I’m starting a new project – something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Here is a description of it:
I’ve always wanted to describe the basics of Christian faith in a brief, and accessible way, that points to the essential issues, without the baggage of controversial points and obtuse religious language. You might see it as a simplified systematic theology. It may be impossible, but “start.here” is my attempt. I hope this “series” to be something I continually refine as my faith continues to mature, and as the Holy Spirit corrects and refines. Also, while I am trying to be as generic as possible, my Wesleyan viewpoint is sure to come through at times, and so we may not be entirely in agreement. But, I anticipate that your interaction will be an additional source of refinement. Finally, this exercise is not intended to be exhaustive (in fact I purposefully intend the opposite) and it’s not supposed to be a theological cauldron. I want to simply present a celebration of Christian faith.
This being the first post, I figured I’d start with the who/what/where/when of God.
I admit, that when you really think about it, God doesn’t make sense.
First, He has always been around. He never started, and He will never end – He just “is” – has always “been” – and will always “be.” This is likely something that we’ll never, ever understand – even when we get to speak with him face to face. But is that really a problem? I mean – there are a lot of things that we don’t understand, but accept as real anyway – right? (Psalm 90:2)
Second, God is holy. Yes, another hard to understand concept. Let me try to simplify. Imagine the most incredible love – He surpasses it, because He is holy. Imagine the highest justice – He surpasses that too, because He is holy. Imagine the most absolute perfection – He surpasses that too, because He is holy. He is so holy that we really can’t even imagine it – that’s why sometimes we are confused by some of the choices He makes in the Bible. His absolute perfection, love, and justice is something we just can’t fully understand. But, that’s OK, right? Isn’t it OK to accept that we can’t understand God? I mean, He is God, after all. (Isaiah 6:3)
Third, He is one, but three. I know, right? This is one of the most mind-boggling aspects of God. The Bible speaks of Him as God the father/creator (Deuteronomy 32:18). It also speaks of Him as the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). And, the Bible speaks of Him as the Son (Titus 2:13). He even speaks of himself as “us” (Gen 1:26). These aren’t three different gods, but one singular God, who is revealed to you and me as three individual personalities. God is the Father. God is Jesus, the Son. God is the Holy Spirit. We aren’t talking about some kind of holy schizophrenia here, but a singular Being who is at once, simultaneously, three “persons.”
Yes, God is impossible to fully understand – and I’m OK with that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. How can God truly be God unless He surpasses my understanding? How can God really be God if He has to answer to my sense of reason? This realization is, all by itself, an acceptable “understanding” about God: that He is beyond my understanding. (Job 11:7-8)