Who is God?
The biblical portrayal of God is very simple:
God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
God is light (1 John 1:5).
As simple as these definite terms may appear, there are however some crucial foundational concepts that must be explored and biblically understood before these defining statements about God can be interpreted correctly and grasped in their totality.
For instance, we need to understand what the Bible means when it says that God is love. The Greek word used by Jesus, the apostle Paul and other New Testament writers to describe and define God’s love was agape. This agape or divine love as described by Paul in first Corinthians 13 is entirely selfless, unconditional, self-sacrificing, and freedom-giving. It encompasses all people: friends and even more amazingly, enemies. This is what is commonly referred to as “the principle of the cross.”
In the famous passage found in 1 Corinthians 13, we get a glimpse of the love that exists in the heart of God. This love is the law by which God rules the universe, the law of agape love. In this passage we are shown that any works the human mind can conceive in order to attain the highest level of spirituality are worthless if agape love is not comprehended and lived out:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil [‘DOES NOT KEEP RECORDS OF WRONG,’ ACCORDING TO THE NEW GREEK-ENGLISH INTERLINEAR NEW TESTAMENT] [THE ORIGINAL GREEK READS: ‘NOT IMPUTES THE EVIL.’ SOME VERSIONS READ: ‘KEEPS NO ACCOUNT OF EVIL’]; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (verses 1-7; emphasis added).
Any of man’s attainments, whether impressively grand on one hand, or ordinary and humble on the other, are useless and of no positive consequence, if they are found to be in conflict with God’s eternal principle of agape love:
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away (8-10).
When the perfection of God’s agape love comes to be known, it will be understood that His love never fails. In addition, our old erroneous ways of thinking about God’s character and living thereby will be done away:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known (11, 12).
As children we had an immature understanding of God’s character of love. Our behavior reflected all the childish things we were involved with because we had an incorrect knowledge of God’s love. We become a man when we know with certainty that the essence of God is love.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (verse 13).
Faith and hope are certainly paramount in our lives. Without faith and hope, no Christian can survive in his or her spiritual walk. But in the passage above we are told that of all three, faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest. When faith and hope appear to be extinct, agape love yet survives and transcends all faithlessness and hopelessness, and is a beam of light that will never be extinguished. Paul also confirms that love is the greatest of these in the following verses:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 12:14, 17, 21; 13:8, 10).
As we study God’s agape love, we will realize that His love and human love are worlds apart. It is extremely important that we understand all the facets of divine love. One must also realize that agape love is the very essence of God, and not simply one of His many attributes. God possesses one supreme, unimpeachable, impeccable essence, and that is agape love:
God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
In light there can be no darkness. Darkness is the lack of light. Light and darkness cannot mix, they exist separately, and when light arrives darkness disappears. The light of the sun never ceases. It is only blocked by particles of opaque matter in the atmosphere. In the same manner, God’s light has never ceased, it has only been blocked by deception. From the outset, therefore, it must be unequivocally stated that the God of the universe cannot have any mixture of light and darkness in any part of His being. In other words, God cannot operate from any two antithetical principles. Observe carefully how the following passages clearly pair the concepts of ‘darkness’ with ‘death,’ and ‘light’ with ‘life:’
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, [JESUS CHRIST], and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death [THE HUMAN RACE] light [LIFE] has dawned (Matthew 4:16; emphasis added),
In Him [JESUS CHRIST] was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4; emphasis added).
Just as light and darkness cannot coexist within God’s essence of agape love, likewise life and death cannot coexist and proceed from Him, for life is light, and death is darkness, and God is light in whom there is no darkness at all.
One of Jesus’ boldest statements declares that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:32). What is Jesus really saying by such a categorical statement? Is He saying that God has forsaken those who are dead, or is He saying that God has no part in the principle that causes death?
