existence of God

January 18, 2008 at 11:19 pm (God, Insufficiency of Man, Sovereignty of God)

Alistair McGrath has said in his book The Christian Theology Reader, “What good does it do if you dispute loftily about the Trinity, but lack humility and therefore displease the Trinity? It is not lofty words that make you righteous or holy or dear to God, but a virtuous life. If you knew the whole of the Bible by heart, along with all the definitions of the philosophers, what good would this be without grace and love? Naturally, everyone wants knowledge. But what use is that knowledge without the fear of God? A humble peasant who serves God is much more pleasing to him than an arrogant academic who neglects his own soul. If I were to possess all the knowledge in the world, and yet lacked love, what good would this be in the sight of God, who will judge me by what I have done?”

Welcome to the number 1 problem of seminary, at least for me personally..knowledge, the struggle of gaining knowledge but keeping the passion. What keeps the passion? Understanding the definition of GOD? Understanding WHO God is? In the Old Testament, there are several names used directly for God, which is one way to define him:

ELOHIM: God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs); Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the OT, 32 times in Gen. 1. God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. Eccl., Dan. Jonah use Elohim almost exclusively. See Gen. 17:7, 6:18, 9:15, 50:24; I Kings 8:23; Jer. 31:33; Isa. 40:1.

EL SHADDAI: God Almighty or “God All Sufficient.” 48 times in the OT, 31 times in Job. First used in Gen. 17:1, 2. (Gen. 31:29, 49:24, 25; Prov. 3:27; Micah 2:1; Isa. 60:15, 16, 66:10-13; Ruth 1:20, 21) In Rev. 16:7, “Lord God the Almighty.” The Septuagint uses Greek “ikanos” meaning “all-sufficient” or “self-sufficient.” The idols of the heathen are called “sheddim.”

ADONAI: Lord (Capitol letter ‘L ‘, lower case, ‘ord’) “Master” or “Lord” 300 times in the OT always plural when referring to God, when sing. the reference is to a human lord. Used 215 times to refer to men. First use of Adonai, Gen. 15:2. (Ex. 4:10; Judges 6:15; 2 Sam. 7:18-20; Ps. 8, 114:7, 135:5, 141:8, 109:21-28). Heavy use in Isaiah (Adonai Jehovah). 200 times by Ezekiel. Ten times in Dan. 9.

Or God could be defined by what He does: Adonai-Jehovah — The Lord our Sovereign,El-Elyon — The Lord Most High,El-Olam — The Everlasting God,El-Shaddai — The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People, Jehovah-Elohim — The Eternal Creator,Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord our Provider,
Jehovah-Nissi — The Lord our Banner,Jehovah-Ropheka — The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom — The Lord our Peace,Jehovah-Tsidkenu — The Lord our Righteousness.Jehovah-Mekaddishkem — The Lord our Sanctifier, Jehovah-Sabaoth — The Lord of Hosts,Jehovah-Shammah — The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi — The Lord our Shepherd,Jehovah-Hoseenu — The Lord our Maker , and Jehovah-Eloheenu — The Lord our God.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines God as “in monotheistic religions [as] the creator and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all- knowing; Supreme Being; the Almighty.” The Cambridge Encyclopedia as “Supernatural being or power, the object of worship.” These definitions, among others, bring major questions up regarding one’s concept of God. Some of which may include:

  • Is God personal, impersonal or a-personal (englobaling both)?
  • Is God finite, infinite? In some aspects, in everything?
  • Is God one? Is God three? Are there many Gods? Or is there one God who is manifest in all things, including a hierarchy of finite gods or spirits?
  • Is God good (can be called holy), evil, both?
  • Is God just, merciful, indifferent?
  • Does God reveal himself or is He pure mystery?

How one defines God-whether in belief or disbelief-will largely define one’s worldview, one’s framework of reality-how one understands him or herself and universe that surrounds us. If God is the Absolute of all existence, then one’s perception of all else is related to one’s perception of that which is at the center.

What is your definition of God? I am still working on coming up with my own personal definition of Him, but what do you have?

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