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The Nature of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2021 7:00 am

The Nature of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 15, 2021 7:00 am

Trying to fit the idea of an infinite God into a finite brain is like trying to pour a swimming pool into a sippy cup: it’s just not going to fit. But Dr. Tony Evans says that the Bible gives us some important insights into God’s nature, and in this lesson, he’ll explain what they are and what they mean.

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We don't say that computers happened. We say that it was intellect that produced a computer. Dr. Tony Evans says truly appreciating who God is only begins once we realize nothing can occur apart from Him.

God created the visible world out of non-existent material. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Trying to contain the idea of an infinite God and a finite brain is like trying to pour a swimming pool into a sippy cup. It's just not going to fit. But the Bible does give us some important insights into God's nature, and Dr. Evans will help us explore them today.

Let's join him. God is the eternally perfect, uncreated creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things who is comprised of three co-equal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are one in essence while remaining distinct in personality, meaning the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, but they all comprise the one being of God. Now, the Bible never tries to convince people about the existence of God. Psalm 14 1 says, So to be an atheist, you must also be a fool. You have to become educated in the atheism, because that's not natural. It's not natural because we're created in the image of God, and it's not natural because Psalm 119 says that the heavens and earth declare the glory of God. At the core of the existence of God is He is at His core an immaterial being, an immaterial being. In John 4, verses 23 and 24, God is a spirit.

The day that worshipping must worship in spirit is true. He is a spirit. He is not a physical being at His core. Now, He became a man, but He had to become a man, because that's not in His eternal state.

He's not a man. He is a spirit, okay? Which is why we must be able to relate to Him spiritually, because He is a spirit who became a man in Christ, but at His essence, at His core, at His natural habitat, He is a spirit. Now, the Bible makes it clear that there is never a time when God did not exist.

From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. If somebody were to ask you, where did God come from, that is a question that has no answer. But it has an answer. The answer is He didn't come from anywhere because there was never a time He didn't exist, okay? Now, even evolutionists have a problem because you still got to come up with first cause. You got to come up with, where did the first things come from that started creation?

So everybody has to come up with something. What the Christian worldview, theistic God worldview, is that our first cause, God, has never not been. He is greater than the sum total of His creation.

Okay, think about it. God created the heavens and the earth, all the galaxies, all the realms, all the stars, you know, you read Genesis 1, all that. In the beginning, God. So God created everything that exists. So if God, just by His Word, can create everything that exists, then He must be greater than what He created.

Okay? And the God who exists, exists in personhood. He is not an impersonal force, for you Star Wars fans.

He's not the force. He is a person, that is. He has intellect, He thinks. He has emotion, He feels. The Bible talks about God being glad, God being angry, you know, God being disappointed, you know, it speaks about His feelings.

Okay? Emotion, intellect, and will. He can choose to act or not act.

So He has choice. Intellect, emotion, will, and then consciousness. God bears self-consciousness. You have self-consciousness. There's nobody here that doesn't know that you're here. But the reason that you know that you're here is you have self-consciousness. You're conscious of your own reality.

Okay? So what God gave us was what He Himself possesses at an infinite level, but He possesses self-consciousness. So He is a person. Because He is a person, even though He is a spirit person, He can be related to, communicated with, interacted with. Because He bears the same thing we have at a lower level, we have it, but He is a person. So therefore, as we go through the Lord's Prayer, we can talk to Him as Father because He bears personhood. Therefore, we can relate to Him, but we've got to do it spiritually because at His core, at the nucleus, if you will, of His being, God is spirit. Now, the problem here with this being we call God is the transcendent nature of His being. When we say He is transcendent, we're saying He sits outside of time and space.

Okay? In the beginning, God preceded the beginning and created the beginning. So before there was a beginning, there was God.

So how can you have a being to exist before there was a beginning to exist in? So God sits outside of time, which helps us to understand something, that because He is transcendent, that is, He is not limited to time and space because He can operate outside of it, then that should help us to understand why His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. As high as the heavens are above the earth, that's the continuum that He gives us. That's the distance from where we are and where He is. So this is why revelation, God disclosing Himself, is so important, because you would never be able to figure Him out on your own because He's transcendent.

He's in a whole other zone. But while He's transcendent, way out there, beyond time and space, He is simultaneously immanent. Transcendent, way out there, time and space, immanent means up close and involved in His creation. So He is way out there and way down here, both at the same time.

