Table of Contents / Overview
- God the Creator
- God's Purpose
- God's Dwelling place
- The Nature of God
- The Unity of God
- God's Names
- God's Character
- God as a Father
- God the Rewarder
- Conclusion - God and Ourselves
In Lesson 1 we learnt that the Bible is God's revelation to man. It was written
by men guided (inspired) by the Holy Spirit (the power of God). It is without
error (infallible) in its original language.
We can now begin to learn from the Bible remembering that God said:- "To this man will I look even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word."
First we learn about God; we learn of His great power and His plan for the earth. We learn that He is more than a great power. We come to appreciate His goodness and mercy, His justice and severity. Through this revelation we grow to love God and to desire to obey him. We cannot love and worship a God we do not know and we can only know God from what He has told us about Himself. Jesus said, "This is life eternal that we might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent". Paul said "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him".
This second lesson will direct you to many passages of scripture which help to gain a right understanding of God. The more we come to know God the greater will be our desire to serve him and to try to merit that reward He has promised.
Because of His divine majesty, the subject of God must be approached with the greatest reverence and humility. The orderly functioning of the Universe tells us that there must be such a Being, but is silent concerning His nature, character and purpose. To learn of these we must study the Bible, carefully and humbly.
- Isaiah 66 v 1-2
The first verse of the Bible explains how the Universe came into existence. It did not "evolve" but was created by God "in the beginning", the earth on which we live was created for the purpose of being inhabited.
- READ :
- Genesis 1 v 1
- Isaiah 45 v 18
The first chapter of Genesis describes how, in six days, God organised and populated the earth about 6,000 years ago. On the seventh day God rested. This work of creation was performed by the angels or "sons of God". It was described as being "very good". The subject of Creation will be considered in greater detail in a later lesson.
- Job 38 v 4-7
- Genesis 1 v 31
The purpose of God in creating the earth and all it contains was that it should give Him pleasure. But it was not long before the "very good" state of creation was spoiled by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the first human pair. This resulted in the introduction of death as the punishment for sin. However, God's purpose has always been as stated in the book of Numbers: "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." God's existence is the guarantee that this purpose will be fulfilled.
- Revelation 4 v 11
- Numbers 14 v 21
- Isaiah 45 v 23
(Refer back to Lesson 1, heading "The Purpose of God").
Wickedness (sin), ignorance, disease and death will eventually be banished for ever and the earth filled with God's glory. Meanwhile all things are under His control working towards this end.
- Isaiah 46 v 9-10
God dwells in heaven, from which place He rules the entire universe and controls even the smallest event. He is surrounded by unapproachable light utterly beyond the power of man to penetrate. He controls the universe by means of His spirit (or power) which is everywhere present. (This aspect of God's work will be the subject of a later lesson in this series).
- Psalm 11 v 4
- I Tim. 6 v 15-16
- Psalm 139 v 7-12
Jesus said "God is a Spirit", but this does not mean that he is intangible or unreal. The Bible states that Jesus was the "express image" of his Father. After his resurrection Jesus' body was just as substantial as our own. The fundamental difference between God and men is that human beings are constituted of flesh and blood and depend on the "breath of life" to keep them alive, whereas God is Spirit. Human nature is subject to sin, disease and death: divine spirit nature is perfect and immortal.
- John 4 v 24
- Hebrews 1 v 2-3
- Luke 24 v 39
- Phil. 3 v 21
God has no beginning nor will He have an end - "even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God." He "inhabiteth eternity". He is light "and in Him is no darkness at all". He is "a consuming fire." He neither faints nor is weary - nor can His identity be sought out. He has never been taught, and He counts all the nations as but a drop in a bucket or the small dust of the balance. He is of "purer eyes than to behold evil".
- Psalm 90 v 1-2
- Isaiah 57 v 15
- I John 1 v 5
- Heb. 12 v 29
- I Tim. 6 v 16
- Isaiah 40 v 28
- Isaiah 40 v 13-15
- Habakkuk 1 v 13
In contrast to much popular religious teaching on the subject, God declares Himself to be a unity and not a "trinity" of gods. This fact was made very clear to the nation of Israel and confirmed by many other Bible references. (Please look up those listed).
- Deut. 6 v 4
- Isaiah 45 v 5-7
- Mark 12 v 28-30
- Eph. 4 v 4-6
- I Tim. 2 v 5
- I Cor. 8 v 5-6
The worship of a "trinity" of Gods (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost) or many different Gods (polytheism) or the sun, moon and stars, or idols, is totally unacceptable. Similarly the worship of demons, devils or evil spirits is forbidden, since these have no existence in reality and cannot influence events in any way. God seeks those who will worship Him "in spirit and in truth".
