G-d is one

When attempting to discuss or define the concept of G-d we realize that He is a complex being that eludes the natural mind’s ability to fully comprehend His person.  G-d knows us intimately whether it be the number of hairs on our head or the discerning of our thoughts. He knows when we lay down and when we rise. There is no place that we can escape or hide from His presence because He is G-d.

We are just clay and He is the potter that has shaped and fashioned us and yet can we make bold assumptions that G-d can be observed by placing Him under the lens of our theological microscope? We don’t even fully understand the complexity of His creation let alone the one who created it. Doesn’t it sound a little arrogant or obstinate to say that a person can know G-d as fully as He knows them?

How can we confine G-d to a full definition when theologians are often left grasping for terms and methods of interpretation in order to help make G-d more knowable? No man has ever seen G-d and what G-d gave Moses was only a sneak preview of His hind parts.

The bible goes on to describe our limited knowledge of the creator in stating that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways.

Even the bible which contains His revelation does not contain the full revelation of His being, as if we could understand it anyway even if it were described to us. We get a feel for this just from reading apocalyptic literature which leaves us with a sense of awe and bewilderment beyond description.

We would like to confine G-d to the box of an earthly temple. Yet even the heavens can not contain Him. We are finite beings yet He is infinite in His person and character. We are learning to know while He is omniscient or all knowing.

What understanding we can gain from G-d comes from the frailty of human language and expression. Whatever view we can see of G-d is likened to the obscurity of looking through an opaque lens.

Simply what we know of G-d is what He has determined to make known. We can know G-d but only under the inspiration that He chooses to make Himself known or disclosed. He is the moderator and therefore by attempting to take control of the moderation we find ourselves as a speculator which is a dangerous position of belief.

Even with the fuller sense of human capacity which results from the next covenant process of regeneration we are still left with a diminished view within the realm of our human experience. Though we are transformed through the renewing of our minds and hearts in being born anew we are still limited in our knowledge which longs for a future enlightment which only comes when we depart the confines of this world for the next.

We even see a limitation to those who have had the special divine privilege of knowing G-d through the prophetic gift of uttering His very words and yet they desired to know more fully the mystery’s whereby they spoke and even the angels, to whom we are inferior too and made a little lower than, are left without full illumination concerning matters of which they long to look into likewise.

We see that people have constantly wrestled with ideas as related to G-d’s existence and these concepts sometimes are so lofty that schools of theologians have fought in hammering out an image of G-d that gives Him a face. We use such words as anthromorphic, theophany, incarnation, shekinah, and triunity to help explain conceptual images of G-d.

Yet are we trying to bring G-d down to our level by pinning Him down for an existential definition within the confines of our understanding or is there a point that we have to accept the reality of G-d’s existence without looking towards mystical applications concerning the obscurity of His person.

Much of our human experiences are relegated through the channel of human perception whether it be the basic instincts of our five senses extending to more complex behaviors as related to our social and cultural values.

We see these limitations even when trying to understand human agency as comparing contemporary man  to a biblical culture. Take for instance someone who may know modern Hebrew but lacks the skill to understand biblical Hebrew with all of its ancient meanings and nuances. Even if a person can achieve a sense of mastery concerning these biblical concepts they are still left with a modern mindset.

I also  see a distinction between cultures which I have experienced from dialoging with my Muslim friends about the sonship of the Messiah which to them means the consummation of the physical act of sexual experience. The biblical concept of sonship is not limited to just the procreative act of begetting but rather it extends its application to be analogous with a relational term of endurance based on a intimate personal relationship independent of just a mere physical component.

If we as humans have difficulties in relating to each other based on the limited sphere of time and space then how much more are we removed from understanding the “One” to whom created time and space.

Perhaps it’s enough to know that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Yet I realize that this is an over simplified view and therefore is not enough in approaching this great difficulty and dilemma in understanding the nature of G-d’s existence.

The concept of G-d requires more than just a general revelation otherwise our worship could be misdirected or misapplied. It requires a special revelation but only to the degree that G-d reveals versus the likes of human invention or revelation which can be distorted through the process of imagination and speculation. In other words there is point where G-d sets a boundary stone to our doctrinal beliefs and our problem is that we are trying to move it by extending its limits. I believe we see this through the supplemental writings of rabbinic literature as well as other cults or religions who feel a need to increase their plot of knowledge resulting in a Gnostic view as having a special knowledge.

I don’t believe that are inability to fully grasp and comprehend G-d’s existence limits us in our relationship with him. He is still our G-d whether we lack the intimate details of our “Abba” who is infinite and immortal. Even if I did fully understand G-d’s being would it then change anything? Is it ok to say that some things were meant to remain a mystery without it sounding intellectually suicidal? We as humans have this innate sense of pushing the limits of our existential experiences and once again we find ourselves going back to the garden scene of becoming wise like G-d by partaking of the proverbial forbidden fruit of knowledge which when consumed leaves us dumber than dirt.

G-d is more preoccupied in us properly relating to Him versus making Him into an obtainable image within our minds.

We only have a caricature of G-d through the biblical portrait anything added or taken away from this is presumptuous at best and blasphemous at worst. It should suffice for us to say that G-d’s person is shrouded with a degree of mystery.

I am sorry that I have taken so long in my introduction but I thought it would be  helpful in transitioning to our next stage of discussion which is the triune existence of G-d.

To begin with I would like to say that as a Christian I am in agreement that G-d is one and this is supported by the New Testament writings as well as Christian creeds.

I affirm the confession of the Shema as found in Deuteronomy 6:4 which establishes G-d as being one.

