Q17: What is our relation to the events described (predicted) within this revelation?
We Believe that with such a definition of revelation, we cannot separate the theological truths from the scandalous nature of God’s involvement in these historical events. Therefore all historical accounts of scripture should be read and understood as literal accounts, albeit historical accounts that often present theological truths within contextually literary forms. This being said we must treasure these narrative accounts as true narratives; even while being sensitive and careful to apply their theological truths to our lives.
Q18: Who then is the God of this revelation?
We Believe that this God is to be understood as the God of the trinitas. That is the three-in-one-God. From the beginning our scriptures have taught the unity and diversity of our triune God (even as our understanding of this concept has been progressive.).
Q19: How is it first taught that God is one?
Q20: How is it taught that God is three?
In addition to passages which teach of God’s unity of purpose and nature, there are three persons revealed independently as God. God is revealed to be Father, Jesus Christ is said, and claims to be God, and last the Holy Spirit is also revealed to be God.
Q21: How then can one be three and three are one? Is this not a mathematical contradiction?
Many scriptures teach us that our God is one in essence and unity. The members of the godhead work together in purpose and unity to accomplish specified goals. They all operate out of the same character and nature. There have been many attempts to explain this fact; yet in reality it can only be truly understood as a mystery of the greatness and uniqueness of God.
Q22: What then is this God like?
We Believe that God is exquisitely unique. He is also unreservedly necessary. He would exist no matter what. He can truly be described as that personal Being which nothing greater is possible. That is He is the perfect and Holy Other. He is completely separate from all reality, in that he is establisher and maintainer of all reality. He is therefore utterly transcendent above his creation. He knows no obligation either within or without Himself. Yet as He is also a personal God, He is to be considered immanent, that is present and relatable to His creation.
Q23: How then can we discuss the triune person of this God?
In discussing the triune God of scripture we most describe at God’s perfect nature, perfect character, and perfect actions. God’s nature is buttressed by His character, and expressed within His actions.
Q24: Before we spoke of God having an essential nature. What do we know of this nature?
We will here concern ourselves with five most important aspects of His nature (though not a definitive list, such a list would be very long, and eminently impossible to create). First, we must talk of God as omnipotent or almighty. That is God can do anything such that His doing that thing is not metaphysically impossible for Him (i.e. create a married bachelor, commit evil). Additionally we may say that God is, of necessity, the only source of power in every being beside himself. Second, we must talk of God as omniscient or all-knowing. That is he believes the truth of every proposition or its denial, and it is metaphysically impossible for Him to have a wrong belief. He knows all future contingencies; as well as, everything there is to know. Third, God is eternal or always existing. There are two separate ideas connected here. God has always existed, and shall not cease to exist. Nor is he bound by time or space. Fourth, God is immutable or the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As God relates to us in time, he may seem to change in his relationships with us; yet nothing in his intrinsic or non-relational properties change. Nothing in God corresponds to the way that humans change and evolve over time. Fifth, God is omnipresent or all-encompassing. God creates all things, sustains all things, and is everywhere. He is capable of working everywhere at all times. He cannot be run from, nor can he be hidden from. Yet there is nothing in Him that compels His work, and faces completely free choices between varied good outcomes.
Q25: What then can we say about God’s perfect character?
While a complete discussion of God’s character would be long and protracted, we may sum up all of God’s character in 2 ways. God is both perfectly just and perfectly good. We must say that there is no moral defect in God. Along those lines we may say that it is impossible to critique God on moral grounds. There is a sense that God’s goodness stands in vast contrast to that of even his best creatures. It may be argued, therefore, that what seems to be wrong for humans; may not always be wrong for God (i.e. the infliction of pain for some greater good would always be wrong for humans; yet God does at times use pain and suffering for his good purposes. We must stand in faith that God’s way are not ours, and that this is a good thing).
Q27: How then should we discuss God’s actions?
God is supremely understood as the creator God. He has created this world ex nihilo, that is out of nothing. In this act He reveals His providential care and guardianship of all. He cannot be understood apart from the fact that He is the Creator-Sustainer, Adjunct, and King.
Q28: How is God to be understood as Creator-Sustainer?
In this we talk of God’s continuous providence. His creation of the world is to be described as an utterly free act. He was under no obligation to create or not create. His creation was also a loving act. He acted out of love to create a good and perfect world for his people. Last, God’s creative act is to be understood as an on-going act. He is even now maintaining and sustaining the order of the universe. In this way we are to talk of God as the God of the miraculous. He is not limited by the world He created as He has created an open system which allows for interplay between God and all of nature. He can freely step into time and space and act in ways that cannot be explained by the natural order He established.
Q29: How is God to be understood as Adjunct?
God’s providence is to be understood as concurrent with the world. He has chosen to act in concert with His creatures. Yet we can have no worries that He cannot or will not be able to accomplish all things within His purposes and plans. He has set up various means of grace by which He acts with His creation to accomplish His purposes. As this interplay is part and parcel of His plan, we can confidently approach His throne knowing that he has established these means of grace as His providential means of action.
Q30: How then can we understand God as King?
Last, we must talk of God’s caring providence. He directs by His sovereign will all that occurs. God is said to have manifest His will in two ways. As King, He manifests His will by precept and command demanding rightful obedience from His people. As Adjunct, He allows for his people to make free decisions (as far as they are not bound by other considerations) to follow or not follow his precepts, and except responsibility for those actions. In this sense he allows for many things that He does not necessarily approve.
Q31: What can we then say about the meeting place of God’s love and providence?
We can say faithfully that even the wraith and judgment of God do not indicate any retraction of His hand, but only a special form of his providence and promise. We must understand that the attributes of his character are important rightly understanding these concepts. It is his holy love that sheds an amiable glory on all other perfections. We must affirm a place for the un-coerced human response to God’s glory as long as it is always understood as grounded upon and understood by God’s grace. God’s grace works powerfully but not irresistibly in matters of human life; thereby empowering our response-ability, without overriding our responsibility. God has chosen to establish means by which His people would be called out from the world and established as His community. In this sense an unconditional election of God is inconsistent with his impartiality in justice and mercy. If He were to act irresistibly then it would contradict His established purposes for humanity.