God’s existence, nature, attributes, and call to people for relationship.
The God, as revealed in the Christian Scriptures, exists as a Trinity. He exhibits some core features (aka attributes) like eternality, holiness, goodness, and mercy while calling us to a relationship with him through his Son, Jesus.
The answer to the question ‘Who is God?’ is of eternal significance. Jesus, the Son of God, once said. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38).
But here’s the problem:
There are many so-called “gods” besides the “Lord your God”. In fact, every other non-Biblical religion teaches a different “god”. All the other “gods” are false gods and if you worship a false god (also known as an idol), you neglect the great commandment and remain under God’s wrath (John 3:36). So it’s vitally important to understand and worship the one true God.
This God is revealed in the Christian Scriptures, the Bible. In this post, we will see he actually exists, understand his nature, explore some of his attributes, and finally see his call to a relationship with you and me.
God Exists: Defined & Assumed In Scripture
There are several definitions for “God”. For instance, sports fans may refer to a great player as a “god” or business people sometimes refer to industry luminaries as “gods”. But in the Christian sense, “God” is singular and not merely a human being. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (1987) defines God as…
“That gracious Person revealed in and through the Bible as the Sovereign Creator of the universe, and the merciful redeemer and faithful preserver of mankind.”
God is real. He is not an imaginary being.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
The Bible approaches the question of God’s existence in what may seem like an unusual way: it assumes God exists. There is little attempt in Scripture to justify his existence. He simply exists. In several places, the Bible calls an atheist (someone who doesn’t believe in God) a “fool” (Psalm 14:1). So the first false concept of God is that he doesn’t exist. But God is very real.
God is also unlike any other being in existence. The Bible clearly distinguishes God from other fleshly beings by declaring, “God is spirit” (John 4:24). For a short video definition of God, see Matt Slick answer ‘Who Is God?’ (3:39)
God’s Nature: Trinity
God may be a spirit, but there’s more to God than just a spirit. God’s nature is not as straightforward as you may think. Since early Church history, theologians have wrestled with the concept of God and explained him/they as a Trinity. Theologian Wayne Grudem summarizes the Trinity in this way…
- God is three persons.
- Each person is fully God.
- There is one God.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Starting with #1: God is three persons. This is, perhaps, one of the more difficult concepts to grasp. In our world, each of us is one person. I am not two persons and you are not three persons. But with God, he has revealed himself as three persons in the pages of Scripture and each of these persons is God.
#2: Each person is fully God. The Father is God. Jesus prayed to the Father (Matthew 6:9) and the apostles addressed God as a Father (Ephesians 4:6, 1 Peter 1:2). Few will contend with the divinity of God the Father. The Son, Jesus the Christ, is also God. Jesus claimed divinity (John 8:58) and the apostles believed him to be God (John 20:28). Finally, the Holy Spirit is God. He is not described as an impersonal force but as a Helper (John 14:26) and a person to be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit is a person and is also God.
Finally, #3: there is one God. Of all the religions of the world, only a handful are truly monotheistic (worshipping one God). Christianity is one of those religions. We believe there is one true God in existence. The Lord is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). Although God has revealed himself in three persons, he is still unified as one being. He is a Trinity.
The doctrine of the Trinity stands in stark contrast to two primary false ideas about God. For one, it repudiates the polytheism in Hinduism and Mormonism. Those religions teach multiple gods with a complex pecking order. The Trinity also negates the unitarianism in Islam and in Jehovah’s Witness theology. Those religions teach God is one but do not affirm the deity of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
For a better understanding of the Trinity, check out Inspiring Philosophy’s video: What Is The Trinity? (3:21)
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
In one way, God is similar to us. Like you and me, he has personality traits which are distinct from other beings. Theologians call these personality traits “attributes”. But we do not possess these attributes in the same way as God. Here are a few of the more conspicuous Biblical attributes of God from Blue Letter Bible:
- Eternal (Psalm 90:2)
God has always been and will always be. He is outside of time in the same way the homebuilder is separate from the house he built – because God made time.
- Good (Exodus 34:6-7)
God is good. He is the source of all goodness and the standard by which every moral activity is measured.
- Gracious (Hebrews 4:16)
God gives favor to everyone, especially to the elect. God’s unearned love, also known as grace, is his friendly disposition to those who are in covenant with him.
- Holy (Isaiah 6:3)
God’s holiness consists of two parts. For one, he is completely pure. He has no blemish. Second, he is separate from the rest of creation. God is not like us.
- Immutable (Malachi 3:6)
Immutable is an old term meaning “changeless”. God does not change. His unchanging character, promises, and plans remain a great source of comfort to his people.
- Just (Exodus 34:6-7)
God is the ultimate judge over every person. Murders go unsolved and thefts go unreported in our society, but God sees everything. He will judge every crime.
- Love (1 John 4:8)
God is love. He is the source for all beneficial concern and affection. His love is most clearly seen in the gift of his Son who died his people.
- Merciful (Ephesians 2:4)
Because of our sin and rebellion against God, we deserve God’s judgment. But in Christ, God does not give us what we deserve. He extends his mercy.
- Omnipotent (Psalm 115:3)
God can do anything that is good and possible to do. God’s omnipotenc (omni = all / potence = power) can accomplish anything he wants to do.
- Omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10)
Also known as ‘ubiquity’, God’s omnipresence means he is everywhere. God isn’t confined to one location like us. He is in all locations at the same time.
- Omniscient (Psalm 147:5)
God knows everything. Whereas people need to learn, God already knows everything there is to know in the past, present, and future.
- Righteous (Jeremiah 9:24)
Righteousness is doing what is right. Since the definition of “right” comes from God’s character, God, by nature, does right things or ‘God things’. He is righteous.
- Self-Existent (Exodus 3:14)
God has always existed and will always exist. He didn’t begin to exist and he will never die. He doesn’t owe any part of his existence to anything else. He is self-existent.
- Sovereign (Romans 9:15)
God’s power extends over everything that happens. There is nothing that happens outside of his control. This includes the salvation of his chosen people.
- Transcendent (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God is not like anyone else we know. His ways are unlike anything we can imagine – he transcends our earthly categories. His Word is the best way to understand his nature.
No other religion on the planet besides Christianity describes God in this way. The God of the Bible is unique among every other so-called god that people worship
God’s Call To Relationship
Much more can be written about God including how he created the world, his various names, his actions in history, and the ways he relates to people. But let’s conclude with his most important act in human history: God becoming a man in the incarnation.
God became a man.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
He humbled himself to become a person like you and me. In Jesus the Messiah, God lived, died, and was resurrected to prove his authority over death. Everyone who turns from their sins and trusts God to forgive their sins against him will be saved. They will no longer be under God’s judgment, but will secure their eternal future. They will be reconciled with God and given a place in God’s kingdom.
If you are not yet a follower of Jesus, I urge you to start today. Then you will come to know who God really is. To learn more about how to connect with God, checkout: How To Be Saved.
- Answers In Genesis: Who Is God?
- CARM.org: Who Is God?
- David Platt’s 4-Part sermon series from Secret Church: Who Is God?