The Doctrine of God

Lesson One

Outline Based on:

Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology

I.                     The Knowability of God - Can we really know God?  How much of God can we know?

A.                 Incomprehensible

1.                  What do we mean by incomprehensible?  That is, that God is infinite and we are finite.  We can never fully understand God.  - Ps. 145:3; Ps. 147:5; Ps. 139:6; Rom. 11:33

2.                  These verses also help us understand that we can never fully understand any single thing about God.  Is. 55:9; Job 11:7, 26:14, 37:5

3.                  Although we can know something about God�s love, power, wisdom, and so forth.  But we can never know these completely or exhaustively.

4.                  The good thing about this is that we can never know too much about God, we will never run out of things to learn about Him.  We will have all eternity to go on increasing in our knowledge of the Almighty, and delighting ourselves more and more in Him.  Ps. 139:17  This should encourage us to a life time of study.

B.                 But Knowable

1.                  Just because we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know things about God that are true.  Everything that Scripture has to say about God is true.

2.                  Many believe that we cannot know God, but Scripture refutes this idea.  In fact we read in the book of Jeremiah:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understand and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the LORD - Jer. 9:23-24

3.                  Jesus Christ was sent so that we may come to know the Father.  John 17:3; I John 5:20, I John 2:13; (see also Gal. 4:9; Phil 3:10; I John 2:3, 4:8)

4.                  As Christians we have a personal relationship with God a far greater privilege than mere facts about God.  We can speak to God in prayer, and He speaks to us through His Word.  We enter His presence, sing His praise, and know that He personally dwells among us and within us - John 14:23.  This is the greatest of the blessings of the Christian life.

II.                The Existence of God - How do we know that God exists?

How do we know that God exists?  This is a two-fold answer: 1:   All people have a inner sense of God.  2:  Evidence that is revealed and confirmed in the Scriptures.

A.                 Humanity�s Inner Sense of God

1.                  All people have a inner sense that God exists.  Rom. 1:21, 1:19

2.                  Yet people deny this inner sense.  Ps. 14:1, 53:1, 10:3-4

3.                  According to these Scriptures it is sin that has caused people to think irrationally and to deny God�s existence.

4.                  Paul also affirms that sin cause people to deny their knowledge of God, that they are without excuse.  Rom. 1:18, 1:20 (see also Rom 1:23, 25, 28, 32)

5.                  It is only as a Christian that we become fully aware of the existence of God.  We come to know God as our loving Father - Rom. 8:15.  It is through the Holy Spirit that bears witness that we are His children - Rom. 8:16.  We know that Jesus lives in our hearts - Eph. 317; Phil 3:8, 10; Col. 1:27; John 14:23

B.                 Believing the Evidence in Scripture and Nature

1.                  No where does the Bible seek to give evidence that God exist.  On the contrary, it totally assumes that God exists.  The very first verse in Genesis states �In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth�

2.                  The world also gives abundant evidence of God�s existence.  Rom. 1:20

3.                  Nature gives future evidence to the existence of God - Acts 14:17

a)                  rains and fruitful seasons

b)                  food and gladness

4.                  King David: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. - Ps. 19:1-2

a)                  He claims that to look up and see the sky, sun, moon, and stars, day or night that they continually declare the existence of God.  That their beauty and greatness is due to a wise Creator who made them and sustains them in their order.

5.                  All of these evidences can be viewed as concrete proofs for the existence�s of God.  Just because certain people groups reject them does not mean that it is invalid in itself, only that they are evaluating then information wrongly.  Their minds and hearts have been blinded by sin.

C.                 Traditional �Proofs� for the Existence of God

Their are four traditional views for the existence of God.  They have been constructed by Christians (and non-Christian) philosophers.  Throughout history they have sought to analyze the evidence (mostly from nature) in a logical and precise way.  They have made every effort to be extremely careful.  Their goal was to persuade people that it is irrational to claim that God does not exist.  Wayne Grudem explains them this way:

1.                  The cosmological argument - considers the fact that every know thing in the universe has a cause.  Therefore, it reasons, the universe itself must also have a cause, and the cause of such a great universe can only be God.

2.                  The teleological argument - is really a subcategory of the cosmological argument.  It focuses on the evidence of harmony, order, and design in the universe, and argues that its design gives evidence of an intelligent purpose (the Greek word telos means �end� or �goal� or �purpose�).  Since the universe appears to be designed with a purpose, there must be an intelligent and purposeful God who created it to function this way.

3.                  The ontological argument - begins with the idea of God, who is defined as a being �greater than which nothing can be imagined.�  It then argues that the characteristic of existence must belong to such a being, since it is greater to exist than not to exist.  (The stem ont- in �ontological� is derived from a Greek word that means �being�).

4.                  The moral argument - begins from man�s sense of right and wrong, and of the need for justice to be done, and argues that there must be a God who is the source of right and wrong and who will someday mete out justice to all people.

5.                  As Christians we know that the universe does have God as its cause, and it does show evidence of purposeful design, and God has given us a sense of right and wrong and a sense that his judgment is coming someday.

D.                Only God Can Overcome Our Sin and Enable Us to Be Persuaded of His Existence

1.                  2 Cor. 4:4, 1 Cor. 1:21, 1 Cor. 2:5 - Unless we turn to God, and repent of our sins and receive forgiveness we will not be able to evaluate the evidence rightly.

2.                  Part Two

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology Zondervan 1994 pg. 143

Robert Jimenez / www.mideastoutreach.com

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