Who God Is – Part 1

The Nature of God 

Who God Is 

How To Read Genesis 1-3

Part 1  

Does God exist? And what kind of God is he? Is he a God who can create the world, in the way that Genesis 1 describes? Is he the kind of God who could fashion the first woman from the rib of Adam, as Genesis 2:21–22 describes? Is he the kind of God who can speak in an audible voice from the top of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:9–20:22Deuteronomy 5:2–22)? Is he the kind of God who can multiple five loaves and two fish, so that they feed five thousand men (John 6)? 

Most of elite culture in the modern Western world does not believe in a God like that. Rather, the culture is deeply influenced by philosophical materialism, which says that matter is the ultimate constituent of the world. If some kind of a god exists, he is not involved in the world in the way that the Bible describes. He is not a God who speaks or who works miracles. 

In addition, some people are influenced by New Age mysticism. They believe in various kinds of spiritual influence. But their “god,” if they call it that, is an aspect of nature. 

The issue of God is monumentally important. If God is not a God such as the Bible describes, then either the Bible is a lie or it has to be radically reinterpreted. And that is what people do. Much of the academic study of the Bible at major universities of the world takes place under the assumption that the way we read the Bible must harmonize with modern ideas about the world. Hence, this academic study corrupts the Bible. And then this corruption travels out into general culture. 

But in fact, God exists — the same God that the Bible describes. Therefore, the elite people in Western culture are walking in the dark about God. It is the culture, not the Bible, that has to be radically reinterpreted. Genesis 1–3 is one text — a crucial text — that shows the massive difference between the Bible’s view of God and common modern Western views. 

The first point, then, is that when we read the Bible, we need to reckon with who God is.  (Part 2 tomorrow)

Taken from an article from the works of Vern Poythress, author and professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary. His most recent books include Knowing and the Trinity: How Perspectives in Human Knowledge Imitate the Trinity (P&R Publishing, 2018) and The Mystery of the Trinity: A Trinitarian Approach to the Attributes of God (P&R Publishing, 2020). He has degrees from Westminster, Cambridge, Harvard, and Caltech. 

Daily Light – Feb 17, 2021

The Universe Is Saying Something 

(Reprinted) Article by Dan Dewitt, Guest Contributor 

Early in the year 2014, the earth tried to tell us something: it doesn’t like Corvettes. At least that was the interpretation given by ABC news analyst Matthew Dowd, who suggested the universe is sending us a message. 

Maybe he’s right. Perhaps the earth was unhappy with the materialism of the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and therefore opened up a sinkhole large enough to swallow several collectible sports cars. Or maybe it’s just an unfortunate byproduct of building over Kentuckian limestone formations. 

The comments for the online posting of the article demonstrate that much of Dowd’s readership was unconvinced that the sinkhole was a subliminal message for man to be “more in sync with the Earth.” I agree. I think Dowd’s theory should be buried beneath the subterranean stack of rusting automobiles. 

But if the universe did want to tell us something, what might it look like? 

Hardwired in Humanity 

We reject Dowd’s theory as out of hand because we don’t anthropomorphize the earth. There’s not a mind grinding away at the earth’s core analyzing consumer data and determining where to inflict naturalistic disasters. 

But the vast majority of humanity, past and present, has believed, and still believes, in some sort of transcendent Mind, not subservient to creation, but sovereign over it. So, when Christians speak the gospel, they are not fighting a counterintuitive campaign like Dowd’s pseudo-pantheistic eco-friendly conspiracy theory. The evangelist speaks to the universal intuition of the divine that is hardwired into humanity. 

In this way, all of reality is the believer’s ally in sharing the gospel. Our universal longing for transcendent meaning actually points to a transcendent source. And only Jesus can satisfy this persistent craving. To paraphrase Pascal, this is a God-sized problem that only God can fix. Only the gospel provides an exclusive foundation for human flourishing. All other ground is sinking sand. 

The Faulty Foundation 

If this is true, and I certainly believe it is, then most of our neighbors have built their lives upon a faulty foundation. Like the Corvette Museum, their lives are constructed upon the volatile bedrock of limestone that is highly affected by the changing environment. Jesus told a parable about this very thing, illustrating the utter importance of the foundation of our lives. 

But this message is not popular in our day where secular humanism is thriving and is mass-marketed and amplified to us through every channel available. Some may ask: What is the big deal with objective morality and intrinsic worth? Can’t we just determine our meaning for ourselves? Is the limestone life really that bad? 

Consider another illustration; imagine that my children are playing a game of Monopoly in the basement of our home. Do the multicolored bills have worth? Of course they do. But their worth is determined by our house rules and is subject to the overall temperament of those playing the game. If they left our house and took the Monopoly money to the corner store, they would discover the limited value of their fake currency. 

It’s not that the game money doesn’t have value; it just doesn’t have objective value. And our “real” money doesn’t have objective value in this sense either. It is subject to numerous factors. To have objective value, it would need to be backed by a treasury that is not liable to change, political, economic, or otherwise. 

Jesus or Nothing 

The same is true for human value and worth. The only way humans can have objective worth is if it is grounded in a transcendent source that is not subject to the changing whims and wishes of contemporary society. Have we really come so far from the twentieth-century that we have forgotten the tragic price of the relativizing human dignity? 

The late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer asked a similar line of questions in his important work He Is There and He Is Not Silent

It is important to remember that it is not improper for men to ask these questions concerning metaphysics and morals, and Christians should point out that there is no answer to these questions except that God is there and he is not silent. Students and other young people should not be told to keep quiet when they ask these questions. They are right to ask them, but we should make it plain to them that these are the only answers. It is this or nothing. (30) 

Schaeffer is right. It is either this — the gospel — or nothing. These are mankind’s categorical options: Jesus or nothing. 

