How can we learn what there is to know about God? There are two teachers to tell us about God nature and the Bible. Nature, first of all, is an excellent teacher. It has taught mankind a great many truths about the world and the forces that control the world. For example, from nature mankind has learned the physical laws of gravity, inertia, and force. Mankind has learned that objects want to travel toward the center of the earth, that a moving object wants to stay moving, and that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Nature can also teach us certain things about God. What is more, the Bible teaches us what we should do with this natural knowledge of God, as well as teaches us many other truths about God. In this lesson we will discover what we can learn about God from nature and the Bible.
Heb. 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of all things.
1. When we look at a block of houses, our common sense tells us that those houses were all built by builders. Those houses did not grow up out of the ground by themselves. Likewise, when we look at this world our common sense should tell us that it did not come into existence by itself either. Someone must have made it. That someone is God, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Ps. 19:1 The heavens recount the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
1. The sun, moon, stars, and planets declare that God has made them.
Ro.1:19,20 What may be known about God is plain to them (meaning the ungodly who hold down the truth; the unbelievers of the world), for God made it plain to them. For from the creation of the world his invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood by the things that have been made, not only his eternal power but also his divine nature, so that they are without excuse.
1. God has made even his invisible qualities known to the people of the world. He has made them known by what he has made.
2. According to this verse God’s invisible qualities have been made plain, not to us believers, but to the unbelievers of the world. Therefore, no one has an excuse for not knowing there is a God.
Ps.14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
1. God says the one who does not know that he exists is a fool. He is foolish because he has not looked at nature and used his common sense to understand there is a God. This describes the atheist, who says there is no God.
2. The agnostic is also a fool, for he says he does not know if there is a God or not. He, too, has failed to look at nature and use his common sense to know there is a God.
Ro.2:15 . . . they (the Gentiles who are not God’s people) demonstrate the demands of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts either accusing or excusing them. . .
1. All the people of the world, not just Christians, have God’s law written in their hearts. On the basis of his law written in their hearts their conscience condemns or pardons their thoughts, words, and actions in feelings of guilt or innocence. Their conscience tells them when they have disobeyed God, to whom they must answer for their wrong doings.
2. The conscience, then, tells people that there is a God to whom they must answer.
The Truth Is:
1. We can know there is a God by looking at nature.
2. No one has an excuse for not knowing there is a God.
3. The person who says there is no God is a fool because he has not used his common sense to learn from nature there is a God.
4. The conscience also tells people there is a God, whom they have obeyed or disobeyed.
Ro.1:20 For from the creation of the world his invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood by the things that have been made, not only his eternal power but also his divine nature, so that they are without excuse.
- What God has made shows that he is eternal, powerful, and divine (truly God).
Pro.3:19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding he set up the heavens.
- The way God made the earth and the heavens shows that he is wise and understanding.
Acts 14:17 And yet he has not left himself without witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and crops at the proper times, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
- God shows that he is good and kind by giving us the rain and the crops that give us food.
Ps. 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned, and have done what is evil in your eyes, so that you are justified when you speak, and you are blameless when you judge.
- Our conscience knows that God is a fair judge who judges sins rightly.
The Truth Is:
Froom nature and our conscience we know that God is:
6. A fair and right judge
Acts 17:26,27 . . . and he made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their prescribed times and the fixed boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope after him and find him, although he is not far from each one of us.
Isa.55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.
The Truth Is:
Having this natural knowledge of God, we should seek him out during our life while the Lord is merciful and offers us salvation.
1. Throughout history the nations have worshipped idols, who are non-existent, false gods, instead of worshipping the Lord. Examples of this are the many gods of the Egyptians, and the pantheon of the Greeks and the Romans. As Romans 1:23 states, people exchanged the glory of God for images in the likeness of sinful man, and of birds, animals, and reptiles.
