(Deuteronomy 4:31 KJV) (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.I want to look at the three statements given by that professor. Interestingly they are all from the writings of John, the last writer and the one with the most time to reflect. This is not intended as a required doctrinal statement explaining God. It is simply a look at some of the basics.
The first statement,
(John 4:24 KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.First, lets deal with the translation. In the KJV and other older translations this describes God as “a” Spirit. Modern translations drop the indefinite article and simply have “God is spirit.” Greek does not use the articles the way we do. The definite article, “the,” is used sparingly and seems to indicate emphasis. The indefinite articles, “a” and “an,” do not exist in Greek so anywhere you see them they are added on the opinion of the translators.
The theological point here is that the eternal God is not a physical being. When the Son came to earth he was “incarnated.” That means He crossed a line and took on the physical nature of human beings without giving up the divine nature. In essence though, it means that we are not to think of God in physical terms.
There are numerous figures of speech in the Bible that are used to teach us about God. They help us to understand bigger lessons. There are times when the word picture is clear in our minds and seems to indicate that God is physical.
(Mark 16:19 KJV) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.But if God is not physical, He does not have hands. It is just as powerful to accept this as a metaphor and learn from it. Everything is the Bible is not to be taken literally. How do you know? Paraphrasing the realtor who asked what was most important, “Three things: Context, context, context.”Try to understand the Bible in the context of the Bible.
(Psalms 91:4 KJV) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.Does that mean that God is a chicken? If you insist that everything is totally literal that is your declaration. If you accept that this is a metaphor, then don’t insist everything is literal. Accepting the inspiration of the Word is not the same as demanding a literal interpretation.
More could be said but the first point is that God is Spirit, not material.
To be continued...
homo unius libri