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WCF Chapter 2: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity

 By William Boekestein - Posted at Place for Truth:

Most theological and moral failures can be traced back to a wrong view of God. We charge God with being unfair only if we think he must submit to our concept of fairness. We will contentedly live one way in public and another in private only if we believe him to be local and limited like us. We can only believe in universal salvation if deny God’s fierce hatred of sin. To think and live well we need to know God as he truly is.

This is why God gave us his word. Some truths about God are obvious from nature—he exists and is unparalleled in power (Rom. 1:19–20). But to more intimately know his character, his unity and diversity, and how he relates to his creatures, we need the Bible. Scripture is God’s revelation, his self-disclosure. From cover to cover Scripture tells us essential truths about God, and of the Holy Trinity.

God Is Perfect in All His Attributes (2.1)

We may think about God as he is in himself, without relation to creation. We can’t define God; definitions state exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of a thing. Finite creatures can’t define the infinite. But we can summarize what God has revealed to us. We know that there is one God, not many (Deut. 6:4). This one God is alive and true; neither past being nor a figment of our imagination (1 Thess. 1:9). And he is without fault (Job 11:7–9).

Beyond this, much of what we can say about God is a denial of what he is not, or a distinction from what we are. We are visible bodies, made up of parts and passions, subject to measurement and change. We have a beginning and end. We can be studied by dissection according to ordinary laws of investigation. By contrast God is “a pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal” and “incomprehensible.” And of every positive quality God sets the standard. He is “almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute.”

We can also think about God in terms of what he does. He “[works] all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory.” If something has happened God’s hand was in it. He had always meant to do it. It was good. And it brought him glory. More specifically, we can know God from his actions toward people. To the penitent God shows himself to be “most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.” Notwithstanding God’s sovereignty our response to who he is matters. He rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6). Not everyone seeks him. In his judgement against the impenitent God reveals his holiness and terrifying justice.

God’s attributes and works put him in a vastly different class from everything else. He is neither part of creation nor in any way dependent on it.


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