September 9, 2020
The Bible begins with God. "In the beginning, God..." But this is more than how the story starts, this is how life HAS to be understood, if it is going to be understood. Begin with God. Before there was the universe, there was God. Before there was the earth, the human race, you, me, others, life as we know it, there was God. Before there were viruses and bacteria, politics and policies, global warming and cooling, floods and fires, there was God. Therefore, in order to understand life, we have to begin with God, and we have to begin with a right view of God. Herein lies the life-long challenge; it is two-fold:
1) How can you have a right view of God?
God is infinite. He is impossible to fully understand. Yet, since he has given us his Word, we are responsible and right to pursue knowing him as much as we can.
2) We do not naturally begin with God.
Our tendency is to define God based on our experiences, rather than define our experiences based on what we know about God.
Therefore, we need to set our hearts on seeking God, that we may know him and know how we ought live.
In view of this, I've been doing a bit of reading on what the Puritans called the Simplicity of God. Of course, if the Puritans are writing about it, you know it isn't simple. But, their point (and I think it is right) is that God's essence is not a collection of attributes, like a house is a collection of rooms or a garden is a collection of plants. In other words, while God is good, wise, just, righteous, merciful, kind, etc, none of these virtues existed outside of God, and God chose them. God is all of these things and he is all of these things at the same time in such a way that there is no conflict or inconsistency in himself. One Puritan, George Swinnock said, "God does not depend on qualities really distinct from His divine essence in order to exist as He does. He does not require what is not God in order to be anything that He is."
God did not walk in a store and chose some wisdom, some goodness, some love, some mercy, or other virtues. None of these qualities exist apart from God. He is all of these things. He is the source of all of these things. He is the essence of all of these things, and He is all of these things at the same time. This is who God is now. This is who God has always been. This is who God will always be. There never was a time when God was not God, and there will never be a time when God will not be God. Therefore, there will never be a time when God will not be all that he is. When Moses asked God his name, God said, "I AM THAT I AM." I will always be what I have always been. So, let's begin with that.
Schools and football seasons are swirling in a cloud of uncertainty leaving many people feeling as if their feet are firmly planted in mid-air. The stock market swings and the looming election causes some people to worry that no matter who wins, something is going to go sideways. And hiding in plain sight of it all is this angry little virus that terrifies and mocks. But wait!! Is this how you view your life? Do you start with the uncertainties or do you start with THE CERTAIN ONE?
When you view your day and your life through the lens of God, there is no ultimate uncertainty. God does not change. He can be trusted. He has given us his Word, which is a public record of how, for several thousand years, he has made and kept promises. The God who makes promises and keeps those promises and does not change is the God of the universe who sent his own Son to die for you. That, my friend, is incredible! He cares for you, and He is all-powerful to express that care. Therefore, relax. In the beginning, God.
Grace and peace,