2. They worshipped idols because they did not know the Lord, the true God, who is the Creator of the heavens and earth.
Acts 14:11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices in the Lycaonian language, saying, “The gods, having become like men, have come down to us.”
1. After Paul had healed a man who had been lame from birth and had never walked, the people of Lystra thought he and Barnabas were gods.
2. This example shows that people do not know the Lord is God, but believe in false gods.
Eph.2:12 . . . remember that at that time you (the Gentiles, unbelievers) were separate from Christ, alienated from citizenship in Israel, estranged from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
1. People who know only the natural knowledge of God that we learned about in the two previous questions are separate from Christ. They are excluded from God’s people. They are strangers to God’s covenant, which promises to save the sinners of the world. They know nothing about God’s plan for saving them through Christ.
2. Such people are then without any hope for salvation and without God. From their conscience they know only that they have sinned against God and that he will punish them.
Acts 16:29,30 And after asking for lights, he (the jailer) rushed in, and trembling he fell down before Paul and Silas. And after he brought them outside, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
1. In answer to Paul’s and Silas’ praying and singing praise to God, God caused an earthquake, which opened the prison. Feeling the presence and power of God, the jailer was terrified and asked to know how he could be saved. His knowledge of God from nature did not tell him how to be saved.
2. People’s awareness of their sin, such as the jailer’s, cause them to fear God and his punishment. This is so, for neither their conscience nor nature tell them how they can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Cor.2:9 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it entered the mind of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.
1. No person has come to know from his conscience or nature the glories of eternal life in heaven that God has prepared for his Christian people, who trust in Christ and love him for his gift of salvation.
The Truth Is:
The problem with the knowledge we have from nature and our conscience is that:
1. It does not tell us who the true God of heaven and earth is.
2. It only leads us to fell afraid and without hope, because we know God will punish us for our sins.
3. It does not tell us the way to be saved.
2 Tim.3:15 And that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
- The Scriptures (God’s Word, the Bible) teach us the wisdom for salvation, which is to believe in Jesus Christ.
Jn.17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your Word is truth.
- What the Bible, God's Word, teaches us about God and the way to be saved is the truth.
The Truth Is:
We can learn about God and the way to be saved:
1. From the Bible, which is the Word of God and the Holy Scriptures.
2. For the Bible, God’s Word, is the truth.
Ex.8:10 . . . there is no one like the Lord our God.
1. God is unique, which means one of a kind. No one is like him. As a result, he is incomprehensible, which means we are unable to know everything about him. Being God, he is greater than our human ability to understand him. Therefore, a complete definition of God is impossible for us.
Ex.3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “Thus you will say to the sons of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
1. Only God can say his name is “I am,” for he alone is fully self-sufficient, which means he is not dependent on anyone or anything for his existence. He is fully independent. Thus he can do as he pleases. He is, then, also almighty.
2. God is eternal, which means he has no beginning or end. His name “I am” tells us he is the ever existing God, who says that he is the First and the Last, the One who was, and is, and is to come.
Jn.4:24 God is a spirit.
Lk.24:39 A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.
1. God is a spirit, an immaterial, non-physical, living being.
Jn.1:18 No one has ever seen God.
1. Being a spirit, God is invisible to us.
The Truth Is:
1. God is unique and there is no one like him to whom we can compare him. Therefore, a complete definition of God is impossible, for he is beyond our understanding and ability to know him fully.
2. God is a personal, independent, almighty, everlasting being. He alone has existence within himself.
3. God is an invisible spirit.
Dt.6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord, our God, the Lord is one.
1. God is one. There are not many Gods, only one God.
1 Cor.8:4 . . . there is no God except one.
Mt.3:16,17 And when Jesus had been baptized, immediately he went up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and coming upon him. And behold, a voice from the heavens was saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
1. God from heaven said Jesus is his Son, which makes God his Son’s Father. Separate from them both is the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit as he is called throughout the Bible. Three distinct, separate, divine persons are seen in these verses.
