Who Is God?
A. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn. 17:3).
1. Theology is a study of God - His nature and works (Theos - God; logos - study of) - Theological Seminary.
2. There are millions of false gods (estimated 330 million in cults of Hinduism) - only one true God.
B. James Orr: “The doctrine of God, it need scarcely be said, lies at the foundation of all right thinking in religion. In strictness, theology is just the doctrine of God. That is the meaning of the word. God is the Alpha and Omega of theological study, for as a man thinks about his God so will his theology be all through. It is not too strong to say that, in principle, every question of importance which arises in theology is already practically settled in the doctrine of God and His attributes. So essential is it to begin with Scripturally right thoughts about God” (Sidelights on Christian Doctrine, p. 8).
C. Discuss man’s ability to know God, and true morality and worship is based upon this knowledge.
A. Man as the ability to know God
1. Man has the intelligence to reason about God - lower animals do not.
a. Men are made in the image of God - the lower animals are not.
b. A cat, dog or monkey does not reason about a supreme being.
2. Man has the emotional ability to love God and express gratitude to Him - lower animals do not. (No animal looks up to the heavens and praises God for the beauties of the universe. Ps. 19:1)
3. Man has the will power to determine his actions. Lower animals act from instinct or conditioning taught by men.
4. Knowledge of God is essential to truly know self.
a. What is our origin? Only the word of God reveals this - those who reject this explanation have no reasonable answer.
b. What is our purpose? Do animals sit and reason about why they are here? When men do not know why they are here - often act like animals - instinct, selfishness, hurt.
c. What is our destiny? The only way we can know that is by revelation - through faith. Animals do not assemble to read God’s word and think about whether we will know one another in heaven! Men who only think of this life - acting like animals!
B. Knowledge of the Creator is essential to acceptable worship.
1. Kierkegaard (Danish philosopher, 1813-1855) - champion of subjectivism (your own choice; no external standard) said: “passionate worship of an idol is better than a cold, formal worship of the true God” (via God the Creator, Jack Cottrell, p. 5).
a. Neither is acceptable!
b. Feeling, or sincerity, does not make up for knowledge (Jn. 4:23,24).
c. Without a knowledge of God and His will - worship is in ignorance (Acts 17:22-31).
d. Paul presented evidence from creation (v. 24) and the resurrection (v. 31,32).
e. Worship to God is an act of faith - without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6).
2. Curtis Dickinson (evidently a Christian Church preacher; article “What’s Happened to God?” lamented that even among people who regularly attend church there is little understanding of God): “They are engaged in ‘church activities,’ given pep talks, how-to-do-it lectures and conversion sermons; they are encouraged to pray to God, to be godly, and to win others to God; they are to give to God, serve God, and desire to see Him and spend eternity with Him; but seldom if ever are they taught anything about Him, His nature and His attributes. It is no wonder that many churches have to give prizes to get people to ride their busses to the church house” (God The Creator, p. 16).
C. Knowledge of God is essential to morality.
1. Without a Creator - ethics becomes “might makes right” (survival of fittest).
2. Obligation to do something comes from fact of creation; motivation to act a certain way is based on faith in the Creator.
a. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children...My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God” (Hos. 6:4,12).
b. When people refuse to have God in their knowledge - no morals (Rom. 1:28-32).
3. Humanist Manifesto (1933 - by 34 liberal humanists in the U.S.) Fifteen statements - first three: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.” “Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.” “Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.”
4. Humanist Manifesto (1973; signed by 114, of which 70 were Unitarians: Unitarian Universalist Association - formed 1961 of American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America - “supports complete freedom of belief by its members” (World Book). “As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity....While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves...In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct...Short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their life-styles as they desire.” Last week - ACLU defending homosexual’s right to molest a 13 year old boy!
A. This is the result of secularizing society - God does not exist and all reference to Him should be removed from the public domain. (“One nation under God...” - “in God we trust” - want to remove all reference to God - the Creator.
B. The God who created us is the God we worship and the God who determines what is morally right or wrong. To deny that is to like animals - No morals, no fear of judgment, no hope.