Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Attributes of God: My Perception + Additional Note

My readership numbers have been unusually constantly high for the past 2 weeks. It’s either my stat counter is broken, or this fact is true, or I should consider moving to WordPress like everyone seems to be doing nowadays.

That was the additional note. Strangely enough, it came at the start because it came most recent to me. The last shall be first, no?

This is the disclaimer:

In my recent spate of posts on the attributes of God, I write as if intently gazing out one of the many windows of my small abode at the infinite world that lies beyond, and mulling over that which my eye perceives, limited as it is by the finite horizon and more significantly, that tint which stains all my windows, the stain of sin. Yet there is a sheen on my windows. It is the characteristic polish of the inerrant truth of Scripture, graciously applied by the Spirit. And never forget that cross-shaped frame that looms large over the windows – for every so often, a whiff of the outside air, fresh and warm, laden with all sorts of wondrous and exciting scents, filters in through the seams of that glorious frame!

Or explaining my allegory above:

I do have a tendency towards romanticising my writings. It is not a bad tendency as such; but it is one that easily leads to pride. But as it is, as long as I keep that in mind, it is rather fun to write in an uncharacteristic manner! And I believe this is my cleverest one so far.

If you wish to be spared the following process, skip on to the next section.
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The abode represents me and the world in which I live in. Not the world around me per se, but the components that make ME. My thoughts, my experiences, my feelings, my environment, my relationships and that sense of irrationality that seems common to all men (and women). Though in retrospect, perhaps it is not a sense of irrationality, but rationality that conflicts with the irrationality of our rebellion. A common grace if you will. But I digress.

The world beyond represents God. Not that He can be conformed to any man-made image, and it would be heretical to do so, but my metaphor as it is will be imperfect and as long as I point out this fundamental flaw, it is alright to proceed.

Then note the dichotomy of small abode and infinite world.

My perception of God is limited as it is by what He allows me to perceive, thus the ‘finite horizon’. Yet I would have no right perception of God at all, for my windows are all stained dark with the reality of sin. In our sin, we believe that if there lies a world beyond our abode, it is a world of our own making. And of course some believe there doesn’t lie one beyond.

Yet in His graciousness, God sends His Son Jesus Christ to take on our sin, and so reconcile us back to God. And thus it is the cross that is the frame of any knowledge I will have of God. It is the image that looms largest. It is through this that I can know God as He truly is. Not just know about Him, but experience Him – that breath of fresh and warm air. And it is the Spirit that guides us into all truth, truth as was, and is, because the word of God is living and active as God Himself is, expressed in the Scriptures – the specific revelation of God.

So the tint remains, for while we are here, our flesh and the Spirit constantly wage war against each other. And while we remain here on this earth, we only perceive God partially, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 – refer back to the post that sparked this off for a slight elaboration of this point. But it is brightly polished.by the Spirit and Scripture, and as such I can now look out and see the world beyond.

And yes, the point of windows is not to look at the windows, but to look at what lies beyond the windows. In a sense, this image echoes a quote I read about, not journeying past the cross, but going deeper into the cross. In the same manner, the more intently we gaze out, the more deeply we go into the cross. Also, on another point, I am looking out through one window. There are many windows, and there are many perceptions of God – same God I must stress, just as you wouldn’t assume to be looking out on Earth through one window, and out on Mars through the next – in His complexity and incomprehensible infinitude.

As I elaborate, I realise that I could extend this allegory much further. I could be having a meal with Jesus. The Spirit could be the one actively cleaning out this house of mine – not as a slave, but as a friend. But I’ll probably hit a lot of issues, so I’d just stop here.

Finally, one day, the door of my abode will open, and I’ll walk out into the world beyond. (Although again the allegory breaks down in that I don’t become one with the world, but rather I walk into the presence of the world, and then substituting world with God, even though I technically should avoid that sort of muddling.)
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Simply put, I don’t write with any claims to being an authority on this subject. I don’t consider my treatment of this topic as complete, in two senses of the word. First in that it is the final say on the matter. And second in that it is the whole truth. It is neither whole, nor final, but I do want to say that as best as I have tried, I have stuck to the truth as is revealed by God through the Bible and the guidance of the Spirit. Also, bear in mind that my interpretation is that of a layman, and not of a dedicated scholar.

I think that was all I had to say. What an amazingly long post!

Next up: The Supremacy of God.

When I have time.

That is to say, when I have time to write.

Not when I have time for it to matter to me.

The Attributes of God: The Solitariness of God

I was listening to the song “God of This City” from the most recent Passion release – great song by the way – and there was a line that resounded deep within my heart:

There is no one like our God.

I would love to throw biblical text after biblical text, psalm after psalm, that screams this very fact. Romans 11:33-38; 1 Timothy 1;17, 6:15-16; Isaiah 40:25 are all but a taste of this amazing truth.

Who is as loving? Who is as gracious? Who is as merciful? Who is as powerful? Who is as holy? Who is as faithful? Who is as sovereign? Who is as wise? Who is as patient?

I could rattle off all the attributes of God, and realise that nothing compares to our God.

And might I stress, ‘our God’. Who is this God? This is the God who made the heavens and the earth, and all that is in it. The God who created man and women, in His own image, and gave them breath and life, and commanded them to subdue the earth. The God who easily crushes His enemies. The God who patiently bore with a corrupt Israel, who time and time again turned from Him.

The God who so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. The God who made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. The God who continues to graciously give us all that we need, sustaining us in our time of need. The God who lifts up the broken. The God who restores strength to the weary. And the God who will one day judge the living and the dead, and raise His redeemed people up to heaven where they will be forever satisfied in His presence.

The solitariness of our God is a funny thing. It evokes reverence for certain, and I might add a fearful reverence. But there’s a kind of fear that creates both apprehension and comfort. And a kind of fear that induces terror in the very fibre of a man’s soul. The first kind of fear belongs to His chosen people, the ones He has delivered out of the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves. It is a fear that makes us wary of approaching the glorious God, yet it is also a fear that assures us that if He is for us, who can be against us?

The second kind of fear belongs to those who remain condemned for their continued rebellion. It is the sort of fear that strips a man of his defenses, a fear so penetrating and chilling that he can but fall to his knees and beg for undeserved mercy.

But as of now, the first kind of fear only exists. The second sort we will see when Jesus returns.

And so it is a wondrous sort of fear. A fear that trembles before the magnificence of a God, who has no equal, yet steadies us with the warm reassurance of the gracious love of God, expressed through His Son Jesus Christ. Fear becomes mingled with profound gratitude. We never lose this sense of transcendence, nor should we, but there is an indescribable feeling that comes from the immanence of God. That God would draw close to us is incomprehensible, yet true. And our hearts expand as we are filled with the reality of His being, and we overflow with genuine joy and heartfelt thanksgiving.

There is no one like our God.