We know that God has not forsaken the dead, for the Bible is filled with promises that God cares deeply about the dead, and Jesus confirmed that by raising many from death. If this is the case, then we may interpret the statement God is not the God of the dead but of the living in a way that portrays God as being the God of both the living and the dead. How so? Because life will be given to all who have died on earth, for God is not a God of death, but of life. That is positively good news indeed. Jesus made such a categorical statement because all who have experienced death will be resurrected by Him:
But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:31, 32).
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him (Luke 20:38).
The apostle Paul expounds this further in the following manner:
For since by man [THAT IS, ADAM] came death, by man [JESUS CHRIST] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. ...The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 23, 26; emphasis added).
The Bible tells us in fact, that even the wicked will be resurrected after the millennium, further proving that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Needless to say, the Bible also states that they will experience annihilation, for they will, of their own choice, continue to reject God’s gift of eternal life. The resurrection of the wicked proves that God gives life and life only, and He does so even though they have chosen another god. They will certainly experience annihilation because even to the last breath they have chosen to live by the principles of the god of this world, who is the god of destruction, thus refusing the principle of life.
As we study further we will see that the true God, He who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water (Revelation 14:7), is the God of life, and He operates only by the life-giving principle of agape love. He is not the God of death and of the death-giving principle, which is Satan’s principle of good and evil, the principle that was represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. These two principles, agape and good and evil, are the main subject of this book and will be explained in depth.
It is extremely important that we comprehend the significance of what Jesus stated in the previous two verses from Luke and Matthew. By making such a statement, He refuted and overturned the erroneous belief that God causes death, while at the same time affirming with certainty that God is the giver of life. God does not and cannot use the death principle. It is absolutely contrary to His character and nature. Thus He is not the One responsible for the death we all experience. Therefore, since He is not the God of the dead but the God of the living, death is anathema to Him. This is made quite clear through what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians15:26: the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. The Scriptures make it abundantly apparent that death is an enemy of God because death is the ultimate evil, and as such death cannot proceed from God.
The biblical reasoning behind this present work is drawn from this premise, which is based on the bedrock principle manifested by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary — that He who died on the cross to give us life cannot at the same time be the author of darkness, death and destruction.
Having made the above statements, and with a preliminary understanding of the biblical meaning of the words ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ we are compelled to ask the following questions: have we truly grasped the depth of what is involved in the war between light and darkness? Where did darkness originate? Does God’s character, the sum total of His thoughts and actions, reflect any of the works of darkness?
How is it that the majority of the religions of the world can believe in a God whose character is comprised of just such a mixture of light and darkness? Can God’s character possibly be comprised of two paradoxical and contrary principles, which somehow become fused into a hybrid principle of love?
Furthermore, if God did indeed act in ways recognized as ‘darkness,’ that is, in ways that involve not only natural death (if there is such a thing, for to God all death is unnatural) but intentional killing, would we view these acts as not being evil when rendered by God, accounting that God must transcend evil no matter what He does? Should we not hold Him responsible and accountable for these activities in the same way we hold each other accountable? Or, if He did use such dark and punitive methods, would He do it for the ultimate benefit of His creation? Does the type of reasoning behind the epitaph to the German emperor Joseph II, “Kings are forced to do people harm so that good may emerge,” explain why we think God does such evil? Would these works of destruction be therefore unavoidable and excusable, for God knows what is best for all concerned? Are we to accept these premises blindly and without question? In fact, does God want us to accept anything blindly at all? Or would He rather we used the intelligent faculties with which He created us to get at the bottom of this paradox?
Many believe that the wicked will be destroyed by God’s wrath. It is widely thought that wrathful anger against sin and ungodly sinners is an inherent component of God’s love, and this wrath is classified as His righteous indignation, His righteous anger. Is this true, and if so, could this darker aspect of His character, that of wrathful anger, still be considered a part of His love? We all agree that when the Bible says God is love, His love must apply to godly people. What about the ungodly? Would God still be love if He were to exercise wrath to the point of personally killing or having ungodly people killed? Would God break his own injunction to love one’s enemies? Would God still be love if, in an effort to prevent evil from contaminating and affecting the lives of the godly, He destroyed the wicked? Is the destruction of the ungodly a consequence of God’s moral justice on sin and sinners, and if so, would it not nullify what happened on the cross of Calvary?
