Lesson 2 God, A Personal Being
Reading: Psalm 1:1–6
entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
3:14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he
said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto
11:6. But without faith it is
impossible to please him: for he
that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
1:17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
10:12. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his
wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
94:9. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall
he not see?
17:28, 29. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of
your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29Forasmuch
then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is
like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
ON THE LESSON TEXT
3:14. By the expression, I AM THAT I AM,
God explains the meaning of his great name. He is the absolute. It is an
expression of independent, personal existence.
11:6. This is another expression of personal existence with intelligence,
choice, and power to act at pleasure.
1:17. This text points out that God is the first cause of all things.
10:12. God is here represented as exercising his power with no constraint
other than his own wisdom and good judgment.
94:9. This is an argument for God’s consciousness, not that he possesses
physical eyes and ears.
17:28, 29. By appeal to the statement of the Greek poet, which he accepts as
true. We are not to suppose God is less than men.
TOPIC: THE PERSONALITY OF GOD
THE SCRIPTURAL POSITION
Bible presents God as a personal being. He is presented as the creator and ruler
of the universe, possessing consciousness, intelligence, free will, and emotion.
He is regarded as a suitable object of worship with whom man may hold communion.
He is represented as self-sufficient, acting with no constraint nor restrain
other than his own essential nature.
DENIAL OF THE DIVINE PERSON
creed of the atheist is, “There is no God.” This is indeed an immense
conclusion. A perverted philosophy may lead men to adopt such a conclusion so
contrary to the belief of the whole human race. To believe there is no God is
difficult; to prove there is no God is impossible. To know there is no god
requires that one explore the universe, know all truth, understand all causes,
and be acquainted with all agents. Otherwise, the answer to what he does not
know may be God. The scripture says “The fool hath said in his heart, there is
no God.” The agnostic is not so bold as the atheist; he does not know. He
doubts very much that anyone else knows, or can know. He avoids the certainty of
the atheist and prides himself in his ignorance, hoping thus to escape
responsibility. To remain ignorant of him is a grievous sin.
the atheist, the pantheist sees God everywhere. This is not merely the
manifestations of God in nature but he sees no God outside of nature. He makes
the creature greater than the creator.
is a worship of many gods; it is a step removed from pantheism. Instead of
defying nature as a whole it is a worship of supposed personal beings who
control different elements of nature separately, such as light, fire, wind, etc.
This sometimes degenerates into the worship of devils.
PROOFS OF A PERSONAL GOD
Bible does not attempt to prove that God is. It takes for granted that fact so
deeply impressed upon human consciousness and seeks to give proper expression of
it. Hence for proofs of a personal God, we appeal to reason.
The argument from cause.
know that the universe exists. When did it come? Three replies are possible: (1)
The universe has always existed. (2) It has created itself. (3) It has been
created by some adequate cause.
the first reply it may be answered that nature itself refutes the idea of the
eternity of the universe. Changes and developments are still taking place in
nature. Why is it that the changes now taking place have not been accomplished
long ago? We know a child is not fifty years old because he should have become a
man before this. Unfinished developments prove a beginning. The law of cause and
effect is throughly established and is universally acknowledged. An effect may
in turn become another cause. However far back we follow the chain of cause and
effects we find no end until we have found a first cause. This fist cause must
be uncaused cause, hence, eternal. The eternal first cause, from which all else
comes, is none other than he whom we call God.
fact that this first cause is uncaused, that it acts without outside constraint,
establishes in it free will. This cause must possess within itself a power of
forced at least equal to the effect. The cause producing the universe must have
been tremendous in power. To admit that God created this universe is to admit
that he can create others like it. There is no reason for limiting his power to
anything short of omnipotence.
The argument from design.
nature is a unit. The interacting parts of the whole system are so related that
men are enabled to arrange fixed sciences. Such an immense, complicated machine
shows unmistakable marks of an intelligent designer. Aaron said he cast the
people’s gold into the fire and “it came out this calf.” But Moses
believed there had been some designing. Are eyes an accident, or were they made
to see? Is the presence of lungs, which are so necessary for the purifying our
blood, a mere matter of luck? Man need not look beyond himself to find the mark
of a wise designer.
explanation that we merely adapt things to such purposes as we find them useful
for us is not sufficient. This explanation may do in the case of the jaw-bone
used by Samson but modern army rifles show marks of design that convince us that
they were made for the purpose of killing. The marks of design found in all
nature point to a designer of high intelligence. Natural law cannot explain the
case for law does nothing. Back of the law there must be a law-giver, and with
it there must be a law-enforcer, and a force for the law to govern. The idea
that necessity provides all things, is likewise absurd. The lion needs teeth
therefore he grows them. The dove needs wings.
The argument from human nature.
may carry the argument a little farther by looking at man. We know that his
Creator must be as great or greater than he. From whence has man his
intelligence? His free will? His sense of moral responsibility? For deny these
as men may, they cannot get away from the consciousness of them. Dare we assume
that the Creator who has made man is less intelligent than man? Dare we suppose
that he who gave to man a free will is himself a slave to necessary laws with no
power of self-determination? Dare we suppose that he who formed man’s moral
constitution; possesses no idea of moral distinction himself? Are we to believe
that he who placed in man a religious nature and an instinct to worship has left
man without an object worthy or worship?