Who or What is God?
The first lesson focused on the end of the age and what it means for all mankind. Then we learned about the true gospel of Christ and His intervention in world affairs. We learned that God’s message is not a doomsday message, but one of good news—the only source of hope for mankind.
At this point, we need to establish the right concept of exactly what God is and what He is not. Of all biblical doctrines, this is the most foundational. If someone understands every other possible doctrine correctly, but begins to follow a false god, then all his understanding becomes completely vain. We have to understand the true God of the Bible.
Every other scriptural truth is based upon this knowledge. Once it is understood, it is easier to grow in knowledge and understanding of the truth. But we also have to become aware of false concepts. The Bible student need not study advanced textbooks on the false doctrine of the trinity to be able to refute it. But he should be familiar with such beliefs and be able to disprove them from Scripture. Knowledge of Scripture is the key to growing in truth and rejecting every false way.
Mankind’s Limited Understanding
Man simply does not want to acknowledge God’s authority over his life. Likewise, he does not want to acknowledge the Bible as His authoritative revelation to mankind. By establishing his own moral principles, each man becomes an authority to himself, leaving God out of the picture.
Although this world is mostly ignorant of the reality of God, the entire creation stands as a witness to the existence of the Supreme Creator of the universe. As man’s Creator, He has inspired the Bible as His instruction book for mankind. Yet physical man is only aware of the material world around him. He naturally assumes that anything his physical senses cannot detect does not exist.
How ironic that man has often asked, “Why does God hide Himself?” Yet, on such occasions when God did reveal Himself, this is how man responded: “And they said unto Moses, Speak you with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:19). None of the people present at that event doubted God’s existence. Since God is composed of invisible spirit, it is necessary that He manifest Himself in such a way that man can perceive His presence. Would God then expect us to believe something that is unreasonable and unprovable?
Prove All Things
God charges us to prove all things (I Thes. 5:21). This includes His existence! He has provided ample evidence to do this. One needs only a sound and unprejudiced mind to be convinced by the overwhelming proof found in the creation, and in God’s Word through fulfilled prophecy. Archeological and historical evidence further verifies God’s written Word. But there are more explicit and unprecedented ways that God will reveal Himself in the immediate future as He brings His wrath upon rebellious mankind in the “Day of the Lord.”
In one form or another, God is going to play a definite role in everyone’s life from this point forward. Those who are called in this age will be moved with fear and act upon God’s instruction in seeking to qualify to fulfill their purpose in His plan of salvation. The vast majority of mankind will be stunned upon seeing and feeling God’s astonishing power. When He shakes this earth in the coming Day of the Lord, no one will wonder whether He exists.
What Comes to Mind?
When the term “God” is mentioned, what comes to mind? Do you think of God as Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe? Do you ponder His relationship with the Holy Spirit that flows out from Him?—or Christ’s relationship with the Father? What about the time when God came into being or where He resides at this time? Exactly what does God look like? What are His plans for the future? We will address all these issues and more in this lesson!
As with prior lessons, be sure to write out the scriptures covered. Pray for understanding when studying so important a topic as addressed in this lesson. Ask God to help you appreciate the deeply profound concept of who He is. So much rests upon how we fear God, how we approach Him, worship Him and seek His ways, and our willingness to truly say, “Your will be done.”
One God—Two Personages
(1) Who created the heavens and the earth? Genesis 1:1.
Comment: God created the entire universe, from the countless millions of galaxies down to the tiniest sub-atomic particles, and all life forms, including human life.
(2) God spoke of Himself in the following way: “Let Us make man in Our image…” Why were plural pronouns used to refer to one God? Genesis 1:26.
Comment: The Hebrew term for God in Genesis 1 is “Elohim.” Elohim is a uniplural noun, like the terms “church” or “family.” The uniplural concept pertains to a common class of two or more constituents. Elohim refers to the “God Family” or the “God Kingdom.” Thus, God is a Family—not just one individual!
(3) What does God’s Word [the Bible] tell us about the Personage in the God Family known as the Word? John 1:1. Is this Personage also God? Same verse. Who did the creating? Verse 3. Who was the Spokesman of the God Family who became a human in the flesh? Verse 14.
