Thursday, August 4, 2016
“Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1 KJV).
What visions did that passage produce regarding God? Did you visualize an enormous entity without specific features, yet with some kind of human form? Why would one envision God with human attributes?
The Bible uses human terms to describe Yahweh. He has eyes (Genesis 6:8), a hand (Exodus 7:5), an arm (Isaiah 51:9), a face (Genesis 19:13), and a mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3). Some believe God is a giant size human being in heaven. It is true that God uses human terms to describe Himself to man, but He is not human. Does that surprise you? Jesus tells us, “God is a spirit.” (John 4:24). What does a spirit look like? In Matthew 14:26 the apostles thought Jesus was a “spirit.” Does a spirit look like a man, or was this only their misconception of one?
Some will ask, “Does God not live in heaven?” Yes, but God is not limited by time nor space. God uses our vocabulary to reveal Himself in words that our finite minds can grasp. Yet, He also informs us that there are things we will never understand here (Isaiah 55:9).
For example, John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). He tells us the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh (Philippians 2:5-10). Yet. God speaks about Jesus when he was coming out of the waters of baptism (Matthew 3:17). One might ask, “If Jesus is the Word in the flesh, who is the Word which was spoken by God in that verse to describe Jesus? This passage alone shows how infinite God is and the limits of our finite understanding. In spite of the inspired illustrations, is the finite explanation a full picture of the one and only Supreme Deity? My reply is, “No.” What is your answer?
Moses saw the “back” of God, but was this the literal back of the Almighty Spirit, or only a small manifestation? If God is greater than his creation, would he be smaller than what He created (Exodus 33:23)? Yet, even His manifestations, great or small, are only what man needed to see to realize that His power and majesty is beyond our comprehension.
We usually speak of God manifesting Himself in three personalities. One became flesh. But, don’t some view the Father and Holy Spirit as two other “people”? Jesus refers to the Father as “God is Spirit” (John 4:24 NKJV). Are their two Spirits: Father Spirit and Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is spoken of as God (Acts 5:3-4). There is but one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4). Yet, using our arithmetic, Father Spirit + Holy Spirit = 2 Spirits! Muslims and Jews are not the only ones who are confused about our belief about God! Often, in public prayers a person will say “Lord” or “Lord God.” Both Father and Jesus are called “Lord.” Father Lord + Jesus Lord = 2 Lords. Yet, Paul tells us there is one (Ephesians 4:5). Since there is ONE Lord and the Father and Son are that One Lord, isn’t it possible that we could be addressing both when we state “Lord God”? Isaiah stated that God would not share his “glory” or “praise” with another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11). He also said God was the first and the last (Isaiah 48:12). Jesus prayed and said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5). Jesus is also referred to as the first and last ((Revelation 1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13). Jesus stated that he and the Father are One (John 17:21). Don’t some think of the Father being 1/3rd, Jesus being 1/3rd, and the Holy Spirit filling the final 1/3rd of Deity? Don’t some believe the Father is more immense than Jesus, and the Holy Spirit less in capacity than the Son? Don’t some mistakenly see one throne with an invisible entity sitting with Jesus being the only visible one sitting on it, and who knows where the Holy Spirit is? Have we missed the point, as Philip did, when Jesus spoke with him about the Father (John 14:9)?
We read the inspired words, addressed to us in a finite vocabulary to describe the infinite God! Is a comprehensible picture possible? Even when we use words such as “eternity,” are we capable of actually comprehending it? We are going to heaven, but aren’t we limited to walls, gates, precious stones, gold asphalt, a throne, a special river, and one special tree to picture it (Revelation 21:9-22:5)? Inspired words, yes, but in a limited vocabulary to explain the unlimited! Even Paul could not describe that “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Are we capable of identifying what he could not reveal?
Isaiah ridiculed the practice of making and worshiping an idol (Isaiah 40:18-20; 46:5-7). Paul knew that a man made carving was useless in depicting God (Acts 17:22-31). Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9 (NKJV). Was Jesus saying God looked like his earthly appearance? Thomas referred to him as “My Lord and my God” ( John 20:28). He called Jesus “God,” not because of his size or appearance, but because of his wounds proving Jesus was victorious over death through the resurrection (John 20:25). Only God was capable of such!
God is love (1 John 4:8). God loves us (John 3:16). He expressed that love through His Word becoming flesh and being our sin sacrifice (John 1:1-14; 3:14-17)! God is long suffering not wishing anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). God’s grace teaches us (Titus 2:11). By His grace we are saved (Romans 5:1-2, 6, 8-9; Ephesians 2:8-9). God adds us to the saved as he added those on Pentecost (Acts 2:37-41, 47 ASV). John informs us,
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2 (NIV).
Can you or I even visualize what we will “be like”? It will be the greatest adventure trip ever taken by man. Are you ready?