Verifiable Facts and Knowing (con’t)

(Continued from yesterday)   

In the biblical position there is the possibility of verifiable facts involved: a personal God communicating in verbalized form propositionally to man — not only concerning those things man would call in our generation “religious truths,” but also down into the areas of history and science. 

God has set the revelation of the Bible in history; He did not give it (as He could have done) in the form of a theological textbook. Having set the revelation in history, what sense then would it make for God to give us a revelation in which the history was wrong? 

God has also set man in the universe, which the Scriptures themselves say speaks of this God. What sense then would it make for God to give His revelation in a book that was wrong concerning the universe? 

The answer to both questions must be, “No sense at all!” 

It is plain, therefore, that from the viewpoint of the Scriptures themselves there is a unity over the whole field of knowledge. God has spoken, in a linguistic propositional form, truth concerning Himself and truth concerning man, history and the universe. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

Verifiable Facts and Knowing

In historic Christianity a personal God creates man in His own image, and in such a case there is nothing that would make it nonsense to consider that He would communicate to man in verbalized form. 

Why should He not communicate in verbalized form when He has made man a verbalizing being, in his thoughts as well as in communication with other men? 

Having created man in His own image, why should He fail to communicate to that verbalizing being in such terms? The communication would then be three ways: God to man, and vice versa; man to man; and man to himself. 

Someone may raise queries as to whether in fact such communication has taken place, but, in this field of reference, it is neither a contradictory nor a nonsense statement. Such a concept would be nonsense if one had the presupposition of a totally closed field of cause and effect. 

But if you are a person who holds that cause and effect has been and is totally closed, then you need to ask if such a view as yours really stands up to all we know, and specifically whether your worldview explains why people verbalize to each other. 

Why should God not communicate propositionally to the man, the verbalizing being, whom He made in such a way that we communicate propositionally to each other?  (this thought con’t tomorrow 😊) 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

We Are Wired to Know

No one has presented an idea, let alone demonstrated it to be feasible, to explain how the impersonal beginning, plus time, plus chance, can give personality.  

No one in all the history of humanistic, rationalistic thought has found a solution. As a result, either the thinker must say man is dead, because personality is a mirage; or else he must hang his reason on a hook outside the door and cross the threshold into a place of never being sure of the God Who Is There.   

When Jesus Christ becomes more to you than a great historical figure….when you place your faith in God-Jesus Christ as ‘your’ personal savior….you become ‘new’…Jesus explained it as ‘becoming born again’.  This new life brings a spiritual awareness that creates an internal revelation and you ‘know’… you have absolute assurance and conviction… that you are His and He is yours.  

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter and explains it like this:  

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

In his record of the life of Jesus, as he (John) knew it, saw it, heard it…John wrote:

John 3:3 ESV…Jesus said ‘ no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’

Faith in Jesus Christ creates a new life ‘inside’ us wherein we ‘know’…we ‘see’…

In that same letter, a few paragraphs down… John says Jesus explained that having faith in him (Jesus) as believing that God sent him (Jesus) into the world to be the ‘Savior’…brings ‘light’ and truth to what was once darkness and not being able to ‘see’ light.   

Light is revelation and experience…through becoming a new creation…through faith in Jesus Christ…to ‘know’ the God Who Is There..is what we are made for…it is about design, purpose, intention.  

We are hard-wired to ‘know’ the God Who Is There. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

God Created ‘Personality’

No one has ever thought of a way of deriving personality from nonpersonal sources. Therefore, biblical Christianity has an adequate and reasonable explanation for the source and meaning of human personality. Its source is sufficient — the personal God on the high order of Trinity. Without such a source, men are left with personality coming from the impersonal (plus time, plus chance). The two alternatives are very clear-cut. Either there is a personal beginning to everything, or one has what the impersonal throws up by chance out of the time sequence.  

If time and chance is really the only answer to man’s personality, then personality is no more than an illusion, a kind of sick joke which no amount of semantic juggling will alter. Only some form of mystical jump will allow us to accept that personality comes from impersonality. 

