A Cecil J. Blay Primer

Creation Out Of God

IN THE BEGINNING God created the heavens and the earth. This is the basic fact upon which we must build when we come to consider this universe of which we and our earth form a small part, and it is to this fact that every true scientist is forced to return, after threading the maze of evidence and speculation which surrounds it.

Those of us who are prepared to accept God's declarations as final and authoritative will have no quarrel with this statement, for if He has said so it is sufficient for us. Yet it is both desirable and instructive that we should seek out the relationship between God's declarations and those scientific facts which can be proven and established.

It can be demonstrated that the Scriptures are never out of harmony with any established scientific fact, and that all the theories of science which contradict or deny the Scriptures cannot be proved. Though there may be bodies of opinion which incline favorably to the latter, there are always equally weighty opponents which refuse to accept them.

Until we have a more reliable translation of the Hebrew Scriptures it is impossible to say what were the real terms used by Inspiration in regard to this theme—for the Authorized Version is a rather unsafe footing upon which to proceed. Fortunately, we have an accurate translation of the Greek Scriptures, and though our thoughts on this theme must be regarded as tentative rather than dogmatic, there are indications which assist us to form a logical relationship between God's declarations and certain facts which have been ascertained with regard to this universe.

There is a prevalent idea that faith involves the unquestioned acceptance of creedal dogmas, and any attempt to prove that true faith is logical and rational is frowned upon as unnecessary; nevertheless this is a universe of law and order, and it is presumable therefore that the Divine revelation will conform to the same design, and will be found to make no demands upon credulity, but will give the same satisfaction to the mental powers of man as it does to the spiritual faculties.

The danger is that we so often approach these problems from the wrong end by seeking to find confirmation of the philosophical guesses of men in the inspired Word, whereas the true method is to take God's declaration as the basis, and then to see how far the findings of science are in harmony with it. I repeat that everything that man can definitely prove will be found to be scripturally acceptable, and where his theories appear to deny Scripture his proof is always lacking. Where the Scriptures are silent we cannot know if human philosophy is right or wrong with any certainty, yet to those who are spiritually mature it will be apparent if the general trend of any scientific theory is contrary to or in harmony with what we know of God's working. It is important that we should learn all we can of what God tells us regarding creation, for our conception of the divine purpose in its inception will influence our thoughts concerning its consummation, and if we have wrong assumptions in regard to the foundation, the edifice erected thereon cannot be other than insecure. There are practically no doctrines of Scripture our understanding of which will not be either clarified or obscured by the nature of our views on creation.

It is not possible to enquire as to how creation came about, for it is beyond the scope of our limited finite minds to comprehend the Infinite. The question which we seek to answer is, What constitutes creation, of what does it consist? The answer given in our Authorized Version in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews will not assist us:

"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (11:3), for a concordant translation would render these words as follows:

"By faith we are apprehending the eons to have been readjusted to a declaration of God, so that what is being observed has not come out of what is apparent" (CV).

This passage is not referring to creation at all, but to time, which has been readjusted to allow for the present economy to intervene between the promises made to the fathers, and their fulfillment.

But it is largely upon this passage that the philosophical-religious doctrine of creation out of nothing is based, a doctrine which has been readily subscribed to by religious people in the past, and which is so absolutely unacceptable to science.

We ask ourselves if there is anything in the Scriptures which will confirm this widely held doctrine? Many believers will, when asked, readily affirm that God made the world out of nothing, but they cannot point to any Divine declaration to substantiate their statement, for no such declaration exists.

The idea itself is quite unthinkable, like many another orthodox doctrine, and God never asks us to strain our faith in the acceptance of the irrational, "Thinking is a positive process which annihilates itself when it seeks to comprehend the nothingness of nothing." There is, in fact, nowhere in Scripture any passage which even so much as implies that this self-contradictory dogma could be true.

In reply to the suggestion that God is omnipotent and therefore equal to the task of creating something out of nothing, however it may defy our reasoning powers to comprehend it, the late Alan Burns wrote, "God can neither contradict Himself nor do that which is self-contradictory. He cannot lie. Neither can He do in physics what would answer to a lie in morals. When we can think of God's omnipotence as involving the power to make square circles, or round squares, then we may accept the suggested interpretation of what Divine omnipotence means. To create something out of nothing would be to perform a physical untruth, and it is impossible for God to lie."

There is an alternative theory, which does not command much support, and that is that the universe was never created, because matter is eternally self-existent. We must at once reject this view, if only on the ground that its acceptance would strike at the root of our fundamental conception of God, as He reveals Himself. God alone is self-existent, and to elevate matter to the same rank is to imply that it, also, is Deity. There is only one God. We are left, then, with the conclusion that this material universe is created out of something; can the Scriptures determine for us what that "something" is? The record of God's creative acts in the book of Genesis always shows Him as using existing substance—man was created out of the soil, woman was created out of man; in other words, men and women are soil in a new form. Now it is a striking scientific fact that with all the marvelous variety in the form and physical state of that which constitutes our universe, it can be demonstrated beyond the possibility of doubt that all matter within the universe is built of the same elements.

