God is perfect

Perfection is a loaded word in theology. There is a long history of people using Greek philosophy to define the particulars of “perfection”. The Platonists used to claim that whatever changes can only change for the better or the worse. If something is perfect then it cannot get better, so any change is for the worse. This is high Platonism.

Of course perfect things change. A perfect baby changes every day. A perfect waterfall is dynamic. A perfect watch never stops. And God defines Himself as living. But Platonism has so influenced “Perfect Being” theology that Calvinists make the silly claim all the time. It is Platonism. But this is a good illustration to show that “perfect” is a loaded word. It is important to remember the Biblical definition of “perfection”. It is synonymous with “righteous”.

Here are the common Biblical references of attributing “perfection” to God:

Psa 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect [taw-meem’]; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect [taw-meem’]; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Here is the word used in more common settings:

Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish [taw-meem’], a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

Lev 3:9 And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole [taw-meem’] rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,

Here is the word in reference to ordinary humans:

Gen 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect [taw-meem’] in his generations. Noah walked with God.

Deu 18:13 You shall be blameless [taw-meem’] before the LORD your God.

Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just [taw-meem’] upright man is laughed to scorn.

2Sa 22:24 I was also upright [taw-meem’] before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.

1Ki 15:14 But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal [taw-meem’] to the LORD all his days.

2Ch 15:17 But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was loyal [taw-meem’] all his days.

Biblical perfect equates to righteousness. The word means “without blemish”. Literally it applies to food and sheep having no discernible problems. Figuratively it applies to people being righteous. In this sense, God too is perfect. God is not sinful and God is righteous. That is Biblical perfection.

In fact, the Bible implores people to be perfect like God:

Mat 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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