The Theology of Christianity – The Essence and Nature of God

The quality of being both infinite and absolute is the essential characteristic of God. By this quality He is distinguished from other beings. Because of this, God is described as being perfect, infinite, and absolute existence, knowledge, and life, and as perfect, infinite, and pure Spirit.

God is perfect because He possesses in Himself all that is right and proper for Him to have. He is in want of nothing, being both sufficient in Himself and lacking nothing; yet at the same time, He has in Himself nothing superfluous. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect,” commanded Christ (Matthew 5:48).

God is infinite because He has no limitation or boundary, but is unbounded, for He contains everything in Himself, and is Himself neither contained in anything nor limited by anything. God is absolute because He has no origin, and there was no other god before Him from whom He might have sprung as a consequence or as the result of another origin senior to Him.

“Be ye my witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am he: before me there was no other God, and after me there shall be none. J am God; and beside me there is no Saviour” (Isaiah 43:10,11; LXX).

In another passage the prophet declared: “Thus saith God the King of Israel, and the God of hosts that delivered him; I am the first, and I am hereafter: beside me there is no God. Who is like me?” (Isaiah 44:6,7a; LXX).

God is pure being, holy, and eternal; He is no amalgam with intermixture or defilement. He is unalloyed, pure being, but capable of sharing holiness with those who truly believe in Him. The holy Gospel declares God to be imperishable Spirit, recording that “. . . we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17 :29).

God is the eternal Spirit who exists in and of Himself. requiring nothing externally. This quality of God – His self-existence – is predicated upon the fact that just as God receives His existence from His own self, so also He possesses His godly attributes, and thus, necessarily, He has His own existence because of the utter impossibility of His non-existence.

As the human mind rises from contemplation of contingent creatures, it finds its rest in contemplation of the existence of the supreme Being which cannot help but exist, and from which all creatures and things receive their origin and existence. The Lord God, as St. Paul stated, has need of nothing, “. . . neither is (he) worshipped with human hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all
things;”
(Acts 17:25).

Thus it follows that the infinite, the perfect, the absolute is completely unalloyed, pure being, existing of itself, and requiring nothing from outside itself. This perfect absolute is God, who is the origin and cause of all things, and from whom every good endowment and every perfect gift comes down (James 1:17). The Christian who possesses this concept of God perceives Him truthfully, as His only begotten Son and Theanthropos, the Logos Jesus Christ, revealed Him in the world.

The pious Christian who believes these truths fully and advances in growing understanding of them, believes in the truth and is living God’s life of truth – the blessed, eternal life which, as our divine saviour declared, consists in the knowledge of the true God, and of Him whom God sent-Jesus Christ. If any man wishes to live the eternal life which he desires above all else, let him believe in these truths with all his heart and yield the divine fruit of belief in the truth-good works which are pleasing to God.

If we listen carefully to Jesus Christ as He instructs us concerning God and the things of God, so that we may understand as far as we are able – for we are still infants – and believe in His words, we are found in the truth. We are living and moving in the Spirit of God.

If we believe and confess that God is one by His very being, perfect, lacking nothing and sufficient in Himself, we will love His perfection. We will gaze upward to Him. With all of our heart we will devote ourself to Him, for He requires all of us. We will strive toward His lack of complexity and confusion, to the oneness in which we will comprehend above all, perfect existence, perfect intelligence, and perfect life. We will contemplate the infinity of God in which He holds, maintains, and controls everything.

We will contemplate God as the absolute and eternal. We will contemplate the being of God, unalloyed, imperishable, holy, and pure. Finally, we will contemplate the capacity of God to exist of Himself, to require nothing from without, and His supremacy over the entire universe.

Those things which we hold in faith today, because our finite intellect cannot comprehend them fully now, tomorrow will be laid bare before the eyes of our mind, and will be revealed completely in every aspect, just as they truly are. “For we walk by faith, not by sight:” declared St. Paul (II Corinthians 6:7).

We believe in the infinity of the divine being and nature; we confess that God is absolute and perfect. We believe in the perfect existence, perfect intelligence, and perfect life of God. We believe – and our faith is rational, for it is impossible for the antithesis of our faith to be true. It is impossible for God not to exist, as Christ, Himself the truth, taught us, and as we confess and believe.

However, we cannot possess now the deepest understanding of the infinity, absolute quality, and perfection of God. We cannot perceive exactly the infinity of God of which we are aware, but know only that it exists, and that we believe in this truth without reservation. We know that God exists. We know that He bears the qualities which Holy Scripture and orthos logos reveal to us, but we cannot comprehend the depth or immensity of their existence.

Nothing which we witness with our own eyes is capable of being placed beside and compared with even one quality of God, for that which we see is finite, and cannot serve as a reliable criterion for the infinite and absolute. Each of the qualities of God, considered individually or collectively, is infinite.

Is man capable of understanding the being and nature of the finite? How many branches of learning and science strive for the understanding of the finite world? And yet if the knowledge we have acquired with the assistance of all the sciences were compared with our ignorance concerning the finite world, our knowledge would appear as a drop of water in the ocean, or as a grain in the abundance of sand on the seashore.