No chemical element is revealed in the spectrum of the sun or of any star that has not been handled in our laboratories. For a time, it is true, helium, first recognized in the sun's atmosphere, was unknown on earth, but now airships are floated with it; "nebulium," long known only from its lines in the spectra of nebulae, proves to be our common nitrogen and oxygen, in special states of ionization, that is to say, electrically charged.

This discovery has revolutionized the scientific concept of the nature of matter, and incidentally is in harmony with the implications of Scripture. All matter, on earth, in the sun, and in the stars, in our own stellar system and in all other stellar systems, is built up of the same fundamental units. For all the bewildering complexities of its structure and motions, for all its gigantic dimensions, all the endless variety of its contents, our great stellar system, our universe so far as it has come within the range of human observation, is an organic whole, exhibiting an underlying structural symmetry, built up throughout of the same basic elements, and governed by the same great laws.

What do we know from Scripture concerning the Universe? We are told that it is created out of God. "All is out of Him and through Him and for Him" (Rom.11:36). This is in full accord with the fundamental fact with which we started, that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but the scope of this declaration is much wider, for it informs us that the whole of creation not only had its source in Him, but has its course in Him and finds its consummation in Him.

All is out of God. Then creation is out of God, not out of nothing, nor eternally self-existent.

But what do we know of God's essential being? We are told that He is Spirit, He is Light, and He is Love. Then creation is out of Spirit, Light and Love—Love which purposes, Light which reveals and Spirit which energizes. What is spirit? It has been defined as "the invisible, intangible power of all life, action and intelligence." There are many modes or expressions of spirit, e.g., the spirit of man. These are all necessarily inferior to the One Great Spirit, the Spirit of God, Who is the Father of Spirits. The Spirit of God, then, is the Divine power which is operative in creation, so that all that makes up this universe is spirit expressed in a tangible form which we know as matter.

How far does this conclusion justify the findings of science concerning matter? The following significant observations are made by James Arnold Crowther, M.A., Sc.D., F.Inst.P., writing on "Radiation":

"Perhaps it would be wiser to confess that our experiments have carried us into waters too deep for our present intelligences to fathom...For the present we must be content to regard these fundamental realities of the universe, photon, electron and proton, as abstractions, something beyond our power of direct conception...The veil which science used to draw between matter and energy is wearing very thin.

"It is well known, it is in fact Implicit in the terms `positive' and `negative,' that if we place equal quantities of positive and negative electricity on the same conductor the electric effects vanish. Thus if we could bring a proton and an electron into real contact their two charges should simultaneously disappear, and we might be left with a single flash of radiation.

"The physicist in a terrestrial laboratory has so far failed to achieve this union. Every atom consists of proton and electron in exactly the right proportions to annihilate each other's charge, and every proton has a very strong attraction for each of the electrons which surround it.

"Close as they are, and strong as is their mutual attraction, these particles under terrestrial conditions never meet. Nature seems to have laid down some immutable fiat saying, Thus far but no further. What the mysterious force is which keeps them apart we do not know. If this force were mysteriously to vanish of its own accord this world of ours would vanish too in one stupendous blaze of illimitable light.

"Science since its beginning has travelled many paths and explored many territories. It has asked many questions, seeking to sift gold from dross, truth from illusion...Now the wheel seems to have come full circle, and modern science, face to face with the mystery of the act of creation, finds no words more appropriate than those of the great Hebrew Poet, `And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.'"

Thus man joins his witness that the Scriptures are true. God says that the universe is created out of Himself, it is an expression of His spirit, of His power, and those among men who seek to discover the secret of creation testify that it is too profound to be expressed in words in its entirety, but the nearest definition they can give is that it is pure energy, conforming throughout to one great Unity, and conceived in one stupendous design.

Because God is One, His creation is a unity. It may be described as a Thought of God. The Infinite Mind conceived a universe wherein His Light should reveal His Love; and His Spirit expressed that Thought in material form—thus were all things created. If we read the book of Genesis with this idea in our minds we shall see that its revelations entirely confirm this point of view.

If matter is an expression of spirit, that is to say, if matter is created out of spirit, it is within the realm of logic to conclude that matter is capable of still further changes, so that the creation of man out of the dust of the earth becomes a belief for rational acceptance, and in the scriptural doctrine of death as a state of unconsciousness it can be seen that one form of matter, man, is returned to its previous form, earth.

And the spirit of man, when God withdraws the spirit of life, reverts to its previous unconscious state.

So shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it (Ecc.12:7).

The Scriptures forbid our taking a materialistic view of creation, and the findings of the scientist force him to the conclusion that behind and beyond all visible phenomena there is an invisible and intangible Power. Christ, our Lord, is the One in and through Whom God acts, seeing that the universe in the heavens and on the earth is created in Him—the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or sovereignties or authorities—the universe has been created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and the universe has its cohesion in Him (Col.1:16,17). He is God's Creative Original, and God has appointed Him as enjoyer of the allotment of the universe, and it is He who carries on the universe by His powerful declaration, (Heb.1:2, 3) for His words are spirit. By virtue of His office Christ is able to subject the universe to Himself (Phil.3:21), and it is God's revealed purpose to head up the universe in Christ, to reconcile the universe to Himself in Christ, and to this end He is operating the universe in accord with the counsel of His will (Eph.1:9-12).