Faith in the God Who Is There…is not a mystical jump or leap of faith.  The Apostle Paul describes Christian faith for us in the book of Hebrews chapter 11…

  1. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  3. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

Why We Love and Communicate

Rightly understood, Christianity as a system has the answers to the basic needs of modern man. In this it differs from the modern era pantheistic, mystical, and new theological thinking, which have no adequate basis upon which to give answers which will stand up to the test of rationality and the whole of life as we must live it.  

The first basic need is caused by the lack of certainty regarding the reality of individual personality. Every man is in tension until he finds a satisfactory answer to the problem of who he himself is.  

The biblical Christian answer takes us back first to the very beginning of everything and states that personality is intrinsic in what is; not in the pantheistic sense of the universe being the extension of the essence of God (or what is), but that a God who is personal on the high order of Trinity created all else. 

Within the Trinity, before the creation of anything, there was real love and real communication. Following on from this statement, the Bible states that this God who is personal created man in His own image. A personal God created all things freely in a nondeterminate fashion, and man is created in a special situation — what I would call a special circle of creation. He is the image of this kind of God, and so personality is intrinsic to his makeup. God is personal, and man is also personal. 

The Apostle John describes this for us…1 John 4:7-19 ESV 

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.  

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  ( Presented in 6 main points.  Today, Point 6, final point)

6. God rescues undeserving people. 

Why? Why this so-called incarnation of God? Because all of God’s human creatures had failed to worship and love God and obey God as we ought. We deserve to be punished. God would be perfectly just to punish us all in hell because of our failure and our rebellion. But in the fullness of his God-like love, he planned a way before the foundation of the world — he is not only just, but he is merciful — to intrude himself into the world to rescue his own creatures, who deserve punishment, from his punishment. He rescues us from his own wrath by his own mercy. The Son of God becomes human and is punished in our place. Here’s how the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament Scriptures, the Jewish Scriptures, put it: 

He was pierced for our transgressions;
     he was crushed for our iniquities. . . .
All we like sheep have gone astray;
     we have turned — every one — to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
     the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5–6

The New Testament puts it like this: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Whoever believes, whoever trusts, whoever receives, whoever treasures Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Jesus becomes his substitute, bears God’s punishment, provides God’s righteousness, secures eternal joy in fellowship with God. 

All That God Is for You 

So, who is God? He’s the Creator, Sustainer, Governor, and Judge of the universe. And in his justice and mercy, he devised a way, from all eternity, for sinners like us to be forgiven and to be adopted into his eternal family as the children of God and as a kind of bride for his Son, Jesus Christ, so that by sharing the joy God has in himself, our joy in him would show the fullness of his own glory. 

I invite you, I urge you, to embrace Jesus and all that God is for you in him. Jesus is who God is. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  (Presented in 6 main points.  Today, point 5)

5. God became man. 

Now, if that were not amazing enough — we’re over our head, I know; I’m just pointing. If that weren’t amazing enough, here comes the most amazing thing of all about who God is in his perfection and independence and fullness. He is not only completely righteous and just and holy, but overflowing — he is overflowing with his own beauty and goodness and joy, so that his creatures can know him, love him, enjoy him, be with him forever. In other words, the love that God has always enjoyed (and enjoyed is the right word) in the fellowship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, God aims to share with his creatures.  

To do this, God the Father sends God the Son into his creation to be born as the God-man, Jesus Christ. This is what the Gospel of John means when it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “And the Word became flesh [that is, became a human being] and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). And you see the switch in categories from Word to Son, just to make clear that that’s who we’re talking about — the eternal Son, that other, second person in God. The Son of God has always been God, and now he is also man — the God-man, Jesus Christ. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  (Presented in 6 main points.  Today, point 4)

4. God is Trinity. 

And in his fullness and perfection, the Bible makes plain that, from all eternity, God has had a perfect image of himself, the radiance of his glory. The Bible calls it “the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). And this image is so complete with all that God is that the Bible speaks of this image as the second person in God and uses the language of Son of God, not because there’s any biological way that he’s a son — like he had sex with Mary and had a baby; that’s not what the Bible teaches. He’s a son, the second person that has always existed in and as the perfect image of God. 

