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What do the Scriptures

make known of God? The


Scriptures make known
what God is, the persons
in the Godhead, His de-
crees, and the execution of
His decrees.- Larger Cat-
echism Q. 6
What is God? God is a
Spirit, in and of Himself
infinite ill being, glOl'y,
blessedness, and perfec-
tion; all-sufficient, eternal,
unchangeable, incompre-
hensible, every where
present, almighty, know-
ing all things, most wise,
most holy, most just,
believe anything. The
Marxists learned this long
ago. In regions such as
Central America and South
Africa, they began their
revolutions, not with guns
and bullets, but with the
pulpits, altering the
people's understanding of
God. Their ideological
weapon is Liberation
Theology, the covert rede-
fining of Christian terms
with Marxist content.
Our views of God will
shape our views of poli-
tics, human nature, family
II. THE SOURCE OF OUR
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD:
THE HOLY BIBLE
One of the basic prin-
ciples of Christianity is
that the God who really is
there has revealed Himself
in creation, Psalm 19;in
the Bible, II Timothy 3:16;
and in Jesus Christ, He-
brews 1:1-4. In the Bible
as the written Word and in
Christ, the living Word,
God has revealed what He
is like and what He de-
sires of us. In the Bible,
we can obtain a true and
most merciful and
gracious, long-suffer-
ing, and abundant in
goodness and truth.-
Larger Catechism Q.7
The Perfections
accurate view of
God, because the
Bible is God's verbal
description of His
own character and
will. If our under-
of God
Rev. oe Morecrafi:, III
I. THE VITAL
IMPORTANCE OF
WHAT WE BELIEVE
ABOUT GOD
What difference does it
make what we believe
about God, just as long as
we believe in Him? It
makes all the difference in
the world! Our under-
standing of God is founda-
tional to our understand-
ing of everything and
anything else. The fear
of the Lord is the be-
ginning of wisdom, and
knowledge of the Holy
One is understanding,
Proverbs 9:10. If we are
mistaken in our views of
God, we will be off-track
in our views of ourselves,
the Bible, life and the
universe. Moreover, if a
person can be dissuaded
from a true understanding
of God, he can be led to
life, art, agriculture, law,
economics, ecology, theol-
ogy, and everything else.
Therefore, it is of vital
importance as to what we
believe about God. The
question then arises:
Where can we obtain a
true and accurate under-
standing of the one, true
God as He really is?
Where has God revealed
His character and will so
we may know Him? Ol;:>vi-
ously, this is a question of
critical importance be-
cause, if our views of God
are not in accord with
God's actual being and
character, with God's
views of Himself, then
whatever we believe is
meaningless for we believe
in an empty, impotent,
mute idol, a figment of
our own imagination.
standing of God is
out of accord with the
Bible, then we are mis-
taken in our understand-
ing of God. We must,
then, readjust our thinking
according to the revealed
truths about God in the
Bible, because the God of
the Bible really is there
and He is not silent. Ac-
cording to the first three
commandments of Exodus
20, God cares greatly what
we think about Him and
how we understand Him.
He forbids us with the
threat of punishment, if
we think of Him or wor-
ship Him in any other way
than what He has re-
vealed. He is as He has
revealed Himself to be.
He is God and besides
Him there are no other
gods, Isaiah 45:5.
Throughout this cen-
April/May, 1999 - THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon - 21
tury, America has been in
the process of changing
gods. This was also true
of Israel in Jeremiah's
days. He wrote: Has a
nation changed gods,
when they were not
gods? But My people
have changed their
glory for that which
does not profit. Be
appalled, 0 heavens, at
this, and shudder, be
very desolate,' declares
the Lord. For My
people have committed
two evils: they have
forsaken Me, the foun-
tain of living waters, to
hew for themselves
cisterns, broken cis-
terns, that can hold no
water, Jeremiah 2:9-13.
Jehovah considered this
idolatrous crime enor-
mous, incredulous and
unparalleled in history.
Israel changed gods! And
they changed gods by:
(1). Turning from Jehovah
and worshiping man-made
gods; (2). Trusting in man-
made gods and man-made
political alliances for
security, although no idol
can protect or provide for
our deepest needs; and
(3). Turning from
Jehovah's revelation of
His character and His will
for their lives in His law
to man-made laws. Be-
cause the source of law for
any society is the god of
that society, to change
sources of law is to change
gods. However, when one
leaves Jehovah, the foun-
tain of living waters,
the source and sustenance
of life and prosperity, and
turns to false gods, those
gods, like dry, broken
cisterns, will always fail
him.