Comment: The Greek term Logos, translated “Word” in John 1, could also be translated “Spokesman.”
(4) Is Jesus Christ the “Word” referred to in John 1? Colossians 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:9.
(5) Who was the other member of the God Family? I Corinthians 8:6. Are both members of the God Family of equal authority? John 14:28.
Comment: God’s Family now consists of two members—The Father, who is greater, reigning supreme in the government or kingdom of God. The Word or Spokesman, who became Jesus Christ, is in complete harmony with the Father and submits to Him.
(6) What did Christ say about He and His Father being “one”? John 10:30.
Comment: Advocates of the false doctrine of the trinity attempt to use this verse and others to prove that Christ and the Father, along with the Holy Spirit, comprise one being of three entities or persons. The following question shows how Scripture refutes this heresy.
(7) What analogy did Christ use to describe how He and His Father are “one”? John 17:11, 22.
Comment: Christ and the Father are “one,” in that they are in perfect harmony and unity of purpose, as are those whom the Father has called out and given to Christ. The brethren could never “fit into” the framework of the false doctrine of the trinity, anymore than that heresy could apply to Christ and the Father. You should also write down I Corinthians 12:12 as part of question 7. It portrays the body, the Church, as many members, but “one” in unity and purpose.
The Father and Son
(1) Does the understanding of two distinct Personages of the one God Family help to clarify a vitally important scripture, in which the Son (Christ) appears before the Ancient of Days (the Father), who presents to Christ dominion, glory and a kingdom? Daniel 7:13-14.
(2) How did the Word, or Logos, become a mortal human? Luke 1:30-33. Was the child conceived by the Holy Spirit? Matthew 1:20.
(3) Was the child conceived by the Holy Spirit actually begotten of the Father? Matthew 11:27; John 8:19.
Comment: The same Personage as the Ancient of days (Dan. 7:13) became the Father, who through the Holy Spirit begat the same Personage, the Logos (John 1:14), known as Christ in human form (Heb. 2:9). The Father-Son relationship began at that time.
(4) Was the Son restored to His former greatness after suffering death and being resurrected? John 17:5; Matthew 28:18.
The God of the Old Testament
(1) What did the apostle Paul reveal about Christ’s role in Old Testament times? I Corinthians 10:4.
(2) Was this Rock also known as the Lord in the Old Covenant? Psalm 18:1-2.
Comment: In the King James Authorized Version of the Bible, the term “Lord” (all letters capitalized) is translated from the Hebrew “YHVH,” meaning the “ETERNAL” or “EVERLIVING ONE,” rather than “Lord.” Thus, the Lord of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New Testament.
Within this context, it is correct to pronounce the term “Lord” as “Lord,” as well as “Eternal.” There are small church groups whose main focus and reason for existence consist primarily of the proper pronunciation of the name or names of God, as they deem fit. Some even prohibit the use of the term “God.” Most of them allow only the term “YHVH” to be used for God, according to their interpretation of how that term should be pronounced. Although reverence should be observed in the use of God’s names, He does not expect us to become obsessed with fanatic, strict practices as to how we should pronounce them, missing the spiritual intent of the Scriptures.
(3) How did Christ reveal Himself to Israel in Old Testament times? Isaiah 48:17; 54:5.
(4) Was Christ the same Personage whose voice thundered at Sinai as He gave the Ten Commandments? Deuteronomy 5:4-6.
(5) What part will Christ fulfill in restoring Israel in the Millennium? Jeremiah 31:16-17.
Comment: Clearly, the Lord God of the Old Testament is the same Personage who became the Son—Jesus Christ of the New Testament.
(6) Did the Father actively work with mankind as well? John 1:18; 5:37.
Comment: Although the Father was not the Mediator working directly with mankind, He has been active in setting up the overall Plan, and is now executing it.
(7) What are some of the many things that God the Father does? John 6:44, 65; 5:17.
Comment: The many prayers of the saints are all directed to the Father, who hears them. He also receives the intercession on behalf of the saints from Christ, who is now their High Priest. The Father and Christ both work (John 5:17).
As we use the term “saints” in these Bible Lessons, realize that this refers to those “called-out ones,” who comprise the true Church, as opposed to the Catholic belief that saints have to be approved and conferred to sainthood by human clerics.