2. Coupling the information in these verses with the two above, we learn that God is one God, yet he is three, distinct, separate persons, which the next two verses also teach us.
Mt.28:19 Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor.13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Isa.63:9,10 . . . and the angel of his presence saved them (the Israelites) . . . but they rebelled and they grieved his Holy Spirit . . .
1. The Old Testament also notes the three persons of the Godhead. Here: the Angel of the Lord is a title for the Son of God, “his” refers to the Father, and the Holy Spirit is named.
Gen.1:26 & 3:22 And God said, “Let us make man in our image”. . . And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man is like one of us.”
1. God's speaking of himself in the plural also shows that he is more than one.
Gen.1:1 In the beginning God...
1. “God” in the Hebrew is spelled with a majestic plural form that also gives a hint of his plurality of persons.
The Truth Is:
1. God is the one true God. Besides him there is no other God.
2. The one true God is three separate, distinct, divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Note: In addition to these names, God has also used other names for himself, like Jesus Christ, God Almighty, the Good Shepherd, the Counselor. His names given in the Bible are the only names by which he is known.
3. The plurality of persons within the Godhead is also taught in the Old Testament. Even the Hebrew word "God" is in the plural form.
Note: To designate this one true God who is three separate persons, the church uses the term "Triune," which means “three-in-one.” How God can be three persons and yet one God is beyond our understanding and human reason. We cannot figure this out, but then, God does not ask us to figure this out but only to believe it. We can only accept what he says about himself by faith and praise him for what he is.
Note: So we may understand him better, God has stated he is: eternal (Ps.90:1,2), unchanging (Mal.3:6), love (1 Jn.4:8), perfect (Mt.5:48; Lk18:19) omnipresent--everywhere present ((Ps.139:7-10), omniscient--knows all things (Ps.147:5), omnipotent--all powerful (Mt.19:26), wise (Ro.11:33,34), righteous (Dt.32:4). He also possesses these characteristics: faithfulness to his Word and promises (2 Tim.2:13), goodness, kindness and mercy (Ps.145:9), and graciousness (Ex.34:6,7).
1. Define an atheist.
2. Define an agnostic.
3. What are the atheist and agnostic not using, which enables the rest of us to know there is a God?
4. Even the most uncivilized tribes of the world have known there is a God. What has enabled them to know there is a God?
5. Let us, for discussion sake, suppose a blind man lived on a deserted island. He has neither had anyone to tell him there is a God nor has he been able to see the world he lives in. God says no one has an excuse for not knowing that he exists. What would enable this blind man to know there is a God and eliminate his having an excuse for not knowing there is a God?
6. How do we know God is eternal by looking at his creation in which we live?
7. What invisible qualities, or attributes, of God can we observe by looking at the human body?
8. We now possess a natural knowledge of God. For what purpose has he given us this knowledge of him? What does he want us to do as a result of having this knowledge?
9. The natural knowledge of God has led the nations to worship whom or what? What does this tell us about the natural knowledge of God?
10. The world’s greatest philosophers have looked carefully at the world they lived in and have written what they think about the world and the meaning of life. But in spite of their studies, what is the one thing that never entered their mind?
11. Why are people in general afraid of dying?
12. God is good, kind, and merciful. How does this apply to you?
13. God is righteous and punishes the evil doer. What warning is there in this for you?
14. God knows everything. Realizing this, how will this affect your thoughts, words, and actions?
15. God is present everywhere. Do you find comfort in this? If so, what?
16. Pantheism equates God with nature. It says God is everything we see in nature--the wind, the trees, the grass, and so forth. Evaluate this religion based on what we have learned from the the Bible.
17. Which statements below are correct?
- There are three Gods: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit
- There is only one God.
- God is one God in three persons.
- The three persons of the Godhead are not equal with one another in power, authority, or knowledge. One is greater than the others.
- The Father existed before the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Only the Son became the man Jesus Christ.
- All three persons of the Godhead consist of the same nature, or essence.