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Religion Library: Baptist

Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings

Written by: David Buschart

Like other Christians, Baptists believe in one, triune God (Father, Son [Jesus Christ], Holy Spirit), the sovereign and supreme being.Baptists worship the God revealed in the Bible and believe that this God freely chose to reveal God's self through the Bible. This God is the one and only God.God is eternally uncreated and distinct from (though not uninvolved with) the creation.Descriptions of this supreme being often include, among others, affirmations of God as living, personal, spiritual, completely faithful, perfectly loving, omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), morally pure (holy, righteous, and just), and truthful.

God alone is the Creator and is alone to be worshipped.The creation was made by God alone, and is to be respected and cared for but not worshipped.The creation, including human beings, consists of both material and non-material realities.

Having created, God did not withdraw the divine presence or activity, but remained fully knowledgeable of and engaged with the world.This engagement includes revealing (that is, making known) God and God's ways.God has revealed and continues to reveal God's self through the Bible, through the created order, through mighty acts in history, and, preeminently, through God the Son, Jesus Christ.

The ultimate author of and character of the Bible is God.God's written Word and words (that is, the Bible) make true, though limited, knowledge of God available to human beings. As the creation of the Creator, the created order also reveals God. The divine "thumbprints," as it were, are evident.With other Christians, Baptists believe Psalm 19:1-2 when it says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge."

Unlike forms of Deism (which deny God's on-going, post-creation engagement with the created order), Baptists believe, as do other Christians, that God is involved with the world and is revealed through mighty acts in history.One of the greatest acts, periodically recalled throughout the Bible, is God's rescuing of Israel, usually referred to as "The Exodus" (and recorded in the biblical book titled "Exodus"), from 400 years of slavery in Egypt.God's mightiest act of revelation, however, is the incarnation of the God the Son, Jesus Christ, who said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).

Most Baptists believe in the existence of angels (good and evil), and the devil (Satan).While some Baptists may claim to know precisely when and how some angels "fell" and thereby became evil angels or "demons," most acknowledge the existence of angels, both good and evil, without claiming detailed knowledge of how some fell.There is a spiritual realm or a spiritual dimension of reality in which angels, both good and bad, and Satan are active.Most of the time, human beings are unaware of these activities, and there are varying views among Baptists regarding the degree to which these angelic activities affect lives and the degree to which one can, or should attempt to be, involved with them.Baptists would agree, however, that there is more to reality than that which can be accessed directly through the five senses.The created realm, of which humans are a part, consists of both material and non-material reality, of both natural and supernatural reality.


Study Questions:
     1.    Describe the God Baptists worship.
     2.    Should God’s creating power be seen as a onetime event, or is God still engaged in this world? Explain.
     3.    What is Deism? How do Baptist beliefs differ from this perspective?
     4.    Do Baptists believe in a supernatural reality? Why or why not?

 

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