Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Vastness of God

In my first class at the Seminary level I decided to jump into a course titled "The Doctrine of God", taught by Dr. Stephen J. Wellum. It has proved to be an oustanding course on just who is the Christian God.

The course has taught me a number of things, re-affirmed a number of Theological truths which I already held, and in an amazingly fresh way has reminded me of the glorious greatness of our God! How vast, how big, how incomprehensible is our God. He is a great and glorious, majestic, and supremely sovereign Lord. Yet these truths in no way undermine the equally important truth that this God, the Christian God of the Bible, is a personal God. He is great, but He is intament with me. He is incomprehensible in His fullness, but I may know and treasure true things about Him through His self-revelation. In Christianity, and in no other religion, we have what John Frame labels the Covenant Lord. The fact that God is Lord reminds us that He is supreme and Sovereign, He is transcendent. The fact that God is the Covenant Lord reminds us that He enters into personal relationships with His creation. He is both infinite and intiment. He is transcendent, and He is immanent.

The loss of the transcendence of God in our culture (and by transcendence I mean that God is holy and righteous and morally above us; not spatially) has created so many problems. 1) It has led to a loss of the creator/creation distinction which is crucial to the Biblical concept of God and has, in turn, led to a panentheistic view of the world. 2) It has led to a God who is nothing more than a divine psychologist. He only exists to make us feel better and can in fact do nothing to actually solve our real problem, sin. 3) In a related manner the loss of God's transendence in the culture has led as well to a low view of man's sin problem. Without a holy God man has no real moral standard and in turn no real moral judge. So the culture has turned to psychologize every problem instead of understanding it as an issue of moral rebellion against the Holy Lord.

But these problems I have just described are not simply in the culture, they are in the church too. Open Theism, a more recent trend within evangelicalism, has begun to erode away the doctrine of God's transcendence, and are teaching, now, many heretical things to maintain their finite view of God. The church has played down the significance of sin and have turned to the world with a great divine therapist in Jesus. We have, in many ways, offered to help the drug addict, the depressed, the heart-broken, but not the sinner. Indeed we should help the drug addict and the depressed and heart-broken, but we must begin where the Bible begins- we are all sinners. If we do not start there, then helping them overcome addiction and low self-esteem will mean nothing for their future.

This wonderful class has indeed opened me up to much that I needed to be reminded of, but primarily I have seen the need for the church to return to a true and a big vision of who God is! He is the Covenant Lord!


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