GOD - American Tract Society Bible DictionaryThis name, the derivation of which is uncertain, we give to that eternal, infinite, perfect, and incomprehensible Being, the Creator of all things, who preserves and governs all by his almighty power and wisdom, and is the only proper object of worship. The proper Hebrew name for God is JEHOVAH, which signifies He is. But the Jews, from a feeling of reverence, avoid pronouncing this name, substituting for it, wherever it occurs in the sacred test, the word ADONAI, Lord; except in the expression, ADONAI JEHOVAH, Lord Jehovah, for which they put, ADONAI ELOHIM, Lord God. This usage, which is not without an element of superstition, is very ancient, dating its origin some centuries before Christ; but there is no good ground for assuming its existence in the days of the inspired Old Testament writers. The proper word for God is ELOHIM, which is plural in its form, being thus used to signify the manifold perfections of God, or, as some think, the Trinity in the godhead. In Exo 3:14, God replies to Moses, when he asks Him His name, I AM THAT I AM; which means either, I am he who I am, or, I am what I am. In either case the expression implies the eternal self-existence of Jehovah, and his incomprehensible nature. The name I AM means the same as JEHOVAH, the first person being used instead of he third.The Bible assumes and asserts the existence of God, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;" and is itself the most illustrious proof of his existence, as well as our chief instructor as to his nature and will. It puts a voice into the mute lips of creation; and not only reveals God in his works, but illustrates his ways in providence, displays the glories of his character, his law, and his grace, and brings man into true and saving communion with him. It reveals him to us as a Spirit, the only being from everlasting and to everlasting by nature, underived, infinite, perfect, and unchangeable in power, wisdom, omniscience, omnipresence, justice, holiness, truth, goodness, and mercy. He is but one God, and yet exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and this distinction of the Thee in One is, like his other attributes, from everlasting. He is the source, owner, and ruler of all beings, foreknows and predetermines all events, and is the eternal judge and arbiter of the destiny of all. True religion has its foundation in the right knowledge of God, and consists in supremely loving and faithfully obeying him. See JESUS CHRIST, and HOLY, HOLINESS SPIRIT.
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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
A dictionary of the Holy Bible, for general use in the study of the scriptures ; with engravings, maps, and tables. New York, American Tract society. Publication Date 1859.
Author: Rand, W. W. (William Wilberforce), 1816-1909