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Bible, Catechism

Question #5: What Else Did God Create?

August 25, 2020

What else did God create?

God created all things by his powerful Word, and all his creation was very good; everything flourished under his loving rule

In my last post, we discussed New City Catechism’s question #4, which deals with the purpose of humanities creation: to know and love God. Now, after dealing with humanity, the catechism turns to the rest of the world. What else did God create? There are three points of interest that the catechism offers us.


A simple reading of Genesis 1 and 2 would make God’s creation of all things a known fact. Birds, reptiles, trees, fish, and a host of other animals were created by God. But God did not only create what can be seen, but also the unseen: he created emotions, desire, will, relational and familial systems. Think about the vast sum of objects that you enjoy in this life. Marriage? Friendship? A ribeye medium-rare? A perfectly pulled shot of espresso? The Rocky Mountains? All of this, and more, comes from the hand and mind of God.


You may be thinking, what is so special about God creating? We create all the time. We create tables, iPhones, cultural systems. We create all the time. For you and I, we are entirely dependent upon raw materials to create. In order to design and create a table, we must purchase a saw, screws, and wood. What is unique about the work of God is that He creates without any raw materials. In other words, Genesis 1 and 2 tell a story of a God who simply speaks and creates. God says, “Let there be light” and light appears.

God creates with no strain or stress, whereas we create with incredible stress and strain. Mankind has created some of the most fascinating inventions, yet most of the time through arduous work. God, on the other hand, never tires or worries about what he is creating. He never has a rough draft. God creates all things perfectly and painlessly. Here is the unique and inviting aspect of Christianity: God is immensely powerful while being highly relational at the same time. The same God who spoke the universe into being longs to be in relationship with you.


We were originally created to live in a world that flourished, rather than the world that we live in now that has been corrupted by sin. Every single person, whether they are religious or not, recognizes that there is something wrong with the world. There is something inside of our bones that cries out, “This is not the way it’s supposed to be.” That is because something in our soul recognizes that there was a moment when everything was perfect.

Because God is perfect in himself, God created everything perfectly, or as the catechism notes, everything was created to flourish. This is what we all desperately long for: flourishing relationships, businesses, and friendships. We were designed to live in a world that flourishes under God’s loving rule, where everything works in perfect harmony together. Our hope lies in the fact that one day, God will return to earth to renew and restore all things, so that our heart gets what its longing for: to be in relationship with God and then world in perfect harmony.

Bible, Catechism

Question #4: How and why did God create us?

August 17, 2020

How and why did God create us?

God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.

New City Catechism #4

Deep inside humanities’ bones, everyone is asking: Why do I exist? What am I here for? Tired, anxious mothers question their existence and calling in sleepless nights; ambitious college-students seek to find their niche in the world; children wonder what their eventual purpose will be in the world. Simply put, wondering why we exist is simply human. Thankfully, Christianity and the catechism are not devoid of engagement with some of life’s most prominent questions. Here we have our answer, though some may not like it: we were created to know God, love God, live with God, and glorify God.

First, before we jump into the four reasons we were created, the catechism distinguishes how God created us. In the opening pages of the Bible, God is described as a Creator, who creates all things, including mankind. God first creates mankind in his image, noting that there is something amiss in the good creation, namely, a helper suitable for Adam. Now, lest we read our sin-filled world into Genesis 1 and 2, Eve being a “helper” for Adam is not derogatory or demeaning. A helper is someone who is strong, able to help, and fully competent (as I help my children with their homework, I cannot be the weaker party because then I could not help).

Everything in God’s good world was just that, good. Man and woman existed in perfect harmony with one another, with creation, with their vocation, and with their God. They existed together in a state in which we all long to be in. God created the first human pair to complement one another in relational harmony, as the catechism notes, we are created as male and female. We were created for vocational stewardship in this world, marital union, and relationship with God.


Our highest aim is to know God, more than as intellectual subject, but as an actual person. Of course we must know things about God but what is of utmost importance is that we know him like we know a good friend, rather than how we know how divide complex numbers. We were created to know God, as Adam and Eve were, walking in the garden with God in the cool of the day. Above everything else in life, you must ask yourself, “Do I truly want to know God? Am I fulfilling my ultimate purpose?”


