The Personality of God
I have a dear brother in Christ named Shane who told a group of men “God loves us ‘just as I am’, but loves us enough not to let us stay ‘just as I am’”. Amen!
Brother Shane hit the nail on the head.
The main purpose in the study and discipline of systematic theology (ST) is to get to know God and learn to enjoy Him even forever. This indeed is the call to every Christian. Here at The Earnest Contender Blog we have been visiting Theology Proper, The Doctrine of God (Primarily God the Father). Have you ever noticed how children tend to take on certain characteristics of their parents? They develop the same mannerisms, the same musical tastes (at least for awhile) and even the same accent and deflections in their voices. I find that interesting. On a similar note I have heard that children tend to get their ideas about God by their earthly father. If their earthly father is a loving man, children will view God as loving. If he is angry they will view God as angry. If he is involved in their lives they will view God as involved. If he is a funny man, then God may be viewed as having a good sense of humor. If he is a serious person, then God must be serious. Absent, then absent, etc. Thank God we have the Bible that can correct our thinking about fathers. We can gain a proper view of fathers in the Bible and more important a proper view of our heavenly Father.
There are two goals in Systematic Theology. One is that we discover Orthodoxy (i.e. the right teaching). The second is that we apply Orthodoxy this is called Orthopraxis (i.e. right practice or living). I hope that as we get closer to the Lord we will become more like Him. What is God like? I have linked the Scriptures below so one may discover from the Word of God, that these thoughts are not just some nice ideas originating with man, click and see.The Personality of God
We are created in the image of God. Therefore, there is a similarity between God and man (see Gen. 1:26,27
). What about the ability to think, reason? What about emotions crying, laughing? What about making decisions and acting upon them?
Similarity is not in the material, but in the immaterial realm because “God is Spirit...”
cf. Luke 24:39
). However, God does express Himself by use of anthropomorphisms
means the characteristics of God that are stated in terms of human elements
Some examples of anthropomorphisms are:
Mouth... Isaiah 1:20
Nostrils... 2Sam. 22:9
Back... Exodus 33:23
Hands... Ex. 33:22
; Isaiah 65:2
Arms... Deuteronomy 33:27
Ears... Isaiah 59:1
Eyes... 2Chronicles 16:9
; Psalm 11:4
Face... Exodus 33:11
Feet... Isaiah 66:1
Did I miss anything? Let me know when you leave a comment.
Although God is Spirit He can do these things that are the physical part of man without possessing the physical extremity (Ps.94:9
).What Constitutes Personality?
There are three tests, or three elements of personality. Intellect, emotion, and will.Intellect is the ability to reason or understand.Emotion, is all about feelings.The will, is the power of making a reasoned choice or of controlling one's own actions. Proof of Intellect
includes the following Scriptures,Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
(Ps. 147:5)Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
(Is. 1:18)Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
(Acts 15:18)O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
(Ro. 11:33)Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Needless to say not only does God possess intellect, but His intellect is far superior to any of ours.Proof of Emotion
includes,And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
(Gen. 6:6)Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
(Ex. 20:5)(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
(Deut. 6:15)And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice...
(1Kings 11:9)The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
(Ps. 103:8-11)These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Do not these verses express emotion?Proof that God possesses a Will
includes,And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
(Gen. 1:26)And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
(Gen. 3:15-16)But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
(Ps. 115:3)Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
(Is. 46:10)And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
(Dan. 4:35)The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
I hope this brief study has exposed us, to some extent, to the personality of God. If we can gain a proper view of our heavenly Father perhaps we can begin to take on godly characteristics and become the children, fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives, the people God desires us to become. Brother Shane reminded me, “God loves us ‘just as I am’, but loves us enough not to let us stay ‘just as I am.’”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
says “there is no God” (Eph. 2:12
). It is the open positive denial of God's existence! "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
which teaches that there is godless existence (Ps. 10:4
or Theoretical Atheism
cannot be proven and must be accepted by faith.Dogmatic Atheism
is a flat denial that God exists, it advocates and propagates that God does not exist.Skeptical Atheism
is where the existence of God is simply doubted. It denies as conclusive, any evidence that supports the existence of God, and doubts the ability of the mind to know weather there is or is not a God.Virtual Atheism
holds to principals which are inconsistent with a belief in God. God is defined in terms that deny His essential Being; the explanation of the universe excludes the agency of a Creator or Godhead. Darwin was in this camp, he was a virtual atheist. What does this say about theistic evolutionists?Agnosticism
muses that there is no sufficient ground for the affirmation or negation that God is. Man is "incapable" of knowing anything outside of the realm of natural phenomenon.
Here's a question, how could an agnostic know this?
Agnosticism says the only way one can know anything is by an analogy and claims there is none. Since there is no analogy between the finite and infinite, there is therefore no knowledge of God.
Wait, there is an analogy!
Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
equals the universe. The universe equals atoms. The facts of experience are to be explained by reference to reality
, to affinities
, and laws
of the material and physical substance. Priority is given to matter rather than the mind. This is where our a-posteriori or inductive reason come in handy. Remember the cosmological argument
", the teleological argument
", and the anthropological argument
"? In what ways might one employ these to convince another about the the existence of God?Idealism
believes that the universe equals force, plus ideas (F+I=U). All things that are, are an organizational system of ideas. Priority is given to the mind over matter. This is where the the ontological argument
may be helpful, as Matthew corectly pointed out in that thread, "The aim of the argument is to prove that God's non-existence is illogical, like a married bachelor.
says that mans knowledge is restricted to physical phenomenon. Senses are the only source of knowledge, nothing else exists but matter, the metaphysical is impossible.