- Deut. 17 v 2-5
- Lev. 26 v 1
- Isaiah 8 v 19-20
- John 4 v 22-24
Careful reading of the Bible shows us that God has revealed His character and purpose in the various names by which He has been pleased to call Himself. This fact is obscured in our Bible because these descriptive names have generally been translated by "Lord" or "God", regardless of the word in the original Hebrew language. For example, in Genesis ch. 1 , the word "God" is the plural Hebrew word "Elohim", which means "Mighty Ones". This refers to the angels through whom God's mighty work of creation was carried out. This explains why we read, for example in v 26, "Let us make man in our image".
- Genesis 1 v 26
In Genesis 2 v 4 we read," the Lord God made the earth and the heavens". The Hebrew words for "Lord God" are "Yahweh Elohim". Yahweh means "He (who) will be". The combination therefore means, "He who will be Mighty Ones". God has described this name in Exodus as "My memorial unto all generations". It is the MEMORIAL name of God, the name by which He has made known His purpose to fill the earth with "Mighty Ones" or men and women "made like unto the angels, to die no more".
- Genesis 2 v 4
- Exodus 3 v 13-15 (See RV.and RS.V.margin)
- Luke 20 v 35-36
The Old Testament contains many other names of God, which describe His CHARACTER and PURPOSE.
- Almighty God (El Shaddai) = The Strength of the Mighty Ones
- The Lord of Hosts (Yahweh Tz'vaoth) = He who will be Hosts
- Lord (Adon, plural Adonai) = Lord, Ruler Master
- Exodus 6 v 3
- Jeremiah 31 v 35
- Psalm 8 v 1
Note: When the original Hebrew word is "Yahweh", our Bibles print the English translation in small capital letters thus "LORD" or "GOD". Sometimes "Yahweh" is rendered "Jehovah".
The word God means, basically, "good" and truly describes God's character. He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abounds in goodness and truth, forgiving the sins of those who love and fear Him. However, there is another side to His character. He will not tolerate wilful defiance of His commandments or boasting in human achievements. He is also a "jealous" God and, for man's own benefit, forbids the worship of other gods which in reality are no gods at all. He offers salvation from sin and death: but only to those who know, believe and obey Him.
- Exodus 34 v 6-7
- Jeremiah 9 v 23-24
- Exodus 20 v 1-6
- John 17 v 3
- I John 5 v 20-21
Just as a human father loves, protects, comforts and provides for his children, so God cares for those who fear Him. God became a Father first to the nation of Israel and then, after the resurrection of Christ, extended His family to include both Jews and Gentiles. God asks His children to make their needs known in prayer promising that He will provide whatever is necessary for their spiritual benefit.
- Psalm 103 v 13-14
- Isaiah 64 v 8
- Romans 9 v 24-26
- Matt. 6 v 9-13
- Matt. 7 v 7-11
God is the Father of Jesus Christ, who was born by the operation of the Holy Spirit (the power of God) on Mary his mother. Those baptised into Christ are also "sons of God" and bear the privileges and the responsibilities of this honoured position.
- Luke 1 v 30-35
- I John 3 v 1-2
The Bible declares God to be "a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". This reward consists of everlasting life and the eternal possession of the earth - made fertile and beautiful. It is described as "the Kingdom of God" or "the Kingdom of Heaven" (that is, the Kingdom from heaven), or simply "the Kingdom", and will have a King, rulers and subjects. Christ taught us to pray for it: "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven". Christ and the Apostles continually directed the attention of believers to the Kingdom of God to be established when Christ returns to earth.
- Hebrews 11 v 6
- Matt. 5 v 1-10
- Matt. 6 v 10
- Matt. 19 v 27-30
- II Tim. 4 v 1
- James 2 v 5
- Hebrews ch. 11
God has extended a gracious invitation to mankind, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else". He has also told us on what basis He will accept us and grant us this salvation. "He hath showed thee O man what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
In the light of what we have learnt of this great God such a demand is reasonable. By "trembling at God's word" and "walking humbly with our God" we can please God. God has said that although He dwells "in the high and holy place" He will also dwell with him "that is of a contrite and humble spirit". If we show this spirit and continue to read and to learn from God's word then we shall develop characters which will be pleasing to God. He created man to be in His image first physically and mentally, but eventually morally and spiritually. He asks us to become His children, to become like Him in character and He has promised that when He establishes his Kingdom on earth we may be like Him in nature. To those found worthy of a place in this Kingdom Jesus has promised: "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels: and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection".
QUESTIONSUsing references where possible to support your reply, answer the following:-
- What does the Bible tell about God's nature and dwelling place?
- What does the Bible reveal concerning the character of God.
- Give THREE examples of names by which God has called Himself in the Bible.
- There is only ONE true God. Quote three passages from the Bible to prove this statement.
- How can God be approached?
- What reward does God offer you in return for diligent service before Him?