Hear Paul's grand declaration (Acts 17:24-28): "God, Who makes the world and all which is in it, He, the Lord possessing heaven and earth, is not dwelling in temples made with hands, neither is He, requiring anything, being attended by human hands, Himself giving to all life and breath and all. Besides, He makes out of one every nation of mankind, to be dwelling on all the surface of the earth, specifying the setting of the seasons and the bounds of their dwelling, for them to be seeking God, if, consequently, they surely should grope for Him and may be finding Him, though to be sure, He is existing not far from each one of us, for in Him we are living and moving and are..."

Thus from the dawn of creation, through all the travail of the years, by the way of the cross God works out His purpose of revealing His heart, that He may ultimately be All in all. He has declared it, and the human heart reaches out for the fulfillment of His declaration, even though eons must take their course ere all be brought to a consummation. Out of Him, and through Him and for Him are all things: to Him be glory for the eons!

"Give me, O God, to sing that thought,

Give me, give him or her I love this quenchless faith

In Thy ensemble; whatever else withheld, withhold not from us

Belief in plan of Thee enclosed in Time and Space,

Health, peace, salvation universal. Is it a dream?

Nay, but the lack of it a dream,

And failing it, life's lore and wealth a dream,

And all the world a dream."

God's Creative Original

God is One. He is certainly not Three; but neither is He Two.

This truth is not easy to grasp, and it has been obscured by much theological philosophizing regarding the relationship between the Father and the Son during the period of the Incarnation. Our thoughts are constantly disturbed by the apparent differences between Father and Son recorded during the period when "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

Paul makes it very clear, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (8:6) that there is to us one God, the Father (i.e. Invisible spirit) out of Whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ (i.e. a personal human being) through Whom are all things, and we through Him. Paul adds, by way of parenthesis, "but not everyone knows this!" Perhaps we might add that today very few, even among Christians, really know of the relationship between God and His Son.

God, Who is invisible spirit, is the First Cause, the source of all creation, "Out of Whom are all things." Our Lord, Himself, stated that He "Came forth out of God" (John 8:42). God is invisible and beyond human knowledge, but He becomes visible and knowable in Christ Jesus, His Son, and in no other way. All things are through the Lord Jesus, Who is the Mediator of God and man, the bridge over the otherwise impassable gulf between spirit and matter. Divine as to spirit and human as to flesh, in Him God and man meet.

Paul tells us that Christ and God are complementary (Col. 1:15-20). This Scripture tells us more about God and Christ than all the theological books ever written. In Christ dwells the entire complement of Deity, and through Him reconciles the universe to God (making peace through the blood of His cross) through Him, whether on earth or in the heavens.

Christ, we are told, is the Image of God—the visible of the invisible. Conversely, God is the invisible of the visible Christ: we cannot have one without the other. So visibility and invisibility are two aspects of Deity and the visible Son is not a separate "person" from the invisible Father. In the Hebrew Scriptures there are several accounts of human beings talking to God face to face, and this they could not do with invisible Spirit. They spoke to Jehovah, Who appeared to them as a man, the visible Image of the Invisible. He appeared to Adam and Eve in the garden, to Abraham in friendly converse, to Moses and to others. From the account of the transfiguration it would seem that Moses and Elijah instantly recognised in the Lord Jesus the One to Whom they had spoken long before.

This was always the Hebrew understanding of God—One Who was both transcendent and therefore invisible and unapproachable, and One Who was also immanent, visible and near at hand. The Greek Scriptures also speak of the Deity in the same way, referring to the characteristics of God as being Fatherhood and Sonship. This does not make God "two persons." God, as Spirit, cannot be a Person in the way we understand the word; He personalises Himself in Christ.

Our Lord, surprisingly, made known to a woman of doubtful morals this profound truth about God, that He cannot be localised. He is Spirit, not a Spirit, and He is not confined to place, even for purposes of worship.

Our Lord made it very simple for us when He said "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." So if we wish to find the Person of God, we look in the face of His Son, for Christ is God in human form.

In human form God became subject to the limitations of human conditions, and this involved the temporary giving up of His powers wherever the retention of those powers would have made Him physically more than human. Thus He became subject to hunger and thirst and weariness. But so far as spiritual power was concerned, Christ derived this directly from the Father, with Whom He was in close and constant communion. The Lord made this clear on many occasions in such expressions as "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself, but the Father Who dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10). And again, "The Son can do nothing of Himself" (John 5:19).

Perhaps we do not pay sufficient heed to Paul's statement "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." Not reconciling the world to Himself in (by means of) Christ, but IN CHRIST reconciling the world. In the Son of God we ought to see God Himself giving Himself, sacrificing Himself.

It is important that we should be able to distinguish between these two aspects of God. On the one hand, God the invisible spirit, out of Whom are all things, and God the visible (our Lord Jesus Christ) in Whom the universe has its cohesion, Who reveals God to man, through Whom are all things. We do not see in Christ a different person from God, but God Himself, revealing His heart in One Who at the same time is both human and Divine.