The Bible leads us into an understanding of who is responsible for originating the death principle in the universe. The works of darkness are the fruit of Lucifer’s kingdom, and his kingdom is represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). In the course of this study it will be seen that it is this being and his emissaries who undertake the execution of all the works of darkness, not God.
When we come to understand that God operates solely from the principle represented by the tree of life (Genesis 2:9), we will realize that the Bible indisputably confirms this premise. Then the Bible will take on a new meaning and will come alive. Through much fervent prayer, intense wrestling with the scriptures and equally intense wrestling with God for answers, one will irrefutably conclude that God has not, and will not have any part whatsoever in such works of darkness.
God invites us to ask hard questions. He wants us to investigate these issues so that the mind and intellect which He gave us may be satisfied. Thus, He invites us to reason with Him: Come now, and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18). The promise is given that these hard questions will be answered: Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7).
Surely the thoughtful reader of the Bible must have asked some of these questions as well. The question of whether God lives by standards other than the ones He has set out for His creation must have crossed many a mind. Unfortunately the majority of the religious world has blindly accepted falsehood, and concluded that, when personally delivered by or brought about under His directives, God’s so-called dark, punitive measures are not truly evil, but simply another facet of His infinite, omniscient love. But such destructive behavior would clearly be categorized as evil if done by human beings. God does not deliver or order dark punitive measures. To believe contrary to this is a false conception.
God desires that the truth about Him be comprehended. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, He says:
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight.”
It would be wise for us to come to a proper understanding of God’s counsel to humanity in the statement But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me. To understand and know God we need to go back to the book of Genesis in order to clearly grasp what God meant when He told Adam and Eve that the day they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die (Genesis 2:17).
Did He mean to say that He would kill them? Or that He would remove His life force from them, thus causing their death? Did He mean that He would punish their disobedience with death? Or was He simply making known to them the consequences of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, consequences which Satan himself would administer to them? All the implications of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil must be clearly understood by us. Once we know exactly what this tree represents we will know without a shadow of a doubt that God never operates by its death principle, even when in our flawed wisdom we think that circumstances would demand him to use those principles.
The presence of the two trees in the Garden reveals the nature of God’s character. One tree represented God’s principle of agape love and the other Satan’s principle of good and evil. One may wonder how it is that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has any role in reflecting God’s character. It does, in this sense: that by allowing Satan’s principle to be equally accessible to Adam and Eve, existing side by side with His own principle, God reveals two aspects of His character that could be easily overlooked: one, that He provides equal access, and two, that He always gives us freedom of choice.
God gave Satan equal access to Adam and Eve so that they could have the freedom to choose whom they would obey and follow. God need not have offered a choice; had He not, Adam and Eve would not have had the opportunity to disobey God and obey Satan, and sin, along with its terrible consequences, would never have entered the world. But it is not in God’s character and nature to withhold freedom. Freedom is an inherent component of God’s love. The fact that God gave equal accessibility to the adversary in respect to Adam and Eve, additionally reveals God’s impartiality, even while faced by evil. This is confirmed by the apostle Peter when he said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality’ (Acts 10:34).
In connection with divine wisdom, the impartiality of God is expounded further by the apostle James:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:13-17).
The foremost criterion in divine wisdom is that it is first pure, single, without mixture. This means that in divine wisdom there is no synthesis of any two conflicting, or antithetical principles. This is represented by the tree of life, which represents the single principle of agape love. Those who possess this pure divine wisdom show no partiality in all their activities, even in respect to enemies. The conduct of all human beings reveals whether they are utilizing God’s single, pure principle of agape love, or whether they are operating by the dual, demonic principle of good and evil.
