The Shorter Catechism, 2
Return to The Shorter Catechism main page
Q4: What is God?
A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
What is God? Have you ever heard a question more difficult? Has there ever been a question more impossible to answer? What is God? Though it is impossible for us to really understand Who God is, yet, with the words Scripture speaks of Him, we may say Who He is.
In His being, He is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM". (Exod.3:14) Also in His wisdom and power, He is unlimited. "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." (Ps.147:5) Regarding His holiness, therein He is infinite. He is so holy, that He has nothing to do with any sinner. Only through purification, there can be communion between God and man; that is, through Christ. "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." (Rev.4:8) "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy." (Rev.15:4) Also His justice is infinite and unchangeable. Having once decreed that the sinner will die, and the righteous will live, He changes not. His goodness is infinite, and was without beginning, and without end. His truth will never change. His truth will remain true always. "And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." (Exod.34:6,7)
Q5: Are there more Gods than one?
A: There is but one only, the living and true God.
There is but one God. Scripture clearly enough states this. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." (Deut.6:4) There are wooden and metal gods enough, and those made of stone, but there is but one real, living and true God. All the rest is nothing but dead material. We have one God, the living God. "But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God". (Jer.10:10)
"Though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is [but] one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him". (1 Corinthians 8:5,6)
Q6: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A: There are three persons in the Godhead; the father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
There are three Persons in the one Godhead. Those three do not make three Gods; for there is but one God. "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." (1 Joh.5:7) When we are beginning to count, with our limited understanding, we would say that three Persons make three Gods. But here it appears how limited, finite, and restricted our mind is. Our reasoning shows here to be imperfect and limited. We cannot understand how it can be that there is but one God, and yet three Persons. Here our understanding stops, and only the belief remains us.
The Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is God. They all are the same in substance, in power and in glory. We honour the Father; we honour the Son, and we honour the Holy Spirit. The Father is almighty; the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty.
When the ministers baptise, they do so in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost. We are baptised in the name of God; that is "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". (Matthew 28:19) These are the three Persons, Who are in the Godhead.