Welcome to the unbiased interpretation of the Bible!

This is a bold interpretation of Scriptures.
Some neglected scriptures contradict basic Christian doctrines. Other scriptures have universal value and are acceptable by followers of every religion.

I firmly believe that the truth which Revives, Unites, Liberates, Edifies and Sustains the whole man – spirit, soul and body – is the truth that RULES supreme in the Universe! This Truth, which is scattered throughout the Bible, I am prayerfully trying to unfold here.

I hope the students of the Bible will here discover some great neglected truths that nourish their soul and quench their spiritual thirst.

You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free"!

Τετάρτη, 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010

God is One in the Bible

To rightly describe God, the Ultimate Reality, the Absolute Light, the basis of all existence, requires divine wisdom, communion and perfect union with the Almighty. It requires entering into the very Essence of God! This, of course, presupposes absolute purity of one’s heart and mind, something that can be attained by freeing ourselves of everything that is born of ignorance.

Being aware of my personal limitations, I proceed to the first chapter of this blog with awe. Anyway, I am convinced that nobody can really know God through the description of others – even if those were some of the Bible writers – although all this admittedly helps. We can enter into the true knowledge of God only when we transcend the ego-consciousness,...
stop identifying ourselves with the body and become conscious of our own essential divine nature.  This should be the Goal of our life, if we are to experience constant bliss, regardless of the circumstances we are facing.

From the beginning of time, man sought to know and communicate with his maker and the maker of all visible creation. He took it for granted that God existed. His assumption was reasonable. Everything that exists, even a tiny pin, has its maker and a purpose. So, beholding the majesty, the order and the wisdom of Creation, we would be fools to assume that the Universe was formed by chance, by nobody. Such an assumption would defile common sense. For sure, then, there must exist a Creator, a Supreme Being that conceived and laid out the wonders of this Universe. We cannot prove it, but it makes sense; it satisfies our logic far more than the opposite.
Let us now see what the Bible says about God.

I: Creator
 “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God”, said St. Paul  (Heb. 11: 3a).
 By faith, then, we understand that someone created the Universe, someone who was from the beginning, a self-existent Supreme Mind, Spiritual Energy with intelligence, a Spirit without beginning or end! Every other assumption is illogical and leads to absurdities and confusion. The Greek word for God is “Theos” and derives from the past tense of the ancient verb “tithimi”, which means: to decide, define, place. So, God is the One who decided the creation of the Universe, defined the sovereign laws by which it would be governed and placed the world in its place!

And how did God create the world? By His word, says the Bible. God “spoke” and the world came to pass.
Man’s mind, of course, stops when the question of who was the maker of God arises in his heart. He cannot take it any further. He cannot comprehend that there could be someone without beginning.  This is too much for the capacity of his finite mind. The Bible does not attempt to give an answer to this question, nor does it argue about the existence of God. It takes it for granted that God IS. This is indisputable. He is the great “I AM”.

 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (…) Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’;” (Gen. 1: 1, 26a)
 Creation was God’s good pleasure and, some say, His need. The Self-realization comes when one starts creating something. Moreover, in creating man in His own image, God might have wanted to make, out of a universal and impersonal Spirit, human beings with the potential to become personal gods. Could the secret of God’s creation of man lie somewhere here? In Revelation (19: 7) there is mention of a mystical marriage between Christ (the Lamb) and the Bride, which is believed to be the Church. Could the esoteric meaning of this be the marriage, i.e. the perfect union, between the personal soul and the impersonal spirit (the embodiment of divine law) in man? I leave the answer to this most important question to each one of the readers, as we all need divine revelation on this.
 “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” (Neh. 9: 6)
 Nehemiah, just as all the prophets of the Old Testament, believes that God is the Creator of everything that exists: the highest heavens, the heavens, their starry host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them! The prophet also sees that the multitudes of heaven worship God.
I wish we could say the same about human beings…

Ecclesiastes asserts that God is the maker of all things and he admits that it is only natural that man cannot understand the works of God, since he doesn’t even know how his bones were formed in his mother’s womb: As you do not know what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones are formed into a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.” (Eccl. 11: 5)

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” (Psa. 19:1)
David seems to run out of words beholding the grandeur of the heavens and the skies, which but declare the glory of God! Elsewhere the psalmist repeats what was a common belief for the people of the Old Testament: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (…) For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth.” (Psa. 33: 6, 9)
  God’s Word is creative. He “speaks” and things come into existence.  Apparently, the psalmist assumes that God is a person and that He speaks as we do.  (In my humble opinion, we need revelation on this, since the belief in a personal God leaves many questions unanswered.)

