Knowing Me, Knowing You –  God is not like us (Session Two)
Knowing Me, Knowing You – God is not like us (Session Two)
Session Two explores the key of the creator-creature distinction.
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The first of our six theological ‘keys’ to Scripture is: God is not like us. Theologians call this the Creator-creature distinction. It tells us that, at the level of being, God has nothing in common with his creation. This is because God is infinite, and creation (including of course humanity) is finite. This ‘key’ is taught through the Bible in a number of ways: (1) by the distinction between God as Creator and Saviour on the one hand, and man as a creature needing salvation on the other; (2) by the distinction between the necessary and independent being of God revealed in the divine name ‘I AM’, and the dependent and contingent being of man; (3) by the distinction between things that only God can do (and man cannot do) and things than God cannot do (and man can or must do); (4) by the distinction between descriptions of God’s nature as ‘love’, ‘light’, or ‘spirit’, on the one hand, and man as ‘dust’, or ‘flesh and blood’ and so on; (5) by the distinction between God as simple and triune, and man as complex and unipersonal.

The implications of the theological key God is not like us extend to both doctrine and practice. At the level of doctrine, we are guarded from the errors of pantheism, panentheism, polytheism, and Open Theism. At the level of practice, the key has implications for our worship, our self-understanding and moral worth, our salvation, and our prayer lives.

Aims of study

Starter questions

Questions to review understanding and for discussion

Bible passage: Exodus 3:1-15

Suggested application questions

For further study

Donald Macleod’s book Behold Your God (Fearn: Christian Focus, 1995) is a great place to begin further study of some of the themes in this chapter. It’s a rigorous but accessible treatment of the doctrine of God. As the quote on the front cover of my edition of Macleod’s book says, ‘It is impossible to honour God as we ought, unless we know Him as He is.’

For something a bit more advanced, you might want to try Cornelius Van Til, Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, P&R Publishing, 2017). This is a new edition, with an introduction and helpful notes by William Edgar.

On the doctrine of humanity, I’ll offer some references at the end of the next study.