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  • Writer's pictureElijah Blalock

Statement of Faith: Scripture, God, and Humanity

This post is adapted from a paper I recently turned in for a class. The assignment was for me to clearly and concisely state what I believed about a set of topics. Given that it's a school assignment, I'll admit that it's not the most exciting writing ever, but I thought that sharing it might prompt some interesting discussions. I invite you to read it and leave a comment. Let's see what kind of conversation we can have.


Since God exists prior to and outside of creation, he is not something that can be discovered as one might discover a planet or law of physics. God cannot be known unless he decides to make himself known. However, God has revealed himself to humanity from the very beginning (Gen. 1:28). God has designed creation to reveal his nature (Ps. 19:1-4, Rom. 1:18-20). Further, God has revealed himself through various acts in history (Dt. 4:32-34). However, the primary way that God both acts and reveals himself is through speech. In the beginning, God creates by speaking and then speaks to the man and woman he created (Gen. 1-2). God initiates a covenant with Abraham by speaking promises to him (Gen. 12:1-3) After rescuing Israel out of Egypt, God speaks to Moses and the people and writes the law (Dt. 4:12-14). The person of Jesus Christ, who is the Word (John 1:1, 14), is God’s supreme act of self-disclosure (Heb. 1:1-3). Since God is wholly unlike his creation, it is appropriate that he would accommodate humanity in the way that he reveals himself by working and speaking in intelligible ways, and finally by coming as a human.

The passages above make it clear that God’s revelation of himself is not confined to the events in which he spoke or acted. He commanded that these words and actions be written down. This written word was not merely the law of Moses, but the law of God (Ps. 19:7-9). Further, though the person of Jesus is the ultimate act of revelation, the written word is in no way contradictory to the incarnate Word, and, in fact, testifies of him (Matt. 5:17-18, Luke 24:25-27). The Spirit who is everywhere in the New Testament testifying of Christ is the same Spirit who inspired the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Scriptures can be called the word of their human authors and the word of God. God inspired the authors to write in such a way that they were truly writing in their own words what God wanted them to say so that the Bible is both a human and divine book.

Scripture, therefore, has four key attributes. First, it is necessary. It is the written and unchanging record of what God has said and done, and how he still reveals himself today by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. While creation does reveal something about God, it does not reveal enough to bring about saving faith (Rom 1:18-25, 2. Cor. 2:6-13). Secondly, Scripture is clear (Dt. 30:11-14). I do not mean that there are no difficult passages or that the text is completely clear about all things. What I mean is that with the help of the Spirit and the use of ordinary means, Scripture is clear on what is essential for salvation. God has spoken in ways that we can understand. That we need the illumination of the Spirit is more a statement about our fallen minds than it is about how God has spoken (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Third, Scripture is sufficient (Ps. 119:9). This does not mean that Scripture is exhaustive. It does not address every possible question or dilemma. But all that is necessary for salvation and a faithful life is contained in the Bible. Finally, Scripture is authoritative. These words are God’s words. As such, they are true and without error because God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). This does not mean that every detail is true in the most literal sense. It means that what the human and divine author meant to communicate is true. Numbers 16:49 says, "But those who died from the plague numbered 14,700." If it was discovered that 14,701 people died, this does not mean that there is an error in the Bible. We rightly recognize that the author is giving an even number estimate of those who died. He is trying to say about how many people died that day. The truth of the text is understood when the reader understands what the human and divine authors intended to say and how they said it.

Because these are the words of our creator, they are binding for all of humanity and should be obeyed. Scripture is in a category of its own as it relates to authority. While creeds and confessions are helpful guides that Christians should heed, they are not authoritative on their own. Their authority is derived from Scripture. They are authoritative insofar as they accurately say what Scripture says. Scripture is the ultimate authority and the source of all theology. Tradition, reason, and experience are helpful secondary sources that should also be considered, but Scripture is the rule.

God is love (1 John 4:8) not because he created something to love, but because he is perfect love in himself. The God who speaks to us in Scripture also speaks with himself (Gen. 1:26). Within the one substance of God, there are three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. By this, we do not mean that there are three gods. Scripture teaches that God is one (Dt. 6:4), and Jesus claimed to be one with the Father (John 10:30). Nor do we believe that God merely adopts different roles at different times, playing the Father sometimes, the Son others, and the Spirit others. At the Baptism of Jesus, the Father spoke and the Spirit descended as the Son was baptized (Mark 1:9-11). The love and inner dialogue that we see in God come from the three eternal persons in relation to each other.

The persons are distinguished by their origins. The Father is not begotten and does not proceed from anywhere, while the Son is begotten of the Father (John 3:16) and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (John 20:22). This does not mean that there was a time that the Son and Spirit did not exist or that they are created or subordinate to the Father. The Father cannot be the Father without the Son and the Son must have a Father to be the Son. Likewise, the Spirit must proceed from somewhere, but to say that the Spirit did not always exist would make the Father and Son breathless and mute. In the economy of salvation, certain roles and operations are appropriate to particular persons. The Father is the creator, the Son is the savior, and the Spirit is the giver of life. Only the Son is incarnate and only the Son dies on the cross and rises again (John 3:16). Because the persons are revealed to us in this way, we know that they are distinct and should not be confused. However, we must also be careful not to divide the essence of God. While I cannot say that the Father died on the cross, I can say that God died on the cross because the Son is God. The three persons are all one substance, eternal, uncreated, glorious, and almighty. God does not have three wills, but one (John 10:30). Therefore, though certain actions are appropriated to the distinct persons, all persons act inseparably (John 1:3, Luke 4:1). Though the Father and the Spirit do not die on the cross, they are involved in the Son’s death.

