Wednesday, November 9, 2016


In bringing to conclusion the discussion on the personality of God as it centers in spirit, the importance of this must be stressed again. God is spirit, pure spirit, immaterial substance, invisible, uncompounded, and indestructible. God is personal, and as such He is living and therefore able to do things. He is intelligent, possessing knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He is purposive, always reacting to future goals. He is active and therefore is ceaselessly engaged in working. He is free and as such is bound by nothing outside Himself. He is self-conscious and in this area is always aware of Himself. He is emotional and sensitive to and sympathetic with others outside Himself.

This view of God becomes a most consoling revelation to men. It stands in contrast to that cold, impersonal, materialistic picture of God, drawn by Bertrand Russell in his writings under the title, A Free Man's Worship:

"In action, in desire, we must submit perpetually to the tyranny of outside forces; but in thought, in aspiration, we are free, free from our fellow men, free from the petty planet on which our bodies impotently crawl, free even, while we live, from the ty­ranny of death.... To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things -- this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship. ...The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, toward a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death.... Brief and powerless is main's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it re­mains only to cherish, ere yet the blow fall, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power."

But the Biblical description ministers hope to the man who is struggling with the problems of life. The highest revelation we know is personality, and that is found in God who is declared to be spirit. Though some men have imagined that something above and beyond personality must be impersonal, C. S. Lewis has wisely pointed out that the only thing beyond personality is triune personality, and that is found in God who is spirit.

Loss or modification of this great truth would prove to be a catastrophe for mankind. It would be far better to have an anthropomorphic God, than an im­personal God who is helplessly confined within the boundaries of matter. Loss of this truth would produce a sense of futility, a course of permissiveness, and sur­render to despair. This sort of reasoning moves in the direction of pantheism as a philosophy, and to some form of polytheism. It must ultimately climax in the worship of objects, which is to revert to the darkness and dread of all the paganism of the past.

It must never be forgotten that with the abandonment of the revelation of God, mere intellectual processes lead in the direction of idolatry. Men "became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Rom. 1:21-23). The idol men create may be formed by the hands of men, or it may be the creation of the mind. In either case, it is idolatry when it turns away from that image of God described in the Scriptures as personal spirit.

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