This month, my goal is to briefly and simply walk through some of what Charles Octavius Boothe taught in A Plain Theology For Plain People. I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of the book and work through it slowly, prayerfully, and meditatively. It’s a short volume and perfect to read in small chunks throughout the month.
The purpose of these posts is to provide some brief thoughts and insights for meditation. If you find something thought-provoking, please feel free to comment and start some dialogue. I look forward to working through A Plain Theology for Plain People with you this month.
What May Be Known of God
Boothe lays out 11 attributes of God as laid out in Scripture. It is vital that we know what God says about Himself. None else truly matters when life and death are on the line. Whether we like what He reveals or not, we are called to believe and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37).
1. God Is Spirit.
He is not made of flesh and bones like men, though He appears to us in forms that can be heard and seen. Only in the Jesus is the God made manifest as flesh and blood (John 1:14). Since God is Spirit, He is to be worshiped in Spirit and truth, not figures and forms (John 4:24, Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 4:15-16). Boothe understood the difficulty of comprehending an invisible, spiritual God, and he offers the following encouragement:
“As the creature-life is one of matter and forms, it is hard for us to understand a higher order of life—a life that has no body and that needs no forms. However, we perceive dimly the truth that God is a spirit, and believe it, waiting for eternity to bring us more light.”
2. God Is Self-Existent.
God’s name—YHWH—means “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Everything with life and power draws from God. However, He draws life and strength from no one. The God who existed before all created things needs nothing else to continue living or else His life would be derived from somewhere else. This ought to humble us because we realize that life “comes from the Living God, the Fountain of Life; it is sustained by his food, his drink, and the air round about him.”
3. God is Eternal.
Before creation, God has been God (Psalm 9:1-2). If you try to think back millions and millions of years, you’ll still end up in the “midst of the life of God”, says Boothe. It would exhaust us to go as far back as we could imagine. Then we would have to stretch our minds to fathom as far into the future as we could. After sapping our minds and imaginations completely, we would need to say, “He is, ever has been, and ever shall be.” Since life originates with God, how can He not be eternal?
4. God is Everywhere.
God is present in the deepest depth, the highest height, the brightest light, and the darkest pit—even in the place of the dead, filling heaven and earth (Psalm, 139:7-11, Jeremiah 23:23-24). We see the presence of God in nature, providence, the conscience, and every pursuit of righteousness. We know that God sees and we should tremble under the knowledge that God will judge us someday.
5. God is All-Knowing.
God knows the heart, for His eyes are in every place beholding good and evil (Proverbs 15:3,11). We can’t hide from the Lord. Everything is before Him and all things opened to Him (Jeremiah 23:24, Hebrews 4:13). God declared all things in His mind before they ever came to pass, and He is not caught off guard by anything that happens (Isaiah 49:6,10). In God’s sight, even “hell has no covering and the future has no secrets”. Our consciences feel the presence of God and His knowledge of us.
As we ponder the depth of these attributes of God, we should be drawn to humility and worship. Let these truths sink in. Read and re-read some of the Scriptures from above. Most importantly, let these truths lead you to deeper faith. God, who is the self-existent, life-giving, eternal, ever-present, all-knowing Spirit loved us enough to save us. He did this through Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead. Knowing that we would fall into sin and death, God devised a redemption plan that is beyond understanding! This is cause for worship and thanksgiving!
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