Eternal, Immortal, Invisible
Bro. William. A. Baker
Four thousand years ago, there was a citizen of Uz, a man upright, a just man, a man who reverenced God and avoided evil, a man around whom the most outstanding dramatic poem in human language has been written. This man lent us a principle upon which alone true peace is attainable. He said, "Acquaint thyself with God and His peace."
Fifteen hundred years later, a prophet of God, Daniel, said in a vision of the tribulations and persecutions that would come upon the people of God, before which many would weaken and fall, added this comment, "But they that do know their God will rest." Our service to the Lord is contingent upon our knowledge of the God whom we serve.
Some centuries later, Jesus declared, "This is eternal life, that they might know Thee, the only true God., and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Jesus, in these words, was not calling our attention to the way in which God gives eternal life, although this, too, would be true; but he is emphasizing, "This is the OBJECT of eternal life, that they might know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent."
These words appear to suggest that throughout the endless ages of eternity we will be forever measuring the depths and breadths of the character of God and will be unable to comprehend them. To comprehend means to be able to embrace. Imagine any creature, however highly exalted, being able to embrace his Creator.
Peter added this testimony in his second epistle: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." Thus, grace and peace are made contingent upon our acquaintanceship with God ó our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
That is why the Psalmist said, "Only the fool has said in his heart, There is no God." Belief in God is universal. No matter how degraded, how far a human being has fallen from father Adam, still in that heart and mind there is that desire to worship. Man is a worshipping animal.
All nature gives testimony of a Supreme Being. Heb 3:4 - "He that built all things is God." Astronomy declares that. Chemistry exemplifies it. Botany illustrates it, geology prove it, zoology shows it, and the science of physics demonstrates it. Intelligence is found behind all creation.
An intelligent First Cause, being the first and original Cause, is Itself causeless. The fact of the existence of Godís supreme intelligence is obvious in the system of design of this great universe, including our solar system and the planet Earth. It is seen in organic matter, and inorganic matter, and the relation between the two.
It is seen in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the food we eat. Man was not created for the air or the food, but they were made on behalf of man, even before man was created. All nature bears testimony to this design on the part of an all-wise God and Creator.
The existence of manís intellectual, moral and religious nature shows the existence of a God. Manís abilities are many, and manís abilities are varied. He owes this to the fact that he was designed and created by an intelligent Creator, who endowed him with similar qualities of mind and heart.
Who, among the New Creation of God, would doubt the existence of God? Every experience in our Christian lives testifies to the existence of a personal Deity whom we serve as New Creatures. The God whom we worship, the God of divine revelation, the God of the Bible is everywhere, on every page, presented to us as a personal God. He has personality.
The Bible reveals that this God whom we worship, thinks and feels. The fact that he thinks shows that He has an intellect. The fact that He feels proves that He has sensibilities. He is perfect in character. Your God and mine is a personal God.
He possesses the quality of knowledge. The Scriptures declare, (Jos 22:22) "The LORD is a God of gods, he KNOWS." He never has to guess. Isa 44:8 - "Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any." Job 36:4 - "He is perfect in knowledge." Ps 44:21 - "He knoweth the secrets of the heart." Ac 15:18 - "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning."
The God we worship has sensibility. Ps 103:13 - "The LORD pitieth." Joh 16:27 - "The Father himself loveth you." Ex 34:6 - "The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness."
God wills. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done in earth as it is done in heaven." Again, Jesus speaking, (Mt 7:21) "He that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven," He will not deny.
Eph 1:11 - "Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." The lesson in this statement is pertinent. God has never found it necessary to consult with any creature in heaven nor on earth. How frequently we are told we should legislate for God, to make decisions for God, when He has already rendered His the decision in His own way. He has never asked my advice. If I had listened to Him, things might have been better.
God has a body. When the apostle John (Joh 5:37) said, "No man has seen God at any time," what did he mean? He meant that no man had seen Godís person, Godís body, at any time. In Ex 33:20-23, we read, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Again, Joh 4:24 - "God is a Spirit" - a spirit being.
Paul, in 1Co 15:44-49, declares that there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. Spirit bodies and human bodies. Godís organism is heavenly, consisting of immaterial, spiritual substances. "In Him is light," Jesus declared. He is spoken of as a consuming fire. It is declared of Him that He is life. These are all immaterial essences, whatever they may be on the spiritual plane.
It is declared of Him that He is immortal, "the King eternal, immortal." The definition which I prefer for immortality, is the one for which we have the authority of Jesus himself. "As the Father hath life in Him, so hath He given the Son of Man to have life in himself." There is a difference between the eternal nature of God and the immortal nature of God. Immortality is the quality or kind of life which God alone inherently, originally, possessed. Eternity has to do with existence. It is not always self-existent. But with God, "I am the first, and the last, and beside me there is no God."
How is God the first and also the last? He, in all the universe, is the only creature of His kind. In all eternity, this will always be true of Him, exclusively. "I am that I am." The God whom we worship is self-sufficient. Ac 17:25 - "neither is worshipped with menís hands, as though he needed any thing." Do we think He might need our advice, our assistance? When we thus presume upon the grace of God, what difficulty it brings. "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." The God we worship is a giving God, a benevolent God. He gives every good and perfect gift.
