Bridger Falkenstien

Right View of God

At Hill City you will often hear us say, "The most important thing about you is what you believe about God." But what does this actually mean? What is a right view of God? What does this have to do with me? At Hill City we are committed to pursuing a right view of God and we believe this is comes from our theology. 

Theology? What is it? Is it just some dusty old hobby for pastors to talk about? Isn't it just something that divides people? Is it just some way to uphold an oppressive religious system?

“Theology is unavoidable for all of humanity; Christian or non-Christian.”

I’m sure you’ve heard some of these remarks when talking about religion or theology. But as it turns out, there’s a big difference between what human beings think about organized religion and what studying the true nature and character of God actually is. The former is purely natural (made by men) but the second is supernatural (given by God) and a form of worship through the scriptures.[i] To put it simply, your theology is any thought you have about God, whether true or false.

Theology is unavoidable for all of humanity; Christian or non-Christian and rightfully so: Pastor and Theologian, R.C. Sproul spent most of his life passionately teaching that “it is not a question of whether we are going to engage in theology; it is a question of whether our theology is sound or unsound. It is important to study and learn because God has taken great pains to reveal Himself to His people” (Sproul, pg. 12). A Biblical theology, then, is essential to understanding who God is, which is truly the only way we can know who we are. It is my hope and prayer that this article would encourage you to think deeply about the Living, Triune God of the Bible and trust the revelation He has given us, that we might be transformed more into His image.

Who is God?          

In our Bibles, the book of Deuteronomy records Moses’s final speeches to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. The people stand on the threshold of a new future in the land of Canaan, and Moses exhorts them to love and obey the Lord; which is, to experience life in all its fullness. With good reason, Moses underlines the need for exclusive loyalty to God, warning of the danger imposed by the idolatrous practices of the nations already living in Canaan. Moses restates the obligations of the Sinai Covenant recorded in Exodus 19-24, reminding the people of how obedience will bring blessing and disobedience will bring disaster. Deuteronomy is important to us as Christians today for many reasons, but it holds specific significance in developing a Biblical theology through a proper perspective.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

In Jewish history, this passage has been referred to as the Shema, from the original Hebrew word meaning “hear” and is still recited morning, noon and night by Jews in their worship.[ii] Why? What’s the significance of this anyway and how can this ONE God be THREE persons? As was said earlier, the God of the Bible is triune; three in one. Triune refers to God as both three (tri) but one (une) and in the Shema, we get a peek into the heart of old testament believers and how they thought about God; they thought of God as One, not in persons but in substance[iii], One Creator of One Creation.[iv] The Shema shows God’s control of all other beings and all other created things. He alone is the God of all things in heaven, earth, and the sea[v] because He created them all.[vi] The Jews recite the Shema in worship to remind themselves where their loyalty lies and Who exactly it is that they serve.

“The being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God.”

This summer at Hill City, we took a similar adventure as the Jews in reciting the Shema when we taught through a mini-series on the attributes of God and you’ll remember we looked at His SovereigntyHolinessSelf-Sufficiency and Power. These are just a few of His attributes, but there are many others such as His Providence, His Goodness, His Righteousness, His All-Knowingness, His Self-Containing nature, and the list goes on. The Shema is not denying any of these attributes to any of the members of the trinity but rather, it affirms these attributes in all of the trinity[vii]; this is why the Shema is important to us.

We cannot divide the triune God of the Bible, or we will have no understanding of who He actually is. For example, Colossians 2:9 says of Christ, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” This passage from Colossians only affirms the deity of Christ and the importance of the one substance that Christ shares with the Father and the Spirit. Pastor and Theologian John Piper helps explain this: “we should not think of God as a pie cut into three pieces, each piece representing a Person. This would make each Person less than fully God and thus not God at all” (Piper, DG – What is the Doctrine of the Trinity). Wayne Grudem agrees in saying, “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, pg. 255). The divine substance[viii] is not something that is divided between the three persons but is fully in all three persons without being divided into parts.

“God’s Providence is in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.”

Now I know what you’re probably thinking… all this sounds cool but it’s all just spiritual and kind of like a "pie in the sky," right? What I want to propose to you is that this is actually vital to our understanding of who God is. God is an eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-sufficient being existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He rules over and interacts with His creation; theologians have called this the Providence of God. Through His Providence, God works His Will even through our intentional decisions and “that is the great comfort of the doctrine of providence – that God stands over all things and works them together for the good of His people (Rom. 8:28), and he is the ultimate source of our comfort in the person of Jesus Christ and the assurance of the Holy Spirit’s ministry (Rom. 8:16)” (Sproul, pg. 83). Finally, the ultimate hope and display of God’s Providence is in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh[ix] for our justification, sanctification and assurance.[x]

To recap, we’ve talked about how God is triune and how every quality of the trinity is present within every member of it. All three members are all-knowing, all three members are all-powerful, all three members are all-sufficient. Now we may begin to look at the question of who are we?

