God Is An Absolute Personality – God Is Creator

This book is pretty cool – The Doctrine of the Word of God (Vol. 4, 2010) by John M. Frame (lecture outline)

The author comes right out of the opening gate declaring thus:

The biblical God is the supreme being of the universe–eternal, unchangeable, infinite.  He is self-existent, self-authenticating, and self-justifying.  He depends on no other reality for his existence, or to meet his needs.  In these senses he is absolute.  But he is not only absolute.  He is also personal, and absolute personality.

Further, the biblical God is not only personal, but tripersonal.  His self-love, for example, in Scripture is not based on the model of a narcissist, an individual admiring himself (though God would not be wrong to love himself in that way).  Rather, his self-love is fully interpersonal: the Father loving the Son, the Son loving the Father, and the love of both embracing the Holy Spirit and his own love for them.  God is for us the supreme model not only of personal virtues, but of interpersonal ones as well.

Other religions and philosophies honor absolute beings, such as the Hindu Brahman, the Greek Fate, Aristotle’s Prime Mover, Hegel’s Absolute.  But none of these beings are personal.  They do not know or love us, make decisions, make plans for history.  Significantly in our present context, they do not speak to us.

Other religions and philosophies do honor personal gods, as with the polytheisms of Canaan, Greece, Egypt, Babylon, India, and modern paganism.  Yet none of these personal gods are absolute.  Only in biblical religion is the supreme being an absolute personality.  Only in biblical religion does the supreme being speak.  And only in biblical religion is the speaking God absolute, a being who, signficantly, needs nobody or nothing outside himself to validate his speech.

Consider the immense significance of the fact that the Creator of heaven and earth, who sovereignly governs all the affairs of the universe, actually knows, befriends, even loves human beings–and that he speaks to us.

There are, of course, other religions that approach the biblical idea of an absolute personal God.  These include Islam, Judaism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism.  These present themselves as believing that the supreme being is an absolute person.  I believe this claim is inconsistent with other things in these religions.  Certainly, none of these religions embraces the absolute tripersonality of biblical theism.  But my present point is that even in these religions the claim to believe in an absolute personal God arises from the Bible.  For all these religions are deeply influenced by the Bible, though they have departed from it in many ways (pp. 8-9).

A pretty good way to start, eh?  So what do you think of his observation with Mormonism?

He goes on with the next topic – God is the Creator.

God, the absolute tripersonality, is related to the world in terms of the Creator-creature distinction.  He is absolute, and we are not.  Cornelius Van Til expressed this distinction in a diagram with a large circle (God and a small one under it (the creation).  God and the world are distinct from each other.  The world may never become God, nor can God become a creature.  Even in the person of Christ, in which there is the most intimate possible union between God and human nature, there is (according to the formulation of the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451) no mixing or confusion of the two natures.  In the incarnation, God does not abandon or compromise his deity, but takes on humanity.  In salvation, we do not become God; rather, we learn to serve him as faithful creatures.

At the same time, the Creator and creature are not distant from each other.  This, too, is evident from the person of Christ, in which deity and humanity are inseparable, though distinct.  Indeed, the Creator is always present to his creatures.  The most important thing about any creature is its relation to the Creator.  The creature’s life, in every respect, at every moment, is possible and meaningful only because of that relationship.  In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

It’s a nice warm up to the doctrine of bibliology.  Don’t you think?  In light of celebrating the 400 year tradition of the King James Bible, I would ask you to consider reading this book by John Frame.  I guarantee it will challenge your thinking on the Bible.  I think it might be one of the best books that I will read about the Bible in this new year.

3 comments

  1. Lots of good, basic theology 101 stuff here. Of course, however, we ARE called to “become God,” not by nature, but by grace and adoption.

    In denying that, however, the juxtaposition is interesting. …”but to serve him as faithful creatures.”

    This, of course, outside the context of the infinite gulf that exists between Creator and created, does beg the question of what it actually means to be God.

    I will cut to the chase. While God is almighty, etc., done of the Divine Attributes define deity, characterize the Divine Nature. According to the Bible, there is only one word that does, and that word is “love”, “agapay” in Greek. I Corinthians 13 is, before anything else, a description of God.

  2. In the sence in which John Frame speaks, God, as believed in by LDS, is not absolute. He lives under laws. It is not he who justifies himself or he could be evil.

  3. Anon, and that is my puzzlement. It seems that some LDS describe God with absolute attributes and then others clearly do not.

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