I’m increasingly impressed at how Christian theology hangs together. This is no more true than in the area of theology proper – the doctrine of God. In a recent discussion with my friend, Mark Ketchum, I’ve been thinking about how so much follows from an affirmation or articulation about God. What I mean is that if we affirm that God is, say, good, then it is as though shock waves of goodness rock through the universe. When we think of God as love, suddenly the universe is revealed to us as a theater of divine love. What’s more, as we think about God and reality, God’s attributes hang together and “inform” one another. For example, God is love and good, but he also holy and just. God’s not *more* love than he is just. Although, through Jesus Christ, his love is more manifest (at least until he returns as the just judge of all men). We, God’s children through Christ, enjoy his love in exceeding abundance without fear of judgment.
Alright, I’m doing a bit of rambling, but what I wanted to get around to is this: God is most absolute. Have you ever spent much time meditating on that truth? The Westminster Confession of Faith is wonderful. Dig this:
I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
II. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
That is the whole of the third chapter of the Confession, which is called, “Of God, and the Holy Trinity” – might want to read all that again.
Now, what does it mean for God to be “most absolute”? In the first place, it means that there is nothing above God. The buck stops with God. There is no standard or measure outside of God himself to which he must conform. Holiness, for example, is not a set of standards outside of God to which he measures up. God IS holiness. What’s more, there is nothing outside of God that does not derive its existence completely from God. Save God, nothing exists of itself, but all things exist only in and by God, who alone exists in himself and does so necessarily. Not only existence, but meaning is also derived from God. Human life, for example, has meaning only because God, the Absolute, has decreed that is should mean something.
The more one meditates on God as absolute, the more God is magnified and the more humans are humbled. He must increase, and we must decrease.