Church of God
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
What does Paul mean when he says that the church is of God? I think he simply means that the church is created by God and belongs to God. How did God make the church? How did he form it? In what way does the church belong to God? Paul said that the church is of God. In other words, he said the church is a child of God, so it belongs to God.
God made the church with his own hands. He formed the church from nothing, with his own hands. So God does not work with the church merely by allowing his children to receive his divine nature. God formed the church. He formed it with his own hands. God is the mother of the church.
The word “Mother” (as in “The Divine Principle”) comes from the Greek “mater,” meaning “mother.” As in the motherly care that God provides for the spiritual development of children. God made the church, God provided it with his own hands, and the church was “born.” The church was formed and sustained by God’s own spirit. God’s own Spirit is at the core of the church and leads the church. It has been said that if a man had the power to tell us all the names of the stars, but did not show us how to worship God, the church would be his mother.
In other words, if God had not established the church and done everything in his power to give his people spiritual understanding and power and spiritual freedom, the church would be the biggest failure in the world. The church would cease to be the church. The church would be dead. It would be a church without God. God is the mother.
How did God set apart the church? God set apart the church by setting his own Spirit within it. God made the church by sending his Spirit. The church was formed by God and still is the church because God’s Spirit, God’s very own Son, Jesus Christ, lives within it and guides and gives meaning to the church.
But if God has poured his Spirit into the church, and if the Spirit is one of the ways God created the church, then it follows that the church is both a child of God and the mother of God. The church is both God’s offspring and God’s mother. It is both man and God. The church is both human and divine. The church is both created and sustained by God. It is both known and unknown.
How did God set apart the church? He poured his Spirit into it, he formed it with his own hands, and he formed it with his own Spirit. Now when I said that the church was formed by God and sent by God, I am not suggesting that God has to work with the church. He could just leave it alone. But if he does not, if he does not provide it with spiritual power and truth, if he does not provide it with spiritual direction, then it would be a disaster for the church to perish. God created the church, provided it with his own Spirit, and sends his Spirit to sustain it. In this way the church is both God’s creation and his mother. The church is both man and God.