So often, we reduce God. We try to push God into our boxes, paint God with our specific preferences, and paste God labels upon him. We are a people who try to make God into something else, something we can understand. This s especially challenging for someone like me, who’s job it is to communicate truths about God yet simultaneously declare that we can’t totally understand God. We try to define a God who by definition, cannot be defined.
All in One
I remember when I got offered to teach at our Jr. high ministry while I was working on my Masters program. I decided I wanted to aim big and teach the Jr. Highers about the Holy Spirit. So I prepared to wow them with my linguistic ability and theological mastery that I had gained to that point (sarcasm). I stood up and began, “today we are talking about the Holy Spirit, one of the Persons of the trinity.” They looked at me with both confusion and awe as if I had just recited the first 200 digits of pi. “This poor soul,” they must have thought. In any case, I sensed from their befuddled look that I should perhaps back track a bit. “Who knows what I mean when I say Trinity?” Only three people in the room raised their hands. It was at that moment I realized that I had twenty minutes to not only speak on the Holy Spirit, but on the entire Trinity, the definition of the nature of God that took some of the most brilliant people that have ever lived centuries to concretely explain…I had twenty minutes and a room full of 11-14 year olds. Needless to say, I failed.
When we try to over define, or oversimplify God, we fail; we fail because God is not simple, he is not finite. So with that said, I understand that the following is not going to serve as some ultimate concrete enlightenment on the nature of God. The early church Fathers, early Christian thinkers thought to have been fathers of the faith declared in the early Fourth century that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, based on their individual references in Scripture, are three different persons yet homousios or of the same substance. This means they are all God (not Gods) but all are identifiable as unique. All three work as one yet all three can be identified as three. For Example, Jesus speaks of his Father in heaven as well as of the Holy Spirit who is an advocate that will come after he is gone. Or, in Matt. 28:10, Jesus commissions the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; all three different representations of YHWH the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So lets talk about one of these persons of God. God the Father, very early in Christian theology was thought of as more powerful or the leader or patriarch of the Godhead (a word used to describe God as Trinity) because, an earthly father serves as that role in the earthly family. Although the Father holds a unique role, his power is no more or less, his power is not even separate from the other two persons f the Trinity. God is powerful, not Just the father.
Spoken into Creation
To help us understand God and God the Father, we trace all the way back to eternity past, when God was, and all else was not. John 1:1-3 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” In the Beginning was God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and yet John distinguishes between “he/the word” and God before stating that they were God.
In the very begging ALL of God is present and yet God is functioning in different ways.
Now if we god back to Genesis Chapter 1 we read the God speaks creation into existence. This voice this echo, this creative presence was and is God the Father. God the Father is evident and present in creation. He speaks through the Son, through the Word, the logos. The voice of the Father is the presence of the Son. And yet things would not be complete if not for the Power of the Holy Spirit.
The Father, speaking through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit brings all things into Creation.
One thing we find is that although one person of the Trinity may be highlighted, all of the Trinitarian God is always present.
God is a God of Power
What we see in the creation accounts as well as the action of God throughout the Cannon is that God is a God of Power. Our God, the God who is with us now, the God who died on the cross of us, the God who spoke creation into existence, that God is a God of power.
Our problem is we often forget. When we are faced with problems, trials, struggles, just life, we forget that God, all of God is a God of Power. We read in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” And Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” And yet we forget who God is. We forget when we see the changing of the seasons, when we walk outside and see the afternoon clouds take shape, when we see the sun duck below the horizon, when we stand on the shores of the ocean, when we watch the flowers bloom and the wither, we forget that our God is a God of power.
We forget that he can do all things and wants to do all things through us. We forget that we can do great things because he powerfully created us to be great. We forget, and the very creation that our God spoke in to existence was spoken as a reminder, “remember that I am a powerful God.”
Don’t believe me? Go outside to your lawn. Stand in the grass. Pick a spot and try to talk a tree into sprouting up…