What I Believe
I believe in ONE eternal Being who is God. I believe he is our Creator, and made all that exists. He is benevolent and full of grace and truth. He loves us beyond what we can imagine. He is always faithful and will never leave us or forsake us.
I believe God is our Father, and God is Jesus in the flesh, and God is the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. I am hesitant to call this a Trinity for two reasons. First, God was not defined as the Trinity until the 4th century C.E., and the doctrine was produced and confessed with great hesitancy, and the founders confessed they were erring in doing so. They intruded into a forbidden area at the command of, not God, but Constantine, the Roman Emperor, believing the alternative was Arianism, which claimed Jesus, though God, was a created being who was not one substance with the Father. The word Trinity is a man’s word meant to describe the infinite Being we call God. I simply do not believe it is possible for it to be accurate, since the wording is ours and not God’s.
Secondly, God has given us an image of himself in Adam and Eve. Both, not one alone, are the single image of God, according to Genesis 1:27. The image of God is seen in that Eve was taken out of Adam after he was put in a deep sleep, and together they became one flesh. This same image is reproduced in the work of Christ in the New Testament, where the book of Hebrews clearly says Jesus is/was the “express image” of God (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14) and the Church (his Bride) comes out of him (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:16), after he was crucified and lay dead in a grave for three days (viz. Adam’s deep sleep) and rose again. I see the one who became Jesus as coming out of God or the Father, and because this is done in eternity, I believe it is timeless. Does time exist in eternity? I don’t know for certain, but I believe God created time “in the beginning.”
The Bible seems to teach that before he became man, the one who became Jesus was equal with God or the Father (Philippians 2:5-6). If this is so, then his “coming out of” the Father means he is of like essence and probably would not post date the Father since time probably doesn’t exist in eternity. God has no past or future, because he lives only in the present, or so it would seem if he created time.
The Holy Spirit is the Shekinah Glory that dwelt in the Temple at Jerusalem, and it is he who dwells in each of us when we confess and receive Jesus as Lord. I believe the combined Spirits of both the Father and the Son are the Holy Spirit. At least Jesus seems to imply this in that he said he would pray that the Father would send another Comforter (John 14:16), but Jesus also says that he would come to the disciples too, presumably in the Person of the Comforter (John 14:17-18). Later Jesus specifically says he would send the Comforter or the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-7). In John 17 Jesus prays to the Father and claims that both he and his Father will come to dwell within us (John 17:23; compare 14:23). This is accomplished by the Father sending (John 14:16) and Jesus sending (John 16:5-7) their Spirits which together is the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, I cannot confess the Trinity doctrine as accurate, I do believe the doctrine has preserved the truth of plurality in monotheism, but the doctrine, as such, hides the truth of the true image of God in Genesis 1 and 2, and in so doing, does not show Jesus dwelling in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18) or that Jesus is Light, dwelling within LIGHT (1Timothy 6:15-16).
Having said this, I confess it is difficult to refer to the Godhead without speaking of the Trinity, because I can think of no other single word to express a pluralistic monotheism. The problem is Jesus did not teach it, and we are commanded to remain within the teaching of Jesus (2John 1:9), and for this reason I must find a different way to express what I see God is. I need to find a more Biblical way to say the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God–ONE God. We have used the word, Trinity, for almost 17 centuries to express who God is. I have used it, but I must find a better way to express what I believe. I say this to let anyone who reads know that I do have problems with the word, Trinity, but not with the idea that God who is the Father and the One who became Jesus and the Holy Spirit are, in fact, ONE God.
I believe the Scriptures show the Godhead does not act singularly in any of the works of God, that is, one does not act alone without the other. Jesus repeatedly claimed the Father did the works through him, or that he could do nothing except what he saw the Father doing. In the act of creation the Father created all things **in** Christ, and Christ brought them forth, like a woman brings forth or gives birth to the seed of her husband. This is not to say God is male and female. The text does not claim God has a gender of any kind, but the text does show male and female (in humanity) are together the **image** of God.
I believe God created a man from the dust of the earth and then brought the woman out of the man. As I stated above, in doing so, God created his physical image. This is the only physical image the Scriptures use to describe God in the Old Testament.