Who are We?

After we take the time to look at Who God is, understanding that we only scratch the surface of His nature,[xi] we see that He is in control,[xii] that He cares for His creation,[xiii] that He is with us and able to fully sympathize,[xiv] that He has paid the price for our redemption in His perfect sacrifice[xv] and that He continually testifies to the Father on our behalf.[xvi]

“The beauty and perfection of the garden only lasted to page three of our Bibles.”

At the most meaningful level and something that is basic to our nature, we are made in the image of God and given dominion (rule) over His creation.[xvii] We were made to be like God, Holy and Perfect.[xviii] However, the beauty and perfection of the garden only lasted to page three of our Bibles. Genesis 3 tells us of the idolatry of the human heart in which we’ve chosen our own way instead of the way of our all-knowing, all-powerful, all-sufficient Father.[xix] In light of the fall, the Bible tells us of the inertial drift away from God in the human heart and the relentless pursuit of God toward those same people. In the most basic form, we are a people made in the image of God, pursued by God despite our choice to reject Him!

Many books have been written on the Doctrine of man[xx] and many others have been written on who we are as broken people full of sin in a broken and corrupt world yet pursued by God.[xxi] But we are to take heart; the fall and our sin are not the end of our story, this is merely the beginning of a beautiful epic narrative with one Hero made to redeem it all; JESUS CHRIST!


In light of what we’ve learned, may the beauty of God so captivate your heart that you would “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [That you may] not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 parentheses mine).


[i] Deuteronomy 11:18-23; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:15-16, 105; Proverbs 3:1-2; 4:6-7; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13; Hebrews 4:12

[ii] Mark 12:29-30

[iii] In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (Westminster Confession of Faith article 2.3).

[iv] For more on the Doctrine of the Trinity; specifically explaining Three persons in One essence see Frame, Systematic Theology pg. 481-89; Grudem, Systematic Theology, pg. 255-57; Sproul, Everyone’s a Theologian, pg. 52-60

[v] Deuteronomy 4:39; 2 Kings 19:15

[vi] Nehemiah 9:6; Malachi 2:10

[vii] 25. SINCE THERE IS BUT ONE DIVINE BEING, [1] WHY DO YOU SPEAK OF THREE PERSONS: FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT? Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word,[2] that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.[1] Deut 6:4Isa 44:6, 45:51 Cor 8:4-6; [2] Gen 1:2-3Ps 110:1Isa 61:1, 63:8-10Mt 3:16-17, 28:18-19Lk 4:18Jn 14:26, 15:262 Cor 13:14Gal 4:6; Tit 3:5-6. (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 25).

[viii] There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 5)

[ix] John 1:1-4

[x] Hebrews 1:1-4

[xi] Romans 11:33-36

[xii] Matt. 11:26; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Rom. 8:29; 9:11; Eph. 1:5, 9, 11; 3:11

[xiii] Matt. 5:4; Jn 14:27; 16:7; Rom. 15:13; 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Heb. 13:6

[xiv] Heb. 2:18; 4:15

[xv] 1 Pet. 1:19; Heb. 10:1-18

[xvi] Gal. 3:19-20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24

[xvii] Gen. 1:26-31

[xviii] Lev. 19:1; Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15-16

[xix] Gen. 3:22-24

[xx] G.C. Berkouwer — Man: The Image of God (1962); J. Gresham Machen — The Christian View of Man (1984); John W. Cooper — Body, Soul & Life Everlasting (2000); John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds. — Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (2006); G.C. Berkouwer — Sin.

[xxi] The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context (Powlison); Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture (Powlison); Anxiety (Kellemen); Leading with a Limp (Allender); Healing the Wounded Heart (Allender); Biblical Counseling (Kellemen).

What does Inspired Mean?


One hand does not exist without the other. God did not communicate to us without humans, and humans cannot communicate God's words without God's inspiration. 

So, what does Inspired mean?

At Hill City we teach from the Bible every Sunday and encourage individuals and families to open, pray through, and meditate on the scriptures. Why do we do this? We believe that all of Scripture is inspiredtrueauthoritative and sufficient[i]. (See Psalm 19:7–8; Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)

If this is true, and God is truly the author of all of Scripture, then why did God use humans?

