God’s Name: I AM



“You see, the name “I am” means more than just that God exists. It means he matters. When Moses says, “Who am I?” God shows him that it is irrelevant, because he has the “I am” on his side, and that is what matters. Remember, Moses already believes in God, but God doesn’t want this on the edge of Moses’ thinking. He wants it smack-dab in the center. I’m sure you learned at school that the air we breathe is almost all made up of nitrogen (80 percent) and oxygen (20 percent). 1 If I asked you if you believed in nitrogen, you would certainly say yes. But if I asked how nitrogen affected your life, you would probably admit that it made no difference. You would believe it was there, but you would never have thought about it or even particularly wanted it, and it certainly would not affect your decisions. Oxygen is a different story, though. You would believe in it, but you would also know how dependent you are on it: to breathe, to burn fuel, and so on. You would know how difficult life is without enough oxygen, and it would drive all sorts of your decisions, from holding your breath underwater to using an asthma inhaler to preserving the rainforests. Most people are “nitrogen believers” in God. They believe he is there, but they never acknowledge their need of him or let him influence their thinking. They certainly don’t make decisions with reference to him. Believing in God is not enough. To be a disciple is to be an oxygen believer: someone who realizes how earth-shakingly important God is, how much he matters in every way, how he is the “I am.” -Andrew Wilson, Incomparable


Revelation is Bound Up with the Idea of a Transcendent God

“The fundamental word is “revelation.” Derived from a Latin noun meaning “unveiling,” it indicates that God has taken the initiative to make himself known. The reasonableness of this concept should be plain. For whoever or whatever God may be, he is altogether beyond our knowledge. “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job. 11:7). Indeed not. His infinite greatness is veiled from our eyes. We cannot discover him by ourselves. If we are ever to know him, he must make himself known.” -John Stott, Understanding the Bible

Not Good

“Julian’s liberal theology was far from typical for the time, but her status as an anchoress protected her from accusations of heresy. While many of her contemporaries argued that the Black Death was a sign of God’s punishment of the wicked, Julian believed in a broader, more merciful theology, suggesting that God demonstrated only love, never wrath, for his people. Julian even applied her understanding of God’s love to sin, which, contrary to the medieval Roman Catholic Church’s stance, she viewed not as evil or the work of the devil but as a necessity for bringing one to self-knowledge. Sin, she argued, was a necessary part of free will because it created a greater understanding of the need for God’s grace. She even went as far as to claim that God did not forgive our sins. “I saw truly that our Lord was never angry, and never will be,” she wrote. “Because he is God, he is good, he is truth, he is love, he is peace; and his power, his wisdom, his charity and his unity do not allow him to be angry. . . . And between God and our soul there is neither wrath nor forgiveness in his sight. For our soul is so wholly united, through his own goodness, that between God and our soul nothing can interpose.” Michelle DeRusha, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith

BTW NOTE: Beware of any thinker that pits anger against love. We don’t even tolerate such thinking at a human level. If a husband were to cheat on his wife, her love for him would make her legitimately angry at what he had done. Why? Because love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment. And his infidelity jeopardized that commitment, and necessarily provoked her to anger. If she said to him, ‘Oh, I’m not angry at all that you did that,’ you would wonder whether their relationship was DOA already before the infidelity. The same thing applies to God. Any god that doesn’t get angry when we turn away from him, must not have been very invested in a relationship with us in the first place. The point of this: any God who never gets angry when we reject him, also can’t ever love us very much.

Time Has No Meaning (For God)

“If the word “infinity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of space, so the word “eternity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of time. When we say that God is eternal, we mean that he had no beginning and that he will have no end. But we really mean more than that. We mean that time has no meaning for him, save as it has meaning to the creatures whom he has made. He created time when he created finite creatures. He himself is beyond time.” -J. Gresham Machen, The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior

Mind Boggling Infinity

“What is meant by saying that he is infinite? Well, the word “infinite” means without an end or a limit. Other beings are limited; God is unlimited. I suppose it is easy for us to fall into our ordinary spatial conceptions in trying to think of God. We may imagine ourselves passing from the earth to the remotest star known to modern astronomy—many, many light-years away. Well, when we have got there, we are not one slightest fraction of an inch nearer to fathoming infinity than we were when we started. We might imagine ourselves traveling ten million times ten million times farther still, and still we would not be any nearer to infinity than when we started. We cannot conceive a limit to space, but neither can we conceive of infinite space. Our mind faints in the presence of infinity.” -J. Gresham Machen, The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior

Just a Feeling?

“Pure feeling, if such a thing exists, is non-moral. That can be observed in the sphere of human relationships. What makes my affection for a human friend such an ennobling thing is the knowledge that I have of the character and the needs of my friend. Am I indifferent to such knowledge? Am I indifferent to base slanders which are directed against my friend’s reputation? Not if I am a friend worthy of the name. Human affection, apparently so simple, is in reality just bristling with doctrine; it depends upon a host of observations, stored up in the mind, regarding the object of affection.” -J. Gresham Machen, The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior

BTW NOTE: In other words, to make God a mere feeling is to make him, not more, but less than we are. And as with all things that are ‘less’ than us, a God who is just a feeling is easy to manipulate. One way we see this is in how God always seems to agree with our opinions. He’s gets fashioned in such a way that he always agrees with us.