Therefore, when we speak of God’s attributes, we speak of things that are common to the three persons. God has both communicable attributes and incommunicable attributes, which are those he can share with creatures and those that cannot be shared with creatures, respectively. Beginning with his incommunicable attributes, we can speak of God’s aseity, which means that he is uncreated and derived only from himself and as such is independent of creation (Ex. 3:14). God is immutable, meaning that God does not change (Num. 23:19, Heb. 13:8). This doctrine does not mean that God is cold and unresponsive. For example, God responds to repentant sinners by relenting of his wrath and showing mercy (Ex. 32:11-14). In this instance, God has not changed in his character, purposes, or nature—he was always merciful. Immutability does not mean that God is unresponsive and unreachable, but only that his character, purposes, and nature are unchangeable. God is also infinite, being both eternal and omnipresent (Rev. 22:13, Is. 6:3). God’s presence fills all of creation and he exists outside of time. Finally, God is a unity (Dt. 6:4). This does not merely mean that there is only one God, but that God is simple. He is not comprised of parts with measures of various attributes. God is his attributes so that they are never in contention.

God’s communicable attributes can be shared with his creatures, though they cannot have them in the same way or degree that God does. First, God is spirit, meaning that he is not made of any material thing (John 4:24). Humans have immaterial souls, but also have bodies. God is pure spirit. Given that God is the creator and sustainer of all things, he has perfect knowledge of all things (1 John 3:20). Further, God is perfectly wise, meaning that his knowledge is rightly ordered and that he uses this knowledge in good ways (Prov. 8:22-31). God is also truthful and trustworthy, and more than that, he is the truth (John 14:6). God is the truth and is therefore trustworthy since it would be against his nature to lie (Titus 1:2). God can give creatures, knowledge, wisdom, and truth, but they do not share these attributes in the same way that God does since they are gifts conferred on them by the creator. For God, these attributes are fundamental to his nature.

God’s character is wholly good, righteous, and holy (Ex. 34:6-7). God not only has the wisdom to know what is good and right, but he has the character to always do what is good and right. He desires what is good for his creatures and is always at work to bring about the best (Gen. 1:28, 31, 2:3). However, God will judge evil because it robs him of his glory and harms what he has created. God loves what is good and hates what is evil and deals with his creatures accordingly. Any discussion of God’s sovereignty needs to keep in mind God’s character. God is not an arbitrary despot. He rules according to his wisdom and goodness.

God is all-powerful and is the creator and sustainer of all things. He rules creation, and yet there is sin in creation. We should not say that God is the author of sin (Jas. 1:13-15). God does not ordain sin, but he does allow it, albeit while limiting and directing it to fit into his perfect plan (Gen. 50:20). Why God permits the evils that he does is beyond the grasp of our limited knowledge. However, he has demonstrated that he can be trusted by subjecting himself to the consequences of evil on the cross. It is at the cross that we most clearly see that God is not apathetic towards evil but has dealt with it by putting himself in the place of sinners.

God does all things for his own glory. His glory is his radiance and is a tangible expression of his nature and character. God has displayed his glory in creation and various signs and wonders, but his glory is most clearly seen in the crucified and risen Jesus (Col. 1:15-20, Heb 1:3). God is not a megalomaniac who exerts power arbitrarily. Instead, God’s glory is shown in the ways that he has created, loved, judged, and redeemed creation (Ex. 14:4, Eph. 1:3-14).

God does not create because he was forced to or because he was lacking. God had perfect love and glory in himself apart from creation. Out of his perfect love, God freely created creatures to love and be loved by. He has loved us into existence to display his glory in us and all of creation (Ps. 8, 19:1-6). We see in the Genesis story a God who is good and who makes a good creation with the intent to bless his creatures. He was not limited by preexisting materials but created from nothing with complete freedom to fashion creation as he saw fit. His assessment of creation is that it is very good.

Humans are created specially in his image (Gen. 1:26-27). What this means exactly is up for debate, but it at least means that we were made like God in some way to represent him in the creation. As such, all human life is precious to God because it bears his image (Gen. 9:6). However, because the first humans sinned against God, humanity is no longer what it was created to be (Gen. 3). While God’s common grace has prevented humanity from losing all of its goodness, all people are born in a rebellious state so that all people do not love, seek, or obey God (Rom. 3:9-18, 23). Our bodies and minds have been damaged by the fall, and all of creation is under a curse because of our sin. Left to our own devices, we will all wind up in hell, where sin will be completely unrestrained, as will its terrible consequences (Mat. 25:31-46, Luke 16:19-31, Rev. 20:14-15). However, because of his love and goodness, God has redeemed humanity by becoming a man and living as the perfect image of God should. By living a perfect life and dying to atone for man’s sins, Christ is the image of God, and our true humanity is restored by being united to him (Col. 1:15, Rom. 8:29-30).



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