In the Garden, God did reveal that the wisdom that is from above is first pure. The tree of life principle represents God’s character and is first pure, which means that it has no mixture or contamination of the death principle. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Therefore, God’s principle is not self-seeking, but is willing to yield and is without partiality.
Because God is impartial, He gave Satan equal access to Adam and Eve through his principle represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because Satan’s principle is a mixture of good and evil, it is not a pure principle.
The tree that represented Satan’s principle was not inherently flawed, for God did not create anything imperfect in His original creative work:
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31).
The two literal trees served only as representations of the two antithetical principles, God’s agape love, and Satan’s principle of good and evil. Not only did the presence of the serpent in the tree make it a vessel of death, but the principle that the serpent was proposing to the couple was itself a deadly principle. As previously mentioned, it was by the presence of the two trees in the Garden that Adam and Eve were given the freedom to choose to obey either God’s or Satan’s principle.
Tragically for God, for us, and for the whole universe, they chose Satan’s dual principle of good and evil. Since that one fateful choice, we are all born into this mindset, and that is all we know. It is not surprising therefore that we mistakenly make God into one such as ourselves. Our perception of God does not change who He really is, but it does affect our relationship to Him, as it affected Adam and Eve’s. The purpose of this book is to help us see that all of God’s activities are governed only by the single principle represented by the tree of life. Under no circumstances whatsoever does God ever utilize Satan’s death principle from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The two trees enable us to see and to know without question that the embodiment of the death principle can originate only from Satan’s rule of law, because God’s rule of law is represented by the tree of life.
The Bible further makes it crystal clear that God’s principles are represented by the tree of life and not by the tree of death, for in the renewed earth, as depicted in the book of Revelation, there is no mention of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; it will cease to exist, as will death. In the new earth there will be only the tree of life, from which the healing of the nations will come. If God operated in any way from the principle that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented, then the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would also exist throughout eternity, because good and evil would be in God Himself. As such, it would be an eternal principle, as God is eternal. The tree of life is a symbol of God’s life-giving power, the principle of unconditional love, the only eternal principle. It is this life-force, this infinite love which will heal the nations and give us eternal life.
The study of the Bible reveals that, tragically, all darkness was introduced in the universe and in the world by the angel called Lucifer, who, ironically, was also named the ‘son of the morning.’ Meaning literally ‘day star’ or ‘light bearer,’ Lucifer was one of the two covering cherubs in the throne room of God (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:14). After iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:15), the next time he surfaces in the biblical account is in the book of Genesis as the ‘cunning’ Serpent, seducing Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
An in-depth study of the iniquity found in Lucifer will reveal that this tree embodies all of Satan’s principles and laws with which he hoped to replace the eternal law of God. Death itself is the ultimate outcome of eating from this tree, as declared by God Himself. Further study of these issues shows that God had no part whatsoever in the introduction, administration, or the eventual effects of Satan’s law symbolized by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Not even in the slightest way does God utilize the rule of law represented by this tree.
Were God to take part in any so-called works of darkness, He would then be the rightful author of all the deadly ramifications from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These would be logically attributed to Him, as they presently are, but were that the case, God would cease to be the God of agape love. Without understanding this incontrovertible fact, we have attributed, and will continue to attribute to God a character which operates by the principles of good and evil and not agape, and will believe that He governs the universe by the dual, or hybrid rule of law of good and evil.
The final questions we must ask ourselves are these: if good and evil and agape are two antithetical principles, could they possibly co-exist in the one true God of the universe? And if they are not two irreconcilable and antithetical principles, then are they just different attributes of the God of love? Failing to arrive at the correct answer to these two questions will certainly result in Satan, rather than God, being worshipped, for we will be worshiping the Creator only in name but not in character; not in spirit and in truth.