 In other places the Bible states that God creates by his Spirit: “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psa. 104: 30).
To try to describe how God creates, if He speaks, just thinks, or if He simply desires and it comes to be, is to try the impossible. We simply project to God our own characteristics and our own limitations. Our mental faculties don’t have the capability to conceive and our language doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe God’s ways of creating. It is enough for us to believe that behind all visible and invisible universes there is one Creator, a Master Mind, an infinite Intelligence that created everything in love and wisdom.

Job does not even attempt to explain how God creates; he stands in awe and only describes quite eloquently what he sees, admitting that he doesn’t understand God’s tremendous power: “He spreads out the northern (skies) over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. (…) And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26: 7-11,14).

Indeed, we can only faintly hear the whisper of God! And we can only vaguely conceive his power… All we can understand is that He can do everything He pleases; there is nobody and nothing to restrict him apart, perhaps, from his own decrees, the sovereign laws that He has established from the beginning, when he created the universes.
The psalmist also admits this: “The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on earth, in the seas and all their depths.” (Psa. 135: 6)

 We, his creatures, are not to judge God for the way He made things. We are not to complain and grudge about anything. On the contrary, we must praise the Lord for everything, under any circumstances. This is for our own good, it serves the best of our interests, and it brings us inner peace and joy. Here is how the psalmist exhorts us: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He established them for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.” (Psa. 148: 5-6)
 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (Psa. 103: 1)
Amos, one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, writes: For lo, he who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness and treads on the heights of the earth, the LORD God Almighty is his name.” (Amos 4: 13)
 The deep and genuine adoration of Amos towards God is obvious in these words. God not only creates everything but He also reveals his thoughts to men, especially to his prophets!
 Another minor prophet of the O.T., Zechariah, writes: “The word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth and who forms the spirit of man within him.” (Zech. 12: 1)
As the prophet understands it, God, as Creator, is constantly working. Among all the other great things that He creates and sustains, the Lord forms the spirit of each person within him/her. It is worth reflecting on this verse. It appears to me that the prophet here does not leave much room for the belief in re-incarnation.  Each human spirit is new and is formed within man by God.

There is not a single writer in the Bible who does not declare the glory of God in his Creation, and not just once. It couldn’t have been otherwise. If their writings were considered worthy to be included in what has come down to us as Holy Scriptures, it is because they had been blessed not only to believe in the existence of the Almighty God, the sole Creator of Universe, but also to love and adore him. Hence, when they were inspired by God’s Spirit, they uttered beautiful words of wisdom that are invaluable for the spiritual growth of man.

II: God is Spirit

Regarding the nature of God, there are many references to him as Spirit. “The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Gen. 1:2)
 So, the Spirit of God existed from the beginning, when there was nothing else but abyss, a complete dark void.

Let us look at more Biblical references to God as Spirit:
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33: 4)
 Indeed, the Spirit of God is our Creator, i.e. God himself. He has made us, and by his “breath” he sustains our life!
The next scripture is even clearer that God’s nature is spiritual: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 23-24)
 So then, God, who is our Father, is spirit. He is the Holy Spirit himself, and we can only worship Him in spirit and in Truth. It is by our spirit that we can communicate with God’s Spirit.  Apparently we cannot connect with Him through hand made images and other visual aids.

 Since God is Spirit, He is invisible. We cannot see Him. As Paul writes to Timothy, “God, the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see.” (1 Tim. 6: 15b-16a)
 John repeats the same thing: “No man has ever seen God.” (1 John 4: 12a)
Since God is invisible Spirit, i.e. formless, for man to try to visualize Him is fruitless.
 Job was also desperate because he could not see God whom he so loved! “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand I seek him, but I cannot behold him; I turn to the right hand, but I cannot see him.” (Job 23: 8-9)
 However, although we cannot see God, we are also told that He is not far really! In fact, He is very close to us. The psalmist knows it very well (Psa. 139: 7-13):
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
             Where can I flee from your presence?
   If I go up to the heavens, you are there!
   If I make my bed in the depths, you are there!
   If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
            If I dwell on the far side of the sea,
   Even there your hand will guide me,
             Your right hand will hold me fast.
    If I say, ‘Let only darkness cover me
              And the light about me be night’
    Even the darkness is not dark to you,
               The night is bright as the day,
    For darkness is a light to you.
               For you created my inmost being,
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

How beautiful, tender, truly God-inspired is David’s song to the awesome God! Let us read it again and meditate upon it. It is so wonderful, so uplifting!

