Chapter II: God and the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God is one, the only living and true God.(1)  He is self-existent(2) and infinite in being and perfection. His essence cannot be understood by anyone but him.(3)  He is a perfectly pure spirit.(4)  He is invisible and has no body, parts, or changeable emotions.(a) He alone has immortality, dwelling in light that no one can approach.(5)  He is unchangeable,(6) immense,(b),(7) eternal,(8) incomprehensible, almighty,(9) in every way infinite, absolutely holy,(10) perfectly wise, wholly free, completely absolute. He works all things according to the counsel of his own unchangeable and completely righteous will(11) for his own glory.(12)  He is most loving, gracious, merciful, and patient. He overflows with goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. He rewards those who seek him diligently.(13)  At the same time, he is perfectly just and terrifying in his judgments.(14)  He hates all sin(15) and will certainly not clear the guilty.(16)

(a) passions

(b) transcends all space

(1) 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Deuteronomy 6:4. (2) Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 48:12. (3) Exodus 3:14. (4)John 4:24. (5) 1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:15, 16. (6) Malachi 3:6. (7) 1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23. (8) Psalm 90:2. (9) Genesis 17:1. (10) Isaiah 6:3. (11) Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:10. (12) Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36. (13) Exodus 34:6, 7; Hebrews 11:6. (14) Nehemiah 9:32, 33. (15) Psalm 5:5, 6. (16) Exodus 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3.

2. God has all life,(17) glory,(18) goodness,(19) and blessedness in and of himself; he alone is all-sufficient in himself. He does not need any creature he has made nor does he derive any glory from them.(20)  Instead, he demonstrates his own glory in them, by them, to them, and upon them. He alone is the source of all being, and everything is from him, through him, and to him.(21)  He has absolute sovereign rule over all creatures, to act through them, for them, or upon them as he pleases.(22)  In his sight everything is open and visible.(23)  His knowledge is infinite and infallible. It does not depend upon any creature, so for him nothing is contingent or uncertain.(24)  He is absolutely holy in all his plans, in all his works,(25) and in all his commands. Angels and human beings owe to him all the worship,(26) service, or obedience that creatures owe to the Creator and whatever else he is pleased to require of them.

(17) John 5:26. (18) Psalm 148:13. (19) Psalm 119:68. (20) Job 22:2, 3. (21) Romans 11:34–36. (22) Daniel 4:25, 34, 35. (23) Hebrews 4:13. (24) Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18. (25) Psalm 145:17. (26) Revelation 5:12–14.

3. This divine and infinite Being consists of three real persons,(c) the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Spirit.(27)  These three have the same substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence without this essence being divided.(28)  The Father is not derived from anyone, neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father.(29)   The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.(30)  All three are infinite and without beginning and are therefore only one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet these three are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations. This truth of the Trinity is the foundation of all of our fellowship with God and of our comforting dependence on him.

(c) subsistences, or individual instances of a given essence

(27) 1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14. (28) Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6. (29) John 1:14,18. (30)John 15:26; Galatians 4:6.