This Son is a son to indicate that they have the same nature. They’re both personal, and love reigns between them. The Bible speaks of God the Father loving God the Son, and God the Son loving God the Father, and the Bible points to the reality that this Spirit between them — this love between the Father and Son — carries, as it were, such a fullness of all that they both are that a third person exists, stands forth, has always stood forth in God. 

So, the biblical picture is that there’s one God — not three gods — and that this one God mysteriously exists as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is one reason that it makes sense to say, as 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Love has been surging from all eternity in the fellowship of the three persons of the one God. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  ( Presented in 6 main points.  Today, point 3)

God is (Point 3)

Third, he revealed himself as absolute, self-existent, independent of all other reality. I think one of the most important verses in the Bible is Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’” The phrase “I Am Who I Am” is a declaration of absolute freedom from being created or formed or guided or swayed or determined by anything outside himself. Whatever God is or whatever God does, he himself is the ultimate source and cause of that. 

Here are some implications of what that revelation means for who God is, that revelation of his “I Am Who I Am.” 

1. It means he never had a beginning. Nobody made God. God simply is, always was, with no beginning. 

2. God will never end. He is absolute being. If you are being from forever, there’s no place to go outside being. You can’t not be. 

3. There is no reality before him. There’s no reality outside him unless he wills it to be and makes it. 

4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is. 

5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. All that is not God is secondary and dependent. The entire universe — vast, vast, vast billions of galaxies — is utterly secondary to God. 

6. He is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. There is no development in God, no progress. Absolute perfection cannot be improved. 

7. He is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no lawbook to which he looks to know what is right. There’s no almanac to establish facts for God, no guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right and true and beautiful. 

8. All that God does is always right, always just, always beautiful, and always in accord with truth — that is, himself. It fits. In that sense, it is right and good and beautiful, all things considered. 

9. Therefore, God is the most important and most valuable reality in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe. 

Now, all of that, all nine of those implications of “I Am Who I Am” — all of that — is implied in God’s word to Moses, “Tell them, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” You can see the same implications in many other places in the Bible — for example, in the letter to the Romans. This is one of my favorite passages: Romans 11:33–36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
     or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
     that he might be repaid?” 

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 

In other words, God can’t be counseled because his knowledge and wisdom are infinite. God can’t be negotiated with or bartered with or bribed because he owns everything. He can never be put in anybody’s debt. Everything originates with him. He sustains all that is. And the display of his glory, his beauty, his greatness, his value, is the goal of everything: “From him and through him and to him are all things.” Therefore, “to him be glory forever.” 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God?

Taken from an interview with John Piper  (Presented in 6 main points – Today, Points 1 and 2)

When I turn to Jesus and his teachings; and to the writings of his followers that he himself vouched for, guaranteed; and to the Jewish Scriptures that Jesus himself endorsed; and to the world of nature; and to the witness of my own conscience — when I turn from myself to these places where God has revealed himself — here’s what I see in answer to the question, Who is God? And I would appeal to everyone who’s listening not to take my word for it, but to search out those five sources as if your life depended on it, because it does. 

1. God (the Father) is spirit. 

Here’s the first thing I believe I see in those revelations from God of who he is. First, Jesus says that God (the Father) is spirit. John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” In other words, he’s not physical. He’s not material. He does not have a body. He is invisible. He’s spirit. 

2. God is personal. 

Second, God is personal. This is amazing when you think that absolute reality could have been anything — I mean, there was nothing before absolute reality to make it what it is. And to think it’s personal, that’s just mind-blowing! He has revealed himself as one who thinks and reasons and plans and loves and rejoices and experiences anger and compassion. 

Isaiah 55:8: “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” 

Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you.” 

Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together.” 

Hosea 11:8: “My compassion grows warm and tender.” 

Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord “will rejoice over you with gladness.” 

Numbers 11:10: “The anger of the Lord blazed hotly.” 

Amazing! God is not impersonal. He’s not a substance. He’s not a mere force. He’s not material, like an element or a gas. He’s not just an influence. God is a person, personal. From him comes personhood. This is why human beings are so unique in the world of God’s creatures: he made us in his image; we are persons. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence