I think I may have mentioned before that I am never quite sure if it is Augustine or Elisa who is texting me when a message comes from their family. 🙂 Maybe after church today I’ll write down each of their phone numbers and put them in my iPhones contact list so it’ll keep track of who is texting me…but recently one of them sent a message saying:
Anthony wants me to ask why and how is God…God?
Great question Anthony!
So, today I’ll be preaching “Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 1)” Anthony, it’s a awesome question, but so as not to break the second rule of preaching to children, I cannot fit its answer into one sermon.
And kids, to you remember the three rules for preaching to children?:
- Use simple words.
- Keep it short.
- See #1 and #2.
I’ll break rule #1 a little bit…but promise to explain all the “not so simple” words. However, as I mentioned, this will be a three part sermon so as not to break rule #2!
[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]
So, Anthony, your questions was “Why and How is God…God?” I believe the “why and how” are really the same question, but I wanted to quickly talk about “Why God?” That is, why is there a God? What necessitates He exist?
I cannot think of a place where the Bible answers that question. The Bible just assumes God because, well, God is. Always has been. Always will be.
I’ve been through all 66 books of Scripture multiple times, and I cannot remember a single place where it asks our the Almighty, “Hey, why do you exist?” Instead…well…let’s look at a conversation between Moses and our Lord:
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Exodus 3:13-14).
Notice how God says to tell the people of Israel He is “I AM”? God just is. God may have you created for a reason, but God wasn’t created for a reason, because He wasn’t created. He just was, is, and will be. Forever past, now, and forever future.
No other force or being created Him. He existed before time itself did. If you haven’t already, you may hear God called the “uncaused cause.” God caused everything, but nothing caused Him.
Now, all this might seem crazy, and is a bit abstract. However, Anthony and kids…do you understand the concept of “nothing”?
What is nothing?
The absence of everything.
Can you imagine what that would be? Not really. We’ve never experienced nothing…because nothing would mean having of our five senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling, & tasting)…no thought…no experience…no imagination.
But, even given that, I think we all basically understand what the concept of nothing is.
Kids, when I was a child I could get a shiver to run up my spine by thinking, “If there is such thing as nothing, why do we exist?” Even then I realized that our very existence…everything we would call “natural”…itself is supernatural. You cannot get something from nothing, and natural law does not logically provide for the physical world always existing…since that would would mean time without a beginning.
We should not exist. Nothing should exist. It is illogical that I am here preaching, that you are there sitting, that even a single atom of matter exists…or ever existed.
The fact that we do exist itself is a miracle.
And that is why God is. He is the uncaused cause of everything. The supernatural nature of our existence is most logically explained by a supernatural being causing it. The existence of anything necessitates God.
Does everyone’s brain hurt now? 🙂
Kids, I especially apologize to you for getting you confused…but I wanted you to understand that those who tell you you should only believe in the natural (what you can hear, see, smell, feel, or taste)…and not the supernatural…are ignoring the fact that it is supernatural that the natural exists. Let’s wrap up this section with a joke that kind of explains it:
As you know, we are learning more an more about life works. We can change things right down to the DNA level, can clone animals, and claim to have a general idea of how life started. So, a bunch of scientists contacted the Most High and said, “Hey God, we don’t need you any more. We can create life ourselves.” Our Lord replied, “Okay, let’s see you create man like I created man.” The cocky scientists responded, “Sure, no problem!,” reached down, and grabbed some dirt to get started.
God quickly spoke up and said, “Whoa there! Get your own dirt.”
Now do you understand a bit more? 🙂
Phew! What a long start to this sermon, eh kids? Now you understand why I cannot answer your question Anthony in a single sermon.
Now that we are past that long beginning, let’s talk about how God is God. First non-simple adjective that help answer that?
Anyone know what that means?
Per my Mac’s dictionary:
not composed of matter; having no material existence: ghostly presences and incorporeal beings.
God is incorporeal. He is not physical like us. You can pinch yourself to see if you are in a dream or not. You cannot pinch God to see if He is real. 🙂
Now, the first part of this sermon did something I hate doing…which is it depended on human logic almost entirely…so from this point forward let’s depend almost entirely on the Bible. I’ve said, “Got is incorporeal”…meaning God isn’t made of matter…does not have a body. How do we know that from Scripture?
Let’s start with John 4:24:
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is what? God is spirit. Not “God is a really tall being with white clothes, white hair, and a Gandalf-like smile.” God is spirit.
Next, let’s look at 1 Timothy 1:17 and Colossians 1:15:
17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15).
What attribute of God did each of those mention? Invisible. God is invisible because He is not made of anything. He is incorporeal. You can only see things that or corporeal.
And no, he doesn’t use a Klingon cloaking device. 🙂
Finally, let’s wrap up “God is incorporeal” with 1 Timothy 6:15-16:
15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
Has anyone seen God?
Can anyone ever see God?
Now, don’t get me wrong, God can reveal His glory in ways we can see, but we cannot actually see Him because He is invisible…He is a spirit. If He completely revealed Himself the brightness of His glory would destroy us…but that would not be seeing a physical being. That is seeing the glory of the One and Only.
Are we good with item #1 of how God is God Anthony?
God is incorporeal.
Our second adjective for how God is God is omnipresent. What does that mean?
Again heading back to my Mac’s dictionary:
(of God) present everywhere at the same time.
Omnipresent means everywhere at the same time.
God is omnipresent.
One of the problems with discussing God is that everything that answers “how God is God” is beyond our experience. We have physical bodies, so how do you imagine being without that? We can only be in one place at one time, not matter what our jobs might want us to do :-), so how do we imagine being everywhere at once?
But Scripture makes it clear God is omnipresent. A couple of my favorite references showing that are Psalm 139:7-8 and Jeremiah 23:23-24:
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (Psalm 139:7-8)
23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
Can you flee from God?
Can you hide from God?
No, because He fills heaven and earth.
Because God is everywhere.
Because God is omnipresent.
And, by the way, you’ll seem how some of these divine attributes fit so tightly together. For instance, omnipresent and omniscient (which means all-knowing) fit hand-in-glove. But more about omniscience next week.
Our three rules for preaching to kids are:
- Use simple words.
- Keep it short.
- See #1 and #2.
Hopefully I’ve fulfilled #1 by defining the complex adjectives about God…and in order to fulfill #2, we are going to stop here and continue with “Anthony’s Sermon on Why and how is God…God?” next week. I suspect continuing to keep rule #2 will mean two more parts, but we’ll see.
Anthony, what two characteristics did we learn about God today?
God is incorporeal – He is not made out of matter.
God is omnipresent – He is everywhere at once.
We also learned that He was the uncaused cause…the great I AM. But I’m not going to make everyone’s head hurt again by diving back into that. 🙂
Next week will probably start off omniscient…but only God knows for sure, because…well…
God is omniscient. 🙂