Christian Cyclopedia

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The Being who made the world and man and to whom man is responsible. Man's knowledge of God falls into 2 broad categories: (1) God is known to man through power and design in the natural world and through pattern in the forces of hist. (Ps 19; Acts 17:22–31; Ro 1:18–2:16); man is thereby enabled to construct a mental picture of a supremely powerful Force working out man's destiny with a heavy hand, confronting mankind with continual challenge. Human reactions to this understanding of God result in reverence for nature and idolatry, in attempts to rationalize God into abstract natural law and to remove man's responsibility to Him (2 Ptr 3:3–4), or in despair and fear. This natural knowledge of God, basic to every human system of religion and to most philos., is insufficient for a satisfying and adequate faith in God, who still remains Deus incognitus (the unknown God). Insight into God is not within range of human endowment (Jn 1:18). (2) God revealed Himself to man more clearly and completely by the incarnation* of Christ* Jesus (Deus incarnatus) as a Being infinitely pained by man's deviation from His holiness, yet infinitely desirous to repair the breach, to the point of Himself assuming responsibility for this repair at the cost of His own sacrifice. Thus God is revealed as perfect and holy, as personal and driven by love to conform man to the image of His Son (Ro 8:29). This revelation* of God in His Son is communicated through the written Word (see Word of God). This Word presents more data about His nature, which are intelligible and credible to us, however, only in the light of the central revelation in Christ Jesus, the Word of God (Deus revelatus). God is eternal, not subject to time (Ps 90:1–4; 2 Ptr 3:8). God is neither confined to space or time nor limited in power, knowledge, or wisdom. He is benevolent, inasmuch as He desires to bless the objects to His love. All resources of God are at the disposal of man in Christ (Ph 4:13) and are recognized by him to work for his good (Ro 8:24–39). A Christian's insight into God and his power to grasp and to trust in God as his forgiving and enabling Father is the work of God Himself, the gift of the Holy* Spirit. The Christian church* summarized the nature of God and a Christian's knowledge of God in the concept of the Trinity.* RRC

See also Father, God the; Fatherhood of God; Filioque Controversy; Immutability of God; Infinity of God; Justice of God; Procession of the Holy Spirit.

R. R. Caemmerer, “The Nature and Attributes of God,” The Abiding Word, II, ed. T. Laetsch (St. Louis, 1947), 59–77.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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