God has always acted through His Son, so far as this universe is concerned. The limitations endured by the Son during His incarnation did not restrict Him before that event nor limit Him after it. When He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said "All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth," and before the emptying of Himself and taking upon Himself the form of a slave, He subsisted in the form of God, and there was no limit to His power. Indeed, it was through Him that the universe was created.

Creation and redemption are always closely related in Scripture, both having to do with the revelation of God, and both being accomplished through Christ. As the Word, or Logos, He is the expression of God. "He was in the beginning with God, and He was God." And, John adds, "All things were made through Him, and without Him was nothing made that was made."

Paul, too, ascribes creation to Christ, when he writes, "the universe in the heavens and on earth is created in Him—the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or sovereignties or authorities—the universe has been created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and the universe has its cohesion in Him" (Col. 1:16-18).

He is here described as the great Originator of all things, as He is in the first Chapter of Hebrews, and which speaks of Him as "the Effulgence of God's glory and the Emblem of His assumption, Who carries on the universe by His powerful declaration."

There is a further description of our Lord in the Unveiling as "the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, and God's Creative Original" (Rev. 3:14). There is also a striking passage in Hebrews 1 (verses 8 and 9 and 10 and 12) where the Father addresses the Son. Verse 10 states explicitly: —

"Thou, originally, Lord, dost found the earth,

And the heavens are the work of Thy hands."

The Scriptures leave us in no doubt at all as to who is the Creator; it is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Contemplation of these truths sheds much light on God's relationship to the human race. In the form of the Son, God becomes Creator so that the race made in His image should ultimately realise sonship towards Him. Christ is the Ideal Son, and He shows to us the Ideal God. In the form of the Son, God comes to us by incarnation, and is called "Immanuel," that is, "God with us." In Christ He reconciles the universe to Himself in the suffering and sacrifice of the Cross. And it is Christ, through Whom all things were made, Who finally at the consummation gives up the kingdom to God, even the Father, and then the Son shall be subject to Him Who subjects the universe to Him, that God may be All in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

"God's purpose is, and always has been, to lead many sons and daughters, all humanity, to glory, and the Sonship realised and revealed to us in Christ Jesus is at once the final and first cause of all things, of the whole creation. The universe comes to its majority and enters on its inheritance in His person. The meaning and end of Creation is the meaning and end of Humanity."

Son of Mankind

Preoccupation with the glory of Christ Pre-eminent should be the delight and duty of each of us. The fact of His divinity is the essential element in our faith, and is fully substantiated by the evidence of the Scripture records, both by inference from the text and the categorical statements of our Lord Himself, and by the inspired writers. But in addition to being divine, He is also human, and this is a truth which perhaps we do not consider sufficiently, doubtless because so many people have insisted on His humanity at the expense of His divinity, making Him out to be a somewhat sentimental hero-figure, an idealist who met a martyrs death. While we still possess finite minds we shall never be fully able to comprehend God's Christ, but if we are to understand divine revelation we should endeavour to arrive at a balanced conception of Him Who is the central figure of the Sacred Scriptures.

Christ is unique. While He is truly God's Son, His Word or Logos and His Image, the entire complement of Deity dwelling in Him, He is also in the truest sense Man. When meditating upon His humanity one cannot stress too strongly His divine origin and His essential unity with God His Father. His office is to reveal the Invisible, to express the Infinite in terms that the finite mind can understand. He stands alone, without peer in the Creators plan—the beloved Son in Whom the Father delights.

We therefore approach this subject with deepest reverence, so that with enlightened eyes we may more fully appreciate Him Who is the only Bridge that can possibly span the gulf between a sinful world and a loving but righteous God.

Christ is the Firstborn of every creature, or, more precisely phrased, He is God's Creative Original. All creation was originally in Him, and it is in Him also that all the divine fulness delights to dwell; He is supreme! He is the First and the Last, the Origin and Consummation of all, and He is the Head of the human race; as the Firstborn of all creation humanity was in Him long before it was in Adam. He subsisted in the form of God, but in order to destroy sin He "empties Himself; taking the form of a slave." The mystery around the word "empties" is beyond our comprehension, but it is of vital importance that the truth of the virgin birth should be accorded its rightful place in our thinking. There have always been some who would deny it, even among those calling themselves Christians, but upon the recognition of this truth hangs the whole of the proper under standing of Christ as a man. If He had a human father His existence is of no value other than an example of human goodness and sacrifice. There can be no Saviour and no sinless Offering by one of purely Adamic descent.

Our Lord was born of a woman, who, in the fulfilment of prophecy, was a lineal descendant of David. He was born in wedlock, but Marys husband, although he was fully informed by God concerning the event, had no part in it. God adapted a body for Him and in due time this body was brought into the world by the ordinary process of human birth, but the conception was caused not by any human agency, but by the spirit and the power of the Most High (Luke I : 35). This event is often described as a miracle, as no doubt it is, but it is not one which should cause anyones faith to stagger, in view of the fact that the Creator of life in the body of the Holy Child was the Creator of life itself—all life.

