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Doctrine of God 0003 - Lesson 4

  1. THE NATURE OF GOD (Continued)
    1. False Doctrines Concerning the Trinity
      1. Tritheism
        1. This is the belief that the three persons of the Godhead are simply three different gods.
        2. This doctrine has not been a major doctrine in Christianity.
      2. Unitarianism
        1. Generally, this doctrine teaches that the unity of God excludes the idea of three equal persons in the Godhead.
        2. Practically, this demotes the Son and the Spirit to lesser beings. The common teaching is that the Son is a created being subordinate to God and the Spirit is simply an extension of God.
        3. Specifically, Unitarianism by name was a product of the Enlightenment and came out of the eighteenth century. A number of Baptists of this time fell into this error.
        4. Historically, Unitarianism was a revival of the Arianism of the fourth century.
          1. Developed from the teachings of Arius (250-336), a native of Alexandria who was influenced by the Gnostic teachings of the day.
          2. His view of Christ was as follows:
            1. He was created by the Father
            2. He was subordinate to the Father
            3. He was neither fully God nor fully man
            4. He was created before everything else, in turn created all other things, and is therefore the highest created being
            5. He is worthy of worship
        5. Currently, the teachings of Arianism and Unitarianism are carried on by the Unitarians, the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, and others.
      3. Modalism
        1. Modalism is a general word used to describe various teachings that speak of the one God working in various modes but as the same unique God.
        2. Monarchianism
          1. A doctrine developing in the third century
          2. It denies the personal distinctiveness of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
          3. Adoptionistic monarchianism taught that Jesus was a mere man endowed with the Holy Spirit.
        3. Sabellianism
          1. Named for Sabellius who lived in Rome early in the third century
          2. He taught that the one God revealed Himself through history, first as the Father, second as the Son, and finally as the Spirit.
            1. As the Father, he was Creator and Lawgiver.
            2. As the Son, he was the Redeemer.
            3. As the Spirit, he is the giver of grace.
          3. However, each of these is the same God who reveals Himself in different modes at different times.
          4. This teaching has been revived in recent times by the Apostolic Church and other groups.
        4. The satanic trinity
          1. The ultimate perversion of the Trinity is found in the satanic trinity as revealed in the book of Revelation.
          2. The three persons of the satanic trinity are the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
          3. The three persons of this unholy trinity are unified by the name of the beast. Revelation makes 36 references to one or the other of these three as the beast.
            1. The beast of the bottomless pit is the devil (Revelation 11:7)
            2. The beast of the sea is the antichrist (Revelation 13:1)
            3. The beast of the earth is the false prophet (Revelation 13:11)
    1. Conception
      1. Introduction
        1. Conception, though not an accepted theological term, is used here to refer to the eternal state of God in eternity past when He conceived of the universe and made plans for redemption.
        2. Conception is followed by Creation and will eventually be completed by Consummation, a reference to the completion of God’s plan for history and the consumption of the universe by fire.
        3. Time and eternity
          1. To understand the work of Conception requires an understanding of time and eternity.
          2. Time refers to the consecutive events that make up history as we know it. Scientifically, time is considered a fourth dimension and that fits with biblical teaching. Time has a beginning, a movement through time, and a consummation. But God is not limited by time.
          3. Eternity present: even now, God dwells in eternity (Isaiah 57:15). That is, He is not contained within the confines of time but dwells outside of time and transcendent to time. As such, although He works with man in time, He looks on past, present, and future as if all were eternally present.
          4. Eternity future: this refers to time beyond time. When God completes His plan for this universe, He will burn all things with fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10-12). He will then create new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13) wherein will dwell righteousness. Eternity future does not mean that there will be no unfolding of events (see Revelation 22:2). It does mean that the battle for redemption will have been completed and the history we now know will have no influence.
          5. Eternity past: this refers to the time before time. The word, time, does not adequately apply to eternity past. However, we must realize that this was not some state of meaninglessness. As we shall see in the following notes, God fellowshipped with Himself at this time and determined His purposes for time. This a mysterious realm into which we can only glimpse, but the glory of a single glimpse is certainly worth the effort.
      2. The eternal works of God
        1. What did God do in eternity? Since the works of God that we know about mostly have to do with time, this is a difficult question. He may have done many things, but we only have a hint of His relationship within the persons of the Trinity.
        2. Eternal fellowship between the persons of the Trinity (Proverbs 8:22, 30; John 1:1)
        3. Eternal love between the persons of the Trinity (John 17:24)
        4. Mutual glory between the persons of the Trinity (John 17:5)
        5. Making plans for the eternal purposes of God (Ephesians 1:9-11)
          1. God’s works known to Him from the beginning of the world (Acts 15:18)
          2. Coming of Christ foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20)
          3. Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)
          4. Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)
          5. Eternal life promised before the foundation of the world (Titus 1:2)
          6. Names not in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8)
          7. Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)
      3. The eternal plan of God
        1. A biblical understanding of the eternal plan of God requires an understanding of several biblical words. Many have developed unscriptural systems of doctrine in this area because they have developed intellectual systems instead of allowing God to speak fully for Himself.
          1. Hierarchy of terms (see Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11)
            1. Purpose – God established His own purpose in Himself (Ephesians 1:9).
            2. Pleasure – From this purpose came His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:9).
            3. Will  - God determined His will according to His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:5, 9)
            4. Counsel – From this will, God brought forth the counsel or wisdom by which His will would be accomplished (Ephesians 1:11).
            5. Work – His counsel (wisdom) resulted in the working of all things (Ephesians 1:11).
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 21:20

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.