The Countenance of God
(1) Did Moses and the elders of Israel see God on Mount Sinai? Exodus 24:10.
(2) Were these humans allowed to see God’s face? Exodus 33:20, 23.
(3) Man was able to look upon the general form of the God of the Old Testament, but what about the form of the Father? John 5:37; 6:46.
(4) Had Christ seen the Father prior to the time that He was born as the Son of God? John 6:46; 8:38.
(5) Did Christ indicate how the Father appeared? John 14:9.
Comment: Many misinterpret this verse by assuming that Christ said that He was the Father. If Christ was the Father, then how could he say “for My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28)? The statement in verse 9 plainly shows that Christ was referring to a close resemblance that Christ had of His Father, just as most humans closely resemble their parents. Hence, God the Father has the form and stature of a man, yet appears much like Christ did.
(6) Was the human family made in the image of God? Genesis 1:26.
(7) Since Christ resembles the Father, how do their glorified bodies now appear? Revelation 1:13-16.
Where Does God Reside?
(1) Where did Christ say the Father was located? Matthew 5:16.
Comment: When Christ gave His sample prayer in Matthew 6:9, He indicated that we are to address the prayer to the Father. He further indicated where the Father resided by adding “which are in heaven.”
(2) Does the Bible refer to a number of heavens? Genesis 2:4.
Comment: A better translation of this verse is: “Here is a summary of events in the time when God made the heavens and earth.”
(3) Was Paul taken to the third heaven in vision? II Corinthians 12:2-4.
Comment: This shows that the third heaven is where both the Father and Christ rule from at this time (Rev. 3:21).
(4) Has any human ever ascended to this third heaven? John 3:13.
Comment: The second heaven includes the galaxies and vast expanse of outer space beyond Earth. The first heaven includes the atmosphere of earth reaching up to the stratosphere, beyond which physical life cannot exist.
Other Attributes of God
(1) Did the member of the God Family who became Christ come into existence at some point in time or has He always existed? Revelation 10:6; Hebrews 7:3; Psalm 41:13; 90:2.
Comment: The explanation of Christ being the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec will be covered in a future lesson.
(2) If God is not composed of physical and material substance, then of what is He composed? John 4:24.
Comment: The first part of this verse correctly reads, “God is Spirit…” (NKJ).
(3) Is the Holy Spirit that emanates from God a Spirit of power? Jeremiah 27:5; Psalm 104:30.
(4) Does God’s Holy Spirit permeate the entire universe? Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24.
(5) How are we to compare God’s rule with human rulers of this day? Isaiah 40:13-31.
God Does Exist
We have covered some of the basic understanding of who and what God is. This foundational understanding will be built upon in many following lessons. Although much remains to be covered on this expansive subject, you now have a solid starting point. Certain aspects of the future kingdom of God, to be established on earth, cannot be understood without first understanding what this lesson has covered. We will focus more clearly on related doctrines in upcoming lessons.
From what has already been covered, you can better appreciate the fact that God’s plan of salvation spells out exactly how He will expand His Family. This profound understanding addresses the very purpose for human existence!
God reveals Himself through His intricate creation. This fact is beautifully illustrated in our booklet Does God Exist? Understanding this booklet reinforces the existence of an all-wise Creator God. It should be read upon concluding this lesson. It disproves the false argument that life evolved by random chance, without a Designer or Creator. Also, you need to read our most crucial book The Trinity – Is God Three-In-One?
Remember, these lessons are written with the intent that the student look up the scriptures in each question and write them down. By doing so, you will develop the habit of using Scripture to “prove all things.” Thus, we establish in the early lessons that God exists and who and what He is. Later, we will establish more details of the proof of the Bible with a record of irrefutable prophecies already fulfilled. Subjects on these themes will provide a solid foundation from which to continue this Bible course.
Lesson Four: Proof of the Bible
After covering the vital subject of who and what God is, the next vital step is proving the authority of the Bible. These subjects go hand-in-hand—whatever evidence proves the validity of the Bible also proves the existence of an all-wise Creator God! In this lesson, we will prove the Bible from the aspects of fulfilled prophecy, history and archaeology.
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