What is God like?
This is a question that every Christian is answering right through their lives. The whole basis of Christianity is that we can now enjoy a real relationship with God. We are not only to know about Him but to know Him personally. A short paper can’t answer a question that is fundamentally rooted in or experience with Him. An older Christian will have a greater appreciation of what God is like as a result of years of experience. This sheet is simply to show the key facts we know from the scriptures.
God is One. In the beginning there was only God. He is entirely able to exist independently and has no need of anything. His desire for us to be with Him is not based on a need but rather it is for His pleasure that He has created and saved us to become worshippers.
God has revealed Himself in various ways in the Bible (See ‘Additional Reading: Names of God’ for some examples). He is often known in English as Jehovah (in Hebrew pronounced “Yahweh”) which means simply “The One who exists”. All existence comes from Him and without Him nothing would exist. In fact He even ensures all things continue to exist for He is “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Hence He declared to Moses “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
He revealed Himself to Israel as the God who keeps the covenant (despite Israel’s constant breaking of it) and in our present time He has revealed Himself as three distinct persons:
- The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Son of God, Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit of God.
You will find more information on each of these persons in the other studies. God has always been One yet there are distinct persons in what the Bible calls “the Godhead”. These persons are both one, yet distinct. Indeed it says about the Lord Jesus “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9, see also Colossians 1:19). Jesus could also say to the disciples “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
There are many discussions and analogies given to help us to attempt to understand this concept however, I would caution anyone from thinking they can ‘understand God’s person’. The fact that God is three persons, yet One God is known as the Trinity (though this word is not found in the Bible). The Trinity is clearly in scripture yet some Christians and denominations have torn themselves up over the details of this most holy truth.
God will always be greater than we can ever think or understand Therefore, it is often best to simply say “Lord, I believe what is in your Word, though I don’t understand”. If it is in God’s Word then it is true even if we can’t get our poor, feeble and mortal minds to comprehend it.
Characteristics of God seen in the Bible
The Bible tells us that ...
- God is personal, i.e. He is a living person and not simply a ‘thing’ or influence.
- God is one and He is spirit. He has no dimensions but is everywhere in His universe always..
- God is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. He created time itself and is always present. He doesn’t change with time. He is the “same yesterday, today and forever”.
- God is holy, just and perfect. He is our judge, He has perfect knowledge of everything and His wisdom is beyond our understanding. He hates sin.
- God is sovereign. There is nothing outside of His control and is the supreme ruler of the universe. There are no accidents or surprises with God nor can anyone prevent Him doing as He pleases.
- God is all-powerful. This does not mean that God can lie, or change, or make mistakes, or sin but that he can do anything He wishes consistent with His character.
- God is love. He works all things for what is best for His people. He gave His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, and through Him judged our sins so that we might not have to suffer for them.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is enough to show that God is able to overcome any difficulty and obstacle to our faith and that He is in complete control over our lives. Any circumstance through which He passes us is for our good and will benefit us in our growth in faith. He will always do what is right and He does not change. This means we can learn about God through His Word in the Bible and know that He is the same today as He was known then.
This brief study has set out some very basic points. However, the life of a Christian is spent learning about God and knowing Him more and more.