We believe that the Scriptures are the very Word of God, breathed out or spoken through the writings of the prophets, scribes and other authors carried along by the Holy Spirit for His Divine Will (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

2 Timothy 3:16 gives us the phrase breathed out, which is where the word inspired comes from. In Greek (Gk) the word translated “inspired” is theopneustos (θεόπνευστος) and it only appears once in the entire English translation of scripture. Theologians have pondered this meaning for centuries. They all agree that to breathe out words is to speak them[ii]; so, when we read 2 Timothy 3:16 we know that Inspiration means that God takes the language of human beings and makes it His own, through a beautiful mingling of a Divine and human Word, which is what we have today in our Bible.

Now I know what you’re thinking; if this is true, and God is truly the author of all of Scripture, then why did God use humans? Doesn’t this compromise the trustworthiness of the scriptures?

Many theologians and pastors throughout church history have considered this. Some (like John Calvin) have chosen to think of it like a boss giving “dictation” to his secretary. Others have given analogies such as this one from Athenagoras, a 2nd century church father: “God is like the flute player, and the prophets were like flutes.”[iii]

Whether pencils or instruments, “God appointed the biblical writers to be prophets, apostles, or associates of the apostles... In their writing, their individual human qualities appear vividly but, all of these very different writers were chosen by God to convey His personal word to the world” (Frame, pg. 595).

Pastor and theologian, Wayne Grudem, adds in his Systematic Theology that inspiration or dictation, “does not completely deny human volition or personality in the writing of Scripture, but rather to say that the ultimate source of every prophecy was never a man’s decision about what he wanted to write, but rather the Holy Spirit’s action in the prophet’s life, carried out in various ways” (Grudem, pg. 75). In other words, there is a limited human element to the Scriptures. So what does this mean?

God chose to lower Himself and communicate to us in a way that we could actually understand.

We should take great joy in the fact that God chose to lower Himself and communicate to us in a way that we could actually understand and respond by the Holy Spirit’s prompting. God chose to use (inspire) authors with all kinds of differences. Theologians of church history[v] have referred to this as organic inspiration and to them, these differences across the human writers are not walls for God to break down, but instead, different perspectives by which He brings us His Word.

“Because the writers are diverse in their language, style, culture, education, interests, and abilities, God speaks through them multiperspectivally, to give us many different aspects of the truth” (Grudem, pg. 76).  In other words, in order for us to understand the complexity of His being, God spoke through multiple people -- all with different perspectives. 

As humans, our language contributes a vital piece to our community. We convey a wide variety of content in different tones, emotions and perspectives. God’s language is infinitely more rich, and therefore He must use multiple human authors to communicate it to us. What a wonderful and amazing treasure is the written Word of God!

Understandably, the skeptic’s question always comes back to, “How much of God’s word is inspired then? How much of it is faulty translation or the mysterious political agenda of men seeking to brainwash?” Here it is helpful to understand the full scope and understanding of inspiration.

There’s no brainwashing and there’s no political agenda; no dirty secret.

Inspiration in Scripture is not the same as an artist might be inspired to create a painting today. Inspiration in Scripture means that everything in Scriptures is fully inspired and therefore is God’s Word.

In His Word, God wants to show us many things for the rest of our lives; not just propositions or ideas, but historical events, covenantal promises, feelings and tone. This is why the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity (three in one), had to “carry along” the writers of Scripture, as 2 Peter puts it. The New Testament frequently refers to the Holy Spirit as “governing” the words of prophets and apostles (see Matthew 10:20; 22:43; Acts 1:16).

There’s no brainwashing and there’s no political agenda; no dirty secret. All of this (the Scriptures) has been recorded that we might know what He wants us to know about Him -- what He has done, continues to do, and what He promises to do[vi].

Jesus Christ, our King, says in Luke 24:25-27, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Our Lord has fulfilled all of the Scriptures and has revealed to us the true nature of God as, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14-15)[vii]The inspiration of Scripture is to give us confidence in the Word as made perfect in the Person of Jesus Christ.


“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22


[ii] See John Frame pg. 594 of, Systematic Theology; an Introduction to the Christian Religion
[iii] Athenagoras, Plea on Behalf of Christians
[iv] Hebrews 1:1-3
[v] Most notably here, Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck
[vi] John 20:31; 1 John 5:13
[vii] See also Hebrews 1:1