If the Gospel Is True 

Consider the famous quote from the late atheistic Harvard professor Carl Sagan, “The cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be.” 

If we accept this proposition as true, we must, to be consistent, recognize a complete loss of intrinsic worth and objective purpose. Eternal, impersonal, and non-rational matter cannot provide a foundation for human dignity. 

But if the gospel is true, then the world is filled with unchanging purpose, and man is endowed with an inalienable worth. Maybe this is what the universe is trying to tell us after all. The heavens are declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and only in our Creator is there a corresponding dignity for man (Psalm 8:4–8). 

Dan Dewitt is dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses on worldview, philosophy, apologetics, and C.S. Lewis. He is the author of Jesus or Nothing

Daily Light – Feb 16, 2021

Expect Providence to Surprise You 

Learning the Rhythm of God’s Ways 

Article by David Mathis, Executive Editor, desiringGod.org 

One year ago today, a novel coronavirus in China was just becoming news in the United States. On February 3, 2020, the U.S. government declared a public-health emergency, but it wouldn’t be till three weeks later, on February 25, that the Centers for Disease Control would announce that COVID-19 was heading for pandemic status. On March 11, the World Health Organization made that formal declaration, and two days later, the pandemic became a national emergency in the United States and prompted a travel ban on non-U.S. citizens from Europe. 

Now, what do we even begin to say about all that has transpired in these last eleven months? Such unexpected twists and turns just in our personal lives often prompt us to ask, and rightly so, “What is God up to?” — and all the more when the unexpected is so global. Few events in our lifetimes, if any, have been so global. And so, in the last year, perhaps as many of us as ever have paused to ponder, What is God up to in this global pandemic? 

Whether we’ve used the word or not, we are asking about providence. 

Providence in Our Uncertain Experience 

When we speak of divine providence, the particular focus is not as much on the absolute power of God but on his purposes. Providence, according to John Piper, is God’s purposeful sovereignty: “In reference to God, the noun providence has come to mean ‘the act of purposefully providing for, or sustaining and governing, the world.’” 

For Christians, the word of God and the providence of God go hand in hand. God has spoken into our world, through his prophets and apostles, and climactically in his Son, and captured his words for us in writing (the Scriptures). He tells us that he is indeed “sustaining and governing” the world — and that he does so with purpose. Providence emphasizes his provision, that he not only rules over and foresees all that happens, but that he sees to it that his purposes ripen in his perfect, world-confounding ways, and on his timetable. 

God is always sovereign, and always purposeful in his sovereignty, not just in the unusual, but also in the everyday. Yet it is often certain glimpses of his providential hand, in particular surprising twists and turns in life, that prompt us to ask, What is God doing? What is he up to? 

We remain uncertain about the particular meanings of such providential events. What is the meaning of this global pandemic, for instance? What is God saying to the world, and to our nation, and our church, and our family, and to me? In other words, how do we interpret the fingerprints of God in various providential acts today? What can we comprehend about providence, and what can we not? 

What We Do Not Know 

As we glimpse God, in his providence, “seeing to it” in our lives, and in our world, we should take care how much stock we put in our own seeing and interpreting beyond what we know from God’s word. As William Cowper wrote in “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” “blind unbelief is sure to err” — and so is any pretense on our part to know for certain any meaning he has not revealed in his word. “God is his own interpreter,” said Cowper. 

In love, we will want to be careful not to presume or put pressure on others, or make demands, based on what we think we see in God’s seeing to. As we move from observing his providence, to ponder the meaning, we apply it first and foremost to ourselves. “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God” (Romans 14:22). 

We also will want to take care that our eyes aren’t just seeing affirmations of our own desires and calling them “providence.” When we have some growing desire — say, about a next step in life, whether whom to date, what job to pursue, what city to move to, or a major purchase to make — it can be all too easy, in the many layers and complexities of reality, to seize upon a few aspects that align in our partial eyes and mind as providential confirmations of what we wanted all along. We will do well to ask ourselves, when we think we see providence most clearly, how convenient it is to our flesh. Are we willing to follow the leading of providence when it trends in the opposite direction of what seems easiest? 

Which brings us to the question of what we might know of God’s pattern in the world and in our lives. 

What We Do Know 

In our uncertainty about various particular meanings in the providential circumstances of our lives, we do know with clarity and certainty, from God’s word, that there are some purposes he is always pursuing. 

We know, for example, that God is always calling the world to repent, and giving opportunity to turn to him (Luke 13:1–5Acts 17:30). He is always building his church, saving and sanctifying his people, intensifying their worship, shattering hopelessness, strengthening faith and courage, giving joy in affliction, and creating love in their hearts (Matthew 16:18). And he is always humbling the proud (1 Peter 5:6), including putting to shame the principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15). 

These purposes, and many more, God tells us ahead of time, in his word, so that as he acts in history, as in a global pandemic, we can know many precious truths about what he is up to. We are not left in the dark. Yet beyond these, there is also a divine logic, or a rhyme and rhythm, of God’s purpose in the world, even amid the many unexpected twists and turns of providence. 

The tune of providence, we might say, plays to the beat of Isaiah 55 and 1 Corinthians 1. 

Who Understands God’s Ways? 