These are atheistic views of the existence of God. Up to now we have pre' much covered or at least touched on every aspect of God's existence, but what is God like? We will look into this nex time. You can know God personally and have a real relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. You may ask me, "how?"
Here's the Problem as some express it, "We can see that the universe exists! So how can it be explained?"
Here are some theistic views, theories and/or ideas about God or gods that attempt to explain the universe. I have not detailed these views, nor am I pretending that I comprehend them fully, because once again there will not be a test
on these I am simply
making us aware that these theories and ideas are out there. Some are really OUT THERE!Animism
teaches nothing is inanimate. Everything is alive with spirits that can help and injure man.Dynamism
teaches that life is impersonal. Energy which can be used for evil or good purposes pervades all things.Fetishism
teaches temporary dwelling of a spirits in an inanimate objects, and an object is worshiped because the “god” is there.Idolatry
is similar to fetishism except that the spirit of the god dwells permanently in the object, thus the object is always sacred.
the worshiper selects one god among the many and worships it. The worshiper may change from one god to another. This is often a tribal deity that is worshiped.Polytheism
of course is the worship of more than one god or worship of many gods.
It “...distributes the perfections and functions of the infinite God among many limited gods”
(Hodge, Outline of Theology p. 47). See Rom. 1:21-23
The Bible, thank God, has its own definition of Polytheism, it is, vanity and nothingness (cf. Ps 106:28
; Is. 41:24-29
; Jer. 2:26-28
), it is not real (Gal 4:8
), and it is demonic (1Cor. 10:20
teaches that there is one "god" for each region. The worshiper selects one of many gods of polytheism and worships it as his god to the exclusion of other. He believes other gods exist, but his god is superior. This "god" is usually a tribal deity such as Moloch, Chemosh, Baal, or Murdoch. Critics say Yahweh was such a deity to Israel (1Kings 20:23
). BTW we will see that the critics are wrong! And Henotheism is wrong too.Deism
teaches that there is one god (or God) who is removed from the world and has abandoned it since creation. The God sustains no present relation to the creation. Such a god is seldom worshiped since it cannot be reached through prayer and it does not reach the world in any way. This is the doctrine of the absentee god. It is transcendent but not intimate. Thank God we can have a personal and intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ!Dualism
teaches that there are two principals (or gods) who are locked in eternal conflict; one is good the other is evil.Pantheism
teaches that God is all, and all reality is God. Nothing really exists but God. Everything is a manifestation of God. God is locked into the universe, an opposite view from Deism. God is intimate but not transcendent. Both good and evil are deified. Man is a mode of god’s existence. This teaching destroys any basses for true morality. There are three identifiable forms of Pantheism.Materialistic Pantheism
teaches that the material universe is god; matter is the eternal cause of all life.Naturalistic Pantheism
teaches that ultimate reality is neither mind nor matter, it is neutral stuff (for lack of a better word), where mind and matter are above appearances.Idealistic Pantheism
denies the real existence of the material universe, and defines god as the sum total of mind and spirit; the ultimate reality is the mind.Monotheism
is the belief in and worship of One True God and Supreme Being. In Biblical thought, this One is personal and ethical; He is distinct from the world yet in the world. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and has revealed Himself in many ways.
These are theistic views. On the next post I will expose some atheisic views. In the mean time...
The Existence of God: 5
As a Bible student I am going to start at the high ground and boldly and dogmatically declare “There is a God!”
I need no other (naturalistic argument such as a-posteriori argument or a-posteriori argument) I need no other plea… (cf. My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
A question posed here
earlier in our discussion at the Earnest Contender Blog was, “Does the Bible present a formal proof for the existence of God?”
The answer was and still is, “No!
Rather it presents God and takes for granted that all mankind should know that He is. Contenders for the faith should always take the high ground, ‘There is a God’
The Bible begins from the highest point, for the Bible assumes
the existence of God (see Genesis 1:1
), the Bible teaches
the existence of God (see Gen. 1:1 - Rev. 22:21 i.e. the whole Bible), and the Bible argues
for the existence of God (see Psalm 19
, Isaiah 40:26
, Acts 14:17
There are some opposing views or problems too, we will review what they are on the next post.
The Existence of God: 4
There is a story told of René Descartes
, he’s the chap who (among many other things) coined the phrase “I think therefore I am”
. Anyway, Ren'e Descartes is sitting in a pub. As Rene’ finishes his drink the bar tender asks him, “Would you like another?” his reply, “I think not!”
Rene’ then disapers into thin air.
This cute little story is an appropriate introduction to the ontological argument
because the word Ontos it means "to be
". This a-priori argument is by far the weakest form of reason, it attempts to indicate that to have an idea there must be perfection (I have no Bible reference for this one if you find one let me know).
The reasoning (or the lack thereof) follows something like this; man having an idea about God somehow proves Gods existence. The idea of the perfect comes from the perfect source and that source is God since there can be nothing higher in perfection than God in our thinking. This is the weakest argument
as stated because man has certain ideas about Hobbits, Elves, and Orcs too, that does not mean Hobbits, Elves, and Orcs exist except in our incredible God given imagination. I hope my readers will not go about trying to prove the existence of God by means of the ontological argument
The key word is: Idea