Please Support the Bible Translation Work of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Dive into the complex philosophical inquiry surrounding the existence of God. Understand the paradox of divinity and unravel the question, “If God created the universe, who created God?” The question once posed by atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell: “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause,” is a misleading query.
Science affirms the belief that the universe had a beginning and an independent entity beyond the universe initiated its existence. The universally accepted scientific theories of the universe’s origin, expansion, and the second law of thermodynamics (the tendency of energy to disperse) validate the notion of the universe’s inception from nothing. This aligns profoundly with Genesis 1:1. The probability of something materializing from absolute nothingness is precisely zero. Existence cannot emerge from nonexistence – there is no potential for such a phenomenon. Even the skeptic David Hume labeled this concept as “absurd” – an incontrovertible scientific impossibility.
Believers contest the claim, “Everything that exists has a cause,” instead asserting, “Whatever begins to exist has a cause.” To insist, “Everything requires a cause” would undeniably rule out an uncaused God. This is an instance of “begging the question” (presuming what needs to be substantiated). It’s comparable to assuming that all reality is physical (an unprovable assertion), thereby denying the existence of a nonphysical God.
Why should we assume everything needs a cause when the notion of an uncaused entity is logically coherent? For centuries, many people believed the universe didn’t require a cause; it was self-existent. They didn’t see a beginningless/uncaused universe as illogical or impossible. Now, when contemporary cosmology indicates a beginning to the universe and an external cause, skeptics insist that everything requires a cause after all!
Numerous uncaused things do exist. The laws of logic are real; we couldn’t think coherently without employing them. For example, the law of identity, X = X, affirms: “This book is this book.” Moral laws or virtues like love and justice are real, yet they didn’t commence to exist. They are eternal and uncaused, residing in God’s mind.
The question, “Who made God?” commits a category error. To assert that all entities, including God, must have a cause is nonsensical – akin to asking, “What’s the taste of the color green?” Why should we fault God for being uncaused? If we rephrase the question to say, “What caused the self-existent, uncaused Cause, who is, by definition, unmade, to exist?” the answer becomes evident.
Psalm 94:2 “Pride” in the Psalms seldom, if ever, alludes to typical pride in appearance or accomplishments. It signifies a pride that defies God’s boundaries and behaves autonomously against God, His followers, and His institutions. This Psalm, directed against the “arrogant” and “evildoers” who torment the faithful, belongs to the category of “Psalms of imprecation” or cursing.
Psalm 94:12 This Psalm echoes Psalm 1, “happy is the man.” However, the Hebrew term used here is different: not the generic ʾish “man,” but gever, “strong man.”
Psalm 94:14 Jehovah will not forsake His people – those who have entered into a covenant by faith. Thus, this Psalm is not entirely about the condemnation of the wicked; it’s a plea for God’s kingdom.
Psalm 95:3 Jehovah is “a great King above all gods.” Regarding “gods” in the Psalms, see the note on 82:1, 6.
Psalm 95:8–9 The Hebrew word for “testing” is מַסָּה (massah). It is pronounced as “mah-saw-ah.” The Hebrew word for “quarreling” is מְרִיבָה (meribah). It is pronounced as “mehr-ee-bah.” In Psalm 95:8, the phrase “as at Meribah” is translated from the Hebrew phrase כְּמִרִיבָה בְּמַסָּה (kemiribbah b’massah). This literally means “as in the quarreling at Massah”. The word “Massah” is used here to refer to the place where the Israelites quarreled with Moses and tested God by asking for water. This event is recorded in Exodus 17:1-7. The word “Massah” is also used in the New Testament, in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 3:8, the author quotes Psalm 95:8 and uses the word “Massah” to refer to the same event. The author is warning the readers of Hebrews not to harden their hearts as the Israelites did at Massah.
Psalm 95:11 Due to their faithless challenge of God at Meribah, the Israelites were denied entry to the rest, i.e., the promised land (Hebrews 4:7). This Psalm’s ending on a negative note echoes Psalm 88:15–18. Jesus offers rest, spiritual rest now, and eternal rest in the world to come (Matthew 11:28).
