Who Is God?

Image by Robert Koorenny. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

Last edited on 13/Jan/2021

The Bible’s Answer

The Sovereign, Creator God

God is the sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15–16), all-powerful (Job 42:2), all-knowing (1 John 3:20), and all-present (Ephesians 4:6) Creator of everything in existence (Genesis 1:1). For this reason he is called the possessor of Heaven and Earth (Genesis 14:22). In God’s almighty power, he is able to call into existence things that do not yet exist (Romans 4:17). Thus the Bible says that all things were made by the word of God; he simply spoke, and things came into being (Psalm 33:6). God did not have any lesser being assist him in making all things, but rather he made all things alone, as he does not need help in anything (Isaiah 44:24).

As the sole Creator of all things, God was never himself created, nor came into being at one point, because he has always been God since eternity, and always will be (Psalm 90:1–2); he is the everlasting God (Genesis 21:33). There is no other god or deity besides him (Isaiah 44:6–8), nor was any formed before, or after him (Isaiah 43:10). The Lord, who made the heavens and the Earth, is alone the true, living God (Jeremiah 10:10), and all other so-called “gods” have no real existence (1 Corinthians 8:4).

The Power of God

Obviously, because God is the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator of all things, he is the ultimate being of this universe. Accordingly, the Bible makes several comments highlighting his sheer power. No one can hide from God, because he fills Heaven and Earth (Jeremiah 23:24). Not even Heaven or the highest heaven can contain him (1 Kings 8:27). His understanding is unsearchable (Isaiah 40:28). He has searched us and knows who we are: he knows everything that we do and think; he knows our plans and is acquainted with all our ways; he knows when we sit down, rise, and sleep; he knows what we will say before we say it; his knowledge is infinite (Psalm 139:1–6).

No wisdom, understanding, or counsel can avail against the Lord (Proverbs 21:30). God’s power is so great, that nothing is too hard for him (Jeremiah 32:17). He preserves all of his creation constantly (Nehemiah 9:6), and does whatever he pleases, in Heaven and on Earth (Psalm 135:6).

The God Who Reveals Himself

Not only is God the author of creation, and the ultimate being of the universe, he also reveals himself in creation. God has revealed to all people his invisible attributes in creation, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, so there is no excuse for disbelieving him (Romans 1:19–20). The heavens declare his glory, and the sky proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1). The natural day to day cycles of life point to God’s providential care over creation (Psalm 19:2–3).

Observing nature itself tells us that there is an intelligent Creator God who designed all this. God has also borne witness to himself to all people, through the good he does for us through nature: by giving us rains from heaven, fruitful seasons, and satisfying our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:15–17).

The Personal God

God is also personal. He is not some inanimate force or power. Neither is he “everything” in existence. God is a spiritual being (not a being of flesh and bones like us) (John 4:24), whom no one has ever seen or can see (1 Timothy 6:15–16). When the Bible says that God made human beings in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26–27), it is not saying that God has flesh and bones like us, but rather that we are able to reflect his loving nature, his intellectual mind, his godly leadership over creation, and enjoy fellowship with him.

God has constantly revealed himself as a personal God throughout the ages in his creation. This is evident from a number of things, for example: God can be prayed to and answers prayers (Luke 11:9–13); he has spoken to his people and delivered them his laws throughout history through his servants and prophets (Daniel 9:6, 9–10); he has performed signs and wonders among mankind (Jeremiah 32:20; Psalm 111:4); and he has intervened throughout history in times like wars (Jeremiah 18:5–10).

The Triune God

One of the ways God has revealed himself to creation is as a Trinity. This means he has revealed himself as one God in three Persons: the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. The three Persons are co-equal, co-eternal, and share the same nature. The Bible teaches that the Creator God of the Bible is the only God in all existence, and that there are no other deities besides him (Isaiah 45:5). In the Old Testament, the people knew God as their Father in Heaven who redeemed (Isaiah 63:16) and created them (Malachi 2:10). But in New Testament times, God gave his people more revelation concerning his nature.