In Isaiah 55, the prophet presses a larger truth into the service of a specific, surprisingly wonderful reality. Unlike humans, who might presume God would have only condemnation for the unrighteous, the prophet implores the wicked to turn from their thoughts and ways, while there is still time, because God is compassionate. “Let him return to the Lord . . . for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). Then comes the larger truth that applies to providence as well: 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9

As prone as we may be to presume that God is like us, he is not. His thoughts are not human. His ways, not human. His plans, not human. His ways and thoughts are not just different; they are higher — “as the heavens are higher than the earth.” And so must we keep that in mind, in our lowly human thoughts, as we observe God’s providence and try to speculate about meaning. Oh, there is meaning! Make no mistake: his sovereignty is indeed purposeful. Filled to overflowing with purposes. Bursting with countless purposes, far beyond our ability to appreciate. And one of his purposes is to show, again and again, just how wonderfully different he is from us. 

Who Gets the Praise in Providence? 

We could turn elsewhere in the Scriptures, but the end of 1 Corinthians 1 might be the most appropriate place to land. In fact, 1 Corinthians 1:28–29 might be the single most important statement in all the Bible for learning to read God’s providence and discern his meaning: 

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 

In seeking to discern God’s purposes in providence, do we ask, “How is God making it so that no human being — including myself — might boast in his presence?” Is he magnifying his wisdom and power and grace, in the person of his Son, for the weak eyes of his creatures to see him more for what he really is? 

First Corinthians 1:20–31 casts a vision of a God who is turning the patterns of the world upside down. He gives space for human wisdom, power, and nobility to come into their own — that they might be overturned. As he closes the long arcs and completes the purposes of his providence, he makes foolish the wisdom of the world, and weak the world’s strong, and low the world’s noble. He makes the “things that are,” according to human standards, into nothing — and makes something from nothing — “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 

So, with every effort on our part to look for God’s meaning as we observe various aspects of his providence, we might ask ourselves, “Does this meaning make much of me, or does it make much of God? Will his meaning lead me to boast in self, or to boast in some other mere human, or will it cause me to boast in the Lord?” 

We surely know very little about all that God has been up to in a year like the last one — or any year for that matter — but we do know this: those who have the best pulse on his providence marvel at the counterintuitive wisdom of his ways, learn to expect surprise, and boast in him alone. 

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor for desiringGod.org and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is a husband, father of four, and author of Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines

Daily Light – Feb 15, 2021

Friends:  I read this news article one day last week.  I respect and appreciate the work of the world’s great scientific community.  The article is in purple below…my comments are in black….Bible verses are in Red (ESV). 😊 

Scientists Are Pretty Sure They Found a Portal to the Fifth Dimension 

From Popular Mechanics 

Dark matter could be the result of fermions pushed into a warped fifth dimension

This theory builds on an idea first stated in 1999, but is unique in its findings. 

Dark matter makes up 75 percent of matter but has never been observed … yet. 

In a new study, scientists say they can explain dark matter by positing a particle that links to a fifth dimension. 

While the “warped extra dimension” (WED) is a trademark of a popular physics model first introduced in 1999, this research, published in The European Physical Journal C, is the first to cohesively use the theory to explain the long-lasting dark matter problem within particle physics. 

Our knowledge of the physical universe relies on the idea of dark matter, which takes up the vast majority of matter in the universe. Dark matter is a kind of pinch hitter that helps scientists explain how gravity works, because a lot of features would dissolve or fall apart without an “x factor” of dark matter. Even so, dark matter doesn’t disrupt the particles we do see and “feel,” meaning it must have other special properties as well. 

“[T]here are still some questions which do not have an answer within the [standard model of physics],” the scientists, from Spain and Germany, explain in their study. “One of the most significant examples is the so-called hierarchy problem, the question why the Higgs boson is much lighter than the characteristic scale of gravity. [The standard model of physics] cannot accommodate some other observed phenomena. One of the most striking examples is the existence of dark matter.” 

(The article has a few more paragraphs of scientific discussion relevant to theorized problem solving and scientific thought as to how the ‘all’ of the universe and the gazillion pieces and parts of its infinite complexity of interaction work and are held together.   Such articles always cause me to pause and worship our Creator God…He is there…and He has spoken.  This amazing and wonderful universe ‘declares’…it speaks of HIM.  

Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 

Genesis 1:8  And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 

Genesis 1:4  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 

Isaiah 42:5  Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 

Jeremiah 10:12  It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. 

Genesis 2:4  These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

Nehemiah 9:6  “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Jeremiah 32:17  ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. 

Colossians 1:16-17  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

Isaiah 40:26  Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. 

Psalm 8:3  When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 

Jesus, God the Son, is more…soooo much more than an ‘X-Factor’…  

Hebrews 1:3   He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. 

Daily Light – Feb 12, 2021

Your Spouse Should Complete You 

What It Means to Become One 

Article by Steven Wedgeworth, Guest Contributor 

When Christians think about the perfect marriage, we should not take our primary cues from romantic comedies. But we can take at least one cue: we should be able to look our spouse in the face and say, “You complete me.” 

If you don’t believe me, let’s hear from John Calvin. Writing about the first marriage, he said, 

Something was taken from Adam, in order that he might embrace, with greater benevolence, a part of himself. . . . He now saw himself, who had before been only half complete, rendered whole in his wife. (Commentary on Genesis 2:21

This completeness of husband and wife is why the apostle Paul can say that to love your spouse is to love yourself (Ephesians 5:28). The two really are one, and this means so much more than sentiment. It means they are one flesh. 

Living Together as One 

Paul writes, 

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:28–32

What does it mean to live as one? Here are some implications of the husband and wife being one flesh. 

ONE BODY 

To understand this oneness, we have to see that it is the oneness of Genesis 2:21–24. It is the oneness of one body. God created Adam first, but Adam is incomplete: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Even among the animals, “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:1820). So God created the suitable helper for Adam, and did so from Adam’s own body (1 Corinthians 11:8). 