Okay? He's both transcendent and immanent. Let's look at Exodus 3. We're looking at God's nature.

We're trying to just identify His essential being. Exodus 3, God is commissioning Moses. Then Moses said to God, verse 13, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, What is His name?

What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I am who I am. And He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I am has sent me to you. Moses says, I'm going to go tell these folks something and they're going to think I have lost my mind.

You know, you've lost your mind. Who commissioned you? Who commissioned you to do this? He says, You tell them, I am that I am has sent you. Let me break down this designation. This designation is important because it's God telling you who He is. So God is telling Moses who He is.

What is my name? I am that I am. There are a number of features in this self-designation that God makes about His own identity. First of all, God establishes in this phrase His eternality because I am is an eternal present tense. God lives in the present tense, which means He has no past. His name is I am. It also means He has no future because I am is present tense.

I am right now. God has no yesterday and He has no tomorrow. Now, He can't talk to us like that because we have yesterday and we are moving to tomorrow. So He has to talk to us in language of our historical reality. But remember, He's transcendent, so He sits outside of history.

So He says, You tell them, I am in the present tense. So what this, the implications of His eternality in Psalm 90 verses 1 and 2, I quoted that a minute ago, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. He always lives in a current state of reality. He's independent of time.

He sits above time. And He sees everything as one whole. It's like looking at a parade from the Goodyear blimp versus looking at it from one group to another, passing you by with the band and the different floats and stuff. We see it progressively.

We call that linearly. We see it moving in time. The Goodyear blimp can see the whole parade because it's sitting way up here. God lives in the eternal now. So, whatever God says about the future, the future for us, not for Him, is in His reality right now. Now, when you get to heaven and time is no more, in other words, the Bible says there will be no night there, there will be no sun, there will be no night, there will be no sleep. That's depressing many of you. But the only reason you sleep is because there's night and you get tired and all that, but none of that will be happening.

So, you won't get tired. We'll be dealing with earth, too, and earth has time. But everything in heaven is existing in this eternal now status. So, everything is now. So, if God says something about the future, it's the future for us. It's now for Him, because He exists in the eternal present.

Everything is now. Dr. Evans will have more on the nature of God when he continues our message in just a moment. But first, I wanted to let you know about a brand new book that can help you better understand God's character and qualities, even as it helps you seek His guidance and support. It's called Prayers for Knowing God, and in it, Dr. Evans provides a number of prayers that can be prayed word for word or used as a springboard for your own dialogue with God. The book goes hand in hand with God's Heart Revealed, the name of Tony's current teaching series that you've been learning from today. For a limited time, we'll send you all twelve full-length messages from this series on CD and digital download, as well as the Prayers for Knowing God book as our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to support Tony's ministry here on the air. We're completely listener supported, so your faithfulness is the only way we can keep bringing you this broadcast each day.

So please, let us hear from you right away. You can make all the arrangements at TonyEvans.org, or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222, or online at TonyEvans.org.

Well, Dr. Evans, we'll come back with more of today's lesson right after this. He goes on to state in I Am that he is self-sufficient. Notice he says, you tell them, I am that I am.

So he states it twice. You can't say that. I can't say that. Number one, you are because of your mom and your daddy. Without your mom and your daddy, there's no you. You are dependent on something outside of you to be you. God says, I am simply because I am.

In other words, everything that I need for me is already intrinsic to me. He is the only truly independent being in the universe. A great way to look at God's self-generating is to think about the sun. It generates its own heat. You don't have to help it get hot. It's not like the stove, okay? So God is self-existent because He's self-generating.

So it doesn't need food, it doesn't need water, because it's all built in. The confusing part of God, a lot of confusing parts of God, but the confusing part of God is this triune nature, this Trinitarian nature, and that's what makes the Christian God distinct from any other God that's called God, because our God is a Trinity. The illustration you've heard me give is like a pretzel with three holes.

The first hole is not the second hole, the second hole is not the third hole, but all three holes are tied together by the same dough. They all bear the characteristics of deity. They bear the characteristics of the divine nature. And so the Bible declares that God is one, Deuteronomy 6.4, and yet the Bible declares that there are three that are called God. So God is a triune being who is eternal self-sufficient, self-existent.

