Article of the Month

February 2014

Our Father: Who Is He? And What Is He?

To any of us “who are the called according to His purpose,”  (Romans 8:28) our wonderment about the God we are privileged to call “Abba, Father” never ends.  (Romans 8:15)  Jesus has informed us that knowing God is a matter of eternity (John 17:3), and we would not dare to presume to claim much knowledge of Him save that which He has been kind enough to reveal.

On the other hand, our understanding of Him is so intense and so much fuller than has been the experience of most human beings that we would be remiss in not proclaiming and reveling in what we do know.

But how much can a human know about the highest of spiritual beings?  The magnitude of the person of the Divine Creator is surely beyond any human imagination — yea, beyond the capacity of a human even if he were instructed in such matters.  Thus our comprehension of our heavenly Father is more regarding WHO He is, His character, than WHAT He is, His nature and powers.

Recently astronomers were rejoicing in a new spatial telescope project that will allow them to see three-dimensionally into the universe.  They expect to probe billions of stars and planets, knowing well that this is only a beginning of exploration of creation’s vastness.  And yet, God claims to call all of these objects by name!  And knowing them by name falls far short of having made them in the first place!  So, no!  We cannot know WHAT He is!  It is far too great for us — even for those who have been invited to become like Him and His Son.  (Hebrews 1:3; I John 3:2)   WHAT we shall be if faithful is a subject beyond our speculation, our imagination, and even our sanity — but it is not beyond our hope!

WHO God is is another matter.  His character traits are clearly shown throughout the Bible, and there is nothing in these traits that is faulty, lacking, or not totally worthy of complete respect by the most discriminating of minds.  This is not to say, of course, that His character has not been misrepresented and His actions misinterpreted!  This has been the case from the beginning.  But the sincere seeker will actively question everything regarding God until all doubt has been removed and all accusations have been thoroughly acquitted.

Over-simplification is always a danger.  But in explaining WHO our heavenly Father is, there is a Scripturally-delineated balance of four character traits (four “living ones”) which we can use as a basis for understanding.   When we see these and contemplate their depth and completeness, we are at the beginning of a lifetime of awe.  It is written that “The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  (Psalm 111:10)   But that reverence or awe cannot come into being without comprehension.  And God never discourages comprehension —a process which comes about only with honest questioning (even involving the most probing and embarrassing details).

The “four living ones” (Revelation 4:6-8) — the four basic, but very alive, elements of God’s character are
In our God these are in perfect and inviolate balance so that no one of the four is capable of operating in violation of the other three.  This is not a mental exercise, nor a legal contract, nor a mathematical equation.  Meditating on these qualities to their very core and probing their individual and collective workings is a never-ending experience in learning of Him and in the awe that sets us in a course of wisdom.

WISDOM is the application of knowledge.  Wisdom must see perfectly through the infinity of time to know what will result from any action or course of action.

JUSTICE is what makes things RIGHT.  It must have total impartiality while, at the same time, not be bound by existing circumstances.  While it may, indeed, seem contradictory,  justice may have to ignore current injustice in order to guarantee eternal justice.  Justice is, in another sense, RELIABILITY — the absence of any concern that anyone will ever be slighted — even if appearances are temporarily to the contrary.  If all we had were a just world, human beings would be quite a happy lot!  But justice, while necessary, is not by itself sufficient.

LOVE (agape) is that quality which works for the absolute best interest of all for eternity.  Love may have to act severely for the sake of long-term good over short-term “kindness” or expediency.  Love is interested to the extreme in the eternal welfare (physical and emotional) of every intelligent being, and thus also for the harmony of all things (even inanimate) that will affect those intelligent beings.  Love is not affection, but it is true concern.  It will ultimately result in affection because an incomparable closeness is inevitable when all work for the good of all.

POWER is an imperative part of  Divinity.  If a God cannot accomplish His plans despite their perfection, He could only be a failure.  But we often forget that the restraint of power is one of character’s great strengths.  If power simply exercises itself without the guidelines of wisdom, justice, and love, power becomes abusive.  Our God is ALMIGHTY.  There are no limits to His power.  BUT there are RESTRAINTS to it.  God cannot deny Himself  
(II Timothy 2:13).  This means that His power is restrained by His other character traits.  All in Him must work toward perfect balance.  That is who He is!

All of “WHO” our Father is is reflected in the myriad details of His plan for the ages.  WHAT He is, while it is beyond our comprehension, is important because it allows Him to succeed.  The “WHO” of His character as far as it relates to the earth and its population is beautifully summarized by the Apostle Paul in the Weymouth translation of Ephesians 1:8-10.  “WHAT” He is is our guarantee of its accomplishment:
“…so abundant was God’s grace, the grace which
He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding,
lavished upon us when He made known to us the
the secret of His will.  And this is in harmony with
God’s merciful purpose for the government of the
world when the times are ripe for it — the purpose
which He has cherished in His own mind of
restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in
Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth,
to find their one Head in him.”

“Thy Kingdom come.”  (Matthew 6:10)





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