When Adam sees Eve, he says, “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). And so, the Scriptures say, it is for this reason that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23–24Ephesians 5:31). Because they are one flesh, they shall become one flesh. 

ONE MISSION 

Marital oneness creates oneness of vocation. Adam was given an original calling, to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, and this is something that he was unable to do alone (Genesis 1:282:18). So woman was made for man (1 Corinthians 11:9). Unlike the animals, woman alone was a suitable helper for this job (Genesis 2:20). 

ONE UNION 

Biblical oneness requires leaving other unions, notably one’s parents. Psalm 45 explains this by way of joining a new household: “Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty” (Psalm 45:10–11). This tells us that the marital union is distinct from extended kinship communities. It begins a new head-body relationship. Thus, the conjugal family is the most basic civic institution. It is one flesh. 

ONE PROMISE 

A third meaning of biblical oneness is permanence. Jesus himself makes this connection: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Even for Christians and churches that acknowledge certain stipulated grounds for divorce, divorce is always tragic because it rips apart a body. Like death, divorce separates two things that belong together. And so, Christians enter into marriage vowing a commitment for a lifetime, and they do everything they can to make marriage last until the end. 

ONE LOVE 

A final implication of marriage being a one-flesh union is the logic of the love. As Paul says in Ephesians 5:28, to love a spouse is to love yourself. When a husband loves his wife, he is loving his body, and when a wife loves her husband, she is loving her head. This is why hating one’s spouse is so tragic. It’s actually a form of self-hatred. Abusing your wife is abusing yourself. Despising your husband is despising yourself. 

Challenges to Living as One 

I think many, if not most, Christians would say that the biblical picture of marriage is actually attractive. It is encouraging and even inspirational. But then, why is it so hard? 

Sin is always the first answer. The only candidates for marriage are sinners, and they will have the added disadvantage of living around, working for, and befriending other sinners. On top of this, sinful forces and evil powers will afflict and attack them during their life. Life on earth is war (Job 7:1), and our marriages exist only on the earth. 

But there are certain specific and predictable challenges to living as one. All good marriage counselors know to talk about money and extended family. They warn about the dangers of working too much or spending too much time on friends and hobbies. These are predictable dangers, and they’re very real. But each of these dangers actually comes back to the question of identity: what we think marriage is and who we think we are. 

PARENTAL INFLUENCE 

Our parents’ influence certainly continues after we marry, but the biblical teaching of the oneness of marriage is clear that the parents’ authority ends when the man and woman marry. The husband and wife should continue to honor and respect their own parents and their in-laws, but they must also separate from them in appropriate ways. The extended family should not put itself between the husband and wife, nor try to play them off against one another. This sort of advice is easier to give than to apply, but it all starts with understanding the oneness of marriage. The husband and wife are their own household. 

MONEY 

Money too is affected by our mindset. It divides a marriage when one partner spends without regard for the other, and this happens because they are still thinking of “mine” and “yours.” But in reality, the money, and the things, are now “theirs” — all of it. 

The fourth-century church father John Chrysostom put it this way: 

Above all banish this notion from her soul, of mine and yours. If she says the word “mine,” say unto her, “What things do you call yours? For in truth I know not; I for my part have nothing of my own. How then do you speak of ‘mine,’ when all things are yours?” (Homily 20 on Ephesians

WORK 

Something similar goes for work commitments. In the modern world, especially with the breakdown of clear boundaries between work time and off time, people are working longer than ever before. Thanks to their smartphones, they’re still working even while they are eating, while they are walking at the park, and while they are supposed to be sleeping. But this style of working will hollow out a marriage. 

The biblical oneness of marriage means that marriage comes first. Christians should understand their “job” as an extension and application of the household’s cultural mandate, one way in which they are jointly multiplying, filling the earth, and subduing it. Practically, this means that the work of our jobs has to support the more basic work of our marriage and family. If our jobs harm our family, then they are harming our own bodies. 

FRIENDS 

So too, finally, with friends. While men and women are naturally going to have their own kinds of friends, and usually friends that are quite different from one another, the boundaries need to be clear. We are never “on our own” with our friends but always part of our body. Thus, what we do with our friends, and how long we do it, should be good for our spouse as well, good for both head and body. 

The Marriage We All Want 

Why is this a particularly Christian understanding of marriage? 

This understanding of marriage is Christian because it comes from God’s word, but even more than this, it is Christian because it bears witness to Christ. It lives out the self-sacrificial love that Christ showed the church (Ephesians 5:25–27). To marry as a Christian is to enter into a lifetime of dying to self. Spouses cannot put their own desires first. They must serve the other and learn to find their joy in the joy of their beloved. Indeed, they must understand that they will succeed and flourish only insofar as their spouse is succeeding and flourishing. They will receive glory from the glory of their other half. 

A Christian marriage also testifies to the communion believers have with Christ. All the blessings of Christ are now ours through our union with him (1 Corinthians 3:21–23Ephesians 1:3). We are so closely identified with Christ that we can say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). When the husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church, and when the wife submits to the husband as to the Lord, then they are a living icon of the whole Christ. 

Ultimately, this sort of marriage points to that great marriage at the end of history, when the holy city comes down out of heaven, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). It points to the great marriage where all of us, having been washed and made without spot or wrinkle, are presented to our eternal husband in splendor. 

This is the marriage, standing beyond the best earthly marriages, that we all want. 

Steven Wedgeworth (@wedgetweets) is associate pastor of Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a board member for The Davenant Institute. 

Daily Light – Feb 11, 2021

Seek a Broken Heart for Sin 

Article by Scott Hubbard, Editor, desiringGod.org 

The triumphant, victorious Christian life is marked by a curious feature: it rarely feels triumphant or victorious. 