God takes all idolatry
seriously! In fact, God
hates idolatry! He de-
stroys all idols and all
those who worship them,
unless they repent, be-
cause He will not share
His glory with another.
In holy anger Jehovah
destroyed Judah, Jeremiah
5:19, Egypt, Jeremiah
47:25, and Babylon, Jer-
emiah 51:47, because their
understanding of God was
different from God's
revelation of Himself and
they refused to submit to
that revelation. In I Kings
20:28, we read that God
allowed Israel to destroy
the Syrians simply because
of their faulty doctrine of
God--Then a man of
God came near and
spoke to the king of
Israel and said, 'Thus
says the Lord, Because
the Syrians have said,
The Lord is a god of
the mountains, but He
is not a god of the
valleys' therefore I will
give all this great mul-
titude into your hand,
and you shall know
that I am the Lord.'
When a society changes
gods, and turns from the
living God in Christ to an
idol, that society dies
spiritually, ethically, po-
litically, economically,
agriculturally, and in
every other way. The
Twentieth Century is
proof of that fact. The
22 - THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon - April/May, 1999
past ninety years have
been the bloodiest era in
the history of the world.
During that period in
which nation after nation
has turned from the God
of the Bible to idols, more
people have died, as a
result of the anti-Chris-
tian, humanistic revolution
away from God to idols,
than in all the rest of
history put together.
Since the Bolshevik Revo-
lution in the early part of
this century, over 150
million people have died,
and are still dying, as in
southern Africa, as a result
of the spread of idolatrous
Marxism, i. e., collectivistic
humanism with total po-
litical power. In the
United States, since the
Roe v. Wade decision of
the Supreme Court in 1973
legalizing abortion, more
than 40 million babies
have been brutally mur-
dered in abortion with the
full approval of the civil
government and of most
Americans.
It does matter what you
believe about God! "There
is a way that seems right
to a man, but the end
thereof is the way of
death," Proverbs 14:12. In
Proverbs 8:36, God says,
H All those who hate Me
love death." Therefore,
more than anything else, if
America is to survive the
future, we must pray that
God would graciously
grant to us a mighty dis-
play of Himself in our
hearts and minds so that
we will confess with Israel
of old: "Jehovah, He is
God! Jehovah, He is
God!" Our constant
prayer must be that of
Elijah: " 0 Lord, the God
of Abraham, Isaac and
Israel, today, let it be
known that Thou art
God in Israel (or
America) .... Answer
me, 0 LORD, answer
me, that this people
may know that Thou, 0
LORD, art God, and
that Thou has turned
their heart back again,"
I Kings 18:36-39.
The Bible is a book
about God. It is God's'
book about God-who He
is, what He is like, what
His plans are and how He
is executing those plans,
what is on His mind, what
He is doing in this world,
and what His will is for
us. Or as our Larger
Catechism says, "The
Scriptures make known
what God is, the persons
in the Godhead, the de-
crees and the execution of
His decrees."
When the Bible speaks
of God, it is not talking
merely about the word,
"God," or the idea,
"God." It is talking about
the reality of the God who
really is there. It is talk-
ing about Someone who
actually lives. On the
other hand, when a non-
Christian man speaks of
God, he is not saying the
same thing the Bible is
saying. If the non-Chris-
tian bases what he be-
lieves about God on his
own experience, he is
saying, "God is what I
FEEL him to be!" If he
bases what he believes on
his own reason, he is
saying, "God is what I
THINK him to be!" But,
in both instances, when
the unbeliever speaks of
God, he is really saying,
"Man!" with a loud voice,
beca use his god is only an
extension of himself, a
figment of his imagination.
He creates his god in his
own image. The Christian
says that the God Who is
there, the Creator of the
universe, is as the Bible
reveals Him, because the
Bible is His self-revela-
tion.
The Larger Catechism
speaks of God as in and of
Himself infinite in BE-
ING.- Question 7. When
we speak of the "Being" of
God we are simply saying
that God IS. "He IS in the
most absolute and ultimate
sense of existence. With
Him there is no becoming.
He IS necessarily and
eternally. He alone IS in
this way. He did not
begin to be. He always
has been and IS. His
existence is of Himself.
He is of Himself existent
and of Himself sufficient.