These questions are being asked in utmost sincerity, profound humility and with a deep-rooted desire for answers about this God that we all worship. Whether we realize it or not, we all possess an insatiable hunger and thirst for God. We, who profess to believe in Him, all worship our God with the deepest of devotion, even if in different ways. All religions have ardent followers of God under their respective religious paradigms. Even atheists have an emptiness that can be filled only by God. However, it must be stressed that this book has no intention whatsoever, whatever the circumstances, of challenging anyone’s beliefs in a negative way. All arguments here are simply and passionately presented from the Bible, and the conclusions arrived sincerely propose a radically different view of God and religion, with a view to opening our eyes to the love and loveliness of our Creator and Redeemer.
The bedrock foundation for these conclusions is based on what transpired on the cross when Jesus Christ died for the sins of the entire human race. As the head and the cornerstone of the church, Jesus is the ultimate and final authority on biblical truth, and He and no one else should be the focus of all our studies.
These findings are confirmed when the Bible is interpreted with the cross principle as the sole foundation of biblical interpretation. All Christians agree that Jesus is the central theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Why should not the Bible be interpreted using the principles derived from Jesus’ greatest work, His death on the cross? For a sincere understanding of God’s character, the principle of the cross, and no other, should be utilized in biblical interpretation. Whenever God is portrayed in the Bible as doing Satan’s work of death and destruction, we must turn to the principle of the cross, agape love, for a true understanding of the situation in question:
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).
The law is God’s law of agape love as commanded by the one true God of the universe. Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 respectively state:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all yor strength,
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
In the New Testament, Jesus comfirmed the law of love:
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40).
Paul also states:
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).
The testimony spoken of in Isaiah 8:20 is the testimony of Jesus Christ regarding the character of God. Revelation 12:17 declares that these two, the law and testimony of Jesus Christ, will bring the wrath of Satan upon the church, that is, upon those who have the two:
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The testimony of Jesus Christ is none other than His revelation of God’s character, for only Jesus Christ had the full knowledge of God’s character. This knowledge was expressed in His life and death.
John the Baptist gives this testimony about Jesus Christ, confirming His ultimate and sole authority by the heavenly credentials that only He held:
He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:31-36).
The apostle Paul, likewise, used no other authority but that which was revealed and given to him by Jesus Christ:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
For the most part, our worship of God has regrettably been based on a mistaken, incorrect and untrue knowledge of Him. For the most part, our worship of God has remained a worship based on the knowledge given to us by the old covenant, from which God is calling us to come out. This is shown to us in the book of Hebrews, where God promises to put His law of agape love in our hearts, the promise of a new covenant:
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to banish away (Hebrews 8:8-13).
Humanity’s initial flawed knowledge of God’s character and law of agape love has become obsolete, as the verse says: He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
When this is accomplished we will be enormously blessed with such an intense love, respect and appreciation for God that all our energy and passion will glorify Him. When this transformation takes place in us, we will vindicate His character of pure, unalloyed agape love. Even though such a transformation appears to be a formidable endeavor, God’s grace is sufficient for the task of vindicating His character and increasing our love and appreciation for Him even more.
The answer to the question, Who is this one and only Creator God of the universe that most of humanity wants to know and worship ‘in spirit and in truth?’ may be attained as we behold this our God in the immaculateness of His essence of agape love as was demonstrated on the cross. Only there will His character be apprehended in its pristine purity. Any contamination or even a miniscule tainting of the immaculate purity of His character will unequivocally defile the human mind, and the result will be a devastating reaping of desolation and chaos. One may argue that even though our perceptions may be tainted, we cannot actually taint or contaminate God’s character by such perceptions. Nonetheless, by hanging on to our erroneous beliefs, we are still defaming His character, and this will cease only when our minds are cleansed from Satan’s lies.
There is a God-created void in the human heart that can be filled only by God Himself. Yet the true knowledge about this one and only Creator God of the universe that is needed to enable us to worship Him in spirit and truth is sadly and painfully lacking. Our thinking that God is a Creator as well as a Destroyer is a misconception that has resulted in our worshiping Him with a sense of dread. When we do not know Him as He should be known, we worship Him only from fear of the consequences of not worshiping Him, a fear that may not even be acknowledged at the conscious level.
