Monday, February 23, 2009
Bible Doctrine Series-God and the World
By the world, means, the entire universe. God’s relationship to the world is divided into four headings: purpose, creation, preservation and providence. These can be further divided into two broad subjects: God’s purpose and the carrying out of that purpose. God’s Purpose or Plan (this has to do with decrees). God has a single, all-inclusive and comprehensive plan; i.e., His will. Ephesians 1:11. God’s plan is eternal; it is not subject to change. Ephesians 3:11. God does not have alternative plans in case something goes wrong with His original plan. God’s plan was freely made. Psalm 135:6. This harmonizes with His freedom; God is self-determined. God’s plan includes all things. Ephesians 1:11. The only alternative is sheer chance. Some of the things included in the plan are: a. The boundaries of nations—Acts 17:26. b. The length of one’s life—Job 14:5 c. The manner of one’s death—John 21:19. d. The evil deed of men—Genesis 50:20; Acts 4:27-28. God’s plan is realized in and through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:4, 5; 3:11. God’s plan does not relieve man of responsibility. Predestination does not compel; man can make choices without feeling coerced or compelled. He is responsible for his decisions. Luke 22:22; Matthew 18:7. Many speak of God’s permissive and His directive will; or His desired will and His decreed will. This may help to explain how God can be sovereign and man can be responsible. The Creation of the World. The world had a definite beginning (Matter is not eternal). Psalm 90:2; Genesis 1:1. Creation was the work of the entire Godhead. God the Father, the originator—1 Corinthians 8:6. God the Son, the mediator—1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. The emphasis in Scripture is on the Son. God the Holy Spirit, the executor—Genesis 1:2. To employ the figure of constructing a building, God was the architect (and owner), the Son was the superintendent of construction, and the Spirit was the worker. The purpose of creation is to bring glory to God—Psalm 19:1. The Characteristics of the original creation. Genesis 1-2. Creation was supernatural and instantaneous—“Let there be…and it was so.” No process (of evolution) occurred. Creation was “after its kind;"--Genesis 1:11, 12, et al. 1) Impassable genetic boundaries are established. 2) Organisms capable of accomplishing true fertilization constitute a “kind.” 3) There were many created “kinds” as proposed to the evolutionary “family tree” concept of origins. 4) Great variation is possible within the created kinds. 5) No new kinds have appeared since Creation; many have become extinct. Creation had the appearance of age. 1) Fruit trees were created fully grown, bearing fruit with seeds within—Genesis 1:12. 2) Animals were created mature—Genesis 1:20-25. 3) Adam and Eve were created as adults—Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 20-25. 4) Stars were created with light already shining on the earth—Genesis 1:15-17. Creation was perfect at the end of the creative week—Genesis 1:31. God’s Word of Preservation. Definition—Preservation is the work of the triune God, accomplished through the Son, whereby He upholds the entire universe with all its laws, properties, powers and processes. Biblical Proof. God upholds the universe. Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:3; Psalm 104 (entire chapter) (cf. especially v. 14). Accomplished through the Son. Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3. God’s Work of Providence. Definition—Providence is God’s power in bringing the movement of the universe to its predetermined goal. It is the outworking of God’s plan. Biblical Proof. God exercises this control generally through secondary causes—Psalm 148:8. Sometimes God has used miracles (a direct application of His power) to accomplish His plan. However, God does not perform great, public miracles as He did in Bible times. His miracles today are veiled in providence so that men do not recognize them. See Acts 4:16 for a Biblical miracle; it was spectacular, undeniable and verifiable. The new birth is a miracle that God regularly performs today. The Names and Titles of Christ. In the Old Testament 1. Shiloh—Genesis 49:10. 2. Branch—Isaiah 11:1. 3. Immanuel—Isaiah 7:14. 4. The series in Isaiah 9:6. 5. Servant of Jehovah—Isaiah 42:1; 52:13ff. 6. Jehovah—Zechariah 12:10; Jeremiah 23:5-6. 7. The Angel of the Lord. He is Jesus for the following reasons: The Angel is the Lord--Genesis 16:13, 22:11, 15, 18. The Angel is a distinct person for God the Father—Genesis 24:7, 40. The Angel logically points to Christ. 1) Only Christ is visible in the Trinity—John 1:8. 2) The Angel of the Lord no longer appears after Christ comes. 3) Both the Angel and Christ are sent by God the Father. In The New Testament. Jesus. This is the given name of the Lord; His human name. This name stresses the Saviourhood of Christ—Matthew 1:21. It comes from the Old Testament word meaning Jehovah saves (Joshua). While it was a common name in Jesus’ day, He invested the name with far richer significance. One cannot make a great distinction between Jesus and Christ such as the Liberals do when they speak of the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Christ. This is the official title of the Lord. The name means Anointed One—Luke 2:26; Acts 2:36. It gathers in all the ideas of “the Coming One” of the Old Testament thought. Three offices were anointed in the Old Testament, and Christ fulfills all three (prophet, priest and king). 1) Christ is a Prophet—Acts 3:22, 23. 2) Christ is a Priest—Hebrews 4:14-15; 6:20. 