Core Tenets of the Christian Faith: The Doctrine of God
The Core Tenets of the Christian Faith:
The Doctrine of God - His Being
What we believe about God is essential to our salvation. If one has a wrong understanding of God, they have no faith. To be saved, one must believe there is but one God, and He alone is to be worshiped. Deuteronomy 4:35 says the Lord is God, there is no other besides Him, and John 4:24 says, God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Scripture describes God as the supreme being of the universe, who has created all things, is perfect in His being and all His ways. In order to understand the being of God more fully, we will look at what many hold to as two foundational attributes of God, His Aseity and His Simplicity.
Aseity: The Aseity of God means that God is not dependent on anything or anyone outside of Himself for His existence. His self-existence and self-sufficiency are evident throughout scripture. Genesis 1:1 reveals the eternality of God as creator of all things (God cannot create all things unless He Himself is eternal), as Moses writes, In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. Psalm 90:2 furthers this truth, saying, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. Revelation 21:6 calls Him the Alpha and the Omega, and Deuteronomy 33:27 refers to Him as the Eternal God. Since He is eternal, it follows that He is self-existent. This is clearly seen in Exodus 3:14 where God reveals His name to Moses as I AM WHO I AM, meaning He is the self-existent One.
His self-existence is also shown in John 5:26, when the Apostle records, for as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in Himself. God’s self-sufficiency is expressed in Romans 11:35-36 declaring,“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?35 “for who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Verse 34 makes known that The Lord is self-counseled, for what wisdom can mere creatures offer the Lord of glory? Furthermore, we understand from this verse that all existence flows from and belongs to God, by saying for from Him and to Him are all things. In addition to this verse, Acts 17:28 reads, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Because God is self-existent, He possesses all knowledge, has all power, and is sovereign over all things. He is completely satisfied in Himself, and all of creation belongs to Him.
Simplicity: Divine Simplicity (not simplistic) deals with the very nature of God. Unlike all created beings, God is not made up of compound parts (separate parts that come together to make a whole) but is a simple being (without separate parts). First, God is a Spirit without body parts. Colossians 1:15 says that God is invisible. The bible will use phrases such as the Lord’s strong right arm, but that is known as anthropomorphic language (assigning human-like qualities to God) so that we can understand Him.
Not only is the Divine nature of God simple in that He is not a physical being, but everything about Him is simple. To illustrate this, God is not made up of love, justice, goodness, and truth (they are not different things outside of Him), but He is love, justice, goodness, and truth. His attributes cannot be separated from Him, for His attributes are Him. Furthermore, these attributes are eternal, infinite (limitless) immutable (never changing) and holy (unlike anything else), with no attribute being greater than another (They are equally perfect).
For example, the love of God is not greater than justice of God (He is equally loving, wrathful, gracious, merciful, good etc.). Deuteronomy 32:4 speaking of God, says just and righteous is He and John 4:16 says God is love, illustrating His simplicity. To conclude this, God’s attributes are the essence of who He is. You separate God’s attributes or alter them in any way, you no longer have God but a created being. In our next section we will look at the holiness of God.