Begin with God

God should be the Starting Point

This “God Particle” idea, this recent discovery of the tiniest unit ever discovered (so far) of the building blocks of the universe may be referred to in the Bible in Colossians 1.

“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

I am not sure, but it is nice to think about. “For by Him, all things were created… both visible and invisible… He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.

It seems to me that the theologians and scientists may not be as far apart as I had assumed when I first went to Aspen. But, I wrote this in my Journal the month BEFORE I went to Aspen. In July of 2004, I had just read that great piece by Augustine on “Who is God?” (See Shade 6).

"Who is God, ... What is God... most hidden, yet most present..." Augustine.

And then I wrote this;

“Starting Point. God, and my thoughts of Him, must always be my starting point.

And "at the end of the day", I still "fall on my knees".

No matter what I have been through,

no matter what anyone else has been through,

no matter what the world has been through,

no matter how many doubts (darts) we throw at the Providence of God,

no matter how many times we question the "Invisible Hand" of God,

... we still cannot escape the fact that it all began with a miracle,

with something we cannot explain...

Whether you are an atheist or a theist,

Something either came from nothing (which is a "miracle"), or

Something was created or jump-started by

Someone greater than what we can explain.

We do not have all of the Evidence we would like.

Both Science and the Sacred Texts can only take us so far.

At the end of the day, we must still choose to make that leap of Faith.

Believing in Something, Someone, is greater than believing in Nothing.

So until further notice, "cast all your cares" on Him, the God who is beyond all of our thoughts,

bigger than our Sacred Texts,

the Answer to all of our questions,

the payoff for the Scientists who climb the mountain (Jastrow, see Shade 26),

the ultimate healer for all of our battle wounds,

the supreme Lover of our soul...”

(It is kind of hard to believe I wrote that on July 16, 2004, before Aspen…)

The Study of God Can Give You Happiness

God’s knowledge can be “A Cause for Joy”

James Montgomery Boice

There are three reasons this omniscience is a great blessing and a cause for joy among Christians.


First, because God knows all things, He knows the worst about us and yet has loved us and saved us. We needn’t fear that something within us will rise up to startle God, that some forgotten skeleton will come tumbling out of our closet to expose our shameful past. Nothing can happen that isn’t already known to God.


Second, God also knows the best about us, even though that best may be unknown to any other person. Perhaps things go in a way we didn’t intend. Then people say – even our friends – “How could so-and-so do a thing like that? I would have thought better of him.” They are critical and nothing we can do or say seems to change their opinion. What then? There is comfort in knowing that God, who knows all things, knows that we really did do our best. And He is patient with us.


Third, God knows what he is going to make of us. He knows the end for which we have been made: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God is determined to make us like Jesus Christ. Sometimes we get discouraged in the Christian life. We take a step forward and fall half a step back. We think God must be discouraged with us. But He isn’t. We have a great destiny and in its light all the vaunted achievements of our age and our personal achievements fade into insignificance.

How Great Thou Art, p. 256


God is Much Greater than What Can be Said About Him

The Knowledge of The Holy – A.W. Tozer

You may not agree with all that you read here, but again I ask you to stick with me. God is much greater than we have made Him out to be, so my intent here is to continue to give you a greater appreciation not only for God, but a greater appreciation for some of those who have held Him in high esteem.


We have seen 8 facets of God, 8 shades, if you will. As I introduce number 9 of 50, I must say that the next few pages are almost holy ground. A.W. Tozer saw God differently than any other writer I know of.


Unfortunately, he died when I was only 4 years old, but I would love to have met this man. He held God in very high esteem. I have given you the Table of Contents from his short book, The Knowledge of the Holy. My hope is that you will be drawn to the God that Tozer writes about.


He wrote the book in 1961, when I was 2 years old (when I was in Scottish Rite Hospital). He would go on to meet this God that he wrote about 2 years after he wrote and published this book.


I read this book for the first time in 1980. I read it so often and used it so much that the cover of this thin paperback book was completely severed from the pages and I had to tape it back on. It will probably be laid with me in my casket, along with my Granddad’s Bible (Daddy James).


Table of Contents (A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963).

  1. Why We Must Think Rightly About God
  2. God Incomprehensible
  3. A Divine Attribute: Something True About God
  4. The Holy Trinity
  5. The Self-existence of God
  6. The Self-sufficiency of God
  7. The Eternity of God
  8. God’s Infinitude
  9. The Immutability of God
  10. The Divine Omniscience
  11. The Wisdom of God
  12. The Omnipotence of God
  13. The Divine Transcendence
  14. God’s Omnipresence
  15. The Faithfulness of God
  16. The Goodness of God
  17. The Justice of God
  18. The Mercy of God
  19. The Grace of God
  20. The Love of God
  21. The Holiness of God
  22. The Sovereignty of God
  23. The Open Secret

God is Beyond Expression

God is Everything! Everything! Everything!

This story is recounted by Donald McCullough in his book, The Trivialization of God. MCullough does a great job of giving us a higher view of God (How Great Thou Art, page 19). We are not “nothing”, as the conductor states below. But we are trivial compared to the greatness of God. I know that may bother some of you, but please stick with me until the end. I prefer to see the big picture here. Appreciate the greatness of Beethoven! But more yet, appreciate and applaud the greatness of God!


