THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 5. Are there more Gods than one?

ANSWER: There is but one only, the living and true God.


Q. 1. How does it appear from scripture, that there is but one God only?

A. From Deut. 6:4 -- "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord:" Isa. 45:22 -- "I am God, and there is none else."

Q. 2. How does reason demonstrate this truth, that there is but one God?

A. Reason says, that there is but one first cause and ultimate end of all things: and that there cannot be two, or more, infinite, eternal and unchangeable beings.

Q. 3. Why is God's omnipotence commonly adduced to prove, that he can be but one only?

A. Because he could not be omnipotent, or almighty, if any other could oppose or resist him, Job 9:12.

Q. 4. How may it be proved from his government of the world?

A. There could not be a uniform governing of all things in the world, to one certain end, if the infinitely wise Governor, who is at the helm, were not one only.

Q. 5. How are some of the divine perfections expressed in scripture, for proving the unity of the essence?

A. They are expressed in the abstract; for instance God is said to be "light," 1 John 1:5; to be "love," ch. 4:8; to be "strength," 1 Sam. 15:29; all which, and the like abstract properties, plainly denote that God is one only.

Q. 6. Is God compounded of the several perfections of his nature, as the Socinians speak?

A. By no means: for all the several attributes of God are only the one infinite perfection of his most simple and uncompounded nature; which infinite perfection, because of our weakness, is described by parts, according to the several objects about which it is conversant.

Q. 7. Is the vast variety of the divine decrees any argument against the divine unity?

A. No; because the decrees are various only with respect to the different objects and effects to which they extend, but not with respect to the act of the divine will, which is but one.

Q. 8. Are there not several in scripture who are called gods?

A. Yes; angels, magistrates, and the idols of the heathen nations.

Q. 9. Why are angels called gods? Psa. 97:7.

A. Because of the excellency of their nature, power, and wisdom, Psalm 103:20.

Q. 10. Why are magistrates so called? Ex. 22:28.

A. Because they are God's deputies for government and justice among men, Rom. 13:4.

Q. 11. Why are the idols of the heathen nations called gods? 1 Chron. 5:25.

A. Because ignorant and brutish persons have honoured them as such; but there is no reason at all to be "afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good," Jer. 10:5.

Q. 12. Why is Satan called the god of this world? 2 Cor. 4:4.

A. Because he reigns and rules over the greatest part of the world, as his servants and slaves; for he is "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," Eph. 2:2.

Q. 13. Why are covetous men called idolaters? Eph. 5:5.

A. Because the world has that room in their heart which God should have.

Q. 14. What may we learn from God's being one only?

A. To beware of mistaken notions of him, as if he were partly in heaven and partly on earth; for he is so much one, that he is wholly every where present, Jer. 23:24.

Q. 15. Why is this one only God said to be the living God?

A. Because he has life essentially in himself, John 5:26; and is the author and giver of that life that is in any living creature, Acts 17:28; and likewise in opposition to dead and dumb idols, Psalm 115:4-7.

Q. 16. Why is he called the true God?

A. In opposition to all false and imaginary gods, Jer. 10:10, 11.

Q. 17. Why are living, and true put together in the answer?

A. Because they are inseparably conjoined in the infinitely perfect nature of God. He who is the living God is the only true God; and the true God, the only living God, 1 Thess. 1:9.

Q. 18. What may we learn from his being the living God?

A. To present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service, Rom. 12:1.

Q. 19. What may we learn from his being the only true God?

A. To worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24, because he desires truth in the inward parts, Psalm 51:6; and likewise to beware of setting up an idol, or regarding any iniquity in our hearts; otherwise he will not hear us, Psalm 66:18


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