When considering the oneness of G-d we often think in terms as related to a numerical value or an absolute unity. The word used in the Shema is “echad” which simply means one and this word can also be used to denote a compound unity unlike the word “yachid” which is used when referring to an absolute unity. No where in the scripture is there reference to G-d being “yachid”.

The word “echad” is used in Genesis 2:24 when referring to the husband and wife being joined together as one(echad) flesh, 2 Samuel 7:23 calls Israel as being one(echad) nation. What is understood is that the use of the word wasn’t meant to have a philosophical view about the essential nature of G-d but rather a declaration that He is G-d alone. This is even supported by the New Jewish Publication Society Version which translates the Shema after this manner and this is also supported by the medieval commentators Abraham Ibn Ezra and Rashbam. In other words we find exclusivity in G-d alone in which Israel was not to worship any other gods Isaiah 45: 5 “I am the Lord and there is no other; apart from me there is no G-d.”

The Hebrew name for G-d “Elohim” is a masculine plural noun which specifies G-d’s power. This is not to be confused in defining the very essence of G-d’s existence but rather it appears to refer to the majestic plurality of G-d’s being which would describe someone of great importance and significance based on the study of ancient Semitic language and culture.

There is also the biblical texts in which G-d speaks saying “let us make man after our own image and likeness,” “let us go down and confuse the languages”, “man has become like one of us knowing good and evil.” The pluralistic usage of these nouns is probably just another expression of Hebraic thought since these nouns are followed with the singular verb form. The only plausibility I see to this whole scenario concerning G-d’s nature as being more than just  a majestic plural form is that the rest of the bible, except for a couple of other references, doesn’t support this type of verbiage and yet God’s name is mentioned voluminously throughout the Tanakh.

When referring to the triunity of G-d as being one, it is with a complete sense of unity while maintaining an individual personhood. This term by no means is plainly represented in a clean cut fashion or in a short and definable manner according to the biblical text. Actually it is quite a mystery much like some of the other Jewish references  to the view of G-d such as the mystical notion of the ”Ten Seferot”, “ Shekinah”, and the concept of the Aramaic Targums which speak of the divine “Memra” or word. If this isn’t enough to get you to wonder about the magnificence of G-d’s being then just ponder about his omnipresence in that He fills the entire universe at once.

The conceptual word as related to a ”Trinity” or “Triunity” was just a means to help define G-d much like these other terms have tried to do. We have to remember that it was the first century Jews that wrote the majority of the New Testament scriptures and that their position and confession concerning a G-d concept was founded on a monotheistic view of G-d . The term “Trinity” wasn’t coined until about 150 AD when it was used by Tertullian mainly as a reactionary or as an apologetic statement of belief.

I have wrote on a previous blog about the “Divinity of the Messiah” in which the New Testament has no problem building a case for yet this is a vague concept in the Tankah except for the unique and exalted sense of King Messiah who would bring forth a restoration  through His glorious reign.

One of the most grandiose pictures of this Messiah figure is given in the prophet Daniel 7:13-14 where one liken unto the son of man is coming with the clouds of heaven and approaches the Ancient of Days. What’s interesting is that this Messianic figure was given worship from all peoples of every language with all nations rallying to the banner of his rule and reign. We see this already in Messiah Yeshua or Jesus who has reconciled to G-d both Jew and Gentile in fulfillment to this prophetic vision.

No other Messianic figure in all of human history has had such an influence and impact as Jesus nor is their any competition from any other formidable candidate for the title of Messiah except Yeshua.

Worship is only to be given to G-d and therefore through the association of worship and his exalted state as coming on the clouds of heaven this isn’t just another angelic being.

Isaiah 9:6-7 which is another messianic scripture relates one that was to be born as a son and is given such elevated names  as “everlasting Father” and “mighty G-d”. This description goes beyond merely describing any ordinary man.

You may think that perhaps this is plausible but you are still left with wondering  about the divinity of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of G-d which on many occasions is spoken of as being synonymous with G-d? Why does the bible necessitate a definition of G-d as being Spirit and is this expression just another term of personification for G-d himself?

We see that in Genesis that the Spirit of G-d was hovering over the waters. In Psalms 104:30 it speaks of G-d sending his Spirit in bringing forth a renovation upon the earth in establishing His created order as we see in the Genesis account.

We also see mysteriously how the Spirit of G-d is sent and how His glory was deposited with men in a dynamic fashion of creativity. These men were artisans, prophets, kings, and priests who throughout the course of Israel’s history displayed the power of G-d based on the Spirit’s enablement. The prophet Joel states in 2:28 that the Spirit will no longer be sent or poured out only on a few elect people but rather a deluge would occur on all flesh.

When you think about the mechanics of such a divine impartation or act this goes beyond mere human comprehension. How can G-d impart his divine being on men? This is a mystery in and of itself let alone trying to understand the nature of G-d’s existence.

In closing this doesn’t answer every question related to the being of G-d nor does it explain every facet to His wondrous and mysterious person and yet even though the understanding of Christians and Jews differ in their pragmatic application to the existence of God there still remains a common belief in the one true G-d of the scriptures as described in the Tanakh.

No matter how we try to equate with mathematical precision the calculated concept of His being we are still left with an infinite inability to formulate a conceptual doctrine that adequately confines Him to the realm of our earthly experience.

Finally G-d is mysteriously expressed through his complex realities of being through the persons who bear the titles as “The Ancient of Days”, “The son of man,” and the “Spirit.”


How to know God


* Of special note regarding the title and term ‘Son of God’ , it is used in its most unique and supreme sense as a reference to the divinity of Jesus as the Christ in Mathew 28:16-20, John 5:16-27, and Hebrews 1. Is Jesus divine?

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