Survey of the Gospel
There are many people that say, “so what when I die, I will be dead”; this is untrue for there will be eternal suffering in hell. The problem is that most are blind to the truth, the severity of sin and its power over them. It is only through God’s Spirit that eyes and ears can open to the truth only found in Jesus of whom is the Word. The general meaning of the term “word” is how communication happens, the term “wisdom” is the consciousness of that communication. Jesus is both Word and Wisdom, present at the time of creation with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NIV). Jesus always identified Himself as Son of Man and Son of God with, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18 NIV). Wisdom is said to be found at the cross, where time and eternity meet. Isaiah’s prophesy on the subject clearly states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV). Commentary on this subject agrees that Jesus is wisdom, “It has been argued that Jesus is the personification of wisdom as is described in Proverbs 5-8” (Stewart, 2018). This is spectacular regarding forgiveness of sin because it is through this faith from the power of the Holy Spirit, that a believer can find Jesus Christ, and is thus redeemed and is restored to God the Father.
The Bible narrative is an overarching story about creation, the fall, redemption, and restoration. The Bible is God’s word, written by Him (Holy Spirit) through His selected authors to guide and instruct how to live now on earth while anticipating the coming Kingdom. The cross event is the redemptive act of Christ, the perfect sacrifice that puts to rest the need for animal sacrifices and is the only conduit to God the Father, the only Priest we go to. Jesus is called the second Adam (1 Cor 15:22) and true Israel (Hos 11:1), and undoes the curse of sin set forth in Genesis 3 due to Adam’s disobedience; moreover, Jesus accomplishes where Israel fails. Israel, time and time again, allows themselves to be influenced by the surrounding pagan nations resulting in their idolatry (worshipping other gods). This results in judgement that will take them into bondage under the Assyrians (722 BC) and later the Babylonians (586 BC).
The existence of God has been made known to humanity through general revelation and special revelation; the first refers to the physical beauty of earth and the universe that is all around us, everything we take in through the senses – see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. God is Creator, recorded in Genesis “…God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” (Gen 1:1-2 NIV). Special revelation is God revealing Himself through various means including miracles, scripture, and the supernatural; for example, the Nation of Israel meets God in Exodus and becomes the only nation ever to be set-up as a theocracy.
First century historian Josephus Flavius, as well as theologians (Aquinas, Barth) affirm the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as real events that took place in humanity’s history. For instance, the Joseph story shows how the Jewish people go from Canaan to Egypt where they will live for 400 years as slaves until God frees them from Pharaoh. It is through Moses that God frees the Jewish people and teaches them to love and worship their God, Yahweh, the only one true God, as opposed to pagan gods they have come to know in Egypt. Thomas Aquinas “…argues that the existence and some attributes of God can be known by reason, whereas other things about God – for example, that God is triune – can be known only through special revelation” (Highfield, 2008, p. 105-106).
After Jesus commissions His disciples to spread His church throughout the world to all the nations (Matt 28:16-20), the church will confront, challenge, and establish its set doctrine. As one can imagine, there were many heresies against the Christian community and attacks on the identity of Jesus. Arianism was one well known heresy that argued against the divinity of Jesus, it proclaimed Jesus as a created being, making the Son not equal to God the Father. If this were the case, then Jesus’ death and resurrection would not be able to save humanity from eternal death. The church’s push back against Arianism is one of many situations of the Patristic Age (100-500AD) through to the early Middle Ages (Dark Ages) that required church leaders to come to the defense of Jesus as being the God-Man. These events have been recorded at the councils of the Nicene Creed in 325, Nicene/Constantinople Creed in 381, and Toledo in 589, and confirm Jesus as fully human and fully God; the same essence, coequal, and coeternal to the Father (homoousious).
Systematic methodology came about during the centuries the church found itself explaining and defending God. It is a process by which to learn and know God and involves study and interpretation of scripture by gathering and organizing similar themes of information from various sources, such as scripture, nature, tradition, and experience (Highfield, 2008). Through this systematic methodology application, theologians confirm the Nicene Creed’s reaffirmation that God is Triune; and the homoousious of the three persons that make up the Godhead. The Godhead is present during creation as stated in Genesis, “Let us make mankind in our image…” (Genesis 1:26 NIV). Commentary in agreement acknowledges, “Christ, as God, was equal in power and glory with the Father; as Mediator, he received from the Father power and glory, and received that he might give: and all that the Father gave him, to qualify him for his undertaking, was summed up in this, he put his Spirit upon him” (Henry, 2018). The only time in the New Testament in which all three persons of the Godhead are present is at the baptism of Jesus, “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove” (Mark 1:10 NIV). This further points to the Holy Spirit’s divinity respective to the Godhead. It is important to clarify that Jesus is eternally begotten of the Father, and willingly goes from high position and eternal majesty to condescending Himself, becoming human. During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He clearly states the importance of the Holy Spirit with His words, “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31 NIV). The Holy Spirit is co-equal to the Father and the Son and is also identified during creation in Genesis, “…the Spirit of God was hovering over the water” (Genesis 1:1 NIV).
God’s redemption is possible because of His grace, mercy, love, patience, and forgiveness. And the human body, consisting of mind, body and soul, was given by the Creator some of His divine intellect; and if not lost, would have continued in the nature of the human being (Stillwaggon, 2014). Apostle Paul also goes on to say in Romans “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:20-22 NIV). As the result and according to John Calvin, all of creation is subject to God and thus according to God’s justice has been cursed (Lamoureux, 2009). God, through His love and omnipotence and omniscience immediately put His plan in motion with Jesus coming down to earth to teach humanity how to live. And when Jesus was set to depart from earth, He sent another Advocate, the Holy Spirit to be among humanity to comfort and guide. Jesus tells His disciples that when He leaves them, He “…will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for He will be in you and with you…” (John 14:16-17 NIV). God Bless
Henry, M. (2018). Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. M. Henry (1662 – 1714). Retrieved from: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/matthew/12.html
Highfield, R. (2008). Great is the Lord: Theology for the praise of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved by: https://lc-ugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=http%3A%2F%2Fgcumedia.com%2Fdigital-resources%2Fwm-b-eerdmans-publishing-co%2F2008%2Fgreat-is-the-lord_theology-for-the-praise-of-god_ebook_1e.php
Lamoureux, D. O. (2016). Beyond the Cosmic Fall and Natural Evil. Perspectives On Science & Christian Faith, 68(1), 44-59. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=113835293&site=eds-live&scope=site
Stewart, D. (2018). Why was Jesus Called the Word of God? (Logos). Blue Letter Bible. Retrieved from: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_219.cfm
Stillwaggon, J. (2014). The Problem of Propagation: Original Sin as Inherited Discourse. Studies In Philosophy & Education, 33(1), 61-73. doi:10.1007/s11217-013-9362-7. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93447361&site=eds-live&scope=site