In the kingdom of God, strength comes through weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9–10), greatness through service (Mark 10:43), and wholeness through brokenness (Psalm 147:3). As the classic prayer puts it, 

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit. 

Many of us would gladly take the latter part of each of the above lines if we could forgo the former. But in the wisdom of God, no saint is high, healed, and rejoicing who is not also low, broken, and contrite. Samuel Rutherford put it bluntly: “Seek a broken heart for sin, for without that there is no meeting with Christ” (Letters of Samuel Rutherford, 328). 

We may achieve much in this world without a broken heart; we may even seem to achieve much in the Christian life without a broken heart. But we cannot commune deeply and sweetly with Christ, for he enters only through the cracks of a broken heart. 

Benefits of a Broken Heart 

To be sure, dangers attend this pursuit. Some Christians focus with an almost morbid obsession on the wickedness of sin, the evil of our hearts, and the duty of mourning over our remaining corruption. They spend their days wandering the labyrinths of their indwelling sin, scarcely ever lifting their eyes to the Savior who loved them and gave himself for them (Galatians 2:20). 

Even worse, seeking a broken heart can easily become a twisted attempt at self-justification. We can imagine, perhaps subconsciously, that we are more accepted by God the worse we feel about ourselves — forgetting, as the hymn goes, 

Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
These for sin could not atone.
Thou must save, and thou alone. 

Brokenness cannot justify us; tears cannot cleanse us. Only blood can (Ephesians 1:7). 

And yet, the point still holds: a heart broken over sin opens the door for deeper communion with Christ. For only a broken heart teaches us to hate his rivals, welcome his grace, and hear his song of love and favor. 

Hate his rivals. 

Communion with Christ, much like communion with a spouse, requires a deeper sentiment than simply, “I choose you over all others.” It requires the sentiment, “I desire you over all others.” A heart unbroken over sin may choose Christ, at least in an outward sort of way, while still cherishing thoughts of another. But a broken heart has come to feel sin as its greatest burden and shame, and therefore resists Christ’s rivals with a force far greater than mere self-control: the force of holy revulsion. 

In a sermon on Psalm 51, John Piper notes that, in this psalm of repentance over adultery, David never once asks God for more sexual self-control. “Why isn’t he praying for men to hold him accountable? Why isn’t he praying for protected eyes and sex-free thoughts?” Piper asks. The answer: “He knows that sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease.” Adultery is a symptom of a deeper disease: a heart unbroken over the evil of sin, unravished by the glory of Christ. 

So instead of merely pleading for self-control — for the power to choose God’s ways — David prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). And a clean heart is, at bottom, a broken heart: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). If David was going to enjoy restored communion with God, he needed more than willpower. He needed a broken heart. 

Self-control has its place in the Christian life, of course. But on its own, separated from a deep, abiding hatred of all that would draw us away from Christ, it merely weakens sin in the branches rather than withering it at the root. 

Welcome his grace. 

A broken heart, then, is never an end in itself. Christ, our good physician, breaks a heart as a surgeon must sometimes break a bone: only so he can heal it better in the end. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). And the sweetest medicine he gives is called grace. 

Though bitter in itself, a broken heart can open our hands to welcome grace in deeper ways than ever before. Only after Isaiah was undone, remember, did he hear the comforting words: “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7). Only as Peter cowered, condemned, did Jesus say to him, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 5:10). And only after Paul cried, “Wretched man that I am!” did he say with equal force, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24–25). 

If anxious thoughts of God’s love swirl within us, could it be that we are basing his love too much in us? And could it be that what we need most is a fresh breaking of the heart, to the point of despairing in ourselves again? Perhaps then we could hear the words of Horatius Bonar

Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up of all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of his own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to him on such a footing, casting away his own performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly on the free love of him who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son. 

Some vainly attempt to climb to heaven by a ladder of good deeds and feelings. But the brokenhearted know that we reach heaven only on bended knees. “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up: . . . ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit’” (Isaiah 57:15). The grace of the Holy One comes only to the lowly ones. 

Hear his song. 

Such grace in itself is a marvel. Yet even more wonderful is the manner in which God gives it. Imagine, if you dare, the God of grace rushing toward you in your brokenness, his mouth open not with censure, but with song. 

To the exiles in Jerusalem, God promised, “I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly” (Zephaniah 3:11–12). In other words, he promised to mercifully break his people’s hearts. And then, against all expectation, he says, 

The Lord your God is in your midst,
     a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
     he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17

As with so many of God’s ways, “behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” Perhaps we fear that, after breaking our hearts, God will proceed to placard our sin for all eternity — that he will rub it in our faces, as it were, and make heaven a world of groveling penitence before the Almighty Frown. 

Instead, he fills the air with song. For ages and ages, the melody of our forgiving God will display to his once-broken, now-healed people more and more of “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). And still the song will go on. 

Seek a Broken Heart 

Of course, we cannot just up and give ourselves a broken heart. Just as the men of Jerusalem “were cut to the heart” only when touched by a divine dagger (Acts 2:37), so too with us: if our hearts are to be broken at all by sin, God must break them. 

Yet we can do something. We can follow Rutherford’s counsel to “seek a broken heart.” We can give up the exhausting effort of concealing our sin and pretending ourselves better than we are. We can pray that God would kindly, lovingly break us. And we can embrace the counterintuitive truth that the Christian life advances by opposites: we rise higher by stooping; we progress by repentance. 

In this world, our fullness will come through emptiness, our strength through weakness, our joy through mourning, our exaltation through humility, and our wholeness through a broken and contrite heart. 

