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Volume 14 - Page 10 of 167 Index | Zoom | |
No Philosophy of God in Scripture.
As to "God absolutely" we know nothing. Throughout the whole range of Scripture
there is not to be found one statement that speaks of God Himself alone without relation
to His creatures. The attitude of Scripture is expressed in the words, "He that cometh to
God must believe that He is". Philosophy would discuss the being of God; Genesis
assumes His being, and proceeds to His works and ways.
A.--Do you not think this passage speaks of God absolutely?
"Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy"
(Isa. 57: 15).
B.--If you had continued your quotation you would see that this revelation of the
Godhead is relative, for the passage immediately adds:--
"I dwell in the high and holy place, WITH HIM ALSO that is of a contrite and
humble spirit" (Isa. 57: 15).
You will see that the reference to the nature of God is not given for its own sake, but
in order to emphasize the condescension of Him who dwells with the humble and the
A.--John says, "God is Spirit".
B.--Yes, but only because he would emphasize that "They who worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4: 24).
Perhaps if I read you a short extract from "The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry" by
Isaac Taylor, it may make my meaning clear:--
"If for a moment they (the Hebrew writers) utter what might have the aspect of an
abstract proposition, they bring it into contact, at the nearest possible point, with the
spiritual wants of men, or with their actual moral condition; as thus--`Great is the Lord,
and of great power, and His understanding is infinite. He telleth the number of the stars:
He calleth them all by their names', but this infinite and almighty Being is He that
`healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds'. It is the human spirit that is
the central or cohesive principle of Hebrew Theology. The Theistic affirmations that are
scattered throughout the books of the Old Testament are not susceptible of a synthetic
adjustment by any rule of logical distribution . . . . . the several elements of this Theism
are complementary one of another only in relation to the needs, and to the discipline of
the human mind; not so in relation to its modes of speculative thought, or to its own
reasons. If we were to bring together the entire compass of the figurative Theology of
Scripture (and this must be the Theology of the Old Testament) it would be easy to
arrange the whole in periphery around the human spirit, as related to its manifold
experiences; but a hopeless task it would be to attempt to arrange the same passages as if
in a circle around the hypothetic attributes of the Absolute Being. The human reason
falters at every step in attempting so to interpret the Divine Nature."