Who is God?
You may have heard Christians talk about God. You may have worked out that God is talked about in the Bible. But perhaps that is as much as you know about Him. The fact you are reading this article indicates that you probably want to know some more about him. This article will attempt to answer the question – Who is God?
God is a Being who created the universe and all that is in it. He created everything from the biggest stars in the universe known as “red super-giants” right down to the intricate atoms in a cell. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent (present everywhere simultaneously). But he is also personal in character in that he knows of the existence of each human being and animal on the planet. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?!
Where did God come from?
We do not know where God came from, for God has chosen not to reveal this information to us. What we do know is stated in the Bible:
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. Psalm 90:2
So while generations of men come and go, God exists as a power from age to age.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. Psalm 93:2
This sovereignty has been for eternity and does not have a beginning or end. This stability is His reign is able to stabilise the moral order of the world. If His reign was not there, the world’s moral order would eventually collapse. God reigns over the people on this earth and will judge them (through His son, Jesus Christ).
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” Psalm 96:10
God is king and his throne has been for eternity, having neither beginning nor end.
I said, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years are throughout all generations. Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak you will change them, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end. The children of your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before you.” Psalm 102:24-28
From the above quotes, it is clear that God has no beginning and no end.
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4
God’s timelessness is highlighted with the words from this verse. God looks back on a thousand years which have just passed like a day passes into “yesterday”. Or as the Psalmist says “like a watch in the night” which is even shorter being a mere four hours according to the Hebrew night watch for guards.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8
This is emphasising how finite, vain and meaningless humans are in comparison with God to Whom time is meaningless. Man’s days are limited and therefore he should set his mind on thinking about God who can provide mercy and future eternity. Yet, so many men and women live out their lives never really knowing God.
There is also the inescapable fact that here will be a point in time where there will be judgment for mankind.
To God, time is only a relative term, for He is from everlasting to everlasting. God created time for man to live in. The progress of the years means nothing to Him who is above and beyond all measurements of time. His age does not advance. Nations may come and go, but He continues from eternity to eternity.
Where does God live?
God dwells or lives in heaven.
Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Psalm 123:1
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Matthew 6:9
“Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:1-2
Therefore, heaven is a description of God’s dwelling place and it is his personal location.
For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth, Psalm 102:19
And even more specifically we are told that he has a throne in heaven.
The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. Psalm 11:4
This seems to indicate that there is an actual physical location where God dwells. God is spoken of as “coming down” when He manifests Himself. This suggests a Heavenly location of God. It is from Heaven that his Spirit-power radiates and fills heaven and earth, even as the sun’s rays shine forth.
What do we know about God which makes him unique?
God wants us to develop our character to be like his. But there are some things which make him different to all mankind. These are the things which make him unique:
Omnipotent (all powerful) – this refers to a being who is almighty or infinite in power. There is only one like this and that is God. He has very great or unlimited authority or power.
For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Omnipresent (everywhere present) – this means someone who is present everywhere at the same time. There is only one like this and that is God.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:30
If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust. Job 34:14-15
Omniscient (all wise and all seeing) – This means having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding – able to perceive all things. He uses his spirit power to know all things. Nothing is hidden from his eyes.
Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. Psalm 139:1-12
From everlasting to everlasting – As mentioned earlier in this article, there is no beginning or end for God. He is above and beyond all measurement of time.
“You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. Isaiah 43:10
Are there other Gods?
In ancient times men worshipped many gods. However, God made it clear on many occasions that He was One and Supreme.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Deuteronomy 6:4
The truth is that God is One Supreme Being and this is taught throughout the Bible. There are not other gods that exist in this world and there are not three Gods – all equal.
What is God like?
The Bible in many different places talks about the character of God. But one passage shows God presenting himself in a clear and simple description:
"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." Exodus 34:6-7
From these words we can see God is telling us that he has the following characteristics:
|Gracious||Grace means to do something for someone else even though they do not deserve it. |
Example of Graciousness of God – God showed great mercy and kindness when he sent his son to die on our behalf.
Verse – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
|Compassionate||When someone suffers, compassion means feeling sorry them. Someone who has feelings of pity and mercy for someone else is showing compassion for them. |
Example of compassion of God – Sin has brought suffering into this world. God sent his son to take away our sins.
Verse – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
|Slow to anger||God does not treat us in the way that we truly do deserve. Even though we have sins, he is patient with us. |
Example of slowness to anger by God: Verse – So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Jonah 4:2
|Forgiving||God is willing to forgive each one of us. But for this to happen we must firstly show repentance and secondly be willing to forgive others. |
Example of the forgiveness of God – Paul was a man who had fiercely attacked the early believers as he attempted to destroy them. Yet we can see God’s amazing capacity for forgiveness in that he forgave Paul.
Verse – thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:12-16
|Abounding in love and faithfulness||God has unlimited and unchanging love for his people. He also remains faithful over a long time period. |
Example of love – Throughout history God has continued to work with Israel. He has always tried to guide them in the correct ways.
Example of faithfulness – About 4,000 years ago God made some promises to Abraham. Yet even today we can still become heirs of these promises. This is a example of true faithfulness.
|Punishing the guilty||Those who are guilty of sinning and who do not repent will only have God’s punishment to face in the future. When we sin against God it is important that we repent and seek his forgiveness. This is one characteristic of God that should not copy. Rather we should wait for God to act. God says that vengeance is his and he will repay. |
Example of God punishing the guilty – An example of God punishing the guilty is the story of Ananias and Sapphire. It can be read in Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and Sapphira were believers who wanted to look good to those who they associated with. However, in their eagerness to do this they forgot that it is impossible to deceive God. Ananias and Sapphira had sold a property and then said that they would give the total amount they received to God. However, they had lied about how much they had received and had not given it all to God instead keeping some of the money. Ananias and Sapphira died because God punishes the guilty. We are guilty as well and will be punished by God, if we do not repent.
Verse – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27
Verse – Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
|Jealous||Those who offer only indifferent and lukewarm worship will find that God will not accept this. It is impossible to be both a friend of the world and also a friend of God. If we are a friend of the world then God warns that it will make you his enemy. So we should never worship money or power or fame but rather we should worship God. |
Verse – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Is believing that God exists enough in life? No, it isn’t. We must truly get to know Him and worship Him. To know God involves faith and obedience – to merely acknowledge His existence is not enough.
In the Old Testament, the sons of Eli were priests. They definitely recognized the existence of God. However, we are told in 1 Samuel chapter 2 and verse 12 that they did not know the Lord. They were worthless men….
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.
To know God means in a intimate loving, obedient fashion that can only be revealed through understanding and obeying the truth.
A Father to us
Jesus encouraged us to see God as our Father. This is an amazing invitation to each one of us. God is a mighty, unseen Creator who has the immensity of creation in His Power, yet, He can also be a loving tender Father. This is Father who wants to make sure His children are guided and instructed in ways of truth and holiness. As a result, they should gain eternal life in a Kingdom that He has planned for this earth,
The words of Psalm 103 and verses seven to fourteen show the way God wants us to consider him:
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
God is kind, loving and forgiving, but he also insists that we recognize His authority and obeying His laws. God has the perfect balance of character with both goodness and severity as is explained in Romans chapter 11 and verse 22.
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
We can become sons and daughter of God by learning about him and what he requires from us, then being baptised. As sons and daughters of God we must develop a character like His goodness. This is exactly what Jesus did and he is an example to us. It will require our time and patience, but it will lead to happiness and joy.
God invites us to look to Him as a loving Father where we can draw strength and help from Him. In our lives, let us be loving, merciful and kind.