| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 40 - Page 249 of 254 Index | Zoom | |
It is not God Himself, but the knowledge He has revealed to us concerning Himself
which constitutes the material for theological investigation" (Dr. A. Kuyher).
How true these words are and what a waste of argument and of time would have been
saved if students but realized the import of such a quotation. We speak of the names and
titles of God, but do we really mean that the infinite God actually bears the name Elohim,
Jehovah, El Shaddai and the like? Are they not concessions to our finite minds and
modes of thought, `not God Himself, but the knowledge He has revealed to us'? Before
the creation of the world was, did He then and for all eternity bear the Hebrew names and
titles? Are they not all `figures of the true' just as surely as the Ark, the Mercy Seat,
the Cherubim were types and shadows of invisible realities? These titles of God are full
of meaning; they direct the mind into certain channels, but the name Elohim, when taken
to its final analysis and seen with all its connotations is still `a figure of the true' as surely
as `the eyes', `the nostrils' and `the hands' of God are figures of unseen realities.
One of the glorious opportunities presented by eternal life will be the privilege of
getting to know `the only true God', God divested of type, shadow and figure, a
knowledge accompanied with an expanding appreciation of `Jesus Christ Whom He had
sent', for the knowledge of `The Son' is even more mysterious and more complex than
the knowledge of the Father (Matt. 11: 27). We do not yet know Christ `as He is'; that
awaits the future day when we `shall see Him as He is' and be like Him (I John 3: 2),
and not till we attain unto eternal life shall we either see Him or be like Him. Until that
day dawns, types and shadows must perforce form a great part of the stuff of knowledge.
At His appearing, He will show Who is that blessed and only Potentate, King of kings
and Lord of lords. If John 17: 3 points a way to the Father as "the only true God",
I John 5: 20 written by the same apostle points to the Son. "We know that the Son of
God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and
we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and
eternal life." Houstos, the demonstrative pronoun `this', may refer to the noun which is
nearest, but on the other hand, it may refer to one that is more remote, and commentators
are divided concerning the question does `This is the true God' refer to "God" or to "His
Son Jesus Christ"? Both the A.V. and the R.V. add the word `even', indicating that they
lean to the thought that when John here speaks of `Him that is true' He refers to the Son
of God. Athanasius is reported to have called I John 5: 20 `a written demonstration',
saying that as Christ said of the Father, John 17: 3 `This is life eternal, that they might
know Thee, the only true God', so John said of the Son `This is the true God and
eternal life', and that Arius with whom he was disputing acquiesced, and confessed the
Son of God to be the true God. To support this, Glassius appeals to Athanasius (Oper.
tom. 3, p.705). John in this epistle does not simply say "This is the true God" but adds
"and eternal life". We know of no Scripture that teaches that `the Father' is eternal life or
the personification of eternal life, but this same epistle leaves us in no doubt that John
believed this was true of the Son of God.
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with
our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(for the life was manifested, and we have seen it and bear witness, and show unto you
that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us)" (I John 1: 1, 2).