The whole understanding of Christís sinless life, His unique relationship to God and to man, and the entire efficacy of His work rests on the fact that He had no human father. God Himself was and is His Father.

We are told that He came "of the seed of David according to the flesh" but that He was "powerfully designated the Son of God according to His most holy spirit." Men have human bodies and human spirits: He had a human body but a Divine spirit.

Having a human body, the "likeness" of sins flesh, and only the likeness, His body went through the usual human processes of growth. He grew, we are told, in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. His mind was not supernatural, nor were His bodily attributes other than normal, but the spirit which dominated mind, soul and body was Divine. Man, being human only, finds a law of sin in his members which defies all efforts of the mind and spirit to overcome it. This is because as sons of Adam we inherit a humanity which is lacking the glory of God and is unable to do other than sin. Man inherits a dying humanity of body, soul and spirit, transmitted to him by his ancestors from Adam onwards. Adams sin introduced death to humanity, and death passes through from Adam to all mankind, on which all sin. We hear the phrase "original sin" used as though this was something we are all born with. What we inherit is, in fact, death, and because of it we are all sinners. Our Lord, being the One in Whom God's glory dwells and having life in Himself, had no law of sin in His members, as He would have, had He been born of a human father, but He had, rather, the spirits law of life. He had only to come into the presence of death to defeat it.

With the ordinary man, the inheritor of Adams humanity, every inclination of sins flesh is contrary to God, but with the Son of Mankind every inclination was in harmony with God. He entered the Garden of Gethsemane with a body and wind which, being human, shrank in revulsion from the ordeal of agony and shame which He saw lying before Him. But His spirit, being divine, is supreme over both body and mind, and shows this supremacy in the sublime utterance "Not my will, but Thine."

In the man Jesus Christ there was no law of sin, and all His desires were in harmony with the law of God because of the fact that sin had no hold on Him whatever and no part in Him. We know well that He had human trials and troubles, and in all points, the Scripture assures us, He can enter into and sympathize with our own infirmities since He has been tried in every way as men are tried—apart from sin. The Authorized Version tends to give the impression that He resisted sin when tempted, in using the phrase "yet without sin," but in Himself no temptation ever existed, nor did any thought of evil ever arise. At the commencement of His ministry the Adversary had to make an external approach to Him, since it was impossible to insinuate any wrong thought into His mind. Yet even His experiences in this encounter are spoken of as "trials." They were not temptations as we know the term, for He never had the slightest inclination at any time to fall in with Satans suggestions. The spirits sword was ready in His hand: "It is written."

This glorious Man had at no time any desire other than to do God's will. To Him it was the perfectly normal and natural thing. In contrast with the rest of mankind, every imagination of His heart was righteous continually, since He was sinless in thought, word and deed. "He knew no sin."

Having said these things, and now reflecting upon them, it seems almost impossible for our finite minds to realize the amazing love shown in His death: the Sinless One being made sin, the Deathless One dying for us, and the Glorious One drinking the very dregs of shame! We cannot understand love like this, and any appreciation or response that we can show is totally inadequate. Certainly, as the hymn writer puts it, this love "demands my soul, my life, my all."

Someone once wrote "The spirits law is that which governed the earthly life of our Lord, according to which He always walked. As a dependent man of faith to Whom God gave His spirit without measure He fulfilled all the spiritual requirements of the law. He knew no sin, and no law of sin and death was found in Him. The spirits law was the only law of His being, and the law of God found in Him no lust which it must forbid."

Christ is very truly the Son of Mankind, but the essential difference between the rest of men and Christ is one of spirit. No matter how righteous a man may be, he cannot, so long as he has a human body, emulate in his own life the earthly life of the Lord Jesus, because man is corruptible and mortal. The disposition of the flesh is death, but the disposition of the spirit is life and peace. Uniting in Himself human flesh and divine spirit, in other words, man and God, we can see how it is that Christ is the Mediator of God and of man, for in Him they meet. And in Him sin is destroyed and God and man are reconciled. As Son of Mankind, Christ is the Head of the Race. He is humanitys representative, and sinless in Himself He takes upon Himself the whole of humanitys sin, and in Him it is judged and destroyed.

It is true that in Adam all men die. They all partake of the dying humanity which he has transmitted to them. But, before Adam, all mankind was in Christ, and as many as die in Adam will all be made alive in Christ. He has secured eventual life for all by the defeat of sin and death at the Cross. He has defeated sin and death, and eventually He will destroy them. Death and sin and judgment are still awful realities, time still has to run, but Christ has triumphed in fact and will finally triumph in act. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death itself, and the Lord of superabundant life will then claim all.

When this Man walked the earth, taking a human body, it was so like the form of ordinary flesh of sin that only the enlightened eye could perceive that He had no sin, and that He did not lack the glory of God. John writes, "We beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." The glory was there, within the veil of the flesh, and the rending of that veil has revealed it in all its splendour.

We may think of Him in human flesh, suffering all the limitations of the body; weary, hungry, sad, sometimes angry and frequently joyful, but in all this we must remember that His spirit, the power of His life, action and intelligence, was holy. While man misses the mark, He always had "a single, steady aim." He was the perfect Man, God's crowning achievement in man-making.

