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THE THEOLOGY OF GOD, CHRIST, HOLY SPIRIT MAN AND PAUL

This unit exposes you to the activities of God in this world generally
  • God as Creator

The NT clearly teaches that God is the creator of the world and he is distinct and not co-eternal with the creation. Some New Testament scholars like G. Wingren insist that creation must be the starting point in approaching Biblical theology. It is extremely important to begin New Testament Theology with creation theology. In the New Testament all things were created by God through Christ (Rom. 11:36; Rev. 4:11; Eph. 3:9). The theology of creation leads to redemption. What God is doing in the New Testament is redemption, the creation of which man is at the centre. Christ came to reveal the glory that God had even before the foundation of the world (John 17:5, 24).

  • The Providence of God

The God who created the earth has not and we left it alone to natural laws. The term providence refers both to God’s care and to his rule over the entire universe. God sustain his creation. Christ, in his teaching lay special emphasis on God’s activity in caring for the creation. God comes, feeds, protects and controls everyone of his creation, animals and plants are included. God takes interest in the details of human life (Matt. 6:26; 10:29, 30). He does not only know what happens, he controls and plays an active role in the world history. The New Testament is very clear that God extends special providential care to those who have accepted Christ as their saviour (Rom. 8:26). This providential care has implication for ecological concerns. God’s interest in caring for the world should lead to our interest in taking care of the creation too. Providence well understood is referring to the sovereignty of God. This doctrine of God’s sovereignty is a great comfort to Christians, especially in times of distress. It is because Paul believed that God was sovereign that he could write: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

  • Theological Titles of God

The New Testament does not take the pain to argue so much for God existence. It assumes that God exists. The closest passage is Hebrew 11:5. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” In Romans 1:8-23, Paul argues that the existence of God is not a problem to the Gentiles or Jews because “God has made himself known to all people.” He says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen” (Romans 1: 18-20).

The existence of God is the most important question of human existence. It affects the whole tone of human life, whether man is regarded as the Supreme Being in the universe or whether it is believed that man has a superior being that he must love, obey and worship. The New Testament teaches that human beings must go beyond just accepting the existence of God. It teaches that such a belief does not make one different from the demons. What we need is faith in God (James 2:18-19). The New Testament and in fact the whole of the Bible speaks of God in human terms. God is associated with natural and cultural activities such as he is light (1John 1:5, Mt. 4:16, fire Heb. 12:19), a mother, father, shepherd, (Luke 15), potter (Rom. 9:21), architect, builder (Heb. 11:10) etc.

The New Testament calls God by different titles. These titles represent the nature and activities of God. The most prominent ones are

The Spirit

In his teaching on worship, Christ declared that “God is Spirit” (John 4:28). What the NT does not disclose to us is the nature of God’s spirituality. To say God is Spirit means we cannot define God in material categories. God is not matter, he is found every where, he is indivisible and unique. It is this Spirit that was breathed in man to give him life. Part of us is spirit John 1:8; 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15-16. The spiritual nature of God makes the doctrine of the Holy Spirit intelligible. Since Christ discussed God’s spiritual under worship, Christians are to give more attention to spiritual matters and less to outward religious activities.

This brings to mind God’s infinity. As a Spirit, God is free from all limitations. There are no limitations to his divine being or attributes. He is unlike anything we experience. Infinity of God can be thought of in many ways.

Space – We cannot limit God to a particular space. He is omnipresent. The question of whereness and location is not applicable to God. God can be found everywhere. The implication is that God should be worshipped every where.

Time – Time does not apply to God. He was before time began. We cannot ask how old he is, for he was, he is and he will be (Jude 25). God is timeless, he does not grow or develop – there are no variations in him. This is not to say that God does not know what is happening with us now. God is conscious of what is happening now, what happened in the past and what is going to happen. We should also know that to God, one (1) day is like 1000 years.

Knowledge and Wisdom – His knowledge is immeasurable (Matt. 10:29-30). Everything is completely transparent before God, he knows every truth, he has access to all information (Rom. 11:33).

Saviour

The New Testament uses this title to apply to Christ more but it also uses it with reference to God. It has its background in the Old Testament where God’s dominant activity was saving his people. In the New Testament, the main occurrences of the title are found in the pastoral letters (1Tim. 2:3; Titus 2;10-13; 3:4). Other passages in the New Testament see God as saving sinners and the world through Christ. A prominent Biblical scholar once said that the whole of Christian theology centres on the theme of God saving his people.

The Most High (El-Elyon)

This title of God expresses his supreme dignity and superiority over all things. It is one of the most ancient names of God in the Old Testament

In the New Testament it was used even by demons. This tells us how popular the name was. Theologically this title refers to the transcendence nature of God. God is not part of the creation, he is far removed from its form, yet he is in control of human and world activities.

Alfa and Omega

This name implies that God is the sovereign Lord of all times and ages. The first and last Greek letters are used for the ever present God to make useful points to readers. This name means God is forever in control and in charge. The name is an asses once to Christians who pass through periods of trial and difficulties that God is in control of all circumstance. God is in control of span of the world history. There are no blank periods in the theological understanding of God. Christians are to capitalize on this theology and seek to be conscious of God’s presence in all of their activities

  • The Attributes of God

 

The attributes of God tell us what God is like in the New Testament. Attributes of God are qualities that constitute what he is. There are characteristics of his nature; his permanent qualities, objective characteristics, and part of his very nature, his being and essence. Basing on the attributes the Westminster Catechism, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth”. Attributes throw light on the many facets of the character of God.

The New Testament presents God in the following ideas:

 

  • The wisdom of God

 

  • The glory of God

 

  • The Holiness of God

 

  • The love and grace of God

 

  • The goodness of God
  • The uniqueness of God
  • The unity of God

Love

God is love means God is eternally sharing and giving himself. God exercised love even before the creation. The persons in the Trinity love themselves (John 14:31; Matt. 3:17). Love is seen in other attributes such as benevolence, grace, mercy and persistence. In benevolence God takes care of his people’s ultimate welfare (John 3:16); God cares and provides for his people. The love of God includes his grace and mercy. In Grace, he deals with people not basing on their merits or worthiness. Grace is dependent on his goodness and generosity. He requires nothing from us (Eph 1:5-8; 2:7-9; Titus 2:11; 3:3). God’s mercy is his tenderhearted, caring compassion. It is the pitying concern of God (Matt. 9:35-36; Mark 6:34). God’s love is persistence, his patience is without limit. Look at the live of the Israelites (Rom. 2:4; 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:20

Holiness

The word Holy means to be separated. God is absolutely distinct from all his creatures and is exalted above them in infinite majesty. In virtue of his holiness he has no communion with sin. This, he also demonstrates in his moral creatures. We are also called upon to be holy, to be separated, to cut off, or to withdraw from common ordinary use. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 17. Scholars think that this is the best description of holiness in the Bible.

Immutability

This means that God is devoid of change. He is changeless in his being, perfection, purpose and promises. His words, knowledge and plans, moral principles remain forever the same. Improvement and deterioration are not found in God (Heb. 1:11, 12; Jam. 1:17). This should not make God an actionless God (immobility). God has entered into a relationship with human beings. Their actions sometime changes what is around but his being remains the same. It does not also mean that what we do here does not affect God or he does not feel it. God grieves when we sin, he is really affected by what we do. Immutability does not mean God will not correct his people. It is comforting for Christians to know that God is going to remain faithful to his promises and his steadfast love endures forever.

 

 
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