Thursday, October 6, 2016



If simplicity is ‘the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do’, then the following sentence fails miserably: ‘Never use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.’ Like lawyers and auto mechanics, when theologians use their own specialist language, we can be left bewildered. Simplicity is needed if we are to understand.

Preaching is the science of homiletics. It involves exegetical skills. However, the finished product, i.e., the sermon, is where simplicity comes in. To be effective, the message must be communicated to the audience in language it understands. Jesus was the Master communicator: ‘You are the salt of the earth…’, ‘Do not hide your light under a bushel’, ‘No one can serve two masters…’ ‘Consider the lilies of the field…’, ‘Judge not that you be not judged’ etc. Jesus had a way with words because He was/is the Word that became flesh. He simplified the profound.

Theologians speak of the Simplicity of God or Divine Simplicity, whereby, ‘there is but one only, living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, [is] a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions' (Westminster Confession of Faith). Notice that God is a most pure spirit without a body or parts. Thus, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit are not three parts of God. Rather, they are the three Persons who are one God. ‘In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity’ (WCF). Thus, God is not the sum total of His attributes. He does not have Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. Rather, He is these attributes, (i.e., all-knowing, everywhere present, and almighty). In other words, we do not tally-up a list of items that we think makes God God. Rather, He is the Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent Being. There is no other! The Simplicity of God is that His Being is identical to His attributes. His attributes are not part of who He is. Rather, they are who He is. Simplicity? Think about it: To talk about God’s attributes is the same as talking about God. Unlike God, you and I have bodies and we have parts. If we talk about bodies and parts we are not talking about God. In the same way, if we talk about Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence, we are not talking about human or angelic beings. We are talking about the Being who is God. The less parts a thing has, the less complicated it is. Well, God has no parts. Simplicity!

True, it is difficult to understand a Being who knows everything, is everywhere, and is all powerful. But, the Word became flesh. I can relate to a human being who was like us in every way apart from sin. Jesus said, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father’ John 14:9. Therefore, if God were a human being (which He is not), He would look like Jesus. But isn’t Jesus God? Yes, but we must not confuse His human nature with His divine nature! With Jesus, ‘two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very Man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man’ (WCF).

Then there is the simplicity of the Gospel: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.