God the Father is the first person of the Trinity. (Deuteronomy 32:6, Psalm 68:5, Isaiah 64:8 Malachi 2:10 Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9, Romans 8:15, 1 Corinthians 8:6 Ephesians 4:6 Hebrews 12:9, 1 Peter 1:17) That is to say that He is first in priority and first in authority. Since all three Persons have existed forever, the Father does not precede either the Son or Holy Spirit as to time or origination. All three have always existed in union with One another. God the Father orders and disposes all things according to His own purposes and grace (Ps 145:8, 9; 1Co 8:6), which have God’s glory as their end. He is the Creator of all things (Ge 1:1-31; Eph 3:9). God the Father is truly our Redeemer in that He saves from sin all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (More on that later)
(We are endeavoring to provide the Classic Orthodox Protestant view of the Person of God)
- Review: How do we know about God?
- General Revelation
- The natural world reveals God (Acts 14:15-17; Rom.1:19-23)
- Human Conscience testifies to the existence God (Rom.2:14-16)
- Special Revelation
- Miracles reveal God.
- God extends natural laws (Josh.10:12-14 – sun stood still)
- God supercedes natural laws (2 Kings 6 – axehead floated)
- Fulfilled prophecy reveals God.
- T. (Is.43:28-45; Ezra 1:1-4 – Cyrus predicted)
- T. (Micah 5:2; Matt.2:1 – birthplace of Christ)
- Jesus Christ Himself reveals God. (Heb.1:1; John 1:18)
- Scripture as a whole reveals God.
- Review: Can we prove God’s existence?
- The Bible assumes God’s existence rather than attempting to prove it (Gen.1:1).
- The natural world demands God’s existence (Ps.19; Is.40:26; Acts 14:17; Rom.1:19).
- Argumentation/Logical Conclusions to answer the skeptics and doubters
- Argument from Cosmology – How could there be anything if there wasn’t a Cause (God) who was Uncaused (Romans 1:20)? Quoting Dr. Sproul, “IF THERE EVER WAS A TIME WHEN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXISTED, ALL THERE COULD POSSIBLY BE NOW IS NOTHING.”
- Argument from Teleology – The mathematical precision and obvious intelligence in Nature demands a designer of infinitely superior intellect. (God – Psalm 19:1-6)?
- Moral argument –If there is no one to give a Law, who then is the arbiter of right and wrong? (God – Romans 2:14,15; James 4:12)?
- Ontological argument – Where do people get the idea of a Perfect Being (God) except from God Himself (Act 17:27; Romans 1:19)?
III. Can we describe or explain God? How do we do so? God has many perfect characteristics (attributes). Attributes are the characteristics that define the essence of the Godhead
- Incommunicable attributes (characteristics belonging only to God).
- Self-existence (Exodus 3:14, John 5:26).
- Immutability (Psalm 102:25-27; Ex.3:14; James 1:17) – God does not change His essence or plan. He can never be wiser, more holy, more just, more merciful, more truthful. Neither can God be any less of any of those as any change would make Him less than God. His plans and His purposes never change (Ps 33:11)
- Eternality – Infinite in time (Ps.90:2)
- Omnipresence – Infinite in space (Ps.139:7-11) Present everywhere at once (Jeremiah 23:23-24) Yet transcends His creation and as such He is always able to help us, His creatures (Ps 46:1, Matt 28:20) He is inescapable (Ps 139:7-10, 17)
- Holiness – The absence of evil and presence of purity (Lev.11:44; John 17:11; 1 John 1:5)
- Holy: God is separate from and exalted above all of His creatures God is free from all defilement, absolutely pure) Isaiah 6:3. Holiness is the foremost attribute of God – the attribute by which He especially wants to be known.God’s Throne is established upon His holiness, thereby regulating His love, power, and will
By God’s holiness we know:
- There is great chasm between God and the sinner (Is 59:1-2 Hab 1:13)
- Man must approach God through the merits of another if he is to be able to approach Him at all because man does not possess nor can he ever acquire the sinlessness necessary for access to God (Rom 5:1-2, 6-8, Eph 2:1-9, 18, Heb 10:19-20)
- We must approach God with humility, awe and reverence (Heb 12:28)
- Righteous and just
God has instituted a moral government in the world, imposed just laws on His creatures, and attached sanctions for disobedience. God cannot make a law, establish a penalty, and then not follow through when the law is disobeyed. Punishment must be given, either personally or vicariously. The purpose of punishment is to maintain justice (Is 53:10, Psalm 145:17)
- God has communicable attributes (characteristics found in a limited degree in man).
- Omniscience – God knows all things actual and potential. The Bible does not explain this but does assume it as fact (Ps.139:16; Matt. 11:21).
- All-wise – God acts upon His knowledge to always do what is infinitely best (Rom.11:33-36).
- Attributes of Emotion
- God is Love – God is incomprehensibly active for our good (1 John 4:8).
- Mercy – concern, compassion (James 5:11)
- Long suffering – self-restrained when provoked (2 Peter 3:9,15)
- God is just – God is perfectly righteous and exact in His dealings with man (Ps.19:9).
- Grace- (Definition and comments from Wayne Kinde.) A special characteristic of God involving many of His major loving characteristics
- OT uses chesed and chen. There are multiple different ways that these are translated in the OT. Examples: love, mercy, compassion, tenderheartedness, kindness, grace, favor, etc.
- Septuagint (Greek OT/LXX) renderings of charis and what Hebrew words were used for this very generic and bland Greek word. This will, again, show a huge diversity in the usage (FAR beyond, “unmerited favor”).
- In the Hellenistic period (maybe best between 200BC-0BC). How was it used extensively prior the the NT writings. There you will see quite again a wide variety of usages, from love, mercy, peace, compassion, and favor.
- In the NT, what is the overacrching sense of the word based on the above and each context.
The point: looking at the historical data from #1-#4 above, I conclude that the word “grace” demonstrates a major character of the Trinity regarding many of the major loving characteristics. Thus, it is by this grace (His amazing love, compassion, mercy, tenderheartedness, etc.) that we are saved (Eph 2:8).
Another of my teachers puts it this way: Grace is God’s goodness manifested toward the guilty undeserving, to those deserving His justice instead
- Omnipotence (Job 42:2) God is able to do anything He wills. He will not do anything against His nature (sin) and He cannot do anything that is logically self-contradictory. Because God can only do what is in harmony with His nature He cannot
- lie (Titus 1:2)
- repent from evil (Num 23:19)
- deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13)
- be tempted to sin (James 1:13)
- Sovereignty (2 Chron.29:11,12) As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps 103:19; Ro 11:36). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1Ch 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1Pe 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph 1:4-6);
- God as Father
His fatherhood involves both His position within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind.
- As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph 4:6),
- Spiritual Father only to believers (Ro 8:14; 2Co 6:18).
He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (Jn 1:12; Ro 8:15; Gal 4:5; Heb 12:5-9).