Basic Theology: Doctrine of God


From the moment we think about God, we enter into the study known as theology. Theology is a word that literally means, “words about God” or thoughts of God (from two Greek words: “Theos” meaning God, and “Logos” means words or logic). So, if you have ever had an opinion about God, or wondered if He even exists, you are therefore, in practice, a theologian. With this in mind, we need to realize that God has gifted us human beings with minds that are already capable of learning about Him (Genesis 1:27). So, the issue is not whether you are able to learn about God; rather, the question is whether or not your thoughts about God are correct.

In this post I would like to talk to you about the doctrine of God. The word doctrine simply means, “a teaching with authority”– this is important because what we closely listen to has the authority to speak into our lives. The source of our learning matters. We need to correct our misconceptions by going directly to God’s word: the Bible, instead of musicians, politicians, and other people.

Theological professors describe the doctrine of God as theology proper. This is because theology serves no purpose unless we begin with God (the subject of our thoughts). If God does not exist, then theology has no purpose, but is just a theory. But if God exists, then theology deals with the reality of our lives down to a micro-level. It is crucial to your Christian life to know who God is; if your thoughts about God are false, then everything in your life will be seen incorrectly. You will not live a life that worships God because you won’t know what pleases Him (Hebrews 13).

Christianity teaches that God has revealed Himself in two major ways: in Creation (planets, galaxies, animals, people, et ), and in His book (what we call the Bible). These are called general and special revelation: one teaches us that God is a Creator, that there are rules He put in place, that we have morality and whatever else we can observe in nature (general revelation). The other, teaches us that we are sinners, that we have turned against God, but He has made a way to come back to Him through Jesus Christ (special revelation).

General revelation:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 NASB)

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalms 19:1, 2 NASB)

Special revelation:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12, 13 NASB)

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NASB)

Although many of us have a working knowledge of general revelation, this knowledge cannot teach us specifically who God is. This is why we need to hear from God directly in the Bible. The next question we need to ask is, what does God teach us about Himself? The answer is too long to fit into this page. But, here’s a quick overview of God explaining Himself to us:

1) There is only one God. He is absolutely in control of everything that comes to pass. He is all-powerful (omnipotent).

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV)

2) He is perfect, He has no flaws.

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30 ESV)

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (James 1:13 ESV)

3) He knows everything- everything past, present, and future. Even potential futures.

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21 ESV)

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:19, 20 ESV)

4) He is a perfect and just Judge. He will punish sin. But, He is also a God of mercy who offers forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6, 7 ESV)

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (Ezekiel 18:23 ESV)

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:3 ESV)

5) He is unchanging, or immutable.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 ESV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

When you learn about God, you discover God. You can know for certain that the God you pray to is the same God of the Bible. He never goes back on His word. He doesn’t change, and He has made a way for you to know Him through Jesus Christ. But, first you must listen to Him and value His words above everyone else’s.

Don’t go through life blindfolded, loaded with guilt, and uncertain: encounter the truth of God and be changed by Him!

Until next time,
Austin

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