Of God and the Holy Trinity
Modern men and contemporary theologians find it difficult in their minds to reconcile the classical theism of the Christian tradition and the Scriptures with a God who is relational. The fault is in their minds and logic not in classical theism. Paragraph 2 of Chapter 2 has for its explicit emphasis the relations of God to the world and mankind. Listen to what it says:
“God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature 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 fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, 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, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.”
Five relations of God to the creation are specified in this great paragraph. Think about them with me one at a time and briefly.
“His self-sufficient independence from them” is the first thing emphasized. God does not need a relationship with creation to be God. He does not even need creation to be God. He was the blessed and only sovereign before and without creation. Your old Sunday School teacher was wrong when she told you that God created the world because He was lonely!
The second relationship which God has with creatures is “His sovereign dominion over them.” As His creatures, they belong to Him absolutely and completely. He is what He is described to be in Genesis 14:19: “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth …” Have you ever acknowledged from the heart the fact God owns you utterly?
“His absolute knowledge of them” is the third thing this paragraph emphasizes with regard to God’s relation to the creatures. Open theism is famous for its “evangelical” assertion of a God who does not know the future comprehensively. Such an assertion is absolutely contrary to the biblical and Christian view of God affirmed by the Confession. Absolutely nothing surprises God in creation because He is absolutely knowledgeable of the creation—past, present, and future!
The fourth thing emphasized by this paragraph is “His utter sanctity before them.” Let me remind you of what the Confession says: “he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.” Thus, everything he says, does, and requires is to be viewed with reverence and awe. No complaining about his ways is ever appropriate.
Finally and fifthly, it follows that God has intrinsic claims upon His creatures as their God. Just because He is God, the Confession says: “to him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.” Nothing He may ask of us by way of suffering, service, or obedience is beyond His rights. Perhaps you are struggling right now with some suffering, service, or obedience that God is asking of you. It seems too much to ask, but are you forgetting who He is and what He has done for you and what He has promised to do for you in the glory that is to come? No, whatever, he asks of you or ordains for you is right. As the hymn says, “Holy His Word abideth.”
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.