Our Heavenly Father -- By: Charles T. Grant
EMJ 11:2 (Winter 02) p. 221
Our Heavenly Father
On January 7, 1855 the minister of New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, a borough in the city of London, opened his morning sermon as follows:
It has been said by someone that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe that it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.1
The preacher was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who at the time was only twenty years old.2 What he said then remains true today: the proper study of God’s elect is God. For the believer can the study of any subject be more important than the study of God Himself? But who is God? And is it even possible to study Him? Most polls continue to indicate that over 90% of Americans believe in God. But what do most Americans believe about God? Indeed, what do most Christians know or believe about God? Who is this God in whom we claim to believe?
Erwin Lutzer has suggested that “‘I believe in God’ is perhaps one of the most meaningless statements we can make today.”3 In the postmodern world God can mean almost anything we want Him to be. We have fulfilled for all practical purposes the maxim of the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach
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(1804–1872), who suggested that religion is man’s attempt to create a god in his own image.4 Open theologians have created a god who does not know the future. Feminists have created a female or androgynous god. And syncretistic influences have created gods who are virtually indistinguishable from the gods of other religions. In today’s world we face a very real danger of violating the first commandment and falling into idolatry. We have created, and continue to create, other gods besides God.
We can distinguish the God of the Bible from the gods of our own creation or imagination because of the self-disclosure of the biblical God. As Christians we believe that the God of the Bible is knowable. What we know about God depends on His revelation, and without that revelation God would be unknown. So it is important to examine the nature of the knowledge we have about Go...
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