight away we are introduced to another mystery embracing God. For whenever the term is used it is with a verb in the singular. So? So we are confronted with an understanding of the Eternal God which stretches our heart and mind. However no matter how much we ivestigate we never really fully comprehend its significance! Genesis 1:26: ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”’ (Emphasis added). In Isaiah 6 a similar thing takes place. “Then I (Isaiah) heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”’ Other verses could be searched out. However the most defining one is from Jesus in Matthew 28:19: ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ (Emphasis added.)

'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Deuteronomy 6:4.' The Jewish people call this, ‘the Shema.’ It comes from the word, ‘hear!’ In this declaration are two names for God. There is ‘Elohim’ referring to His work in creation and there is ‘Jehovah (also translated Yahweh). We will consider Jehovah’s another time for it is His personal name. We could quite correctly translate the verse, “The Jehovah, our Elohim, the Jehovah is one.’ The mystery of the Godhead will never be explained. Christians do not worship three gods but one. We are caught up in the mystery of mysteries when we enter the bible's presentation of God. To help our finite minds our Elohim came to earth, as foretold, to Bethlehem. Part of the reason for the coming of our Lord and Saviour was so that we might focus on Him and His work.

When we try to understand what God looks like we are often befuddled by artistic impressions from caricatures to master painters. I think this is one reason why Jesus never allowed any likeness of Himself to be created. In John 4:24 Jesus tells us that God is Spirit. John 10:30: ‘I and the Father are one.’ This is not referring to purpose but to essence. Again the description of Genesis 1:1 comes to the fore. The apostle Philip couldn’t get his mind around the saying of Jesus in John 14:6: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except though me.’ Philip said, show us the Father. Jesus reply? You see me and you have an understanding of the Father. This cannot be a physical likeness. Rather it pushed Philip and so too us, to understand God in the character and actions of the One with the title, ‘Emmanuel,’ God with us.  When we do that and receive Jesus Christ by faith in His work on the cross and his resurrection we are indwelt by the Godhead, Father,
Son, Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:23b.3:24. This is why the apostle Paul defines Christians as being the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit.’

In both testaments there are subtil and beautiful indications to the mystery of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Considerthe following:
The Lord bless you and keep you (Father)
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; (Son)
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Holy Spirit) Numbers 6:24-26.

also Isaiah 6:3 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.'

Daniel 9:19. "O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay!..."

2 Corinthians 13:13 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.'

We  will never understand the person of God but we can know Him in a faith relationship because of His grace and heart for each of us. The Bible introduces us to our Creator and leads us to see Him as our Saviour and Lord. His invitation is for you and I to accept His invitation as an act of faith and discover God keeps His word.

Ray Hawkins May 23 2016.

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