Wednesday, February 10, 2021

What Kind of Being Is God?

Q 4: What is God?
Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
As the story goes, the Westminster Assembly came to this question as it was producing the Shorter Catechism and asked George Gillespie, a minister from Scotland, to draft an answer. Sensing his inadequacy to answer “what is God?” he suggested that they pray. In his prayer he said, “O God, thou art a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in thy being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” This part of the prayer was quickly recorded by another member of the assembly and proposed as the answer to the question! While the story may or might not be true, we should approach the study of God with a similar attitude of reverence and worship. 

God has revealed himself to man, so that we are not in the dark about his existence or nature. Our knowledge of him, when based upon his revelation of himself, is limited but true. He has revealed himself in his creation (Rom. 1:19-20) and in his word, which we have in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. He reveals that he is a Spirit (John 4:24), which means he does not have a body. Indeed, he is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, and these attributes apply to his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. That is, his being is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. His wisdom is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. His power is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. And so forth. Consider passages like Psalms 90:1-4, 135:5-6, 136, and 139:7-12.

God is not limited by time or space. Neither is God foolish, weak, common, unjust, miserly, or fickle. Now our experience can at times provoke us to feel that God is weak, unjust, miserly, etc. But we must hold fast to his word and believe that God is who he says he is in the midst of trials. One way that our faith is strengthened is when we recount the past deeds of the Lord and give thanks. Consider what he has done for you. Consider what you have received from him. Consider what he has done for his people in the past. Consider what he has done in your life - particularly in taking pity on you when you were under the condemnation of sin.
“It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.”
(Psalm 136:23–26)

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