In New Testament times, Jesus, who was once known as the Word or the Logos in his pre-existence, became flesh, and dwelt amongst humanity to be its Saviour; the Bible identifies him as God in flesh, while at the same time distinct from the Father (John 1:1–3, 14John 20:28–29). Within him is both a divine and a human nature (Colossians 2:9); therefore, Jesus is truly God and truly man. Likewise, the Holy Spirit, who also existed during Old Testament times, was more fully revealed after his outpouring on the day of Pentecost; he is also identified as God, while at the same time distinct from the Father and the Son (Acts 5:3–52 Corinthians 3:16–18). The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father, but the three are God; they share the same essence, nature, and being.

The New Testament mentions the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together many times, and regularly places importance on the three of them together, rather than just individually, such as when Jesus commanded baptism to be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19–20). In some of these passages, the Bible ascribes to them divine attributes that are exclusive to God alone, such as predestination to salvation (belonging to the Father), redemption (belonging to Jesus), and sanctification (belonging to the Holy Spirit) (1 Peter 1:1–2).

In other passages that don’t mention the three together, the Bible also attributes God-exclusive traits and abilities to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One example is that in the beginning, the Father (Genesis 1:1Isaiah 64:8), Son (John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:16Hebrews 1:10), and Holy Spirit (Job 33:4Genesis 1:2) were equally involved in creating everything in existence. Thus, Christians rightly worship the one true God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It should be noted that whenever the New Testament just mentions God, it refers to the person of the Father most of the time, even if his name isn’t mentioned, while it usually just addresses Jesus and the Holy Spirit by their normal names. For example, in the passage: “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, ESVUK) “God” in this passage refers to God the Father. Another example is: “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,” (Romans 15:30) where here “God” again refers to the Father. While there are a few exceptions (as shown in the Trinity proof-texts), “God” in the New Testament almost always refers to the Father.

The Love and Salvation of God

Since God is a personal being, what exactly is his character like? The Bible tells us that God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Psalm 86:15). He is “good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made,” (Psalm 145:9). He is “righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works,” (Psalm 145:17). He is a God who is full of forgiveness, offering pardon to all who have done evil to him (Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 44:22). He “opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” (James 4:6). He is “near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit,” (Psalm 34:18). He executes justice for the oppressed (Psalm 103:6). He is perfectly honest, and never lies (Titus 1:2).

He is patient towards everyone (2 Peter 3:9). He is caring (1 Peter 5:6–7) and compassionate (James 5:11). He is a God of peace (Philippians 4:9), hope (Romans 15:13), and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). His peace surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7). There are also aspects about God which we can only wonder about, and never fully grasp. The Bible exclaims “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (Romans 11:33–35).

But the epitome of all God’s qualities is love. The Bible praises love as the greatest quality of all to possess (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is such an important characteristic of God that he is called love itself (1 John 4:16). The Bible says that the steadfast love and mercy of the Lord never ceases (Lamentations 3:22–24). In fact, his love far exceeds what we imagine love to be. In ancient times, every nation on the Earth had abandoned God, and served their own sinful desires, and partook in abominable practices. Yet in spite of this, God chose the nation of Israel to be his cherished people, to lead and watch over them, not because of anything they had earned or deserved, but simply because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:6–8). He loved them with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:1–3).

In like-manner, God loved the world with such great love that he sent his divine and eternal Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16), to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). This wasn’t because we first loved him, but rather because he simply chose to love us first (1 John 4:19). Jesus died for our godlessness, and by this God has shown us his true love (Romans 5:6–8).

But God’s love doesn’t stop at the sacrifice of Christ, though it was and always will be, in fact, the greatest act of love (John 15:13). God continues to make his sun rise on both the evil, and on the good; he continues to send down rain both on the just, and on the unjust (Matthew 5:44–45). God continues to show kindness to the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:35). He doesn’t just immediately destroy those who defy and blaspheme him, even though they rightly deserve it; instead, he constantly shows them mercy, and gives them chance after chance to repent.