Our God is an invisible God ó Col 1:15. "Who (speaking of Jesus in his resurrection glory) is the image of the invisible God. 1Ti 1:17 - "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God..."
In His personality, He has a unity - not of other personalities, but in and of Himself. De 6:4 - "The LORD our God is one Lord." Not many. Originally, man was a monotheist. He worshipped one God, not many. But after the deluge, when idolatry began to lift its ugly head among men, polytheism was introduced. The attributes of that one God were broken down into many, and personified in different gods. Thus, polytheism spread in its many forms throughout the earth.
1Ki 8:60 - "That all the people of the earth may know that Jehovah is God, and that there is none else."
Paul says, "We believe in one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things."
This is the Bible testimony. The doctrine of the Trinity is a great hoax perpetrated by the Devil upon humanity ó a fraud, a delusion, and a snare - in whatever form it may present itself on the minds of men.
Our God is an omnipotent God. "Omnipotent" means "almightyness," authority to do anything. God has the ability to do anything. But He has placed a limit upon His omnipotence. We are told, in Heb 6:18, that God cannot lie. In 2Ti 2:13, it says, "He cannot deny himself." Jas 1:13 - "God cannot be tempted with evil."
Our God is a holy God, a righteous God, a God of judgment. Ps 115:3 - "Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." Isa 46:10,11 -"My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure... I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it."
Godís omnipotence is represented by His power. Ge 18:14 - "Is any thing too hard for the LORD?" No. Thus is He able to perform all His good will. Re 19:6 refers to him - "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." In Re 21:22, He is referred to as the "Lord God Almighty," having all power. Nu 23:20 declares that none can reverse His purposes. No one can change His plans.
De 3:21 - He is greater than all others combined. Da 3:17,6:27 - He can rescue from any danger. Isa 51:10 - His power is boundless in the universe. Isa 14:27 - Whatever He has purposed, He will accomplish.
In Ps 19, the prophet David, lifting his voice in psalm to the Almighty God in whom he believed, and whom he worshipped, declared, "The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handywork."
Our God is a person. Being a person, he has all the qualities peculiar to personality. The Bible speaks of the ears of God, of the eyes of God, of the mouth of God, of the face of God, of the fingers of God, of the hand of God, of the arm of God, of the feet of God.
In the 94 (th) Psalm (Ps 94), the Psalmist gives us a hint of how these features are applied to the omnipotent God. Verse 9 "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?" How strange it would be that One would create an ear that could hear and had not the sense of hearing Himself. God has the sense of hearing. God hears everything, everywhere, all the time. God sees everything, everywhere, all the time. Nothing is hidden from His omnipotent vision.
Jesus must have spoken these words in reverence and in awe, "Not a sparrow falls to the ground, but my heavenly Father knows it falls." "The very hairs of our head are numbered." Whether or not this is literal, it describes an all-knowing God, an all-seeing God. He hears the faintest whisper of the creatures of His universe. If we could fully appreciate this, perhaps we would be more circumspect in what we whisper.
The Bible tells us some facts about God as a person. It tells us that He is from everlasting to everlasting. He never had a beginning. He always was.
Godís works had a beginning, but God had no beginning. God existed before the works of creation. Because He existed before He had created anything or anyone, there was a time when God was alone. Nothing else existed but Himself.
When we contemplate this self-sufficiency, weíre impressed with this fact: He could be just as content alone, as when all His works of creation existed. Then, why did God go to all the trouble of creating the universe? The answer is that it was no trouble at all. Nothing troubles the God of creation. He does the most difficult task as easily as He does the easiest task. Nothing for Him is easy; nothing for Him is difficult.
What was God doing when He was alone? God was never idle. God is the supreme architect of all that exists and all that will ever exist. He planned it all, according to the counsel of His own will. When God was alone, He was planning the purposes which will be to all eternity, and what agencies He will use to perform His purposes.
Our finite minds stagger before the contemplation of such a situation. All the hosts of heaven are like little children playing with the grains of sand of all eternity. Our imaginations stand before the Creator of the universe, and know He is fathomless and immeasurable.
This is the God of the Bible, the God before whom you and I are privileged to come as New Creatures in full assurance of faith and utmost confidence that He will see and hear us as we call Him "Our Father who are in heaven." Hallowed be His name.
Omniscience is another quality of His character. Omniscience means wise about all things. He foresees all things. He remembers all things. He reasons out all things. He is able to forget, and I am glad of that. Speaking of Israel, when their New Covenant goes into effect, and when the purposes for which it is established are accomplished, He says, "Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more." Memory is a characteristic with which we can also forget.
We are told that all things are naked and revealed before Him. Godís mentality powers have an aptitude to calculation, order, color, weight, size, form, detail, time, place, harmony, construction, beauty sublimity and above all things else, intuition - with all their ramifications and implications.