More than just know God, we were created to love him, to have our affections stirred by him, and to have our delights infatuated by him. Men in the West have a difficult time understanding the concept of loving God, but the call is the same to both males and females: we are created to love God. We were created to know God and love God in a such a way that we exchange the best conversation around a fire with friends and think, “There’s no place I’d rather be!” In every moment of every day, we were created to love him.


While some sectors of Christianity have espoused a monastic life, the vast swath of Christians in history have chosen to live with God in their day-to-day routines. This, frankly, is one of the most compelling things about Christianity. Rather than a cloistered religion, only known by the holiest of holy’s, Christianity is a rugged and personal religion, one in where God walks with you in the day-to-day affairs of your life. While certain sections of our life can be devoted more specifically to God (think, worshipping on Sunday morning), God is just as interested and involved in your business endeavors, your relational woes, and your fluctuating hobbies. God cares and wants you to live with him in every facet of your life.


The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks this fundamental question, “Why were you created?” The answer: to glorify and enjoy God forever. The reason you exist is not to make a name for yourself, to accomplish great tasks, or to build a great empire—but to glorify a great King. From work, to play, to rest, to parenthood, to marriage—all things are for the glory of God. You’re highest aim in life is to worship, adore, and glorify the Creator God.

Bible, Catechism

Question #3: How many persons are there in God?

August 11, 2020

Question #3 – How many persons are there in God?

There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

One of the most distinct and confusing doctrines of Christianity is the Trinity. Those who are new to the Christian faith or are outside the Christian faith may find the doctrine complex. How are we monotheists (believing in one God) while also believing in the Trinity (three persons in one God)? In order to fully understand the distinction, a helpful diagram has been drawn:

There are six fundamental truths that are communicated in this simple diagram that are crucial to the doctrine of the Trinity:

  1. The Father is God
  2. The Son is God
  3. The Holy Spirit is God
  4. The Father is not the Son nor the Spirit
  5. The Son is not the Father nor the Spirit
  6. The Spirit is not the Son nor the Father

How then do we believe in three persons but only one God? Through the language of substance, meaning that they share the same divinity. They are entirely equal in power, glory, and dominion, yet distinct in their roles and how they execute such substance. In one way, you can speak of the Trinity as three persons, meaning that each person of the Trinity plays a different role in the history of redemption. In another way, it is impossible to speak about God without speaking about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is essentially who God is. The four affirmations from the ESV Study Bible summarize it well:

  1. There is one and only one true and living God.
  2. This one God eternally exists in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  3. These three persons are completely equal in attributes, each with the same divine nature.
  4. While each person is fully and completely God, the persons are not identical. The differences among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are found in the way they relate to one another and the role each plays in accomplishing their unified purpose.

Rather than being an insignificant doctrine, church history would prove that the doctrine of the Trinity stands as one of the fundamental pillars of the faith. Early debates and controversies almost always surrounded the Trinity, which was clarified more fully as time progressed in the early church. For years, Jews regarded Yahweh as kurios (Greek for Lord, a translation of the Hebrew name of Yahweh), but now Jesus arrives and is declared as kurios. Early Christians had to wrestle with the identification with Jesus as Lord alongside Yahweh of the Old Testament.

Early Christians then debated on how to understand the relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit. In the 4th century, debates surrounded whether or not Jesus was homousias or homoiuasis. For the uninformed, the two look identical but the difference is significant. The former conveying that Jesus is fully divine, of the same substance with God, while the latter affirming that Jesus is in someway supernatural, but in no way divine. The Holy Spirit was later defined as divine in the latter half of the 4th century at the Council of Constantinople.

The Trinity and the Christian Life

While the doctrine of the Trinity can become heady and stuffy, we should not detract its importance away from the Christian life. What then is the practical significance of the Trinity in the life of the Christian?

  1. God is a Triune God, meaning that He has existed in relationship for eternity. This forms the basis of our relational need, as we have been made to reflect and image a relational God.
  2. The Trinity serves as the foundation for further theological implications. For example, how would we know what it means to be adopted by God if He were not a Father?
  3. The Trinity brings comfort as each member of the Trinity ministers and intercedes in different ways.
Catechism, Ministry

Question #2 – What is God?

July 30, 2020

Question #2 – What is God?

God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.

For every human living on earth, question #2 from the New City Catechism may be one of the most important questions you could ever ask. What is God like? How does he act? Who is he? These are some of the most fundamental questions that will require a lifetime to ponder. A.W. Tozer once wisely said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Fortunately, the catechism provides us with a beautiful picture of what God is like.


God is first and foremost the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. Genesis 1 and 2 show that God is the ultimate creator of everything, speaking creation into existence by the word of his power. There is nothing that exists that God did not create (John 1:1-3). As the creator, God has the right over all creation, meaning, that he is king over all.

Not only is God the creator but he is the sustainer of everyone and everything. Not a single person or animal takes a breath without God’s sustaining power; a blade of grass will not grow without God’s permission. All things are sustained and held together through him (Colossians 1:17). This means that God is actively working and present not only in our lives, but in the entire world. Notice the comprehensive statement of the catechism: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything.


If God is the creator and sustainer of all things, would it not be helpful to know what he is like? In ancient history, many cultures believed that some form of deity created the world but primarily through violence, chaos, and conflict. Is this God the same? The Catechism will proclaim that the God of the Bible is nothing like the gods of the nations. So then, who he is?

First, God is eternal, meaning that he always has been, or, to put it another way, God is self-existent. God is self-existent in the sense that his existence is not tied to anyone or anything but rather in himself. Therefore, there has never been a time in which God has not been—he always was, is, and will be. “God is self-existent, that is, He has the ground of His existence in Himself.”1 God is the uncaused being—one who exists wholly by himself by no causation. “All that God is, he is of himself.”2

Second, God is infinite, meaning that he is free from all limitations or hindrances. There is nothing too difficult or straining for him; he never gets tired or weary. God is also not confined to space, meaning that God is everywhere—no one can hide from him. The Lord alone is the creator, the possessor of heaven and earth, the Lord of all creation, in whom we all live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Third, God is unchangeable, meaning that God will always be who he is; he does not decrease in his power; he does not weaken in his perfections; he does not sin. Another way to say this is that God is constant and consistent—he will never change! The catechism mentions several characteristics that God will never change in, namely, his power, perfection, goodness, glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. God will always be wholly consistent in all of these attributes.

To take it a step further, not only will God not alter from these attributes, he himself is the source and the definition of these attributes. What is goodness? It is the goodness of God. What is truth? It is the truth of God. This is to say that truth is not something that God has but something that he is. Therefore, he is the source and author of all goodness, truth, justice, and goodness. Any goodness, truth, justice, etc on earth is simply an imitation and deviation from God’s attributes.


  1. How is the eternality and infinity of God bring you comfort?
  2. What attribute of God brings you the most encouragement?
Bible, Catechism

Question #1: What is our only hope in life and death?

July 21, 2020

Question #1 – What is our only hope in life and death?

Answer: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

The authors of the New City Catechism began where the Hidelberg Catechism starts, asking us the most fundamental question (rivaling the Westminster Shorter Catechism #1) that a person can ask of themselves. Every person, regardless of what they believe in, has some form of hope in life. For some, hope is found in romantic love, in finding and keeping the perfect mate; for others, hope is found in financial security; still, for others, hope is found in a life full of relationships. Hope is found everywhere, but the question remains, is it hope that will endure for both life and death?

Many people hope in their fitness, checkbooks, relationships, or status in their circle of influence, but will that really endure through the ebbs and flows that come in between life and death? Can these things sustain the both the heights of joy and pits of despair that happen in the normal course of a human life? Even more than that, will these things provide hope for death? As Americans, we have pushed death so far outside the main conversation that many of us do not know how to handle death when it comes knocking on our door.