Nevertheless, we do not deny the truth of the world’s finite existence merely because we cannot see the outer edges of the universe. Nor do we deny the world’s creation because we did not witness it with our own eyes, or the other attributes of the finite world because by the depth of their nature we had no knowledge of them.

If we are unable to know the nature of the finite, how shall we be able to learn and comprehend the nature of the infinite, here and now? In spite of this, there exists within us a great desire to learn and know about God, and through God, everything that is in God – infinite as He is.

Such knowledge as this exists hereafter, not here. Here we barely estimate earthly facts and have difficulty in understanding what lies before our eyes. However, we do possess a source of comfort here, in our belief in the truths which Jesus Christ revealed to us. For the eyes of our soul, He provides the kind of radiant, illuminating light which sunlight emits for the natural eyes of our body.

The sun we see accords us facts about the existence of bodies and beings around us by means of the rays it showers upon us. Whenever this light fails, we do not see even our own body. It is as if everything disappears before our very eyes, and we seem to be the only thing in existence. When the sun is shining, we see the creatures and things around us; yet that which we see is their outward appearance only – that which is within, we cannot see. We must bestir ourselves; we must concentrate upon an object. We must observe it carefully; we must analyze it. Only then, perhaps, are we able to perceive some of its inner appearance and essence.

But in the light of the physical sun, the whole work of creation comes into being. Similarly, we are able to perceive the moral and spiritual world – the world of eternity, perfection, and immortality – in the radiance of the moral and spiritual sun, for it casts light and radiance upon the eyes of our understanding.

This spiritual sun is Jesus Christ. Through the radiance which He casts upon us, He reveals to us the existence of the spiritual world, the existence and nature of the eternal God, and His eternity and deathlessness.

In this act of seeing, we see by faith, for we believe that that which appears is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. By exerting ourselves and examining the nature of those things which Jesus Christ draws to our attention, slowly, little by little, we enter into a deeper realization and understanding of creation, and above all, of the pantokrator God and His ineffable qualities.

Our entire task is performed beneath the bright rays shed upon us by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Scriptures. Just as we believe that the objects of the physical world are as the light of the sun reveals them to our eyes, so too we believe that the objects of the spiritual world, God and His qualities, are as Christ reveals them to the eyes of our intelligence.

The same relation which the visible sun bears to our natural eyes, Jesus Christ bears to the eyes of our intelligence. With the aid of the sun, we cognize the visible world. With the aid of the Logos, co-equal with the Father, even Jesus Christ, we cognize the spiritual world and come to know the eternal God.

Because God is infinite, He is present everywhere and fills everything. God sees everything in Himself, for everything is in Him. Holy Scripture attests to this: “I am a God nigh at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off. Shall any one hide himself in secret places, and I not see him? Do I not fill Heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:23,24; LXX).

Witness also is borne by the mouth of the prophet-king David: “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? and whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I should go up to Heaven, thou art there: if I should go down to hell, thou art present. If I should spread my wings to fly straight forward, and sojourn at the extremity of the sea, it would be vain, for even there thy hand would guide me, and thy right hand would hold me” (Psalms 138:7-10: LXX).

Because God is infinite and is the absolute and only cause of creation, He is outside of time; He is independent of time – eternal, without beginning or end. Did He not declare: “For I will lift up my hand to Heaven, and swear by my right hand, and I will say, I live for ever”? (Deuteronomy 32:40; LXX).

Through His prophet, the righteous Isaiah, He stated: “And now, hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? the eternal God, the God that formed the ends of the earth, shall not hunger, nor be weary, and there is no searching of his understanding” (Isaiah 40:28; LXX). Through the prophet Jeremiah He further stated: “But the Lord is the true God: he is the living God, and the everlasting king” (Jeremiah 10:10; LXX). * The apostle Paul referred to God as “the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality” (I Timothy 6:15b,16a).

Because God is eternal and immortal, He also is everlasting, completely unchanging, and unalterable. Consequently, He cannot be changed; He is immutable, untouched by suffering, always the same: “For I am the Lord your God, and I am not changed:” (Malachi 3:6; LXX).

The psalmist bore witness: “In the beginning, thou, O Lord, didst lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Psalms 101:25-27; LXX).

St. James later testified that with God there ” … is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Therefore, the one God of the Gospel and of science was revealed to us as one who has such incomparable qualities as these forming His nature, and all reasonable men recognize such a God and believe only in Him. In the God whom Christ has revealed to us, science finds eternal truth, morality finds goodness, and contemplation finds beauty, unity, and concord. When all men come to the true concept of God, they will put away preconceptions, they will be exalted to the enjoyment of goodness in God, and they will search for their happiness through Him. They will win the perfect nature of God and come to partake of the life of God and His attributes – His wisdom, holiness, power, and immortality.

Thus let every friend of truth and mankind work for the spread of this concept of God, so that men may obtain it, be reasonable and clear headed, and make their way along the path approved by God. We must endeavour by God’s grace to bring the light to all and strive to plant the true concept of God in the minds of the ignorant, and so work that by it, they may be able to escape from the vicious circle in which they hopelessly move.

God grant that our labour be not in vain.

Footnotes:

* Found in Leoni’s Greek Ebdomikonta (Septuagint) and in the KJV, but excluded from Bagster’s Septuagint Version of the Old Testament. See Prologos for further information concerning Septuagint (LXX).

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