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Divine Support

Thou art the blessed God, happy in Thyself, source of happiness in Thy creatures, my maker, benefactor, proprietor, upholder. Thou hast produced and sustained me, supported and indulged me, saved and kept me; Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.

May I live by Thee, live for Thee, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ; and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct grow hourly in my life. Let Thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience, and render my duty my delight. If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity, my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy, may I rejoice to suffer for Thy name.

Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country of everlasting delights, that paradiseland which is my true inheritance. Support me by the strength of heaven that I may never turn back, or desire false pleasures that will disappear into nothing. As I pursue my heavenly journey by Thy grace let me be known as a man with no aim but that of a burning desire for Thee, and the good and salvation of my fellow men.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.

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Chapter 5-Spirituality of God

Chapter 5-Spirituality of God

 

HAVING in the last chapter discussed the unity of God, we proceed in this to the consideration of his spirituality. This is the second subject preliminary to that of his attributes. The attempt will be made to prove, not only that God has a spiritual nature, but that he is a pure spirit without outward form or material organization.

I. The one God has undoubtedly a spiritual nature.

1. He is the creator of spirits. But spirit is the highest order of existence and its creator must himself have the nature which belongs to that order.

2. The creation and government of the world give evidence of wisdom, skill, knowledge and purpose, but there are attributes of spirit. God therefore must have a spiritual nature.

3. We arrive at the idea of the perfect being by the exclusion of all imperfection and the ascription of all perfection. But spiritual nature is in every respect a perfection. Therefore we ascribe it to God.

4. The Scriptures ascribe a spiritual nature to God.

It is involved in the abundant language about the spirit of God in which, however, reference is had distinctively to the third person in the Trinity.

It is also presupposed in all the intellectual, moral, and emotional thoughts and acts ascribed to him.

But it is directly asserted in two places: John 4:24, the language of our Lord to the woman of Sychar: “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Again in Heb. 12:9, where fathers of the flesh and of the spirit are contrasted. “Furthermore, we have had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?”

Compare also Acts 17:24, 25. “The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything,” &c.

II. But when we ascribe spirituality to God, we do not intend simply to assert that he possesses a spiritual nature, but that his nature is exclusively spiritual. By this we mean that he has no material organization, that he has neither body nor members of the body such as we have, neither shape nor form, neither passions nor limitations, but only a spiritual nature.

1. This is evident from his immensity and eternity (infinity in time and space).

To have an omnipresent and eternal mode of existence is possible for a spiritual nature, because spirit has not of necessity succession of time and specific limitation of location. But these of necessity belong to matter. It is of necessity that it has a here, and not an everywhere; spirit alone can combine the two, the here and the everywhere. It is also of necessity that matter exists in time; we know that it exists now, that it existed yesterday, that it may exist to-morrow. We know that it necessarily has this succession and difference of time. But with the eternal God there can be no succession of time, and consequently he can have no material nature but must be purely spiritual.

2. It also follows from his independence and immutability.

If God have body, he is capable of being influenced from without, for all matter is thus capable of being influenced, of being moved, divided, added to and diminished. But if thus capable of influence from without he is not independent. Therefore the independent God cannot be material.

Again, if he is body, he is mutable, for all matter is capable of change. Therefore the immutable God cannot be material.

3. This may be proved from his absolute perfection.

(a) Negatively. From the idea of absolute perfection we exclude all that admits of limitation or change. But body is both limited and changeable. Therefore the absolute perfection of God excludes a bodily organism.

(b) Positively. To absolute perfection we ascribe the possession of intelligence, will and moral perception. But these do not belong to body. Therefore body cannot be either in part or whole the absolutely perfect one.

4. We realize in ourselves, the defects of a material organization, how it confines us, how it causes pain and suffering, how it imposes on us joy in sensual pleasures, how incapable it is of knowledge and power in itself. Hence we naturally disbelieve that in God is to be found an organism so necessarily imperfect. On the other hand we find our spiritual natures to be of wondrous power and capacity, endowed with intelligence, skill and wisdom, capable of knowing right and wrong, and the true and the false, and possessed of liberty of choice, and we therefore ascribe to God the possession of such a nature to an infinite extent, with infinite intelligence, skill and wisdom, and a will absolutely untrammeled from without.

In apparent opposition to this doctrine of the pure spirituality of God is a large number of passages, which represent God in or with bodily form. This language is partly figurative, and partly used as an accommodation to human thought, and to the incapacity of human language to express exclusively divine things. Such language is called anthropomorphic, and is generally so obviously such, as to make no false impression, even upon the most ignorant.

The following is a corrected list of the passages as collected in West’s Analysis, pp. 17-19.

Those which speak of him as having location: Gen. 4:16; Ex. 19:17-20; 20:21; 33:14, 15.

As having motion: Gen. 17:22; 18:33; Ex. 19:20; Num. 12:5; 23:4; Deut. 33:2; Judg. 5:4; 1 Sam. 4:7; Ps. 47:5; 68:7, 8; Ezek. 11:23; Micah 1:3; Hab. 3:3; Zech. 2:13.

As using vehicles: 2 Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:10; 104:3; Hab. 3:8, 15; Zech. 9:14.

He is said to dwell on the earth: Ex. 25:8; 29:43, 44; 1 Kings 6:13; 8:12, 13; 2 Chron. 6:1, 2; Ps. 132:14; Mic. 1:2, 3; Hab. 2:20.

He dwells with man: Ex. 29:45; Lev. 26:11, 12; 2 Chron. 6:18; Zech. 2:10; Rev. 21:3.

He dwells in men: 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19.

He has face: Gen. 32:30; Ex. 33:11, 20; Deut. 5:4; 34:10; Rev. 20:11; eyes: 2 Chron. 16:9; Prov. 22:12; nostrils: 2 Sam. 22:9, 16; Ps. 18:15; mouth: Num. 12:8; Ps. 18:8; lips and tongue: Isa. 30:27; breath: Isa. 30:28; shoulders: Deut. 33:12; hand and arms: Ex. 33: 22, 23; Ps. 21:8; 74:11; 89:13; 118:16; Isa. 52:10; Hab. 3:4; fingers: Ps. 8:3; back: Ex. 33:23; feet: Ps. 18:9; voice: Ex. 19:19; 20:22; Lev. 1:1; Num. 7:89; 12:4; 22:9; Deut. 4:12, 36; 1 Kings 19:12, 13; Ps. 29:3-9; 68:33; Jer. 25:30, 31; Ezek. 43:6.

His voice is spoken of as dreaded: Ex. 20:19; Deut. 4:33; 5:24-26; Joel 2:11; 3:16; Amos 1:2; Heb. 12:19, 26.

He is said to exercise laughter: Ps. 2:4.

He appears to men: Gen. 35:9; 48:3; Ex. 3:2-6; 19:9; 1 Kings 9:2; Job 42:5, 6; Amos 9:1.

His appearance is described: Ex. 24:10; Deut. 31:15; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 8:1, 2, 4; 43:2; Dan. 7:9, 10; Rev. 4:5.

He is in human form: Gen. 18:1; Ezek. 1:26, 27; Rev. 4:2, 3.

III. The value of true ideas as to the spirituality of God may be seen from the important consequences which follow from this characteristic of God.

1. It involves concerning the nature of God:

(1.) That he is invisible and intangible, or incapable of apprehension by the bodily senses.

(2.) That he is unchangeable, incorruptible and indestructible.

(3.) That he is simple and uncompounded.

(4.) That he is a living personal being, intelligent, moral, free and active.

(5.) That he is infinite and eternal.

2. Upon it depends in the relation of God to creation:

(1.) His knowledge of all events, and especially of his spiritual creatures.

(2.) His control of all events.

(3.) His purposing all things that shall come to pass.

3. Because of it, he must receive spiritual worship:

(1.) Not that of the body only.

(2.) Nor of the outward form.

(3.) Nor of pretended service.

(4.) But of genuine emotion.

(5.) Because of it, he cannot be represented in that worship by outward forms or images. He is to be approached, not with the bodily senses, but with the communings of the heart. Hence the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Ex. 20:4, 5.

IV. Spirituality has been by some classified as one of the attributes of God. This has possibly arisen from the twofold sense which the word spirituality has. It is used among men as a description of character, when it means that that character is exalted to an extraordinary sense above the fleshly appetites and passions, and devoted to spiritual affairs. In this sense spirituality would be an attribute of character, and therefore of the person possessing that character. But when spirituality is spoken of with reference to God, it is used in the sense in which man is spoken of as a spiritual as well as material being. It is declarative of God as possessing a spiritual nature in the sense that his nature is that of a spirit. It is, therefore, a simple declaration of what his nature is, and not a statement of an attribute of that nature. It is, consequently, no more to be classed among the attributes of God than is his unity. These two subjects have, therefore, been treated separately and as preliminary questions to the consideration of his attributes.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D.D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-7-The Trinity

December 5, 2013 1 comment

The Trinity

 

1. Does not the title “Son of God” indicate to us that Jesus in not the only person that is God?

Yes; it suggests to us the Father.

2. What other person is also called God?

The Holy Spirit

3. Does this imply that there is more than one God?

No, the Bible teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Spirit is God, and yet that there is but one God.

4. Can we understand the nature of God as thus revealed to us?

We cannot; but we can believe and know that it is such as God teaches us.

5. Why can we not understand the nature of God?

Because our minds are limited in power, and the glorious mystery of the nature of God is boundless.

6. Is it in His nature only that God is beyond our knowledge?

No, He is mysterious also in all His works and ways.

7. What should we learn from this?

To trust Him, both in what He does and what He teaches.

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-6-Jesus Christ-God

November 28, 2013 2 comments

Jesus Christ—God

 

1. Was Christ merely a man?

No; He was God also.

2. By what name is He called as such?

The only Begotten Son of God.

3. How is He described in Hebrews?

As the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.

4. What language does God use to the Son?

Unto the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.”

5. Is Jesus Christ called God in any other place in the Bible?

Yes; in the first Epistle of John, speaking of Him, it says, “This is the true God.”

6. Did He ever allow himself to be addressed as God?

Yes; Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and My God.”

7. In what other ways does the Bible teach the Divinity of Christ?

It ascribes to Him the possession of every perfection ascribed to God.

8. Mention some of these.

Omniscience, omnipresence and eternity of existence.

9. Is the work of creation ever ascribed to Him?

Yes; the Bible says all things were made by Him.

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

God Remains the same in His Attributes

He changes not in his attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were of old, that they are now; and of each of them we may sing ‘As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. “Was he powerful? Was he the mighty God when he spake the world out of the womb of non-existence? Was he the Omnipotent when he piled the mountains and scooped out the hollow places for the rolling deep? Yes, he was powerful then, and his arm is unpalsied now; he is the same giant in his might; the sap of his nourishment is undried, and the strength of his soul stands the same for ever. Was he wise when he constituted this mighty globe, when he laid the foundations of the universe? Had he wisdom when he planned the way of our salvation, and when from all eternity he marked out his awful plans? Yes and he is wise now he is not less skillful, he has not less knowledge, his eye which seeth all things is undimned, his ear which heareth all the cries, sighs sobs, and groans of his people, is not rendered heavy by the years which he hath heard their prayers. He is unchanged in his wisdom; he knows as much now as ever, neither more nor less; he has the same consummate skill, and the same infinite forecastings. He is unchanged, blessed be his name, in his justice. Just and holy was he in the past, just and holy is he now. He is unchanged in his truth;- he has promised, and he brings it to pass; he hath said it, and it shall be done. He varies not in the goodness, and generosity, and benevolence of his nature. He is not become an Almighty tyrant, whereas he was once an Almighty Father; but his strong love stands like a granite rock, unmoved by the hurricanes of our iniquity. And blessed be his dear name, he is unchanged in his love. When he first wrote the covenant, how full his heart was with affection to his people. He knew that his Son must die to ratify the articles of that agreement. He knew right well that he must rend his best beloved from his bowels, and send him down to earth to bleed and die. He did not hesitate to sign that mighty covenant; nor did he shun its fulfillment. He loves as much now as he did then; and when suns shall cease to shine, and moons to show their feeble light, he still shall love on for ever and for ever. Take any one attribute of God, and I will write semper idem on it (always the same.) Take any one thing you can say of God now and it may be said not only in the dark past, but in the bright future it shall always remain the same: “I am Jehovah, I change not.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Immutability of God- A Sermon January 7, 1855

There is no such thing as an Atheist

April 17, 2012 19 comments

I know, I know, you are saying to yourself that the writer of this blog is completely delusional because you the reader are an atheist and therefore there is at least one atheist in the world.

In my response, I would tell you that you are no atheist. First to be an atheist, you would have to have all knowledge. You see the word ‘atheism’ basically means ‘no God.’ Of course, you knew this, right. But what you do not seem to be able to comprehend is that you can’t state that there is no God, unless you are omniscient or all knowing. By stating that there is no God, then you are trying to convince the rest of us, that you are God.

Secondly if there is no God, then why do you live as if one exists? You get up every day and go to work. You feed your family, pay your bills, and even run to the doctor when you are sick. If there is no God, then you have no basis for doing these things. You are living as if life has meaning, yet no meaning exist according to your own world view.

Thirdly if there is no God, then why are you living according to my world view? In other words you try to treat other humans with respect. You do not go out and run people over for the heck of it. You do not rob others. You do not rape other people’s kids. Finally when these things are done to you, you cry foul or you want the perpetrator arrested. Why? If there is no God, then every man has a right to do what is right in his own eyes. Therefore you are robbing from my world view in order to live your life and are inconsistent with what you claim to know.

I leave you with an article entitled “Why the Atheist doesn’t Exist

“There can be no such things as an atheist. This is why: Let’s imagine that you are a professing atheist. Here are two questions for you to answer: First, do you know the combined weight of all the sand on all the beaches ofHawaii? We can safely assume that you don’t. This brings us to the second question: Do you know how many hairs are on the back of a fully-grown male Tibetan yak? Probably not. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that there are some things that you don’t know. It is important to ask these questions because there are some people who think they know everything.”

Read the rest here.

God Knows All and Sees All

Whenever His Word is set before us, we must tremble, because nothing is hid from Him.

John Calvin, Commentary on Heb 4:13