I believe Adam learned about death, cruelty, gentleness and caring through his assigned task of naming all the mammals and birds (Genesis 2:19). This took quite a long time and is a very rewarding endeavor, as any biologist who studies animal behavior can relate. This is how God intended to teach man concerning good and evil. He never intended man to experiment with evil, but to observe it in animal behavior and make judgments accordingly concerning his own behavior.
After studying animal behavior for awhile, Adam noticed the beasts of the field and the birds of the air had a helpmate, but he lacked one. The Scriptures conclude that once this occurred, it was not good for him to be alone. This was when the woman was brought forth (Genesis 2:20-22). Adam confessed she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. In other words, what Adam was, the woman was as well. She was recognized as his equal and not as one to rule over, such as the rest of God’s creation. Man was created to rule over all that God made (Genesis 1:26), but man, himself, was to be ruled by God. This is seen in that God gave Adam permission to partake of anything, except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represented rebellion. It was not merely disobedience. Our children disobey us and receive our punishment, but they remain under our charge. However, at times a child (usually older) may rebel and openly defy the authority of his or her parents, making it evident he or she is not satisfied living by the parents’ guidelines. This is what Adam did in partaking of the forbidden fruit. He was saying to God, “I’ll be the judge of what is good and evil. I think I can tell what is good for me and what is not. I certainly don’t need you to tell me.” God had a choice: either he could destroy mankind whom he had made or redeem us. He chose the latter.
Make no mistake: Adam was not deceived in doing what he did. He knew perfectly well what he was doing (1Timothy 2:14). He used his wife like one would use a guinea pig, causing her to eat the fruit first, while he stood by and watched to see if she would be harmed (Genesis 3:6). So, as the Scripture says, death came into the world (to mankind) through Adam. This can be true only, if it was he who tempted Eve. Adam hid his sin (Job 31:33; Genesis 3:7). It is he of whom Jesus spoke when he said: he was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Adam even slandered God by implying everything was all God’s fault for giving him the woman as a helpmate (Genesis 3:12). Adam is referred to as the serpent in Genesis 3 and is called Satan and the Devil elsewhere in Scripture. I have shown in several of my posts in this blog that Satan could not be an angel or an archangel, but could only be a mere man (see: “Is Satan an Archangel or an Angel?“; “Satan as the Serpent“; or “The Devil, Called Satan, Unveiled!”
Presently, man is still in the state of rebellion against God. When Adam rebelled, he took all of us with him. We are born with his life within us and we shall die. What is before us is death—blackness of darkness (Jude 1:13; compare Job 3:5). This is our fate without a Redeemer. Unless God saves me from my certain death, my life is limited to my days upon this earth. We have absolutely no ability to correct our fate. Even if science lengthens our days to 100, or 200 or even 1000 years, we shall inevitably die without the help of an outside Power, and that Power, of course, would have to be Almighty God.
About What Jesus Did
Jesus did not come to save Adam’s life—i.e. the life we live by Adam. Adam (his life) is our old man, which is continually becoming more and more corrupt—physically and spiritually. Jesus came to deposit new life within us—his life. This is eternal life and is called our new man in Scripture. When we confess Jesus is our Lord, believing God raised him from the dead, he deposits this life within us, and it grows more and more powerful, as we feed on Jesus. Jesus is our Way (John 14:6) out of Adam’s race and this present evil world (Galatians 1:5). If I have his Spirit I am a new creature—part of a new creation, created in him (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
Romans 5 shows what Adam did affected the entire human race, and likewise, what Jesus did affected all humanity, as well (Romans 5:18). There is a 1 to 1 relationship in Romans 5 concerning what Adam did and what Jesus did. I don’t believe there is any way around universal salvation. By this, I do not mean people will not be punished for their iniquity, nor do I believe people will be rewarded for **not** believing in Jesus when they could have. But, Jesus was sent into the world to save the world (John 3:16-17), and he claimed he accomplished the task for which he was sent (John 17:4; 19:30). Therefore, I believe salvation affects all mankind, meaning Jesus has saved everyone. I know this is a problem for most Christians, but I don’t see the Scriptures giving us a choice. This doesn’t let unbelievers off the hook—sooner or later everyone must receive Jesus as his or her Savior, and the best time is now. This is not “Second Chance Salvation” because God has not left our salvation to chance. I think this is where many Christians go wrong when thinking about this doctrine. “Chance” has nothing to do with our salvation. If you care to read a little about what I believe concerning this doctrine you might want to read: Are There Few Who Are Saved; The Three Tenses of Salvation; or Unbelief: Too Heavy a ‘Rock’ For God to Lift? Of course, if you believe strongly that universal salvation is not a Christian doctrine and would like to discuss the matter with me, we can do it HERE.