“After Arturo Toscanini finished conducting a brilliant performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the audience rose to its feet and applauded, shouting its delight. But Toscanini waved his arms violently for it all to stop. He turned to the orchestra and shouted hoarsely, “You are nothing!” He pointed to himself and shouted, “I am nothing!” Then he shouted, “Beethoven is everything, everything, everything.”


“Christian worship must say, “God is everything, everything, everything.” What we do on Sunday mornings (or whenever we gather), the order of events and the manner in which we enact the drama, must always point to God, must reinforce again and again that God has taken the initiative and called us together, that God’s grace is more important than our sin, that God’s will is more important than our desires, and that God’s glorification is more important than our edification.


All worship ought to be ordered toward God; services should be put together in a way that keeps our attention centered on God. As we look up to the One seated on the throne, we lose sight of everything else; the Holy God commands and consumes our attention. What we really need… is for our attention to be turned toward the glory of God. Only in turning toward the Light can we do the dance, and only in this (way) will our deepest needs be met.” (End of the quote from Donald McCullough, HGTA, p. 19)


Again, neither McCullough nor Toscanini mean that we are “nothing”. In fact, every person is made in the very image of God, and every believer has the potential mind of Christ. But, compared to the Greatness of God, we are like chaff blowing in the wind. We are no match for the Greatness of God. And yet, what is almost unbelievable is that this same God loves us. He wants to be with us, and to be near us. He pursues us with a relentless love, and He does not easily give up His quest for our hearts.


But, when we trivialize God, or when we bring Him down to our level, we do nothing but belittle ourselves in the process. When we allow our minds to create God in our image, rather than allowing God to reshape us in His image, we short-change both our lives and our eternal rewards. In the words of J.B. Phillips, “Our God is too small.” (J.B. Phillips’ Book published in 1963, Your God is Too Small).


We would be much better off to Super-size our view of God, than we would to downsize Him or trivialize His ways.

The Greatness of God

We think we know a lot, but we may not know squat. So let’s keep that in mind when thinking about God. Theologians call this the “Incomprehensibility of God.” God has revealed Himself to us in various ways, but He has not revealed Himself to us exhaustively.

What God tells us about Himself in His Word is absolutely true but it must be remembered that God has not told us everything about Himself. Millard Erickson puts it this way,

“God’s incomprehensibility is that attribute of him which defines all that is unknown about him. We can know something about God. (In fact, to state that God is incomprehensible is itself to say that we do know something about him.) But, we can’t know everything

about him and nor can we understand everything that we do know about him. Our “shortcoming lies in our inability to encompass him within our knowledge. Although what we know of him is the same as his knowledge of himself, the degree of our knowledge is much less. It is not exhaustive knowledge of him, as is his knowledge of himself, and in that respect it will be incomplete or non-exhaustive even in the eschaton (in the eternal future)”.

(Millard Erickson; Christian Theology, I. p. 180)

What God has told us He has told us truly but not exhaustively.

So, we have to be careful before drawing conclusions about God and His ways when we are finite and when our knowledge is very limited.

Augustine. What is God Like?

Augustine was a Philosopher - Theologian of such great importance that his writings helped shape not only Theology, but also the whole of Western thought. He was born in 354 AD, and died in 430 AD. Perhaps his most famous work is the story of his conversion which was entitled, The Confessions of Augustine. It is in this book that he makes the statement about God below.

Augustine’s statement on God is the very first page of an excellent book entitled, How Great Thou Art, by Steve Halliday and William Travis (copyright, 1999). I very highly recommend this book for anyone, whether you are new to God, or whether you have been a believer for decades. Nonetheless, here is what Augustine had to say about God;

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? (2 Samuel 22:32) What is God – what, but the Lord God? For who is the Lord but the Lord? Or who is God save our God? Most high, most excellent, most powerful, most almighty, most merciful, and most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, and most strong; stable, yet mysterious; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new and bringing age upon the proud, though they do not know it; always working, yet always at rest; still gathering, yet lacking nothing; sustaining, filling and protecting; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet possessing all things. God loves without passion; He is jealous without anxiety; He repents, yet has no sorrow; is angry, yet serene; changes His ways, yet His plans are unchanged; recovers what He finds, having never lost it; never in need, yet rejoicing in gain; never covetous, yet requiring interest. He receives over and above, that He may owe – yet who has anything that is not His? He pays debts, owing nothing; remits debts, losing nothing. And what can anyone say when they speak of Him?

Words like that just elevate my view of God, and even my view of life. I have read that so many times that I almost have it memorized.

This next statement on who God is comes from 1647, which is more than 1000 years later than Augustine. It is written in the King’s English but it still gives you a good idea of how the Church defined God, at least in 1647.

“God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself, and is alone and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in any need of any of the creatures which He has made, not deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto and upon them. He is alone the fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever He Himself pleases” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647). The Shorter Catechism of the same states, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

Those statements above are good descriptions of God Himself. But as I begin to be more specific about what God is like, I think Ronald Nash gives a good definition of what God’s Attributes are;

“A divine attribute is an essential property of God. A property is essential to some being if and only if the loss of that property entails that that being ceases to exist. A divine attribute is a property which God could not loose and continue to be God”.

(Ronald Nash, The Concept of God, p. 16).

Attributes are God’s properties, excellencies, perfections, or qualities. They are what God has forever been and will forever be in His nature. Some of them, we can relate to… Others are more difficult.