He defines Himself by Himself. So the idea is to come to know God as He reveals Himself to be. Have you ever had anybody in your life who tries to tell you who you are and you know they don't know what they're talking about?

Have you ever had anybody, you have to say to them, you don't know me, you know, because what they thought they knew, what you knew was not true about you? Well, that's what a lot of people try to do about God. They want to take their humanity and define God in terms of it.

So they will regularly talk about what they think and how they feel about God, or God wouldn't do this or God wouldn't do that, rather than letting God define who God is to us, which we call revelation, God disclosing His reality to us. Now, this God, this Creator, who has not been created, but who is responsible for all the creation, for in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. You cannot have a watch without a watchmaker. You cannot have a building without a builder. Things do not exist by chance or luck.

You cannot have a painting without a painter. So many theories of evolution, and that's exactly what they should be kept, theories. One of them is the Big Bang Theory. Big Bang Theory, that there was this explosion of energy that spun off these different planets and all of that. So next time somebody tell you about a Big Bang, something exploded, and out of that evolved the universe. Ask them, when's the last time they've seen a bomb blow up? And after the explosion, something orderly resulted. Okay?

Good thing about that. Somebody places the bomb, it blows stuff up, and you wind up with a house. You wind up with something orderly. The intellect necessary for you to have the cellular structure of your human body. I mean, scientists, medical science, it's still trying to figure out. These billions of cells that have been intricately connected to produce life in the human body evolved by chance mutations. But for an intelligent person to believe that is the thinking of a fool, because that's what the Bible calls them, fools, that we have done this by our own hands. So a creation needs a creator. When the archeologists go by and they find something in some foreign place, they find tools that people constructed, what do they do?

They try to figure out who lived here. They don't think that tool happened by itself. Now, I know they go back to monkeys and apes and all that kind of stuff, but if the human brain can design a computer, then the question is, who designed the human brain? We don't say that computers happened. We say there was intellect that produced the computer. But where did the capacity to have intellect come from? If you need intellect to build a computer, then you need intellect to build the brain to build the computer.

I know you wouldn't want to fly on an airplane that's been locked together. All mankind has learned to do is rearrange God's already existing creation to create new things. What they cannot do is create out of nothing. They've got to have some raw materials to work with.

Now, they configure them. That makes me think of Hebrews 11, Hebrews 11, verse 3. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God so that what is seen was made out of things which are not visible. So God created theology. Here's another phrase. It's called ex nilo. Ex nilo means out of nothing. In other words, God created the visible world out of nonexistent material. You don't know anybody who's ever made any creation out of something that didn't already exist, except God. I'm just trying to give you a feel for the greatness of God. But because the transcendent God wanted to be intimate with His creation, He built Himself a second home. He existed outside of time and space, because He created time and space, but He wanted to hang out with His creation. So He built Himself a second home in the third heaven. That's the throne room of God in history, the third heaven.

Jesus went, He rose, He went to His Father in the third heaven where He's seated now. So God has a house in creation, although He simultaneously exists outside of creation. Then He decided to get a third home.

So what did He do? He built a tabernacle on earth that was called a mobile home, because that moved along with the Israelites. Then He decided to make the mobile home permanent. So He built a temple. Then He decided to make it personal. He becomes a man and dwelt among us.

John chapter 1, verses 14, verse 18. And then it even got more personal, for He is now in us. He is now in us by His Spirit. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about how the Creator of the universe chooses to be near to us. And if that's a gift you've never experienced, Dr. Evans would love to introduce you to the Lord. Just visit tonyevans.org and follow the link that says Jesus. There, Tony will share how to accept God's life-changing offer, what it means to have a real relationship with Christ, and how to be 100% sure about your eternal future. Drop by tonyevans.org to find out more.

And while you're there, don't forget to ask about that limited-time offer I mentioned earlier. You can get all 12 full-length messages in the powerful God's Heart Revealed collection as our gift to you. Just visit tonyevans.org, make a contribution in support of this ministry, and we'll send the audio series to you along with a special bonus of Tony's brand-new book, Prayers for Knowing God, our way of saying thank you. All the details are waiting for you online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org.

Or call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222. The Bible tells us God not only created heaven and earth, but that He fills them as well. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will examine what he calls the allness of God and explain why there's no place we can go where God is not already present. Be sure to join us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-24 18:57:02 / 2023-12-24 19:05:28 / 8

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