Many of us never stop to ponder the significance of death and whether or not anything happens to us after death. We are content to live in the present, enjoying and delighting in the pleasures of modern life. Yet, as Christians, we implore you to consider that consideration of death is one of the most important things you could do. The majority of the objects that we place our hope in will not sustain us through death.

the Bible and the catechism instructs us that our hope is not found in our fitness, success, pedigree, or relationships; in fact, it is not found in us at Allee. Notice how it begins: that we are not our own. In an era and culture where we are constantly told to make something of ourselves, demonstrate our greatness, and show forth our success, the catechism breathes life in a culture of discouragement and disappointment. I’m not my own. I do not have to validate myself. I do not have to prove myself. Someone has done that for me.

The hope that Christianity offers is that I am not my own but I belong to someone else, and not someone that is my equal, someone that is far superior. I belong, both in body and soul, in life and death, to God himself. The Creator of the universe not only knows about me, he knows me intimately and has bonded himself to me. Therefore, whatever happens in life, I can be confidently hopeful that I am safe in the hands of the God who sustains and rules all things.

What can compete with that kind of hope? If my hope is in my financial success, that can wiped out in the blink of an eye. If my hope is in my spouse, my life can changed by one quick phone call, informing me that they were killed in a car accident. If my hope is in my children, they will soon disappoint and in some cases, betray me. Everything that you can hope in outside of God is built on shifting sand. God is inviting you to build your life upon the most solid of all foundations: the person and work of Jesus himself.

Reflection Questions

  1. Our words mean little unless action follows. What do you functionally put your hope in? Where do you spend your time, money, energy, resources?
  2. What one burden can you bring to your only hope in life and death today?

Family Reflection

  1. What does it mean to hope in something?
  2. Have you ever hoped to get something and it didn’t come true?
  3. What do you think it means that God is our hope?

Bible, Catechism, Ministry

Introducing The New City Catechism

July 15, 2020

In my last post, I wrote about the dwindling popularity of using catechism’s as one of the main forms of discipleship. In order for you to understand why I am writing these posts, please read my previous post first. In order to put into practice what I preach, I want to use this blog as a means of communicating the importance of catechism’s while also using it as a platform to disciple my church (Coram Deo) in The New City Catechism. This post will serve as an introduction to the latest catechism that can be utilized for the entire family.

First, what is The New City Catechism? The New City Catechism was created by Tim Keller, former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Keller wanted to compile a modern day catechism that still contained biblically rich doctrine with updated language. For those familiar with historic catechisms, some of the question and answers in this latest version will be familiar to you. Keller adapted 52 questions and answers from historic Reformed catechism, such as the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Catechisms.


The makers of The New City Catechism not only updated the vernacular they used in the catechism, they updated the medium by which we use the catechism as well. The catechism is now adapted to modern life with a beautiful iPhone and Android app that can be used on-the-go or in family worship in the evening. For those who prefer a hardcopy, a catechism and devotional can be purchased online for a small price.

The best way to utilize The New City Catechism is dividing each question and answer into one week, which will allow you to complete the entire catechism in one year. For families, I recommend having daily family worship, where you go over one question each week. For those with small children, there are songs attached to each question which will help the titles ones memorize the content.


Perhaps you have been a Christian for over thirty years, do you really need to learn the catechism? I would, without hesitation, ask you to pick up the catechism and memorize! It will only add fuel to your soul about the life-saving truths of Jesus that you have treasured for thirty years.

Perhaps you are a new Christian and are looking for answers to some of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. There is not a better place to start. For two thousands years, the church has used catechesis to instruct and educate new disciples of Christ in the fundamentals of the faith. For others, maybe you have lead someone to Christ recently and are looking for material to train them—this would be an excellent resource to utilize for this process.

Others of you perhaps are not even Christians and simply want to explore the Christian faith. While the catechism is not designed to give you thorough answers to all of your questions, it will give you a basic understanding of what we believe and what values we hold to.


Will you accept the invitation to learn? Will you accept the invitation to disciple and educate your children in the faith that you love? Will you sacrifice your comfort and time to learn about the precious truths of God’s word? Consider picking up your phone, downloading the app, or ordering the book online, and discover the ancient catechisms that Christians have been using for hundreds of years.