Who is God? The art of knowing Him.
By William J. Brown
Who is God, really? We need to know God. Knowing God is the simplest building block for the Christian. But most Christians today forget to ask this most important question...
Who is God?
Many see Him as an old man with a beard sitting in Heaven wringing His hands as the world slips down a greased slide.
Obviously, this is not who God is.
Others, especially more "modern" believers see Him as a really "cool guy" who sits looking down upon the world excusing every bad thing we do because of His "unbounding grace."
I have news for that group. That isn't who God is either.
Who is God, then?
Is He an evil dictator Who enjoys inflicting pain upon those He has created?
Is He a cosmic killjoy who refuse to allow us any pleasure or happiness?
Nope. Try again!
Then who is God?
Let's look at what the Bible tells us about the God of the universe to answer the question, Who is God?
His nature and characteristics, as revealed in the Bible, stand as excellent examples of who God is.
So grab your Bible,
or click here for the KJV, NIV, NASB and more.
First, we need to establish the "stuff" God is made of. Now, We'll say that we use the word "made" loosely. We aren't saying God is created. He isn't as we will see momentarily. This point is simply a study of the essence of God.
Jesus, Himself said in John 4:24...
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Here Jesus expressed the very essence of who God is.
He is not a man, clothed in flesh. Therefore, He is not prone to human mistakes and mishaps. His nature is purely spirit, boundless, limitless.
It's hard for us to fathom such a Being. But God is that Being. This is who He is...spiritual in His nature.
II. God is a personality.
This is one of the most important points in answering the question, Who is God?
How can you have any type of being without expressing it in personal terms? God is God because He has personality. There isn't any other conceiveable way of describing such a being.
He isn't some impersonal force working through the "universal ideal." He and nature aren't one in the same as some believe. We call these folks, pantheists. They try to "impersonalize" God as just a thought or idea existing in the universe. This isn't who God is.
God is a living Being with personality. How do we know this? The Bible speaks clearly on the matter.
Look at the many names of God...
Jehovah-Jireh...The Lord will provide.
Jehovah-Rapha...The Lord that heals.
Jehovah-Ra-ah...The Lord my Shepherd.
Jehovah-Shammah...The Lord is present.
A thought or idea can't provide, can't heal, would make a terrible shepherd and certainly isn't present. Such ideas are ludicrous, yet many today hold to New Age pantheism.
But, as we see from the Bible, this isn't reality. It isn't the truth.
Remember the illustration of the clock and the clockmaker?
If you have a clock you must have a maker.
If you have a creation, you must have a creator.
I've never seen a formless thought make a clock, have you?
God isn't just an idea. He is a Being with personality.
All right. Time to take a break.
Ok. Here we go.
Our last point in answering the question, Who is God, is...
III. God is Amazing!
This may seem like a strange way of answering the question, Who is God? But it's actually quite factual.
The Bible displays God as the greatest, most amazing Being in existence. His natural attributes (characteristics) in many cases are so far above us and so confusing, we can't even fathom them in our frail human minds. Let's look at a few.
Who is God? He is omnipotent.
This is just a fancy word for "all-powerful."
Note: The word, "omni" means "all." Anytime you see it in front of another word, it means "all-___" e.g. "omnipotent" = "all-powerful."
In Genesis 18:14 God asks, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?"
The obvious answer is, no!
There's nothing God can't do within the logical bounds of His will. So the old question some ask, "Can God create a rock so big He can't lift it," creates no problem for God. Such a question "loops" itself. We call it "circular reasoning." Such an idea cannot logically be reasoned.
God has created logic. Therefore, logic can never disprove Him. Logic only deals with facts. Only illogical, circular reasoning even attempts to answer such questions.
The fact is, God can do anything He wills. His will creates reality. What are some of the proofs of His omnipotence?
He created the universe (Genesis 1.) Just look into the night sky and wonder!
He rules over man, the crown of all His achievements (Romans 9:14-18.) To take a look at ourselves is to be "blown away" by God's all-powerful Hand.
He created the spirit world, and has brought it under His control (Luke 22:31,32; Hebrews 1:14.)
God can do anything He wills to do.
Who is God? He is omniscient.
Once again, this is just a scholars way of saying God is "all-knowing."
Proverbs 15:3 tells us...
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
God sees everything that happens in this creation of His. Nothing can be hidden from Him. It's like everything we do, we might as well do in "broad daylight" as far as God is concerned.
Proverbs 5:21 puts it this way...
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
The fables of Santa Clause don't hold a candle to what God can do.
Jesus said this regarding God's omniscience...
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
It's safe to say that the Bible tells us that God knows everything. He is all-knowing, omniscient.
Who is God? He is omnipresent.
This is probably the most difficult concept for human minds to grasp. This means God is "all-present." He is present everywhere.
How this can be, we can't even begin to understand. But, remember, God is a Sprit. A spirit has no bounds or limitations. This, however, doesn't make the concept any easier to hang on to.
But the Bible teaches this. In Jeremiah 23:23,24 God says...
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
Here, God plainly states that He can be in several places at the same time. And then, as if He had anymore to prove, He says in verse 24 that He fills the whole earth!
It's hard to imagine the immensity of God. But He exists everywhere.
Now, let's take a timeout to say that we aren't catering to pantheism here. We aren't saying God is "everything" as the new age pantheists say. We are saying that God is "everywhere." He is boundless. we serve a great God in more ways than one!
Who is God? He is eternal.
If the last one didn't get you, this one will! God isn't bound by time. He has no age because years, decades, centuries, millenia have no affect on Him.
He created time, therefore, He doesn't live within its bounds.
He has no beginning nor ending because He invented time, and it has no affect on Him.
We have to confess, we won't ever totally understand it this side of Heaven. But this is what God's Word says about it...
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
God has always been and always will be. Knowing this, maybe we shouldn't ask, Who is God? Maybe we should ask, Why, God, would you ever pay attention to us (Psalm 8:4?)
Who is God? He is immutable.
By the way, we're having a special on fancy words today. We have enough of them! Maybe we should start a clearance web page!
We're almost done. So don't worry.
Immutable simply means God is unchanging in His nature.
Some have seen an inconsistency in God when the Bible says in the Old Testament that he "repented," or, put another way, "changed His mind." Does this prove God isn't immutable?
It does not. In the case of God "repenting," there is always a change on the part of human beings first. When it says God "repented," it simply means the action (usually punishment) that God was going to take, He didn't have to follow through with.
Man changed. God didn't. His standard, His nature stayed the same.
Malachi 3:6 tells us...For I am the LORD, I change not.
It is quite clear that God doesn't change, even if we do.
Who is God? He is holy.
We would be here all day if we went over every aspect of God's nature. We don't want to do that. But we do want to mention His most important characteristic...
In Isaiah 6:1-4, we see an amazingly graphic portrait of God's holiness. These verses say...
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain [two] he covered his face, and with twain [two] he covered his feet, and with twain [two] he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
When something is repeated in Scripture, God wants us to pay attention. When it's mentioned three times, He's serious about what He wants us to learn!
Notince "holy" is mentioned three times in a row by the angels. And all this happened in the throneroom of God no less! Sounds pretty serious. God must want us to pay attention.
God's holiness can be defined as His "set-apartedness." (Wow! I think I invented a new word. Wait till spell-check get's a hold of that one!) Something that is holy is set apart.
How is God set apart? He is set apart from all of His creation.
Isaiah 55:8,9 says...
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As far as understanding how God's holiness fits with His other attributes, think of it this way...
Think of His nature as an umbrella. The umbrella only works if it keeps out rain. If you only had the cloth part, it would still keep out rain. But having the structure of the umbrella makes it work much better.
God's holiness is the cloth part of the umbrella. It's the most important aspect of God's nature, just as the cloth is the part that actually sheds the rain.
But we can't fully understand God without the rest of His attributes. They are the structure of the umbrella. They are what makes it work well.
So, who is God?
He is only the biggest, most amazing, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, eternal, unchanging, holiest Being to exist.
Who is God?
He is our God if we have accepted His Son as our Saviour.
This is who God is. Do you know Him?
Time for another stretch...
Then review the material you've learned.
Just so you know...
...you won't be held accountable for the verse references, although it would be good to know them anyway. As far as testing, just pay attention to the points and subpoints. Make sure you know what each attribute is and what it means.
There's lots of material, so we won't make it too in-depth.
God bless as you take the test (coming soon.)