The Godhead – W.R. Craig

W.R. Craig

Introduction

Three times in the New Testament, the term Godhead is used to describe Jehovah God, His nature or Godhood. That God has revealed Himself in the Bible is a fact accepted by all who believe that the Bible is of Divine origin. The Bible tells Him that He made Himself known to man through the material creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa. 19:1) and “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

The Bible in addition to setting forth that truth, tells Who God is and gives as much information about Him as He wants men to know. With that thought in mind, our lesson is intended to call attention to some of the things the Bible says about; without such information we can never know Him (cf. 1 Cor 1:21).

The Threefold Character of God

A careful consideration of the divine record will reveal that God appears before the universe in a threefold attitude—viz., Creator, Lawgiver, and Redeemer. Each of these relations reveals and involves many of His excellencies, but in each department three are most conspicuous.

  1. As Creator we have wisdom, power and goodness.

  2. As Lawgiver, we have justice, truth, and holiness.

  3. As Redeemer, we have mercy, condescension, and love.

It should be further observed that in all of these attributes He is infinite, immutable, and eternal.

Unity and a Plural Manifestation

The unity of God is affirmed in many parts of the Bible, as, for example, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut. 6:4), yet in this sublime and incomprehensible unity there is also embraced a three-fold personality. In Genesis 1:1, the verb create is singular, that while the name God is plural; and it may be here, that the Holy Spirit is endeavoring to guard the readers of the Bible against the extremes of polytheism and and unitarianism.

The Divine nature is essentially and necessarily singular, while at the same time plural in its personal manifestations. Thus we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all possessing one and the same nature.

Some conceive of God as a mathematical; and since a thing cannot be both mathemetically singular and plural—one and three at the same time and in the same sense—they accordingly deny true and proper Divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the dispute that resulted in the Nicene Creed. That view is not in harmony with the Scriptures (Col. 2:9; John 1:1; 2 Cor. 2:10-11; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; and Heb. 9:14).

Some Characteristics of God

  1. Creator (Gen. 1:1).

  2. Spirit (John 4:24).

  3. Omiscient (Acts 15:18; Rom. 16:27)

  4. Omnipotent (Gen. 17:1; Rom. 16:27).

  5. Omnipresent (1 Kings 8:27; Psa. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17: 27-28.

  6. Abundant in loving kindness (Exo. 34:5-7).

  7. Will not justify the wicked (Exo. 23:7; Heb. 2:1-3).

  8. No respector of persons (Acts 10:34-35).

  9. Looks to the poor and contrite (Isa. 66:2).

  10. Uses wicked men to destroy His enemies and to punish the unfaithful (Isa. 10:5-7; Jer. 51:20; Psa. 76:10). Jehovah is not depedent upon men’s willingness to obey Him in carrying out His purposes and in accomplishing His ends upon the earth, as these passages very clearly indicate.

Some Inferences and Conclusions

God makes no experiments; and He never repents as men do (1 Sam. 15:29). He, therefore, is never disappointed in any issue or contingency that can possible arise. It follows, then, that when God is said to repent, it is only by a figure (anthropopathy) in condescension to man’s imperfections (Gen. 6:6).

His own nature is the constitution of the universe, according to which all things were created and all laws and enacted. The principle is underlyng the laws by which He governs the world are is immutable as the nature of God, and as enduring as His eternal throne. Principle is the fundamental basis, or this which determines the nature of anything. While law in its ideal is the statement of a principle of right in mandatory form, by comptetent authority, with adequate penalty for obedience.

Law is the medium through which a principle is applied. The law is enacted and can be repealed, which the principle is eternal and remains immutable. So, God’s will is the only proper standard of rectitude (John 4:34; Matt. 7:21).

Sin Cannot Approach God

Since sin entered the world, God has only dwelt on earth in sanctified in an temple and places of worship (Ex. 20:24; Deut. 12:5; Eph. 2:19-22). Only those, then, who are sanctified can rightly hope to be saved (Heb. 12:14; John 17:17; Eph. 1:13; Mark 16:15-16; Eph. 5:25-27; Matt. 5:8).

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