All other beings ultimately
have their existence as the
result of creation. They
have become. Only God
has not become, but has
always been. This is what
He asserted in Exodus
3:14, I AM that I AM. It
is from the verb' to be'
that the tetragram
(YHWH), [Yahweh], is
derived. Whenever this
name is used of God it
refers to His eternal exist-
ence. There is no more
ultimate truth about God
than this, God IS. God is
absolute, ultimate, inde-
pendent and unoriginated
Being. The Scripture
asserts the uniqueness of
His Being: I am the first
and the last; and beside
Me there is none else,
Isaiah 44:6.... When we
speak of the Being of God,
therefore, we are speaking
of someone who is unique
in His Being. He alone is
self-contained and self-
sufficient." - Morton Smith,
SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY,
Vol. I, pg. 125
III. THE CREATOR-
CREATURE
DISTINCTION
Basic to Biblical Chris-
tianity and to a proper
view of life in this world
is the distinction between
the Creator and His cre-
ation, between Uncreated
Reality, (God), and created
reality, (the universe in-
cluding human beings).
This distinction preserves
the major difference be-
tween truth and error,
light and darkness, Chris-
tianity and all other reli-
gions. "Christians strive
to see everything in light
of crea tion' s dependence
on God while the non-
Christian tries to deny
creation's dependence. As
strongly as it may be
denied by some non-Chris-
tians, in one way or an-
other, every person who
has not trusted in Christ
April/May, 1999 - THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon - 23
for salvation fails to ac-
count for the Creator-
creature distinction and
somehow puts God and
His creation in mutual
dependence on each other
and ascribes to creation a
degree of independence.
With all the diversity of
opinion among non-Chris-
tians, this is one uniting
factor: the Creator-crea-
ture distinction is de-
nied." - Richard 1. Pratt,
Jr., EVERY THOUGHT
CAPTIVE, pgs. 12-13.
After pointing out the
absolute dependence of all
angels and men upon God,
James H. Thornwell
writes: "But how differ-
ent with God! He leans
upon nothing. He lives no
borrowed life. He asks no
leave to be. He is because
He is. His throne is stable
as eternity. - Strike out
all the creatures, and He
still is ... glorious, holy,
majestic and blessed as
when the morning stars
sang together and the sons
of God shouted for joy.
The universe has added
nothing to His bliss and
can subtract nothing from
His fullness." - THE COL-
LECTED WRITINGS OF
JAMES HENLEY
THORNWELL, Vol. I, p.
203.
The distance between
God and man is infinite.
God made man from dust,
and He made dust from
nothing! "He who is
conscious of his insignifi-
cance before his Maker,
and in comparison with his
Maker, is thereby exalted
to a height that can be
reached in no other way.
We see this in the act of
worship. When we adore
the infinite Jehovah, and
give Him the glory that is
due unto His name, our
whole mood and temper is
lowly. And we are in our
right place. We ought to
lie low at the footstool of
the Eternal. And having
done this; having wor-
shipped the King eternal,
immortal and invisible; we
are exalted in the very act.
Our feeble, finite, created
nature is never clothed
with such dignity, as when
we are showing reverence
to our Sovereign." - source
unknown.
Because God is there,
He must always be ac-
knowledged as being
there, or we will think and
act as fools; for all men
know that He is there,
Romans 1:18f. He must
always be taken into ac-
count in everything. He is
the greatest and loftiest
Being Who can fill our
thoughts and affections;
therefore, He should be in
all of them. But, what is
this Creator like? What
are we to believe about
Him? What has He told us
about Himself in the
Bible? Our Larger Cat-
echism, reflecting the self-
revelation of God in the
Bible answers these ques-
tions: "God is a Spirit, in
and of Himself, infinite in
being, glory, blessedness,
and perfection, all-suffi-
cient, eternal, unchange-
able, incomprehensible,
24 - THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon - April/May, 1999
every where present,
almighty, knowing all
things, most wise, most
holy, most just, most mer-
ciful and gracious, long-
suffering, and abundant in
goodness and truth."
But as we study this
confession of faith in God
we must keep in mind that
"it is impossible for any
one to give a perfect de-
scription of God; since He
is incomprehensible. No
words can fully express,
or set forth, His perfec-
tions. - But though God
cannot be perfectly de-
scribed, yet there is some-
thing of Him which we
may know, and ought to
make the matter of our
study and diligent inquir-
ies. When His glory is set
forth in Scripture, we are
not to look upon the ex-
pressions made use of, as
words without any ideas
affixed to them... -
When we thus order our
thoughts concerning the
great God, though we are
far from comprehending
His infinite perfections,
yet our conceptions are
not to be concluded erro-
neous, when directed by
His Word." - Thomas
Ridgeley, COMMENTARY
ON THE LARGER CAT-
ECHISM, Vol. I, pg. 79f.