A BRIEF HISTORY OF GOD - What God Communicated

As Donald Knuth suggested, "Ask yourself what you would do if you were God and you wanted to deal with people on earth, how would you present yourself?" At various stages throughout history, God has not only presented himself, but also communicated how it is with his creation, with us people, how we relate to God and the gifts and resources he has made available to us. He has communicated about living and what he requires of us, about the nature of the main Problem we face, and God's Solution to it. The record of his communication (his 'Word') is the Bible, the Scriptures. And he carries on communicating today.

In this page we take the view that what God communicated (presented, revealed) is for all humankind, not for experts only, not only for religious people, or those 'in the know', not only for those of a Judeo-Christian-Muslim culture - but for everyone in the world, across all cultures and all ages in history. This view comes, circularly it is admitted, from what God has presented, but it also makes a load of common sense: because he wants the whole cosmos to be saved and blessed, he would present stuff relevant to the whole cosmos. (There is always circularity in understanding. Especially, there is an iterative nature to understanding God - read, come to an understanding of the whole, then re-read in the light of this understanding - and this is what I have tried to set out here.) Knowing this affects our expectations of Scripture and the way we interpret and understand it. Of course, his revelation is also for experts too; nobody can ever plumb the depths of it fully.

God's revelation was progressive throughout human history. So I also present the topics arranged in chronological order, or at least approximately so. The stages are: the early days, the time of the patriarchs, the time of early Israel, Israel's settled state, the time of the prophets, the time of the Messiah, since the Messiah returned.

(Is that dispensationalism? No, because though the cultural application of what communicated is relevant only to that culture, the basic trans-cultural things that he communicated are for all time and all cultures. It is such topics that we wish to discern and include in this work. We might, of course, have made mistakes in such discerning; please can somebody else do it better.)

This Page

This page tries to list those major things that God has communicated. I have tried to include only those things that come through clearly when you 'stand back' from the Bible and see it as a whole. Each has a link to a brief description of what God has been saying, placed as part of a longer story that God has been telling, so you can read each piece in its historical context.

The list is under construction. Things are missing, things are in it that should not be, and some things must be changed. But it is offered as a start. If you like it, or think it has some potential, please let me know. Thanks. '====' indicates a note to myself of something to add or change later.


Contents Arranged in Thematic Order

(Some links below might no longer be.)

General

About God

About The Creation

About People

About relating to God

About God's gifts/resources to us

About living, roles

About what God requires of us

About the Problem

About God's solution

Unplaced:

About Our Destiny, and that of Creation

Topics that Seem to be Missing


Contents in Order of Revelation

Things we learn from The Early Days

Things we learn from The Time of the Patriarchs

Things we learn from Early Israel

Things we learn from Israel's Settled State

Things we learned from around The Time of the Prophets

Things we learn from the Messiah

Things we learn from after the Messiah returned


I am planning to set up a page showing how all this can apply, that is, how it can help our understanding, our devotion, our living, etc.
This is part of the A Brief History of God website.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2000. Comments and queries are very welcome.

Page last updated: 24 May 1998: Rearranged the sections on God being dependable, not predictable, not slot machine, and surprises. 24 May 1998: Added section on land.care. 6 June 1999 since then I added more things but did not record them here; today I just got all bits ready for uploading in an unfinished state. 9 September 1999 removed 'to add' to another file. 2 November 1999 added 'division', 'comfortable words' and 'God's context-bound message', 'messiah' sections, and reordered some in Messiah. Added theme.destiny. 9 January 2000 added 2 lessons from C.S.Lewis. 5 February 2000 lots, in response to attending a Walk Thru The Old Testament day: rewrote 'humble', added 'glory', added 'lets.choose', and other changes. 5 February 2000: Split the details off into bhg4.html. 6 February 2000 added a few more sections, and rearranged a bit, in response to making up bhg.wtb. 13 February 2000 Slow to chide, Symbols. 15 February 2000 added counter. 20 February 2000 added God employs unworthy people, added 'Pride' to the nature of the rift. 28 May 2000 New section 'honesty'. Moved dependence to early Israel, merged with loving.dep. 11 June 2000. Started splitting bhg4 up into bhgl... 2 July 2000 continued that. 16 July 2000 replaced 'like.Christ' by 'should.seek', and reordered things there; corrected links. 23 July 2000 added 'God works via selected people'. 13,20 August 2000 'Not Man, But God' and 'Man Like God' added. 15 October 2000 Intro rewritten; legalism and purpose.of.law and imptce.of.law added. 25 October 2000 Dignity of Suffering, Revival. 10 December 2000 Replaced 'need messiah' by 'need saviour', and added 'messiah-surprises'. Removed auto mailer to prevent junk mail. 7 February 2001 email and contact. 11 March 2001 a link corrected, better spacing. 7 April 2001 links to bhg5 (missings), corected link. 31 May 2001 new link 'Seriousness of wrong-doing'; others in israel reordered. 17 June 2001 Worship Not Important added, some themes reordered. 26 June 2001 'in.us' links added. 17 February 2002 added new link: God's law not absolute. 14 July 2002 moved intro text to bhg2.html, and rearranged order so that thematic contents precedes chronological contents list. 1 August 2002 revelation for everyone. Also belatedly added 'God is Person'. 2 August 2002 links to grace of God put in thematics. New link to use.of.power. 3 August 2002 Victory moved to before lets.choose; slow-to-chide augmented with Patient; two more themes: God intervenes, and God intervenes with mercy. 6 August 2002 new section God not threatened. 1 September 2002 God is Holy; some reordered. 22 September 2002 Knuth quote and small changes to Intro. 5 October 2002 Two new links in ad: evangelism and culture. 6 October 2002 More links to What God Values. 10 October 2002 some links rearranged. 11 April 2004 misunderstand. 3 February 2007 unet. 31 March 2011 Understanding God challenging.

To add: