Thursday, May 14, 2009

God is Perfect: what does that mean

Sunday School on Perfection and Sin, May 10-June 7 2009

Week 1—What does it mean when we say that God is perfect?

What emerges is that Perfection is Mystery

These came out of class discussion and the scriptures: Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 103, Job

Aspects of God humans view as (potentially) positive:
Not devious
No mistakes
Faithful—keeps faith

Aspects of God humans view as (potentially) negative:
Wants to win
Inescapable—no deliverance is possible from God
Responsible for everything
God cannot be accused by a human, is not accountable to humans
God does not immediately or necessarily set oppression right
Not deceivable

Aspects of God humans cannot really understand:
Not separated, not divided from God’s self or not self divided against self
Different from creation, different from creatures
Infinite and unending
With and in creation and creatures
Not bound by time

God creates, sustains, destroys, renews
God kills, makes alive, wounds, heals wounds
God holds in God’s hand the life of every living thing
God makes God’s self known to humans
God creates wonders, causes natural disasters
God is on the side of the oppressed

My notes from the scriptures:

Moses’s poem about God Deuteronomy 32
His work is perfect, his ways are just, a faithful God without deceit, just and upright

He is father, creator, maker, establisher

He divided the nations, fixed their boundaries

For Israel, sustained, guarded, shielded, cared for, guided (eagle and young), set up, fed, nursed,

God’s response to Israel’s idolatry: jealous, hidden from them, provoked, angry, punishing; however, God will not blot Israel out for God’s own sake because onlookers will think their gods have conquered. God will be avenged, and God’s people will be vindicated.

“There is no god beside me. I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; no one can deliver from my hand.”

David’s poem about God Psalm 103
Forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, satisfies, works vindication and justice for oppressed, makes God’s self known, has mercy, is gracious, is slow to anger, abounds in steadfast love, does not accuse forever, will not be angry forever, does not deal with us as our sins deserve, removes our transgressions, has fatherly compassion on us, remembers we are dust

(Psalm 104—Creator, provider, destroyer, renewer)

The Book of Job—one main theme is perfection

Job 42:7—God says, “What Job has said about me is right.” So we do well to see what Job says about God.

Job 7:17—God makes much of human beings, watches humanity

Job 9:4—God is wise in heart, mighty in strength, cannot be successfully resisted
Removes mountains, shakes the earth, prevents the sunrise, seals up the stars, stretched out heaven, trampled the sea, made the constellations, does great things beyond understanding; snatches away, who can stop him

Will not turn back his anger—he crushes me without cause; he destroys both the wicked and the blameless; he will not hold Job innocent, he is not a mortal, no one can be delivered from his hand

Job 10 God is responsible for Job’s condition
Job 12;10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being

Wisdom, strength, counsel, understanding, sovereign, strong and wise, brings prosperity and takes it away

Job 13 Majestic, dreadful
Job 19 God will be on my side eventually, God will redeem me

Job 24 Oppression of the poor occurs, and God does not set things right
Job 28 Only God is wise; 28:23-28

In Job 38. God shows up to talk with Job. God does not answer Job’s specific questions about why Job is suffering.

Instead, what we see is that God takes pride in the creation—look at what I have made and keep making

Look at the monsters I have created—aren’t they cool

Job’s response 42: 2
God can do all things, God’s purpose cannot be thwarted

Matthew 5:48 be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect—immediate context: makes sun rise on evil and good, sends rain on righteous and unrighteous, loves those who love him, loves those who hate him

Hebrews 11:3 worlds were framed (were perfected) by the word of God

Perfection with regard to God:

God is completely God
God is complete in God’s self
God is complete in knowledge
God’s perfection includes creator, provider, destroyer, renewer
God’s perfection includes creation of monsters, free will, natural upheavals
God’s perfection includes care for humans, interest in them, and care for all creation, including prey and predator
God is above, God is within; God loves the wicked; God loves the good; God takes it badly when humans revere anything above God; God is sovereign

This is the perfection of God

Next week: the perfect human(s)

Job and Jesus

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