First. I learn to believe in God the Father, who has created me and all the world.
Consider the first sentence in the Apostles' Creed. Humanity, in all ages and places, has always felt that there is a God, even though the idea of God has often been a mistaken one. What is our idea of God? How has he made himself known to the world?
God has revealed himself in the Bible as both an immanent and omnipotent God. That is, our God is someone who is intimate and friendly (immanent), but also someone who is formidable and frightening ("awful", in the sense of - "he fills me with awe" -ie. omnipotent).
Both these ideas are reflected in church architecture. A church built in Gothic style with sharp high ceilings and high windows allowing light to stream down onto the congregation, reflects the "awfulness" of God. A church built more like a loungeroom with seating in a semi-circle, reflects the friendliness of God. God is both friendly and awful (remember awful doesn't mean nasty, but majestic). God is both Father and almighty - "the Father almighty."
I remember once having an argument with a Jehovah's Witness. These people do not believe the trinity - one God in three persons. They are very big on God's name - Jehovah. This fellow was telling me that I should always address God by his name, Jehovah. He made a mistake by saying that I would always properly address my human father by using his name and wouldn't say something like, "hey you". I told him that I never addressed my father by his name, but always called him "dad". The Bible tells us that we should address our creator God this way. As Jesus said, when you pray say, "Our Father in heaven". Our heavenly creator wants us to know him as a caring, supporting, intimate, friendly person. What a wonderful and amazing truth this is.
He is also "almighty". God is not someone to be ignored or played with. He offers himself to us as a caring Father, but he is also an infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful, dynamic, ever-living, perfect being. The Bible tells us that we couldn't even look upon him without being consumed by his stare, because imperfect sinful creatures cannot come near to his glory. One day we will all have to stand before him in the day of judgement. In that day, only those who line up behind Jesus will survive his "awful" stare.
We believe that the first way God revealed, or made himself known to the world, is as the Creator.
In the Bible story of the creation, God reveals that he is the creator of the whole universe. Read Genesis 1:1. All that exists began from God. "In the beginning God." As we look at the world, God's handiwork, we see countless signs of him as its Creator. Think of the order of the seasons, year after year; of the stars and planets, kept on their appointed courses throughout the ages; of the perfect beauty of the tiniest flower, or the smallest insect; of the marvelous way the clouds, sea and rain, work together to support life.
Science has discovered much on how the world evolved into the shape it is today. We do well to learn and understand the discoveries of science. The Bible does not pretend to be a science textbook and it is our common failure to understand this fact, that causes arguments between the teachings of science and the teachings of the Bible. The Bible tells us where everything came from and why everything is in the shape that it is.
Everything comes from God who said, "let it be". It's fascinating to realize that everything seems to be made up of energy. Every time scientists think they have discovered raw matter, they realize it is but shaped energy. As the Bible teaches, God said and it came into being; it formed from nothing.
The shape of everything comes from the mind of God. If I was to pick up a watch on the footpath, I would certainly not believe it just grew there accidentally. The complexity of the created order shows that there is a creative mind behind it all - a designer.
The apex, the final brush-stroke of creation, is humanity. We are created in the "image of God". That is, we are created like God in that we are free beings - we can choose, we can make moral decisions, we can be creative.
The great mystery of our universe is that creation seems out of control. Many people have said to me, "I don't believe in God because of all the terrible things I see going on about me. How could a loving God create such an evil world?" Of course, he didn't create an evil world, but a beautiful one. When God looked at the creation, after the billions of years of its forming, he said "it is good". What he created was a free people with the capacity to choose good or evil. Sadly, we choose to ignore God and nurture selfishness. So, the universe is like a car with a wheel wobble travelling too fast down the expressway of life. Sooner or later the wheel is going to come off. Luckily God has done something about the mess we find ourselves in. In our next lesson we will see how Jesus has rescued ("redeemed") us from the inevitable crash.
Such thoughts as these help us to realise that our creator God is indeed the Father almighty. Each one of us is aware of God within. We often speak of our conscience - that strange something within us which says, "you ought to do this", or "you ought not to do that". When conscience speaks, it too evidences God's creative hand. There is even within us something that writers call, "the God gap". "As the deer pants after streams of running water, so my soul yearns after you, my Lord and my God." Yes, within each one of us there is this desire to reach out to "the ground of our being". Somehow, we feel a need to know God. We sense his truths within us (the conscience). We sense an inner desire to touch him. It's as if we sense that the creation is nothing without the Creator.
Jesus Christ taught that God has not ceased his loving work in the world even today. Jesus said, "my Father works even until now, and I work," John 5:17.
When we say together the Apostles' Creed, we will make this statement of faith, "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth." It is great to know that the God who wants to be our personal caring and loving Father, is also the almighty powerful one, creator of all there is.
Revise the Apostles' Creed. Start learning the Ten Commandments. Learn only the first phrase of each command. eg. 2. "You shall not make for yourself a graven image.
Familiarize yourself with the answer to question 6. "What do you chiefly learn from this creed".
Almighty God, maker of all things, and Father of all, who is from everlasting to everlasting: Help me to realize your greatness and your love, and let my mouth be filled with your praise, that my life might display your honour and glory all my days; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.