Scott Hubbard is a graduate of Bethlehem College & Seminary and an editor for desiringGod.org. He and his wife, Bethany, live with their son in Minneapolis. 

Daily Light – Feb 10, 2021

So You Say You Want Social Justice? 

Review: ‘Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth’ by Thaddeus Williams 

Article by Justin Dillehay, MDiv 

“With all the division in America today, it’s comforting to know that at least we can all agree on social justice,” said nobody ever.  

Given this lightning-rod nature of a topic, one wonders if Thaddeus Williams—associate professor of theology at Biola University—is simply a glutton for punishment (or needs to check his privilege, depending on your belief). 

Williams’s new book, Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice [listen to his Gospelbound interview with Collin Hansen], could also turn out to be a lightning rod, though I pray it will instead spark conversations. He wrote it because he’s convinced that “social justice is one of the most epic and age-defining controversies facing the 21st-century  

Drawing from a diverse range of theologians, sociologists, artists, and activists, Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth, by Thaddeus Williams, makes the case that we must be discerning if we are to “truly execute justice” as Scripture commands. Not everything called “social justice” today is compatible with a biblical vision of a better world. The Bible offers hopeful and distinctive answers to deep questions of worship, community, salvation, and knowledge that ought to mark a uniquely Christian pursuit of justice. 

Celebrate Social Justice A 

Williams believes that social justice is both biblically required and socially necessary. But he also believes it’s threatened by an unhealthy imitation that’s biblically false and socially destructive. The former he calls “Social Justice A” (as in “awesome”) and the latter “Social Justice B” (as in “bad”).   

Social Justice A follows the traditional understanding of justice as giving others their due. In this sense the phrase is a bit redundant, since all justice is social by its nature (1). But perhaps Williams’s greatest contribution is to remind us that justice is vertical as well as horizontal (15–20). Sin is an injustice against God; glory is “due to his name” and we’ve all failed to give it (Ps. 29:2; 96:8Rom. 3:23). So it would be socially just for God to send us all to hell, regardless of how otherwise oppressed we might have been on earth.   

Social Justice A sees human identity as fundamentally either fallen in Adam or redeemed in Christ. Because we’re saved by grace alone, we have no room for self-righteous boasting over any other person, regardless of race, class, or gender. Because our fellow men are made in God’s image, it’s a heinous sin to wrong or oppress any of them. This is why practitioners of Social Justice A have historically rescued babies from trash heaps, hidden Jews from Nazis, and abolished slavery and widow-burning—because “God does not suggest, he commands that we do justice” (2; Mic. 6:8Isa. 58:6).  

Question Social Justice B  

Social Justice B, however, is what many people think of first. It largely maps to the left in both academia and political activism. It’s associated with names like Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, and the official Black Lives Matter movement. And it’s a philosophy Williams thinks is dangerous both for the church and society.  

It’s not that Social Justice B contains no truth, but that it represents a different worldview. God is often marginal or absent. Rather than understanding human beings fundamentally as either sinners in Adam or saints in Christ, it tends to classify people as either oppressed or oppressors (44), often allowing the oppressed to demonize their opponents and avoid self-examination (69). 

Of course Scripture recognizes that oppression exists, and strongly condemns it. The problem with Social Justice B is that it tends to both unduly expand and oversimplify the definition of oppression. Specifically, it oversimplifies oppression by grouping people into the oppressor/oppressed category based on identity groups like race. Thus not only was Stephanie Wilford oppressed (an elderly, disabled black woman who lamented on camera that the Minneapolis rioters had destroyed her livelihood and left her with no place to go), but, according to Social Justice B, so were the rioters whose lawless actions had terrorized her. 

Wilford’s oppressors are lumped into the oppressed category with her, either on the basis of their identity group (race) or the cause for which they were rioting (social justice), leading to a false moral equivalence and an unwillingness to condemn violence. A wiser perspective would recognize it’s possible for the same person to be both oppressed and an oppressor (and truth be told, that describes almost everyone at one point or another), rather than downplaying the moral agency of the oppressed.  

According to Williams, Social Justice B also unduly expands the definition of oppression by assuming that basically any statistical disparity in race or sex is proof of racism or sexism. Williams challenges this assumption in his chapter, “The Disparity Question: Does Our Vision of Social Justice Prefer Damning Stories to Undamning Facts?” Of all the chapters, this one is most likely to leave Williams accused of pushing “right-wing politics” (9). But to me it’s probably the most important chapter aside from “The God Question.” I too have noticed that even in the church “Our conversations about ‘racial reconciliation’ often start with unquestioned Social Justice B premises. We assume that disparity is evidence of discrimination. We hear that society is white supremacist and misogynist to its core, and it’s too risky to raise questions” (100). 

It feels too risky especially when you’re told that your role is only to listen. I know there are many roadblocks in the evangelical race conversation, but in my judgment this is one of them. And until this assumption is examined and people are free to raise honest questions without fear of being accused of racism, many white people will simply self-censor and the conversation will not proceed.  

Don’t Pigeonhole This Book 

Now if you suspect me of being a middle-class, white, conservative male who subscribes to National Review and almost always votes Republican, then you’re correct. There was confirmation bias going on as I read. So maybe I’m the last person who needs to be reviewing this book. 

Having said that, I think it would be unjust to write this book off as a screed for white Republicans. The man who wrote the foreword, John M. Perkins, besides being a civil-rights icon, supported Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden. George Yancey, a dogged independent whose mutual accountability approach to race discussions has been helpful to me, also endorsed the book. Many of the scholars Williams relies on—whether Coleman Hughes or John McWhorter—are neither conservatives nor Christians. 