Psalm 96:1 O sing unto Jehovah a new song; sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. (שִׁירוּ לַיהוָה שִׁיר חָדָשׁ, שִׁירוּ לַיהוָה כָּל הָאָרֶץ.) [Shiru la-Jehovah shir chadas, shiru la-Jehovah kol ha-aretz.] This verse begins with a call to praise Jehovah. The Hebrew word for “sing” is shiru, which means “to sing” or “to make melody”. The word is used throughout the Psalms to describe the act of praising God. The phrase “a new song” is a reference to a song that has never been sung before. This emphasizes the freshness and newness of the praise that is being offered to Jehovah. The second part of the verse states that the call to praise Jehovah is for “all the earth.” The Hebrew word for “earth” is aretz, which can refer to the physical earth or to the world in general. In this context, the word is referring to the entire world. The verse is saying that all people, from all over the world are called to praise Jehovah. The verse concludes with the name of Jehovah. The Hebrew name for God is Jehovah, which is the Tetragrammaton, or the four-letter name of God. The name Jehovah is used throughout the Psalms to emphasize the unique identity of God. This verse teaches us that all people are called to praise Jehovah. We should offer our praise to God with a fresh and new song, and we should do so from all over the world. Our praise should be a reflection of the greatness and glory of God, and it should be offered with a sincere heart. Psalm 96:1 is a powerful call to praise Jehovah. This verse should inspire us to offer our praise to God with all our hearts and to do so from all over the world.
Psalm 96:4 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. Hebrew (לְאֵל וָאָדָם גָּדוֹל יְהוָה, וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד; יִירָא מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל אֱלֹהִים.) [L’El va’adam gadol Jehovah, u’mehullal me’od; yirah mimmennu kol elohim.] Jehovah God created the heavens and everything within them, even those things the pagans revere. This verse begins with a statement of the greatness of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for “great” is gadol, which means “large” or “mighty”. The word is used to describe God’s power, his majesty, and his glory. The phrase “great is Jehovah” is a common refrain in the Psalms, and it is used to emphasize God’s greatness and his worthiness of praise. The second part of the verse states that Jehovah is “to be feared above all gods”. The Hebrew word for “fear” is yirah, which means “to be in awe of” or “to revere”. The word is used to describe the appropriate response to God’s greatness and power. When we see God’s greatness, we should be filled with awe and reverence. We should recognize that he is the only true God and that he is worthy of our worship and obedience. The verse concludes by stating that all other gods should be “feared” of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for “gods” is elohim, which is a plural word that can refer to either the true God or to false gods. In this context, the word is referring to false gods. The verse is saying that all false gods should be afraid of Jehovah, because he is the only true God, and he will judge them for their wickedness. This verse teaches us that Jehovah is the only true God, and that he is worthy of our praise and obedience. We should be filled with awe and reverence when we see his greatness, and we should recognize that he is the only one who deserves our worship. We should also be aware that false gods are nothing to be feared because they are powerless compared to Jehovah. Psalm 96:4 is a powerful reminder of the greatness of Jehovah and the need to fear him alone. This verse should inspire us to worship God with all our hearts and to live our lives in obedience to him.
Psalm 97:1–5 Here, the declaration that Jehovah reigns is followed by the poetic language of theophany or epiphany—descriptions of spectacular natural phenomena in the heavens and on earth that reveal God’s presence. Much of the imagery draws from Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:11, 24), but it also anticipates the forthcoming “Day of Jehovah.” Thick, dark clouds (Psalm 97:2) typically signify judgment from Jehovah, whose decisions are always right and just. Lightning, fire, and earthquakes all indicate the penetrating nature of divine judgment. The Psalm Creation is the product of God’s command; and when He commands, it happens. He sets boundaries on the sea, a motif repeated throughout the OT (Job 38:8–11; Pr 8:29; Jer 5:22). The expression implies Jehovah’s absolute sovereignty over creation and His power to prevent chaos.
Psalm 98:8–9 depicts a scenario where all of nature, including rivers and mountains, vibrantly anticipates Jehovah’s coming. Similarly, Paul in Romans 8:19–22 describes creation’s eager desire for the realization of God’s grand plan.
In Psalm 100:1, the word “shout” or “make a joyful noise” as stated in the King James Version (KJV) and Revised Standard Version (RSV), was originally a war cry. This Hebrew term matches the triumphant shouting of the Israelites when they captured Jericho (Joshua 6:20). This psalm guides worshippers into the sphere of spiritual battle.
There are differing translations of Psalm 100:3, such as “not we ourselves” (KJV, NASB) and “we are his” (RSV, NIV). These differences stem from modifications made by some translators, guided by a side note in the Masoretic Text. The Hebrew phrase directly translates to, “He made us and not we.” However, there’s a possibility that the original wording was ‘lo’—meaning “His”—which was mistaken for the negative particle when a copyist misinterpreted the dictation. This Psalm speaks of Jehovah’s steadfast love (hesed, “love,” v. 5), asserting that worshippers belong to Him; though it’s also theologically accurate to say they didn’t create themselves.
Psalm 101 is a Davidic psalm that serves as a moral guide for a king. It suggests that the king should reject all forms of evil in his court and mete out justice to the wicked in the land. If this psalm prophetically points to Christ’s reign, it implies that there will be individuals to discipline during His rule. This scenario suggests the messianic reign, which will ultimately be surrendered to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).
Psalm 102:10 portrays the psalmist experiencing divine discipline, which he refers to as God’s “indignation and wrath.” The New Testament explains that God’s wrath is the result of His judgment on sin (Romans 1:18, 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Although the psalmist doesn’t attribute his suffering to personal sin, he acknowledges that God’s anger has been directed towards him, hinting at both physical affliction and persecution. This psalm may have originated from the period of Babylonian exile, when it seemed that God had severely judged Israel. The writer partakes in the punishment deserved by all of Israel for its collective sin against Jehovah (Isaiah 6:5). Nonetheless, the writer recognizes that God has not abandoned His people and has promised a brilliant future (Psalm 30:5; Isaiah 50–55). The New Testament reassures believers of their secure relationship with Jehovah yet affirms that God’s wrath is directed at sin and divine discipline is part of God’s character (Hebrews 12:7).
Psalm 102:25–27 glorifies Jehovah as the eternal and unchanging God of creation. This passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:10–12 and applied to Jesus.
Psalm 103:6 extols God for His actions. The verbs used express universal truths similar to wisdom literature. Jehovah “executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed” doesn’t mean there are no oppressed people. Rather, it shows that God consistently acts in this manner. Those oppressed but faithful to His covenant (vv. 17–18) can trust Him to work on their behalf. Deliverance will come, if not in this life, certainly in the next. Meanwhile, God’s people are to join the heavenly hosts and all of God’s creation in proclaiming His praise (Psalm 103:20–22).
Psalm 104:1–9 utilizes vibrant imagery to depict the sovereign Lord’s act of creation. The metaphors are drawn from the construction of a palace with tent coverings, private upper rooms, and a sturdy foundation. God uses all recognized elements from the ancient world—wind, clouds, fire, and water—and governs them for His purpose. The Creator-King is surrounded by His servants, be they angels, natural forces, or earth’s creatures.
Psalm 104:10-18 The psalmist continues to reflect on the beauty and grandeur of God’s creation, noting how each part serves a specific purpose. The streams quench the thirst of wild animals and provide a habitat for birds. God’s provision of rain facilitates the growth of vegetation, which sustains both humans and animals. The trees offer shelter for birds, and the mountains are home to wild goats, while rock badgers find refuge among the rocks. All these elements of creation testify to the intricate and thoughtful design of the Creator.
Psalm 104:19-24 The psalmist speaks of God’s establishment of the moon to mark the seasons and the sun to regulate day and night. The nighttime belongs to the nocturnal animals, while humans work during the day. The abundance of God’s works, both great and small, again attests to His wisdom and power as the Creator.
Psalm 104:25-30 The psalmist marvels at the wonders of the sea, where both small and large creatures dwell. These creatures all depend on God for their sustenance, and they perish when God withdraws His breath. But when He sends His Spirit, they are created, and the cycle of life continues. The psalmist recognizes the life-giving power of God’s Spirit in sustaining all living creatures.
Psalm 105:7–8 The psalm presents Jehovah as the God of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It begins with God’s choice of Abram, a Semite of Mesopotamia, and ends with the conquest of the promised land under Joshua. It is one of the most complete overviews of this period in the Psalms. By repeating the word “covenant” and by noting that it is an “everlasting covenant,” the psalm ties all these events together. In doing so, it shows that Jehovah’s purpose was to redeem and to establish a people for Himself.