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Of God and the Holy Trinity, Robert Shaw’s short 1 chapter work on God and the Holy Trinity is an excellent collection of observations and verses that defend the Trinity.
Of God and the Holy Trinity
Of God and the Holy Trinity
By Robert Shaw
More Works on the Trinity
- Alford Scriptural Doctrine of the Trinity
- CARM The Trinity
- Chafer Major Bible Themes [e] [m]
- Cox, David – Understanding the Bible Doctrine of the Trinity
- Dabney, R.L. – Systematic Theology
Content of God and the Holy Trinity
Section I.— There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty.
Section II. – God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.
We are here taught, – First, That there is but one God. Secondly, That he is the only living and true God. Thirdly, That he is a most pure spirit. Fourthly, That he is possessed of all possible perfections.
1. The assertion, that there is but one God, does not mean that there is but one divine person, for it is afterwards stated…
2. It is asserted, that this God is the only living and true God.
3. It is asserted that this God is a most pure Spirit,—that is, he is an incorporeal, immaterial, invisible, and immortal Being, without bodily parts or passions. ‘
4. It is asserted that this God is possessed of all possible perfections. The perfections of God are called his attributes, because they are ascribed to him as the essential properties of his nature. These attributes are variously, though imperfectly distinguished, in our ways of thinking about them. They have been called natural and moral, incommunicable and communicable attributes, – the Latter is the most common distinction. Those attributes are called incommunicable, of which there is not the least resemblance to be found among creatures; and those are called communicable, of which there is some faint, though very imperfect resemblance to be found among creatures. Without attempting to class the divine perfections under these two heads, we shall arrange the several parts of the description of God contained in the two sections now before us under the following particulars:—
1. God is infinite. To be infinite, according to the literal signification of the word, is to be unbounded, – unlimited. As applied to the other attributes of God, this term denotes their absolute perfection. He is infinite in his wisdom, power; holiness, &c. As these perfections must be considered afterwards, we only notice, at present, that God is infinite in his being, or essence. From this results his incomprehensibility, or that super-eminent perfection which can be comprehended by none but himself. A perfect knowledge of God is competent to none but himself, whose understanding is infinite. ‘Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?’ Job 11:7. His infinity, as applied to his being, also includes his immensity and his omnipresence. Betwixt these a distinction may be drawn. His omnipresence has a relation to creatures actually existing, with every one of which he is intimately present; but his immensity extends infinitely beyond the boundaries of all created substance. God fills all places at once – heaven, and earth, and hell—with his essential presence. ‘Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.’—Jer. 33:23, 24.
2. God is self-existent and independent. He has all life, glory, and blessedness, in and of himself. His existence is necessary and underived; for his name is, ‘I am that I am.’ – Exod. 3:14. His glory and blessedness are likewise underived. His glory necessarily results from, or rather consists in, the absolute perfection of has own nature, and his blessedness is all summed up in the possession and enjoyment of his own infinite excellencies. Being thus all-sufficient in and unto himself, he must be independent of any other being. He stands not in need of any creatures which he has made, nor can he derive any glory from them. Every other being receives its all from him, but he receives no advantage from any. ‘For his pleasure all things are and were created; but none can be profitable to God, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself; nor is it any gain to him that they make their ways perfect.’—Rev. 4:11; Job 22: 2, 3.
3. God is the fountain of all being. As he has life in and of himself, so he is the author of that life which is in every living creature. ‘In him we live, and move, and have our being.’ All the life of the vegetative, animal, and rational world, the life of grace here, and the life of glory hereafter, are of him, and derived from him. ‘With him is the fountain of life,’—of all sorts of life. ‘Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.’—Rom. 11:36. From this it follows, that God has most sovereign dominion over all his creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them; whatsoever himself pleaseth. He who is the first cause of all things, must also be the last end. As he gave being to all creatures, so he must have an absolute right to rule over them, and to dispose of them for the ends of his own glory. Hence we are told, that ‘his kingdom ruleth over all,’ and that ‘he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?’—Ps. 103:19; Dan. 4:35. But God has not only a right to exercise sovereign dominion over his creatures, he has also an indisputable claim to their service and obedience. This claim is likewise founded upon his giving them their being. They are not their own, but the Lord’s; him, therefore, they are bound to serve. Hence the Confession, with great propriety, affirms, that to God ‘ is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, he is pleased to require of them.’
4. God is eternal. The word eternal is sometimes used, both in Scripture and in common language, in a restricted sense, for a long time, or for a period whose termination is to us unknown. Sometimes it denotes a duration which, though not without beginning, is without end. Thus angels and the souls of men are eternal; for though they had a beginning, they will have no end. But eternity, in the strict and proper sense of the word, signifies a duration without beginning, without end, and without succession; and in this sense it is peculiar to the great God. The supposition that there was a period at which God began to be, is equally repugnant to reason and to revelation. He that created all things must have existed before any of them began to be; and his existence being underived, he can never cease to exist. The Scripture plainly declares that he is without beginning: ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.’ – Ps. 90:2. It no less plainly declares that he is without end: ‘The Lord shall endure for ever.’—Ps. 9:7. That he is without succession is no less explicitly declared: ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’ —2 Pet. 3:8. There is one passage in which an unbeginning, unending, and unsuccessive duration, is ascribed to God—Ps. 102:25-27. One of his glorious titles is, ‘The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity;’ and he is styled, ‘The everlasting God, – the Father of eternity,—the First and the Last.’
5. God is immutable. ‘With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ To this important truth reason and revelation give their united testimony. His immutability necessarily results from his absolute perfection. If he were to change, it must be either to the better or to the worse. He cannot change to the better, for that would imply past imperfection; he cannot change to the worse, for then he would cease to be perfect. He must, therefore, remain invariably the same. To the absolute immutability of God the Scripture gives numerous testimonies. – Numb. 23:19; Ps. 33:11; Mal. 3:6.
God is unchangeable in his being. ‘I am that I am,’ is the name by which he made himself known to Moses, a name which conveys the idea not only of self-existence and independence, but also of immutability. He is unchangeable in his glory. Though the manifestation of his glory may vary, yet he is, and ever was, infinitely glorious in himself; for his essential glory is neither capable of increase nor susceptible of divination. He is unchangeable in his blessedness; for as it consists in the enjoyment of himself, so it can neither be increased nor diminished by anything that creatures can do for or against him. – Job 35:5-7. He is unchangeable in his purposes and counsels. He proclaims with divine majesty, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.’—Isa. 46:10,11. He is unchangeable in his covenant, love, and promises to his people.—Isa. 54:10. When, therefore, we read in Scripture of God’s repenting, we must understand such language of an alteration of the outward dispensations of his providence. We are by no means to attribute to him any change of mind; for, in this respect, it is impossible for God to change. ‘He is in one mind, and who can turn him?’—Job 23:13.
…continued in the theWord module
From The Reformed Faith: An Exposition Of The Westminster Confession Of Faith (eBook)
More Works on the Theology Proper God
- Anon – Basic Christian Doctrine
- Aristides – The Apology of Aristides
- Arthur, Timothy Shay – Ways of Providence
- Austin-Sparks, T. – Goings of God
- Austin-Sparks, T. – His Great Love
Unitarianism is the exact opposite of the Trinity. Rather than believing in one God which has three persons, Unitarianism believes in One period.
Robert Shaw's short 1 chapter work on God and the Holy Trinity is an excellent collection of observations and verses that defend the Trinity.
|Date:||November 4, 2020|