Q 26: What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”?
A 26: That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ the Son.
I trust God so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends upon me in this sad world.
God is able to do this because he is almighty God, and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.
It did not use to be a great thing for one to say that they “believe in God.” In fact, most people, if approached, would say that they believe in a divine being or creative power of some sort that, at the very least, created this universe and started it on its path. But is this enough? Can we hold to a very basic belief in something bigger than ourselves, calling ourselves “spiritual” but not “religious,” and get along well in this world? Sure… Is is enough for salvation? No.
Scripture points out that this kind of faith, a simple belief in God, is the same faith that the Satan’s demons have. And, while this general belief in God doesn’t seem to have a great impact on most humans, the demons’ belief makes them shudder (James 2:19).
As the question and answer 26 indicate, there is so much more to know about and wonder at in God, it stretches us beyond the limits of our ability to think and conceptualize. Much of this we know as the attributes of God, some of which God shares with us and others that are solely God’s own.
One such attribute that belongs solely to God, something we call an “incommunicable” attribute, and something that goes far beyond our ability to understand, is God’s eternal nature. Time itself is a concept that does not apply to God. You may have heard the phrase “I have all the time in the world…”, but God literally holds time in His hand. There has never been a time where God wasn’t. Before anything was a thing, God was present and in eternal, perfect, trinitarian communion.
God’s eternal nature leads us to another belief that we hold to which God as the sole source of creation. This belief is known as Creatio ex Nihilo, or creation out of nothing. More specifically this means that God created the whole universe out of nothing; He simply spoke it into being and did so before there was even an “it” to speak to. While this may seem like a relatively obvious thing, but it is profoundly important. If part of the nature of God is that God is eternal, whereas nothing else is, then we effectually deny what science would tell us about the “Big Bang” and any pre-existent matter. While the happening of the Big Bang may be the way in which God began creation, and there certainly is evidence to show that possibility, what science cannot and has not been able to prove is what happened in the seconds and eons before that event. What is important, however, is that we understand that nothing existed alongside God prior to creation. If we allow for something to exist alongside the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) prior to creation, we are either elevating that thing to the same status as God or lowering God’s status to the realm of a thing; neither are true. God is God; everything else is a creature, created by God.
Another thing that is, sadly, often forgotten when it comes to belief in God is His continual sustaining and providing action in the world. Deism, the belief in an uninvolved divine being, has largely become the norm of belief in the world. Many who believe in a higher being or an intelligent creator, also believe that He/She/It is no longer actively involved in the world. Like a clockmaker who builds the clock, winds it us, and then lets it go, so too do we think God has done that with the universe and we are here just waiting for time to run its course. That is, however, not what Christians (should) believe about God. Scripture reveals to us a God who is loving and active, working His will in the world toward the redemption and restoration of the whole world. We see this most vividly in the person of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. If God were an uninvolved deity, the coming of Christ would be completely contradictory to God’s nature, arbitrarily showing up and a random point in time to bring salvation, only to disappear back into the sky with a promise (or perhaps threat) that He will come back some day as well.
All of theology moves us toward trust. The purpose of our discussions here as we take the posture of “faith seeking understanding,” is one in which we are moving deeper and deeper toward trust in God. Scripture reveals a loving God who is intimately aware of everything that is happening in His creation and one who is working to bring all things together under Chirst. Paul writes that “all things work together for the good of those who love God,” and that is what we understand to be happening and what will happen when Jesus returns to set up His eternal Kingdom here and God dwells with us forever.