Sabbath, July 11, 2015

‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass…. The word of God reveals His character. He Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. When Moses prayed, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord answered, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ Exodus 33:18, 19. This is His glory.” –Steps to Christ, p. 10. 

Creation reveals God’s existence 

1. Before the alphabet was developed or any word of the Bible was written, what powerful evidence did men receive of God’s existence? Do you see differences between nature’s revelation and the written revelation in the Holy Scriptures?

Psalm 19:1, 2 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. 

“In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 20. 

“God has surrounded us with nature’s beautiful scenery to attract and interest the mind. It is His design that we should associate the glories of nature with His character. If we faithfully study the book of nature, we shall find it a fruitful source for contemplating the infinite love and power of God.” –Messages to Young People, pp. 365, 366. 

“His works, as seen in the natural world, are not one half comprehended or appreciated. These silent preachers will teach human beings their lessons, if they will only be attentive hearers….

“Sin has obscured his

[man’s] vision, and of himself he cannot interpret nature without placing it above God. He cannot discern in it God, or Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. He is in the same position as were the Athenians, who erected their altars for the worship of nature.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1067, 1068. 

The Bible begins by presenting God and His work

2. Of whom do the first book, first chapter, and first line of the Holy Bible testify? How is God presented here and elsewhere? 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 

“Since the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony. By different methods, and in different languages, they witness to the same great truths.” –Education, p. 128. 

“The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. And wherever, in the Bible, His claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is presented, there is cited the evidence of His creative power…. Says the psalmist: ‘Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.’ ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.’ Psalms 100:3; 95:6. And the holy beings who worship God in heaven state, as the reason why their homage is due to Him: ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things.’ Revelation 4:11.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 436, 437.

God is revealed as personal 

3. Is God presented as an abstract entity, or as a personal being with a clear identity? What reveals His loving, joyful generosity? 

Genesis 1:26, 27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 

Psalm 145:15, 16 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. 16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 

“The Lord created man out of the dust of the earth. He made Adam a partaker of His life, His nature. There was breathed into him the breath of the Almighty, and he became a living soul. Adam was perfect in form–strong, comely, pure, bearing the image of his Maker.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1081.

“In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were set in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the faculties of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Christ the Word, a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.” –Ministry of Healing, p. 415. 

God’s superiority 

4. What is revealed about God’s superior nature? Can we imagine or understand everything about His nature?

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

Luke 24:39, last part … A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 

Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the numbers of his years be searched out. 

“The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all things is not, as some men of science claim, merely an all-pervading principle, an actuating energy. God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image. As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, ‘and the express image of His person’ (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers ‘One like the Son of man.’ Daniel 7:13.” –Education, pp. 131, 132.

5. While man receives life as a gift and can retain it for a limited time, what great prerogative does God possess? Despite being so different and so much higher than man, how does He relate to those who believe in Him as well as to those who do not? 

Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. 

Jeremiah 10:10, first part But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king:… 

John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. 

Matthew 5:16, 45 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven…. 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 

“God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, blessings flow out from Him to all the creatures He has made. In His infinite love He has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature, and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 23. 

“God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour’s life on earth, we see ‘God with us.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 24. 

More divine attributes 

6. What other wonderful characteristics show the enormous difference between God and man?

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 

Leviticus 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. 

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

“The Lord existed before He purposed to create the world. He is ‘from everlasting.’ ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 249. 

“Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the Source and Sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 305.

“Each heartbeat, each breath, is the inspiration of Him who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life–the inspiration of the ever-present God, the great I AM…. 

“Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun.” –Medical Ministry, p. 9. 

7. What holy attributes are often mentioned about God? Therefore, what should constantly increase in our lives? 

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 

Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. 

“God is love. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love. ‘His glory is His children’s good; His joy, His tender Fatherhood.’” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 77. 

“We are called to represent to the world the character of God as it was revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7. This is the fruit that God desires from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they are to demonstrate that the ‘law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 221. 

8. What affectionate term did Jesus use when He spoke about God? What does this mean for us? 

Matthew 5:16, 45, 48 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven…. 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust…. 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

“The first lesson that children are to be taught is that God is their Father. This lesson should be given them in their earliest years. Parents are to realize that they are responsible before God for making their children acquainted with their heavenly Father…. That God is love is to be taught by every lesson.” –Child Guidance, p. 487. 

“The Creator of the universe addresses you as an affectionate Father. If you separate from the world in your affections, and remain free from its contamination, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust, God will be your Father, He will adopt you into His family, and you will be His heir. In place of the world, He will give you, for a life of obedience, the kingdom under the whole heavens. He will give you an eternal weight of glory and a life that is as enduring as eternity. 

“Your heavenly Father proposes to make you a member of the royal family, that through His exceeding great and precious promises you may be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 44.

  • What personal knowledge do I have of God? Where did I get this from? 
  • Do I have the faith that He wants to see in me as His child? 
  • What am I doing every day to become better acquainted with Him?