Jesus tells us there is nothing—say that again “NOTHING!”—impossible to God (Mark 10:27). If this is true, and God sent Jesus into the world to save the world, how could his Word (Jesus) return to him without doing the thing for which he was sent (Isaiah 55:11)? Specifically Isaiah 55 is speaking of the spoken word of God, but Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13) sent with a message and a work to do (John 5:36; 7:16; 14:24). Would he return to his Father without doing the thing for which he was sent (Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:9-11)? I for one don’t believe he would. Therefore, I believe all mankind will eventually confess Jesus as Savior and Lord.
About the Gospel
The Gospel is the good news about what Jesus did. In a nutshell the Gospel message is confessing Christ as **MY** Lord (ending Adam’s rebellion through me), believing God raised him (Jesus) from the dead. Romans 10:9-10 is the theology, and Luke 23:42 is the practical application. Lots of people try to add to this, but, really, this is what gets one eternal life. Confessing by faith Jesus as Lord, thus ending Adam’s rebellion in your person, and by confessing Jesus as Lord, logically concludes he is alive, showing you believe God raised him from the dead. This is what makes me Christian, and this is what gives me eternal life. There is a lot more truth **about** the Gospel, but this is the least common denominator of all that can be said about Jesus and what he did for us. There is a lot more to be learned about the Gospel, but it cannot be reduced to less than this, but when one thinks about it, this says it all—the rest is commentary!
About the Bible
I believe the Bible contains the written word of God. It is made up of the words of men guided by God to say what God wants us to know about himself and about ourselves. I believe Scripture is true and must be read so that no Scriptural passage would contradict another verse in the Bible. If we find a contradiction, what we have really found out is: we don’t know Scripture as we ought. There are no contradictions. There are paradoxes that cause us to dig deeper for the truth, but God will not contradict himself. Therefore, the men he chose to write down his message to us would not have been led to contradict what men wrote previously for God. To be sure, there are difficult things to understand, but God provides us with the truth about every passage in the Bible—both Old and New Testaments. I believe we could study the Bible every waking moment of our lives and still not exhaust the truth that is there for us to know. Yet, I believe it is simple enough for a child to grasp what God is saying, but deep enough to confound the greatest minds of humanity. Nevertheless, many will never understand, because often men will read God’s word in order to find fault—either with man or God. God’s word is not to be used as a tool for our own ends, but as a treasure of which we have been invited to partake. If we approach God’s word in awe, we will never be disappointed.
About the Second Coming
Jesus claimed no man could know the day or the hour of his coming. I believe that, so I don’t believe any man knows or could ever know the time of his return. Hence, I don’t believe the Olivet Prophecy or even the book of Revelation speaks in the main of Jesus’ Second Coming. On the contrary, the Olivet Prophecy concerned mostly those things which would occur leading to Jesus’ judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple. Very little concerns his Second Coming. So, too, Revelation speaks mostly of things that occurred up to our Lord’s judgment upon Jerusalem in 70 CE. Of course Revelation 21 speaks of his Second Coming, but it’s only a brief statement. All the rest of the book has to do with Jesus’ judgment upon Jerusalem and the nations afterward. Some things reveal what was true then and continues to be true today, like the messages to the 7 churches. Some believe these are also prophecies about 7 eras of church history. This may or may not be true. I can’t say at the present time, because I haven’t looked at the arguments and studied it for myself. However, I have studied it enough to know the seven different churches in Asia depict the different types of Christian churches existing even today.
I believe our future is secure in Christ whether he returns tonight or not for another thousand years. This is all I need to know. Anything more, as far as I am concerned, is rooted in the flesh. So, let men build their ministries around what they please. As for me, I am content to say Jesus will return. I believe that with all my heart, but when this will take place is entirely up to God. In the mean time I’ll walk the vale with him until he calls for me, at which time this blog and I will be done.