He has touch and taste, and what no other creature can have, intuitive knowledge. Godís mentality has reflective powers, and touches past, present and future. All that He has ever seen, all that He will ever see - God will have the aptitude to remember it in detail through all eternity. He is able to draw perfect inductions and deductions, reasoning from any particular to general conclusions, and from general conclusions to detail. At the same time, He can consider all possible contingencies anywhere.
Godís mentality, we learn by divine revelation, includes an imaginative power, due to His perfect perception and reflection and reasoning, and has an aptitude for inventing ideas realizable.
Consider His creation. Think of His infinite mind, able to invent every thing that exists in this great universe - in the spirit world as well as this material world. They are the creatures of His mind. They are the products of His power.
All these intellectual powers referred to, are infinite in capacity.
This is the omniscient God. In the creation of man, God endowed man in perfection with similar capacities, but capable of expansion every division of learning under the sun throughout the endless ages of eternity.
At the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, man will stand again before the Creator, in perfection. They will just be standing at the threshold of the opportunities and possibilities, to be unfolded throughout eternity. He will just begin his education. He will just have been equipped with perfect functions and qualities of heart and mind which he will then, for the first time, begin to use perfectly.
Eden was only a kindergarten. All of eternity awaited Adam, had he remained obedient and perfect. He would only have just begun to use the possibilities with which he was endowed by the Creator. We are prone to think of Adam coming into existence with a college degree. Thatís not true. Adam had to learn. He had to learn to walk, to talk, to hear, to see.
He had help from very competent sources. He had the ability to learn quickly.
We read that the Lord God caused all the animals to pass before Adam. Whatsoever he named that animal, that became its name. I used to envy Adam. That must have been the greatest circus parade on earth. I used to think how delighted I would have been to have been there and helped him name them. Thatís a crude example.
Adam was learning about his environment, and its possibilities. At the same time, he was learning something about his own potentialities, resourcefulness. Man has capacities in a limited way.
God has all these capacities inherently, omnisciently.
Our God has the quality of omnipresence ó not personally, but God is present everywhere. Being a person, God has size and dimension. How big is bigness? How small is smallness? Think of what we know of size.
When I was a boy, I was taught that an atom was the smallest particle of matter - that if you were going to take a drop of water and divide it and subdivide it some thousands of times, youíd finally come to the place where you had a molecule of water. Thatís the smallest particle of water you could have. If you make another division, youíd dissolve water into its constituent elements. The old formula H2o. Two atoms of hydrogen, one atom of oxygen. Thatís what they told me when I was a boy, and they still believe it. Itís still true.
Many other teachings, scientists have had to discard. The word "atom" means something that cannot be made smaller. They let the matter rest there for a number of years. In recent years, they made a tremendous discovery. That indivisible particle, so small that no one has ever seen it, using powerful microscopes, is in itself made up of particles infinitesimally smaller. Itís a little solar system in itself. The distance between them, relatively, is greater that the distance between the sun and the planet.
Fentonís translation: (Isa 43:12) "I existed before time itself." In this scripture, "time" is used as a unit of measure. There was a time when God didnít have to measure time as we do. But the time came when a unit of value in respect to duration became essential.
God is an exact time-keeper. Heís carrying out His plans according to a definite schedule. When the clock of eternity strikes the hour, God moves, irrespective of who stands still.
In the 8 (th) chapter of Proverbs Pr 8), Solomon presents this thought: speaking of Jesus, the Logos, under the symbol of Wisdom, "I existed before as yet he had created space."
I like to think of it in this way: when the great Supreme Architect began to put His plans into execution, he may have pushed back the walls of nothingness and created space. Then, in His infinite wisdom and His great power, He sowed space in the constellations of the heavens. God, the Creator, did this.
God has the quality of omnipresence. We speak of everything we see as being in our presence. You are in my presence. I see you and you see me, if we are in each otherís presence. God sees everything, everywhere, all the time. The boundless universe is embraced within the compass of His vision - separately and collectively, everywhere, all the time.
We think of Jacob, as he laid his head upon the rock and went to sleep and had that dream at that place which he named Bethel. He said, "Surely the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not."
Solomon, in dedicating the temple, realized how circumscribed it was, to be the meeting place between the God whom we worship and the people who wanted to serve Him. He said, "The heaven of heavens cannot contain (or restrict) Thee."
"Jehovah our God is the great emperor of the whole universe. His wisdom, power, goodness, and benevolence are abundantly equal to all of His responsibilities of so exalted an office. The human mind staggers in its effort to comprehend the mental resources of a Being who is able to assume and to bear such responsibility. Think for a moment of a memory that never fails, of a judgment that never errs, of the wisdom that plans for eternity without the possibility of failures for ages to come, of the power and skill that can harness every opposing element, animate and inanimate, and make them all work together for the accomplishment of his grand design, of the tireless vigilance which never ceases nor seeks relief from the pressing cares of universal dominion, whose eye never sleeps, whose ear is ever open, who is ever cognizant of all the necessities and active in all the interests of his broad domain.