HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-3"
Today’s Topic: “Week 1: G O D”
At the offset, I want to tell you that we are going to discuss some of what we know of God, but we will never fully know God. As His created beings, we do not possess the capacity to comprehend God in His fullness (we don’t even understand our own bodies!); He has revealed some aspects of His being which we will examine today–and even in that, much is still too difficult for us to wrap our minds around! This is why faith is required. We can know what we know, and must have faith in God’s Word for the rest
Our denomination, the EMCC has a statement of faith that I want to read to you:
From the EMCC Faith and Practice (2013 - retrieved from
“We believe in the one true, living and holy God who is a self-existent, eternal, personal Spirit eternally existent as a trinity of three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These persons are distinct but inseparable, one in essence, power, and glory. God is the transcendent and immanent Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of all things visible and invisible.”
If a lot of that went over your head, you’re not alone. Today, we’re going to flesh this statement out somewhat, but first we need to read some Scripture passages upon which this statement is based. [I will be seeking volunteers to read individual passages as part of our time together.]
Supporting Scripture Passages
The Bible begins with this statement, “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This first sentence tells us that the Bible is GOD’s story. So, the logical place to begin our study series is with Him. What do we know about God? What do these Scriptures tell us?
1) GOD is ‘self existent’ and ‘eternal’ - ‘In the beginning’ does not refer to God’s beginning, but rather to the beginning of the world and universe that we know. God was not created and He has always been–He is not a created being. We have been promised an eternity in heaven with Him, but whereas we each have a definite ‘beginning’ point, God does not–He has always been and will always be.
2) GOD is not an ‘it’ or a ‘thing’ but a personal Spirit - Aside from Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby–as both God and man–God is entirely without a body. There are times in the Old Testament that tell us God appeared as a man–to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson’s mother and others. We call these appearances ‘epiphanes.’ So why do we refer to God as ‘He?’ Because God is personal and is not an ‘it.’ As the Creator of all, Jesus instructed His disciples to pray to ‘our Father in heaven,’ but we must not confuse that to mean He has a body and /or is male. When God created people, He created male and female in His own image. We bear God’s image, not in our physical bodies, but in our oneness and shared Spirit.
3) GOD is eternally existent as a trinity of three persons–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One of the most difficult concepts for us to grasp is the trinity. The word ‘trinity’ does not appear in the Bible, though it is clear through various verses that ‘trinity’ is an appropriate descriptor for God. God as three persons has always existed–throughout the Bible, each is mentioned at ‘the beginning’ of Creation and each took part. But how to understand the trinity...?
We could think of God like an egg–three parts (shell, white and yolk) that make up one (egg); however, remove one element of an egg and you no longer have an egg–the shell is not an egg, the white is not an egg, just as the yolk alone is not an egg. The Father, however, is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is also God (though not three gods).
We could think of God like a pie cut into three pieces, but as soon as you remove a slice, you have less pie. You can never have less God.
The best illustration that I have come upon is that of water. Water can manifest itself in three different states–solid ice, liquid, or water vapour. No matter what state water is in, its molecular structure doesn’t change...it will always be two hydrogen atoms for every one oxygen atom. The amount of water we have on our planet never changes either–the amount found in each state can fluctuate, but we will never gain or lose the amount of water we have.
While it’s not a perfect illustration to explain how a being such as God can exist as three persons in one, it does open up our ability to grasp a little more of how the trinity is possible. “The three persons of God are distinct but inseparable, one in essence, power, and glory.” Distinguishable, yet One.
4) GOD is both ‘transcendent’ and ‘immanent’ - He is not bound to the confines of the Created universe, yet He chooses to be present–He is simultaneously outside of Creation, but is constantly working within it as our Creator and Sustainer. For example, He exists outside of time–He can see the past, present and future as one eternal ‘now’–and yet at the same time has the ability, and has promised, to walk alongside us on a day by day basis.
5) GOD is the Ruler of all–both visible and invisible - Nothing is outside of God’s control. Everything that has been created, was created by God and for God. Does that mean that God created sin? No...but He did allow for it’s existence. We will discuss that topic during this series on a later date.
6) GOD is the source of all good things - Just as apples are only found on an apple tree, goodness is only found in God. God is love. God is joy. God is peace...
God is so very difficult to understand because He is a being like no other, however, He remains knowable...
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!