A Walk through the 1689 Baptist Confession, pt.6: The Relationship of God to His Creatures

1689conf

Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity, para. 2.

2._____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 pleaseth; 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. ( John 5:26; Psalms 148:13; Psalms 119:68; Job 22:2, 3; Romans 11:34-36; Daniel 4:25, 34, 35; Hebrews 4:13; Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18; Psalms 145:17; Revelation 5:12-14 )

Understanding the Confession

The Relationship of God to His Creatures

 I. His Self-Sufficient Independence from them.

The confession begins by stating that, “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.” This simply declares the truth that there is absolutely nothing that we can add to God. All life and goodness flows from Him. He in no way needed to create in order to become or remain the perfect Triune God of heaven. All things come from Him, and nothing can be added to him whatsoever. Jesus taught in John 5:26, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” God is all sufficient lacking nothing at all. Paul says it best in his recorded message at the Areopagus in Acts 17, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25).

II. His Sovereign Dominion over them.

The confession continues, “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 pleaseth.” This declares the truth of God’s sovereign dominion over all creatures. The Bible is abundantly clear on the sovereignty of God in Scripture. God even uses the declarations of Pagan kings to make this truth known. Hear the words about the God of creation from King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:34-35, “for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” God has declared the end from the beginning nothing can say to him “what have you done” or “why have you made me this way” (Rom. 9:20). Contrary to popular opinion, the God of the Bible is absolutely sovereign over all creatures, and he does not divorce himself from a single ounce of that sovereign control.

 

III. His Absolute Omniscience of them.

Thirdly, the confession declares the Biblical truth regarding the absolute omniscience of God of His creatures. It states, “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.” God is never informed or educated. He never needs to look through time in order to obtain any new knowledge. He has all knowledge at all times. His knowledge is never contingent or changed based upon any actions of the Creature. This is why the Apostle Paul can say, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord,  or who has been his counselor” (Rom. 11:33-34)?  And the writer of Hebrews reveals just how comprehensive the omniscience of God is over His Creatures when he writes, “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).

IV. His Utter Holiness before them.

Fourthly, this paragraph of the confession states, “he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.” The Lord God is Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8). He is set apart from all things stained by sin. No-one can look upon his utter holiness less they be consumed by his blazing glory (Ex. 33:20), and God cannot look upon anything unholy, and thus all things touched by the stain of sin will be judged and condemned by this Holy God. Therefore, the only hope of salvation is to be given a divine righteousness alien to the creature, this righteousness can only come by faith alone in Christ, whose righteousness is then imputed to the creature’s account justifying them before a Holy God. (Rom. 3:21-26).

V. His Intrinsic Claims upon them.
The paragraph closes, “o 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.” All of of God’s creatures owe him their complete and total allegiance, and thus any act which is not done in submission to God is an act of rebellion, and therefore is sin. All creatures are to fall before him in complete worship and adoration (Rev. 5:12-14; Matt. 28:16-20). This is of great importance because it undermines any notion of universalism or inclusivism, by declaring that only a complete submission and surrender to the one True Triune God of Scripture is accepted in the court of Heaven, any thing or surrendering to any one else is high treason. This submission is revealed in only one way alone, calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 4:12).

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