There is a false teaching that human nature is depraved, and that matter is inherently evil. The truth is that these are neutral, and can be ruled either by Sin or by Righteousness. In Christ, the flesh was ruled by His righteous spirit. We have only to read the record to see what happened when this perfect Man, walking in spirits flesh, came into contact with sins flesh. The contrast was immediate and striking. "Never man spake like this man," they said, failing to explain why they did not arrest Him. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord," says Simon, as he realizes who this Man from Nazareth is, and as He stills the raging sea they all exclaim, " What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Even the Pharisees wonder, "Who is this that can forgive sins?" and when they come to take Him to trial and to death, the authority and spiritual power in His statement, "I AM" caused them to fall before Him as though dead. Death and disease fled from His presence, as did every evil spirit; the very words which He spoke were spirit and life. Sinless, He lived, beyond the touch of sin and therefore of death, but having the authority from His Father He laid down His life and, dying, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

And with that same authority He takes His life again; rising from the dead, and ascending to His Fathers side He wears even now, in that Divine presence, "the likeness of sins flesh," a reminder and guarantee that, having been obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, God has highly exalted Him, that unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.

And in it all He will always remember the frailty of our frame, and will know and understand humanity as none other can, for has He not been partaker of the same?

"O God, O kinsman loved, but not enough,

O man, with eyes majestic after death,

Whose feet have toiled along earths pathways rough,

Whose lips drawn human breath.

Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away,

Die ere the Guest adored she entertain,

Lest eyes that never saw Thy earthly day

Should miss Thy heavenly reign."

"What Manner of Man is This?"

Are we not sometimes in danger of creating in our minds the image of a purely theological Christ? A Christ of the meeting-room and of the book, the centre-piece of a wonderful divine plan, the hero of a great drama of history, a man of sayings and of sacrifice whose words and works scholars may profitably discuss.

Do we not sometimes tend to fall into Peters error at the transfiguration and equate Him, even if only subconsciously, with other compelling figures whose writings are used to constitute the Scriptures? And does not our childhoods preoccupation with His earthly life, when He went about doing good, need some correction in perspective in forming a true mental picture of what He is? True as these thoughts of Him may be, there is a tendency to forget that the written word exists to point to the Living Word, Who was in the beginning with God, and although truly He emptied Himself in order to become subject to the death of the cross He is now restored to all the glory that He had with His Father "before the world was," together with the added glories of the name that is above every name.

God's estimate of His Christ is infinitely larger than mans. He credits Him with "carrying on the entire universe by His powerful declaration" and states that "the universe has its cohesion in Him."

Although the purpose of Christ has always been to glorify the name of His Father, all through Scripture there are references to the great glories which are His own. These being so much greater than our thoughts of Him we should do well to remind ourselves of their truth. We should have a conception of His greatness which would make us worshipful when we see the evidences of His power and divinity, and not amazed as were His disciples when he stilled the storm, asking one another, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Of course they obey Him, as does every other natural force or supernatural power, because of what He is. All power is given to Him, and when He raises Lazarus from the dead He has to preface the command to "come forth" with the name of the man He calls, otherwise all the tombs would have emptied themselves.

We live in an age of wonderful discoveries in time and space, and although to some minds these discoveries may make popular theology seem unscientific and incredible, to the mind that is scripturally attuned their effect is to enhance our conception of the majesty of God and the glory of Christ.

The first chapter of the Colossian Epistle contains in three verses (15-17) an epitome of truth to provide meditation for much more than a lifetime. Here Christ is designated as "God's creative Original" and of Him it is said that in Him were all things created, visible or invisible, an echo of the phrase "in Him were all things made, and without Him was nothing made that was made." To the model of His perfection the Creator fashioned the universe, animate and inanimate. Still more, God, Who is invisible, created mankind in His own image, and Christ is the only image of the invisible God.

Since Adam, the first of men, the reproduction has been marred, because the process of death in humanity has degraded the pristine perfection, and has produced a race which has as its characteristic the fact that it is lacking the glory of God, because death has been transmitted to all, on which all sin. Even so, there is traceable in mankind the outlines of the Image on which it has been modeled.

But apart from mankind there remain those witnesses to God which may be descried through the things that are made, the things which proclaim to the spiritual eye His imperceptible power and divinity.

Christ is the only image of the invisible God; all that we shall ever see of God we shall see in Him for "no man hath seen God at any time." He is Spirit, and is invisible. Creation, which is out of spirit (not out of nothing) has Christ for its original, and therefore those evidences of God which the enlightened eye can descry through the things which are made are evidences of Christ, as it is His office to set forth His Father in terms which the finite mind can understand.

Christ is God to us, as far as our perceptions are concerned, since it is in Him only that we can realise or appreciate or approach His Father, and occupying this unique position, He is entitled to the worship and deference which is God's.

If this is true in things spiritual, it must also apply in things visible and tangible, for with Him as creations model the wonder and beauty of the universe must be an expression of Him. And wherever that universe has been marred the disfigurement is due to Adams sin, or to the instigator of it in times unrecorded. So therefore in Christ the attributes of God find their expression, not only in the sacred record of His acts but also in the phenomena of nature. We can read the story well enough, if we will only look.

Does not the awe-inspiring grandeur of the storm remind us how His anger burns against sin?

"His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form, And dark is His path on the wings of the storm."

And the sea, unfathomable, unconquerable and untiring, tells with each repeated wave-beat of His deep unwavering patience, while the dazzling whiteness of the snow is but the reflection of His unsullied holiness, and the age-enduring mountains speak His immutable purpose, their cloud-cleaving peaks pointing his ultimate goal, mankind lifted above earths clouds and mists into the light of God's presence.

He sets the rainbow in the cloud as token of His faithfulness, and the warm and joyful sunshine, bringing life and health, speaks of Christ the Effulgence of God's glory—the visible shining of the invisible Sun.

Behold in the flowers the tenderness and beauty of His thoughts! Man cannot create beauty like this, however great his skill, but "My ways are not your ways, saith the Lord, neither are My thoughts your thoughts," and if the glory of Solomon pales into insignificance before the grace and charm of the wild anemone is it not because the beauty of the flower is but the expression of the mind and spirit of a greater than Solomon?

Perhaps the poets have come the nearest to seeing all this, as one of them has written:

"Your voiceless lips, O Flowers, are living preachers.

Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book."

There is a vast difference between perceiving in the beauty of the universe the beauty of Him in Whom all is created and through Whom and for Whom all things are, and the heresy of the pantheist who teaches that God is in everything. On the contrary, the clear declarations of Scripture affirm that everything is in God. That is, that the universe is an expression of His spirit in material terms, with Christ as His creative original. Does not the acceptance of this thought heighten our conception of God,s Christ—and at the same time glorify the commonplace? When we observe with admiration beauty in nature, gazing over rolling landscape or enraptured before the grace and fragrance of a flower, there should arise in us feelings of worship towards the Creator of all these things. For is this not but another phase of the setting forth of God, and has not Christ expressed Himself in these material things to that very end?

Surely we can say with the poet:

"I see His blood upon the rose

And in the stars the glory of His eyes, His body gleams amid eternal snows, His tears fall from the skies.

I see His face in every flower;

The thunder and the singing of the birds

Are but His voice—and carven by His power

Rocks are His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn,

His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,

His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,

His cross is every tree."

"The Mystery of the Godhead"

The title of this chapter, which is a man-made phrase and not a Scriptural one, should not mislead any reader into thinking that the intention is to explain all about the Deity in one short article. Indeed, all that we may learn about God in this life is but a fragment of the reality which we shall come to know during our enjoyment of eonian life. In fact, what is true now is doubly true then, "this is eonian life, to know Thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent."

But because popular assumptions about this important subject are so unsatisfactory, it is essential for those who wish to believe God and not men to have a knowledge of what He, Himself, reveals in His Word for our understanding and instruction, and for our acceptance by faith. After all, the purpose of God's revelation is to REVEAL, and He does not do this by putting in His record things which we are not supposed to understand. There are many things about which the Scriptures are silent, and perhaps the purpose is that we should not seek to understand them, but the infinite value of these same Scriptures lies in the fact that they are a revelation, and one which constantly unfolds upon reverent research. Many Christians labour under the impression that all is known, and all that is left for them is to learn the various dogmas by heart.

The words of our title sound most profound, and much has been made of them down the ages. This is a mystery so mysterious that it defies coherent thought, but the mystery is a product of minds which evolved fantastic doctrines, and is not in the plain declarations of Scripture about which they have woven their intricate (though not very substantial) network of inference and reasoning. To harbour any doubts about the so-called "doctrine of the Trinity" is regarded as the gravest heresy, but the word Trinity appears nowhere in Scripture. I think that the doctrine can be fairly stated in these words There is only one God, but there are three persons who are called God, and they are described as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And these three persons are one and not three.

The Scriptures, nevertheless, teach in no uncertain terms that there is ONE GOD, to which our faith readily assents. The Scriptures moreover, do NOT teach that there are three PERSONS who are called God, in fact they never use the word PERSONS in speaking of the relationship between God, His Spirit and His Son. The fact that an unscriptural term is the basis of the doctrine is a sure sign of something amiss. Apparently God is unable to express Himself without human help. It would be useful to the believer if he had a built-in warning light which began to flash as soon as he found himself thinking in unscriptural terms in the attempt to express Scripture!

We should be grateful that God never asks us to torture our minds by trying to make them reason that One is Three, and Three are not Three but One; actually, no direct statement of Scripture can be produced to teach the doctrine of the Trinity; it must all be "deduced" and "inferred," which is a very dangerous procedure and an almost certain way in which to find error.

If a Scripture can be produced which speaks of Three Persons who together comprise a Triune God then our faith would have to accept it, and leave God to explain something that the finite mind can never grasp. Lacking such a Scripture, we cannot show any interest in the maunderings of the theologians. What, then, do the Scriptures teach regarding the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

First and foremost, we are informed that God is Spirit and is invisible (Col.1:15). He is therefore outside the range of the human senses and can be neither seen nor heard. Concerning His Son, we are told that He is God's Image (portraying God the invisible as He really is) and His Word or Logos (making God audible). So that if God wishes to appear before the eyes of men, or to speak words which men can understand, He does so by His Image and His Word. This Scriptural statement is clear and intelligible to all.

