The doctrine of God

1. The Holy Trinity

WE BELIEVE there is one true and living God; a pure spirit without any material parts whatever; whose very essence is love; who is self-sufficient, immutable, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, almighty and incomprehensible. In all his relations outside himself he is sovereign, gracious, righteous, just, longsuffering, merciful, and approachable through Christ only.

Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; 1 Cor. 8:4; John 4:24; Deut. 4:15-16; Luke 24:39; 1 John 4:8; 2 Cor. 13:11; Isa. 48:11-12; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17; Deut. 33:27; Psa. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Isa. 40:13-14; 46: 9-10; Psa. 139:7-11; Jer. 23:24; Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8; Gen. 17:1; Rev. 1 :8; Job 11 :7; 26:14; 1 Tim. 6:14-16; Psa. 135:6; Eph. 1:11; Psa. 103:8; 111:4; Ex. 34:6; Isa. 45:21-22; John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5.

United in the one essence of God there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These are separate persons since theĀ  Father is not the Son and not the Holy Spirit, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit. Each of these persons possesses the entire divine essence undivided, and therefore the perfections which belong to God belong to each of the three persons.

The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit is eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Mat. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1. John 5:7; John 14:26; Psa. 90:2; John 1:14 and 18; 8:42; 16:28; 15:26.

2. God’s decree

God is love, and therefore all his counsels and actions proceed from this his essential nature.

John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-16.

God has decreed in himself before the world began, by his most holy, wise and sovereign will, all things whatsoever that come to pass, but in such a way that he is not the author of sin; nor is violence done to the will of the creature, nor is God’s use of means or second causes removed but established by the decree. God is sovereign and man is a responsible creature.

Isa. 46.:9-10; Rom. 9:15; Eph. 1 :11; 1 Pet. 1 :16; James 1 :13; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; John 19:11; Prov. 16:33.

By this same decree, God has from eternity predestinated an innumerable multitude of persons to be conformed to the image of his Son with all the blessings of eternal life; the rest of mankind he has sovereignly left to act in their sin to their just condemnation.

Eph. 1 :4 and 9 and 11; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Pet. 1 :2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Mat. 11 :25-26; Rom. 9:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:8; Rom. 1 :28; 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Tim. 3:8.

The predestinated persons, the elect, were chosen by God before the world began, entirely of his own good pleasure, and not at all on account of any faith or good works foreseen in them. As God has appointed the elect, and only the elect, to glory, so has he by the same decree foreordained all the means thereto, so that the elect being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, effectually called unto faith by the Spirit, justified, adopted, sanctified, made to persevere to the end, and at length glorified.

Eph. 1 :4-5; 2:8-10; Rom. 8:28-30; Phil. 1 :6.

This doctrine of predestination is to be taught with reverent prudence and care, that all men may be warned to be concerned for their state as sinners; and that the elect, making their calling and election sure, may be comforted and encouraged, and built up in their holy faith, to the glory of God’s sovereign majesty.

Acts 20:27; Rev. 20:15; 2 Pet. 1 :5-10.

3. Creation

In the beginning it pleased God, for the display of His glory, power, wisdom and goodness, to create out of nothing the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them.

God also created the first human pair, male and female, with intelligent and immortal souls, and made after the image of God, being perfectly righteous and holy, and completely able to fulfil the law of God implanted in their nature. The description of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is not myth but an accurate historical account of creation given by divine revelation.

Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:3; Heb. 11:3; Psa. 19:1; Rom. 1:20; Gen. 1:27; Mat. 19:4; Gen. 9:6; James 3:9; Ecc. 7:29; Job 38 and 39; Psa. 104:24; 33:5, 6; Col. 1 :16; Rom. 11:36; Isa. 43:7; Rev. 4:11

4. Divine providence

God the Creator, in his infinite power and wisdom, sustains and governs all creatures and things by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge and unchangeable will, to the glory of his invincible and righteous purpose.

Heb. 1 :3; Dan. 4:34-35; Acts 17:24-28; Mat. 10:29-30; Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:11; 3:9-10; Isa. 64:4.

Although all things come to pass with certainty according to God’s foreknowledge and decree, so that nothing happens without his providence; yet by the same providence God often uses means so that things happen according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily or contingently. Though God has normally worked in accordance with the laws of nature, or through second causes, there are occasions when he has worked directly or immediately. These extra-ordinary providences, or miracles, are a display of divine power wherein God works in a supernatural way, producing a result without recourse to the normal means. The miracles of Scripture were performed with a definite purpose in view, and were especially manifest during periods of unusual revelation.

Gen. 8:22; Jer. 31:35; Acts 27:31-44; Ex. 7:1; 1 Kings 18:38; John 2:11.

This same providence, by God’s almighty power and wisdom governs the actions of men and spirits, so that while they act freely according to their natures, their deeds, whether good or bad, fall within the scope of the divine purpose. This applies equally to the case of those from whom God sovereignly withholds his mercies with the result that they are hardened in their sins. Nevertheless, sinfulness comes only from creatures and not from God.

Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 14:16; Psa. 76:10; Isa. 10:5-7.

While the providence of God governs all things, it is specially concerned with the sustaining and building up of the Church and the welfare of its members.

Psa. 23; 103; 125:2; Isa. 43:3-5; Eph. 4:11-16.