John’s statement that perfect love casts out fear becomes pregnant with meaning when we behold Jesus dying on the cross, demonstrating His perfect agape love for all of us:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
This love was poured on us even, as Paul mentions, while we were still sinners:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
As we apprehend fully the significance of the amazing unconditional love He demonstrated for us on the cross, we will no longer fear this God, and we will then begin to worship Him in spirit and in truth. One may ask, ‘Will anyone ever fully comprehend God’s love?’ The answer is yes, to the extent that a human mind is capable of understanding the infinite God in the earthly sphere.:
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19; emphasis added).
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
The tainting of the purity of God’s agape love with attributes of vengeance and retribution results in the human mind being defiled with confusion and chaos. The previously quoted text from Isaiah 8, which says to the law and to the testimony, goes on to describe the desolation that will come to the human spirit due to an incorrect understanding of God, and describes what happens if we are derailed in our knowledge of God’s character. Without a knowledge of His true character we will be driven into utter darkness:
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their King and their God, and look upward. Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness (Isaiah 8:20-22).
We will be driven into darkness because we believe in a God capable of causing such destruction, and we will curse our King and our God, for we will mistakenly think that He is the One responsible for these things.
Absolutely and unquestionably, there is a God of the universe. Absolutely and unquestionably, God has an antagonist and an adversary. Failure to understand these basic facts will undoubtedly result in a catastrophic deception that would cause us to inadvertently worship the wrong god.
No one will ever want to intentionally worship the wrong God. However, all of us who profess to be followers of God, and who under our varied religious convictions and affiliations believe that He is a destroyer, worship the wrong God. The entire human race has been duped into worshipping a god other than the one they believe they are worshipping when they believe that God is a destroyer. We are told in Revelation 12: 9 that Satan deceives the whole world. The ‘whole’ world includes all who have believed in a dual personality God, and that must surely include Christians as well. Humanity is worshipping the wrong god because it fails to know the character of the true God.
This may be extremely difficult to believe and accept, but sadly it is a reality. The adversary’s mendacity is so ingeniously crafted, that without the cross principle, it would be impossible to discern the deception. Jesus told us that false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24).
Before we think that we are above falling for any such trickery, let us not forget that one third of the angels, pure, super-intelligent beings, were deceived by Satan’s seemingly logical principle, along with Adam and Eve, our pristine parents, freshly created with superior intelligence in the image of God.
God has provided the only way by which Satan will never be able to deceive us. If we look at Jesus Christ and His cross principle of unconditional, self-sacrificing love by which He took upon Himself all the fall-out for sin, we cannot be deceived by Satan’s lies. The lies are ingenious because they are flawlessly presented and make complete logical and intellectual sense to the human mind. Without the divine wisdom that was given to us at the cross, it would have been impossible to penetrate this almost impenetrable lie.
God has chosen us to reveal His true character to the world. It is under our feet that Satan’s head will be crushed:
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly (Romans 16:20).
Ephesians 3:10 states our role in this ongoing controversy between God and Satan:
To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (emphasis added).
Finally, there is a universal and timeless law in existence which states that whatever we behold will impact our thinking and our lives. The principle that by beholding we become changed is a known fact and is biblically proven; what we behold will undoubtedly materialize in our lives:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
For all people walk each in the name of his god, But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever (Micah 4:5).
Our worldview is the result of that which we contemplate and behold, and our objective reality will impact our thinking and living either for weal or woe. How we perceive the character of the God we worship will undoubtedly affect our reaction to the very essence of Jesus’ teaching, and will impact our inter-relationships in every facet of life. This is where ‘the rubber meets the road’ in Christianity:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34, 35).
According to Jesus, the greatest revelation of loving one another is manifested when we fulfill the most profound directive given to Him by God:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).
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- What is the Principle of Good and Evil
- What is God's Agape Love
- Two Trees, Two Laws, Two Kingdoms
- God Made Everything According to Its Kind
- No Darkness In God
- An Extra Day in Creation
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