Paul confirmed the nearness of God while speaking to the Athenians: “Yet he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’, as even some of your poets have said; for ‘We are indeed his offspring’.” (Acts 17: 27b-28) 
How gracefully the ancient Greek poets had described God! In Him we have our being! Since God is Spirit, He permeates every atom of our body, every particle of the air round about us; He lives in us, as He also lives in every creature of the earth, in every planet and star of the Universe! This element of God’s nature inherent in us is our spirit! We are his “offspring”! In other words, we are God’s body. Indeed, the entire Universe is God’s body.
III: God is one

The Bible stresses that God is one: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God.” (Isa. 44: 6b)
The prophet Isaiah makes it absolutely clear: there is no other God!
“Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is GOD in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (Deut. 4: 39)
          In this verse Moses, the giant prophet, emphasizes the same Truth: there is no other God in heaven or on the earth!
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. 6: 4)
Moses had spoken very clearly to Israel. He stressed the oneness of God, the Creator, many times, since the Israelites had learnt the ways of the heathen in Egypt and were prone to worship their false gods.

 “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and accepts no bribes.” (Deut. 10: 17)
Here Moses acknowledged the existence of lesser gods (spirits) but he made it clear that the true God was above them all. He was Lord over all gods!

The New Testament also has many references to the one God, the Creator. I shall quote some here: “And when they heard this, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them;’ ” (Acts 4: 24).
 This is a prayer of the first Christians in Jerusalem.  It is obvious that they prayed to one God, the Sovereign Lord, the sole Creator of the Universe. There is no room for misunderstanding here.

 In another passage of the Acts, where the Apostle Paul was preaching to the Athenians, it is written: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man; nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, because he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17: 24-25)
 Once again, it is clear that Paul believes in one God, the only Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, who gives life to all, and does not live in shrines made by men!

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul makes it clear, once again, that he believes and preaches one God: “There is (…) one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4: 4a, 6)
What a uniting truth is included in so few words! There is only one God who is the Father of all! He is the Father of the “born again” and the not “born again”, the Father of the Evangelicals and Pentecostals, the Father of the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Protestants, the Father of the Jews, the Muslims and the believers of every other major or minor religion!  Indeed, He is even the Father of the atheists, for He is through all and in all! He is also over all. There is none else above Him or next to him.

 The following scriptures also confirm that God is one:
 “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Phil. 4: 20)
All glory belongs forever to God, our Father! We should not glorify anybody else.
“Do not be deceived, my brothers. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness or shadow of change.” (Jam. 1: 16-17)
Everything originates in the Father of Lights! So we should accept whatever He brings to us with gratitude and thanksgiving!

“You believe that God is one; you do well.” (Jam. 2: 19a)
It couldn’t have been clearer!  God is one! To Him alone belongs the glory. And He is our Father, the Father of all creatures. There is no room left here for misunderstanding and complicated theological dogmas. God, who is one, is the only source of life! He is the Father of lights, above all, through all and in all. So to God alone belongs the glory. There shouldn’t be any doubts; God alone is the source of life.

Finally, as we seek the truth about God, we should cry to the Lord even as David did: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psa. 25: 4-5)

IV: God is Wise

“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all;” (Psa. 104: 24a)
When we observe the order, the beauty and the harmony in God’s creation, we cannot but join David in praising the Lord for his infinite wisdom.

King Solomon also acknowledges God’s wisdom in his Proverbs: “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place.” (Prov. 3: 19)
  Even if we have questions unanswered, we must humbly admit our limitations and not doubt the wisdom of our Creator.

 Jeremiah also declares the power and wisdom of God, as it is manifested in his works: “It is He who made the earth by his power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens.” (Jer. 10: 12)

In this chapter, through Biblical verses, we have established that God, who created the Universe with infinite wisdom, is one, He is self-existent, without beginning or end; He is sovereign, his nature is spiritual, and He is omnipresent. There are also hundreds more passages in the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, which speak of the other holy characteristics of God. They assert that God is perfect, omnipotent, incomprehensible, immutable, omniscient, holy, loving, merciful, just, impartial, provider and more.

However, some writers of the Bible have attributed to God not only the highest qualities of character but also some of man’s weaknesses, such as anger, vindictiveness, jealousy etc. They assumed that God is partial and that He made blood covenants with men, getting jealous and angry when his “chosen” people worshipped other gods!
It is beyond the scope of this blog to quote any scriptures on such imaginary negative characteristics that man projected to God.  In any case, it would not help anyone spiritually to be acquainted with an imperfect Jehovah, made in man’s own image.