In the Philippian Epistle we are told that Christ subsisted in the FORM of God. If Christ and God were identically the same "person" these words have no meaning, but since in all appearance HE IS GOD, it would not be wrong (as the writer suggests) for Him to assume equality with God. But if God and Christ are the same "person" what is the point in speaking of a persons equality with himself?

All the worship due to God, so far as we can offer it, is rightfully offered to Christ, for to us, He is God. He is God visible and audible, but not identical in essence with the Deity, for then we could not see or hear Him. He is a portrayal of what God looks like—He is God revealed and heard. In other words, to see God we must look upon Christ His image, to hear God we must listen to Christ His Word.

Scripture tells us that God is "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"; in other words, God sustains a relationship to Christ which is different from that which Christ has to Him, He is Christs Father and His God. And according to our Lord, God "sent" Him, which effectively proves that the Son is not the Absolute Deity&mdash:if He were He could not be "sent." This effectively disposes of the Trinitarian doctrine that "all three persons are co-equal," for no son is equal with the father who derived him, and who commissions him to do certain work.

In the wonderful Colossian epistle (to what heights this writing ascends !) there is a masterly summary of the relationship between Christ and God, in the 9th verse, "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Deity bodily," or as the C.V. translates it, "the entire complement of the Deity." A complement is that which makes up a complete whole, and since God is out of range of the human perceptions, in revealing Himself (as He desires to do) He comes within our comprehensions and is seen and heard in His Christ. Christ is the embodiment of revelation; always it is His Father, and His Fathers will, that he reveals, not Himself. In doing so He becomes God to us, the only God we can ever see and hear—the complement of the Deity. He is entitled to the worship and honour due to the Father Whom He reveals.

Truly, He does make the claim that "I and my Father are One," but this is certainly no assertion that They are one and the same "person." They are one in all that They do, as He constantly asserted when upon this earth. The Fathers will, not His own, was His delight, and the works that He did were His Fathers too. He prayed that His disciples might all be one "even as Thou, O Father art in Me, and I in Thee," but even the most twisted theology has not yet attempted to make this prayer mean that He wanted them made into one "Person," despite the fact that the Lord requested that the disciples might be "one, even as we are one." This scripture alone should suffice to prove the meaning of "one-ness" as our Lord intended it to be understood. Incidentally, if Christ is identical with Absolute Deity, He could not have made this prayer, or any other, for there cannot possibly be anyone superior to the Deity, to whom a prayer could be offered.

Our Lord always gloried in the fact that His authority was given to Him, and that all whom He saves are given to Him, and His words are full of references to His having been sent to do works which were not His own, but the works of Him that sent Him. There are very many instances which might be cited to show the unity between Christ and His God, and many also to show the contrasts between Them, but nowhere can be found any evidence to support the idea that they are two "Persons" of a mythical Godhead, of equal power and identical personality.

The Trinitarian doctrine goes even further in trying to make a third "Person" out of the Holy Spirit, a separate "personality" from God which is at the same time identically one with Him. We have many references in Scripture to "the spirit of Christ," so if this foolish line of reasoning is to be followed we might as well make out that Christs spirit is a separate "person" from Christ, and so make FOUR of it.

If we are to use this imported term "person," we can point out that Christ did not have two "persons" as His Father, but One. However, He is spoken of as the Son of God, yet we are definitely told that His birth was by the Holy Spirit. Obviously, the Holy Spirit cannot be a separate "person" from God.

In the book of Genesis, God says "Let us make man in our image," and these words have been made an excuse for surmising that He is addressing two other Gods who are also Himself! If the King addresses His ministers as "we," or the Editor of a magazine refers in his editorial to "we," does this endow them with split personalities and make them into "plurals"?

It is always a relief, like a refreshing draught of pure air, to turn away from the theologians and look at the Scripture. No wonder the Psalmist said "Cease from man!" If we need understanding of these matters, the articles of our faith are clearly written. In I. Corinthians 8, verses 5 and 6, we read this: "There are many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is ONE GOD THE FATHER, out of Whom all is and we for Him, and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, through Whom all is, and we through Him."

That would appear to be clear, concise, and self-explanatory, as distinct from any theological doctrine.

To quote an excellent note written years ago by the late A. E. Knoch, "Trinity pervades false religions, unity is the test of the true. The Mohamniedans have a trinity of mediators, for they canonize Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. They acknowledge a trinity of prophets. Christianity recognises three Gods, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

But the Scriptures repudiate both these trinities. Moses and Mohammed have no right to be listed with our Saviour.

There is One God, the Father, out of Whom all is, so also there is One Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is. The Son is the channel, not the source of all. The Spirit is not a distinct personality from God Himself. He IS Spirit. That is His essence, and apart from His holy spirit He has no personality. The Scriptures present no pantheon."

THERE IS ONE GOD

THE END