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Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Opus 2013-365: Basic Beliefs: God Is..., Part 1 of 3

Years ago in a seminary class the professor stated that there are three categorical statements about God in the Bible.  These are in addition to the attributes stated or implied.  These are statements that begin, “God is....”  When I did a search for “God is” in my software I came up with 169 hits.  Most of them are simple statements like “God is giving to us.”  Those obviously don’t fit this category.  Others are more subtle like,
(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. 

For example.
(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

2 comments:

Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.