- God exists as the infinite, only necessary being who created the universe and all that is within it.
- He is infinite in those values that order his creation, primarily grouped in the categories of truth, goodness, and beauty. His glory manifests those qualities, and his love communicates them—all for the benefit of himself and his creation.
God is one in his essence of infinite truth, goodness, and beauty, but three in his persons.
- In his persons, he operates always according to his essence.
- As persons, he is relational within himself.
- Because God is infinite truth, goodness, and beauty—the foundation for relationship—and the creator of all, he alone is worthy of worship in his essence and persons.
God, in his persons, interacts with humankind.
- God the Father: The image that the word father conveys is that of a loving caregiver, and indeed God the Father is that. Earthly fathers are responsible for both the security of their children and, with mothers (also presumed in God’s fatherly image), the upbringing in knowledge and experience. Just so does our heavenly Father provide security and direction in love’s growing, interactive maturity. It is God the Father to whom we submit (“thy will be done”), of whom we petition for sustenance (“give us this day our daily bread”), to whom we pray for forgiveness (“forgive us our trespasses”), on whom we depend for protection (“deliver us from evil”), and to whom we sing (“to thine be the glory”).
God the Son: The designation son implies no eternal subordination in the deity of this person of the Trinity. His sonship relates to his mission of laying aside (for a time) certain of his divine attributes (e.g., omniscience) so as to become fully human as Jesus.
- Despite being born as a man with the corrupted influence of the flesh, he lived a sinless life never succumbing to temptation’s influence.
- As perfect, sinless son, he followed the Father’s direction.
- Jesus atoned for the cursed essence of humankind, providing forgiveness and redemption through his death and resurrection.
- Having accomplished our rescue, Jesus ascended to God to intercede for those who trust in his atonement.
- God the Spirit: Working in the hearts and minds of all image bearers, the Spirit reveals God’s essence, convicts of sin, and motivates toward faith. For those who trust in Christ’s atonement, the Spirit comes alongside our spirits to encourage us toward the revealed essence of God and remind us of our union with him, the hope of our eternal satisfaction in loving relationship.
- The Bible, the original writings of the historically accepted 66 books contained in the Old and New Testaments, is the exclusive, inspired Word of God. As such, it is God’s revelation as our authority by which to examine and settle on faith and practice.
- Although God continues to speak through and to his creation, his continued revelation is not new doctrine or new principle of practice. Rather, his continued revelation aligns with the already defined doctrines and principles in his written Word.
- Although God gave his written revelation in the language of its autographs, he has preserved it through translations and copies, as supported through textual criticism, so that we may come to know, through God-guided study and interpretation, its originally intended meaning.
- God’s purpose in creation was for everlasting love relationship.
- Because God desired everlasting love relationship and because relationship was necessarily founded on his own essence, God created his image bearers to both desire his truth, goodness, and beauty and—in a finite sense—to comprehend, concur with, and communicate that truth, goodness, and beauty.
- In giving life—defined as relationship with God based on God’s essence—God covenanted with humanity to provide them with truth, goodness, and beauty as they trusted in and depended on him for it.
- Sin is any offense of attitude or action to the essence and existence of God.
- Humankind, in Adam and Eve, sinned against God by removing trust in him for truth, goodness, and beauty and placing that trust in themselves.
- The result of sin is death—defined as separation from God.
- Death is punishment and consequence to all those born of Adam. Humanity and all creation did not experience complete separation from God immediately because God had planned a way for redemption, forgiveness, and restoration.
- Salvation, resulting in restoration of righteous relationship with God, is the individual application of the atonement of Jesus to redeem us from sin’s curse and to forgive us for sinful activity.
- Individual persons receive salvation by confession of sin and by faith in God and his restoring work. In this age, faith in God is centered on his ultimate revelation of the atonement of Jesus.
- Thus, in salvation, justification—declaration of covenant faithfulness—comes by faith.
Final Redemption and Restoration
- Christ will return bodily to this earth to bring final judgment to all evil and to gather together His covenant people.
- The judgment to occur is biblically named the second death, in which ultimate separation from God occurs, imaged as the lake of fire.
- At that time, Christ will refine and redeem for God the physical essence of humankind, which includes all material creation, of which he was firstfruits.
- All those saved will forever dwell in the new heavens and earth in the communion of sinless and restored everlasting love relationship with God and his people.