3) Christ is a King—Luke 1:31-33 (although the Kingdom is not here as yet). All three of these anointed offices will be functioning at the same time in the millennial Kingdom. Messiah. This is the Hebrew form of the word Christ; it means Anointed One—John 1:41; 4:25. The word comes from a verb meaning to smear (with olive oil), hence the idea of anointing. Lord. This name denotes the idea of authority and ownership. The word comes from the Hebrew name Adonai which means Master, Ruler or owner. Christ is the believer’s Master and Owner—Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1 (same Greek word as Lord). No one can be saved without taking Christ as his Lord (Romans 10:9), and no one can make Christ the Lord of his life apart from a work of the Holy Spirit in his heart (1 Corinthians 12:3). I AM. This name is based on the Old Testament word Jehovah—Exodus 3:13, 14; cf. John 8:58; 18:4-6. Son of God. The idea of “son” stems from the Hebrew concept which means one who partakes of the qualities or has the characteristics of whatever one is said to be a son. E.g., Judas—John 17:12; Barnabas—Acts 4:36. Son of God. The idea of “son” means that Jesus has the qualities and characteristics of God. It speaks of His deity—Luke 1:35. While Christians are called sons of God (Romans 8:14) and angels are called sons of God (Job 38:7), they are not sons in the same sense as Jesus. Other doctrines make this clear (sinlessness of Jesus; depravity of man, etc.). Jesus as the Son of God is a “given” in the Bible. He appears always as the Son; He does not “become” the Son at some point in His life. He is eternally the Son—Hebrews 1:8. False theories place the Sonship as coming on Jesus at His (1) birth, (2) baptism, (3) resurrection, or (4) exaltation. Son of Man. This name stresses the humanity of Jesus—Luke 9:58. The name comes from Daniel 7:13. It is the millennial title of Christ. In the New Testament this name is used only of Christ (except in Acts 7:56) and it always has reference to Himself. Son of Abraham. This name places Jesus as a member of the Chosen Race (a Jew) which began with Abraham—Matthew 1:1. Son of David. This is a royal title of Jesus, placing him in the “seed of David” (2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 89:3, 4) with the right to rule in the Davidic Kingdom (the Millennium). Jesus received His royal blood from Mary who was a descendant of David through a son Nathan (Luke 3:31). He received the legal title to the throne from Joseph who was the offspring of David through Solomon (Matthew 1:1, 6). Second Man/Last Adam. Both Adam and Christ acted in a representative way. The world is divided under these two headships. Christ was the second and last one to act in a representative way—1 Corinthians 15:45, 47; Romans 5:12-21. The Word. This name stems from the Hebrew concept of the “word” of God being His divine revelation and the efficacious expression of Himself, many times revealed and expressed in deeds—Psalm 147:15; Isaiah 55:11. Jesus is the expression of God in His person, attributes and activity—John 1:1, 2. Greek philosophy said the Word (logos) was the all pervading Energy of the universe, and this Energy could not dwell directly in as person but had to go through a long, abstract series of intermediary steps down to the person. Savior. The name denotes the deliverance from sin and all that is tainted by sin that comes through Jesus—Luke 2:11. Master. This name is not synonymous with Lord. It is used in the sense of Teacher or Instructor—Matthew 9:11. Liberals hold Jesus to be merely a Teacher and an Example; but “you cannot be saved by learning lessons from the life of Jesus you must be saved by receiving life from the death of Jesus.” Firstborn/First begotten. To the firstborn went (1) priority and authority in the family and (2) the dignity of the inheritance (double portion)—Genesis 49:3; Deuteronomy 21:17; 33:17. Jesus is the Firstborn among brethren—Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6. This means that He has first rank and complete authority among men. Jesus is the Firstborn of every creature—Colossians 1:15. This means that He has sovereign authority over all creation. It does not teach that Jesus was created. Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead—Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5. This means that by His resurrection He has complete mastery over death, and hold priority in resurrection. The Church is called the Firstborn because it has the highest privileges of all bodies of saints and is the highest and greatest masterpiece of God’s saving grace—Hebrews 12:23; Ephesians 2:7, 8, 10; 3:21. But Jesus outranks the Church as the Firstborn of God. Only Begotten Son. This name does not mean that Jesus was God’s only son, for He has many sons (Hebrews 2:10). It does not mean He was the first to be a son of God; i.e., chronology is not the factor (cf. Hebrews 11:17). The name refers to the uniqueness of Jesus; He is God’s unique Son in His deity, eternity, and all those things which set Him in a class of His own. The Preexistence of Christ. Most biographies of Christ begin with His birth. The Bible goes back to His eternal preexistence. Preexistence Taught by Direct Assertion. In the New Testament. By John the Baptist. John 1:15; 3:31. By Christ Himself. John 6:38, 51; 8:58; 17; 5, 24. By Paul. Philippians 2:5-7—He was in the “form” of God. Form means those characterizing qualities that make something exactly what it is. (E.g., an animal that is the form of a cow). Paul is saying that Jesus existed as God before He existed as a servant on earth. Colossians 1:17. In the Old Testament—the Angel of the Lord. Preexistence Taught by the Doctrine of Christ’s Eternity. In the Old Testament. Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2. In the New Testament. John 1:1; Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 1:11. The Incarnation of Christ. The word “incarnation” comes for the Latin meaning to embody in flesh or enfleshment. In Bible doctrine the incarnation is the enfleshment of God; the act whereby the second person of the Trinity is embodies in human nature, flesh and form. The incarnation is a foundational doctrine of Christianity. It goes back to the even more fundamental doctrine of Christianity—the Trinity. There could be no incarnation without the Trinity, and there could be no salvation without the incarnation. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.