1689 - Chapter 2
*To view the second chapter uninterrupted, see the site included below this article
Of God and the Holy Trinity
The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of Himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, 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.
Who is God? See above. The writers of the 1689 inexhaustibly lay out the attributes of God. My favorite part is, "..most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory.." God is free to do all that He wishes. He is the creator of the universe.
"Most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness..." is where many modern evangelicals would give their nod of occurrence. However, we must not forget that for God to be just, holy, and righteous He must also punish the guilty. Those outside of Christ stand condemned, but those in Christ are free (Romans 8:1, 15-17)
" keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7
God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself, is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which He hath 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 He hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, 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, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever He is further pleased to require of them.
For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. (John 5:26)
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:34-36)
This second paragraph puts what we call the Aseity of God into one nice, long sentence. In a nutshell, we laymen should understand it this way:
Where did God come from? Yes
Who made God? Yes
How did God just exist from eternity? Yes
Was God lonely before the foundation of the earth so he created the world and everything in it? Ye... no. Sorry, I was caught in the rhythm. Side note: God created all things to share His glory and His love for the Son.
In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on Him.
Don't be bothered if you don't understand what subsistences means. I don't either. Quite frankly I think it's made up. Even after reading the definition from multiple dictionary sources it's vague, but that's okay! The writers knew it was a made up word too so they used another really long sentence to further clarify what they mean. God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three separate persons yet one in the same. We see the concept of the trinity in many places throughout the Bible. Christians are monotheists. Mono meaning one, and theists meaning God. We worship God. Religions such as Hinduism are polytheistic, meaning multiple God's. I know that the trinity is perhaps the most confusing concept for us to understand as Christians, but scripture points to the unity of the trinity quite clearly. Examples follow:
For there are three that testify. 1 John 5:7
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. John 14:11
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4:6
I will not sit here and claim to fully understand the trinity. Many people have written dissertations concerning the trinity and there are enough books on the topic to fill libraries. I will drop some links below from trusted writers, authors, and other ministries should you want to pursue a bit further. As always, thanks for taking the time to read!
The Lord Bless you!
Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves