#648: God

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Reflections by the Pond
March 24, 2014

Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"

Exodus 33:18-20

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The very existence of the Trinity illustrates our own inability to grasp the full panoply of God's personality. The necessary atonement of Jesus aside, were man able to intellectually comprehend the totality of God, the three distinct members of the Trinity would not be necessary. God is already spirit; He is able to be and do everything of the Holy Spirit. God is already everything of the Son; He already possesses all the compassion, empathy, servanthood, and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Man, however, is not able to comprehend the totality of God. Indeed, we have sufficient struggles with each member of the Godhead. So its fullness is displayed and demonstrated for feeble humans in its component parts: the Father, the Spirit, the Son. Given that, what is the role of God the Father?

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God the Father is the root of all that is holy. He is not just holy; He is holiness. If we could only say, "God is holy," and no more, then that would permit the interpretation that God is in part what someone else is in whole—that He is what someone else has defined.

When we say "God is holy," we speak the truth, but it may be inferred from that that someone else has set the standard for God's holiness—that His holiness is only a subset of the whole. Which, of course, is not true.

Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because He is holy, His attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.

A. W. Tozer

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It is not enough to say that God is holy. We must quickly follow on with the fuller truth that God is holiness. Once we have grasped the difference, we are then left with the troublesome problem of defining that level of holiness. If God sets the standard for holiness, just how holy is that?

We cannot grasp the true meaning of holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable.


If we consider every attribute of God the Father in the same way that we have His holiness, we realize that God is the source—the irreducible and irreproducible standard—for every quality ascribed to Him.

For this reason man in flesh cannot look upon the face of God. The experience would be too intense, too destructive to beings as fragile as ourselves. To look upon the face of God and survive would be the same as to plunge one's face into burning, liquefied iron and withdraw it whole. The physical laws of God's creation say that this would be impossible; the flesh would be destroyed in an instant. Just so, the physical and spiritual laws created by Him dictate that sinful flesh cannot survive looking upon the face of the living God.

For the Godhead to have a relationship with man, the Father is as necessary as the Son and the Spirit. Because of his sinful bent, were man to have only the Son and Spirit, he would soon forget the utter, untouchable holiness of God. His disciples lived with Jesus day after day for three years; they soon forgot—even though they used the right words—that He was more than just flesh, but God. Man too easily forgets the inconvenient truth.

We need God the Father to remind us of God's sovereignty, His unimaginable power, His holiness.