I can promise you, there are plenty of people on the right who won’t like this book—if only because Williams refers to social justice without irony. If you want to categorize this book, I’d suggest laying it alongside books like The Coddling of the American Mind or When Helping Hurts. Rather than appealing to political partisanship, it appeals to reason and evidence, both from the Bible and the social sciences. You may conclude that it’s a flawed appeal, but like the wisdom that comes down from above, it is “gentle and open to reason” (James 3:17) and focuses on persuading the mind rather than “owning the libs.” That alone sets it apart from most of our online echo chambers.    

Do Justice Well 

The comparison with When Helping Hurts is a good place to conclude. Because like Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Thaddeus Williams loves the oppressed and wants to help them. He appreciates the good intentions of many Christians trying to fulfill the biblical mandate to do justice. But that is precisely why, like Corbett and Fikkert, he feels compelled to oppose so much of what flies under the banner of social justice. He’s convinced that not only will it not help the oppressed, but it will consume limited time and resources that could’ve been spent really alleviating oppression.    

So let’s first do no harm; the only thing worse than hurting the oppressed is doing so in the name of Jesus. Let’s work smart at doing justice as well as working hard. Let us be quick to hear, slow to speak, and cultivate a love that hopes all things. And in all our justice, let us “start with God.” Because as Dr. Perkins observes, “If we don’t start with him first, whatever we’re seeking, it ain’t justice” (xv). 

Justin Dillehay (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hartsville, Tennessee, where he resides with his wife, Tilly, and his children, Norah, Agnes, and Henry. He is a contributing editor of The Gospel Coalition. 

Daily Light – Feb 9, 2021

An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church on Christology 

Written by Stephen J. Wellum, PhD 

Scripture speaks to us on many issues, but none so important, glorious, and central than our Lord Jesus Christ—and that is an understatement! Given who Jesus is and what he has done, he is the very heart and substance of the gospel, indeed all of Scripture, and thus the most important person in all of human history. Just think about three examples that demonstrate this point. 

First, it’s almost a truism to say that our triune God is central to everything as the glorious all-sufficient One who alone is Creator and Lord (Rom. 11:33–36). Yet, how we come to know God as triune is largely due to the incarnation of the divine Son and his work. As John reminds us, Jesus is “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14), yet from eternity he was the divine Son who was “with God” and “was God,” thus revealing the triune relation of persons within God (John 1:1). Apart from Christ’s incarnation, we would not know fully how he, as the divine Son, eternally shared the one undivided divine nature with the Father and Holy Spirit in perfect love and communion. And significantly for us, we would not have a Redeemer to save us from our sins (Matt. 1:21). 

Second, to understand Scripture aright, we must also see that it’s our Lord Jesus Christ who is central to it. Despite numerous authors and books, Scripture has one main message: what our triune God has planned in eternity and accomplished in time to bring all of his purposes and plans to fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Scripture repeatedly reminds us of this truth. In Christ alone, God’s plan finds its fulfillment (Heb. 1:1–4). In Christ, God has planned to bring “all things in heaven and on earth” under his headship (Eph. 1:9–10), since it’s not only through the Son that the Father has created (with the Spirit), but the very purpose of creation is “for him” (Col. 1:16). No wonder our Lord taught us to read all of Scripture in terms of himself (Luke 24:26–27John 5:39–40) since he is the main character in the story and the central figure of all of human history (Matt. 5:17–20; 11:11–13). 

Third, we cannot understand the gospel apart from Christ (1 Cor. 15:1–3). Central to the gospel is what our triune God has done to redeem his people and to establish a new creation. This is why “eternal life” is found only in Christ (John 17:3). By assuming a human nature, the divine Son became the first man of the new creation, perfectly qualified to be our new covenant head. In his work, Jesus reversed the work of Adam (Rom. 5:12–21Heb. 2:5–18) and secured our eternal salvation (Heb. 5:8-10) by his life, death, and resurrection. In fact, it’s only because Christ is truly God and truly human that he was able to redeem us. As the divine Son, he alone is able to satisfy God’s own judgment against our sin, and as the incarnate Son, he alone is able to identify with us as our representative and substitute (Heb. 5:1). For this reason, Christ is central to the gospel, and apart from him there is no salvation (John 14:6Acts 4:11). 

Why is this important to state? Because it not only reminds us that Jesus is in a category all by himself, but also that knowing Christ is no minor issue. In life we can be confused about many issues and not know many things, but to be confused about who Jesus is and what he has done and to not know him as Lord and Savior is a life and death issue. 

For this reason, it’s alarming to discover that within the evangelical church there is rampant confusion regarding the person and work of Christ. If our world is confused, we are not surprised. But when confusion about Christ is within the church, this is a serious matter! 

Since 2014, “The State of Theology Poll”1 has been conducted, which has revealed beliefs of self-identified “evangelicals.” In 2020, the latest version of the poll was released and the results were disturbing. We discovered that of 573 self-identified “evangelicals,” 96% believed in the Trinity, but 65% agreed that “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God” (a heretical view held by the Arians and Jehovah’s Witnesses). We also discovered that 30% believed that “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God,” and 42% that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” 

When one thinks through these “evangelical” responses, it sadly reveals that what is most central to the Christian faith is either denied, misunderstood, or that the current state of evangelicalism is one of huge biblical and theological illiteracy. But as noted above, this kind of confusion is not minor as with so many other areas in life. Instead, this confusion has eternal life and death consequences, given who Jesus is. 

This should be a wake-up call for the evangelical church. But instead of bemoaning the situation, it should move us to action by calling us back again to the faithful exposition of God’s Word, the teaching of sound doctrine, and renewing our commitment to proclaim Christ. For too long the evangelical church has gone soft on sound exposition of Scripture and the faithful teaching of systematic theology and replaced it with the felt needs of people and joining various social causes. But given the life and death importance of who Christ is, and given where the evangelical church is, our greatest need is to think rightly about Christ—biblically and theologically. The life and health of the church depends on a correct preaching and teaching of Christ—a teaching that leads us, by God’s grace, to faith and confidence in our Lord Jesus, and an entire life lived in adoration, praise, and obedience to him. 

But a question needs to be asked: Why, generally speaking, have so many evangelicals drifted from the “first things” of the gospel centered in Christ? Probably many answers could be given to this question, but years ago Francis Schaeffer offered a potential answer. 

In thinking about generations of Christians and churches, Schaeffer contrasted the difference between a living orthodoxy, a dead orthodoxy, and liberalism. He suggested that a “living orthodoxy” was reflected by people who were born of the Spirit, who gladly embraced the doctrinal truths of the gospel, and who found their central identity in Christ and his people. From this center in Christ, a lifestyle resulted that aimed to please God and to impact the culture for Christ. A “dead orthodoxy,” on the other hand, was characterized by people who affirmed the truths of the gospel, but their central identity was in the moral/social entailments of the gospel. 

Their first concern was not the glory of Christ but more about transforming the culture for Christ. What the apostle John criticized the Ephesian church for was true of them: they were sound in doctrine, but they had lost their first love (Rev. 2:1–7). And then from a dead orthodoxy, “liberalism” soon followed. Liberalism denied the truths of Christian theology, and all that remained of historic Christianity were its moral/social entailments—a “social gospel”—that attempted to transform society by political revolution but not by the truth of the gospel. 

What must captivate evangelicals again is the objective truth of the gospel—indeed Christ himself! 

If we apply Schaeffer’s analysis to our current state of evangelicalism, I’m concerned that “dead orthodoxy” describes many parts of it. Most evangelicals “affirm” historic Christianity, but as the polls reveal, this “affirmation” is quite confused. What too many evangelical churches are consumed with is not the “first things” of the gospel centered in Christ, but more the cultural implications of the gospel. Sadly, if social media is any indicator, we are more passionate about debates over social justice than discussions over Christology, penal substitution, and the implications of Christ’s exclusive and all-sufficient work for missions, etc. No doubt, these “social” debates are important, but they must never replace our “first love.” 

Indeed, what must captivate evangelicals again is the objective truth of the gospel—indeed Christ himself! The only remedy to our current situation is to pray that our triune God will revive his church by the powerful proclamation of Christ (Col. 1:28). The only remedy to our lethargy, confusion, and drift is to return to Scripture and to teach God’s people to know and glory in Christ. For it’s only when we do so, by God’s grace, that we will be revived and strengthened by the Spirit to rightly confess, proclaim, and glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

After all, given who Jesus is and what he has done for us as our exclusive and all-sufficient Redeemer, our only reasonable response to him is correct doctrinal belief, complete trust, and total devotion. But if this is going to happen, the Spirit will again have to convict us of our sin and remind us that apart from Christ we stand guilty and condemned. Christianity is rightly called a “sinner’s religion,” which means that it’s not until, by God’s grace, we first know something of our own sin and guilt before God that we glory in the unspeakable gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. For such a people who know of their deep need of a Savior, Jesus is more than a doctrine to state; he is the only Lord to be embraced, loved, adored, and obeyed. 

Stephen J. Wellum (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Stephen and his wife, Karen, have five adult children. 

Daily Light – Feb 8, 2021

In response to the Daily Light post from last Saturday …. my pastor and friend since 1974,  David Niednagel, shared this comment….

“Isn’t it sad/tragic when some people are bored, or worse yet see no reason to live? To be a human being involves pain in a fallen world, but unlike anything else in the universe, from as small as an electron to as large as a Great Blue Whale, or the Milky Way galaxy, we alone have the capacity to have a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

The concept of being made in the image of God is the greatest and also the most forgotten idea ever on earth. “

Friends, a prayer to start this week:   Father God, we proclaim that YOU are Creator God of the universe.  We proclaim that we are your children based on our faith and position ‘in’ God the Son..Jesus.    So wonderful to truly know that we are in your hands and you will not let us go.  Amazing love, amazing power, amazing grace.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Amen

Daily Light – Feb 5, 2021

The Infinite God is Creator and Lord of the ‘finite’ 

Friends: 

This is the time period of the year where I historically dedicate time to reading.  I typically order my reading material (books) in December and I set a goal to read a lot through the first couple months of each new year.  I also seek to remain engaged in reading from scripture.  My goal is simply to grow, to be inspired, to see deeper and clearer ‘so that’ I can share God’s light and love with others.  My focus in reading is to more clearly see the glory and greatness of our God who is alive and who has spoken to us.  

Acts, Chapter 17, verses 22-31 

Paul Addresses the Areopagus 

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for 

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;  

as even some of your own poets have said, 

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’  

29  Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 

He is alive, He has spoken, He still speaks. We communicate because He communicates.  We love because He is love.  We have personality and person-hood because He is personal.  We are finite creatures.  He is the infinite Creator.  Although we are not an animal or a machine, as to our finite-ness as a created being, we are closer in the realm of finite-ness to a machine or animal than we are to His infinite-ness.  But yet, He made us/man in His image.  We can ‘know’ Him.  We cannot know Him exhaustively. But we can know Him truly.  And such is the unique and special human-ness of man.  The ‘image’ of God stamped into our being, our spirit mind, is the ‘human’ distinction.  We have a spirit capacity which is our distinct human-ness.  We are His special creatures created in His image so that we can know Him truly.