God does not want anyone to die in their sins. He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:32), not even the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), but would rather that they turned from their evil ways and believed in him for salvation. It is God’s desire that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3–4). When a sinner repents of their sins and believes in Jesus for salvation, there is much rejoicing in Heaven (Luke 15:1–7). But God is not forceful about it; he draws near to those who draw near to him (James 4:8).

The Holiness and Wrath of God

But God is not only a God of love; he is a God of holiness, too, which means that he is set apart from uncleanliness and impurity (Leviticus 11:44). He is so holy that the Bible says “Holy” is one of his names (Isaiah 57:15). He is not a God who delights in wickedness, and evil may not dwell with him (Psalm 5:4). God loves justice (Psalm 37:28) and righteousness, and hates wickedness (Proverbs 15:9). All his ways are just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and perfect (2 Samuel 22:31).

As the perfect law-giver, God commands us to do good to others (Isaiah 1:16–17Micah 6:8). He wants us to uphold his commandments so that we may emulate his righteousness, and receive peace, fellowship with him, and blessings (Isaiah 48:17–19). He wants us to be holy, so that we can enjoy eternal fellowship with him in the eternal kingdom of his Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20; 2 Peter 1:11), in which no uncleanliness may dwell (Revelation 21:27).

God is also the Judge of all the Earth (Genesis 18:25) who shows no partiality (1 Peter 1:17), and who renders to everyone according to their works (Romans 2:6). He rewards those who do good, and condemns those who do evil (Proverbs 12:2). The Lord is a jealous, avenging, and wrathful God; he takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies (Nahum 1:2). God hates all evildoers; he destroys those who speak lies, and abhors those who are bloodthirsty and deceitful (Psalm 5:5–6). He observes the house of the wicked and throws the wicked down to ruin (Proverbs 21:12). His wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18).

He avenges those who have been wronged by the wicked (Romans 12:19). He repays with affliction those who afflict believers in Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:5–7). He takes vengeance on those who oppress the poor (Proverbs 22:22–23) and the disadvantaged (Exodus 22:21–24). Although he is slow to anger, he will by no means clear the guilty (Nahum 1:3). He never lets the evil go unpunished (Proverbs 11:21). Whoever does not keep his commandments and despises them will die (Proverbs 19:16). The punishment for sin is death and eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23).

Because all people have sinned and fall short of his glory, God must punish us (Romans 3:10–12, 23). But if people turn from their sins, and look to Jesus for forgiveness (1 John 1:7–9), God will no longer hold them accountable for their transgressions, and will forgive them of everything (Isaiah 55:7). Believers in Christ are made holy by his holiness, and avoid the sin punishment we deserved which he took in our place (Colossians 1:21–221 Peter 2:24). While God will forgive those who believe that Jesus Christ died for all of their sins and rose again from the dead, he will by no means forgive those who reject him (John 3:36). This is because God will never abandon the way of justice. Thus he is both a God of justice and love.

The Infinite Capabilities of God

Furthermore, God’s plans never fail. Whenever God sends out his word to do something, it will accomplish and succeed in what he planned to do without fail (Isaiah 55:11). The moment sin entered the world through the first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, God had a plan, and promised to one day provide perfect atonement for all sins that he knew everyone would ever commit (Acts 2:23). This self-sacrificial plan involved the shedding of his own blood (Acts 20:28). God is able to do all things, because everything is possible for him (Mark 10:27). Humans have many plans in their minds, but only the purpose of the Lord will stand (Proverbs 19:21). Although a man’s heart plans his way, the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

He who “hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs” and who “sends out his word, and melts them” (Psalm 147:17–18); who “forms the mountains and creates the wind” and who “treads on the heights of the earth” (Amos 4:13); “who made the Pleiades and Orion” and who “turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night” (Amos 5:8–9); “who touches the earth” that “it melts” and “who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth” (Amos 9:5–6); who “determines the number of the stars” and “gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4), is capable of all things, and will surely carry out his plans, in accordance with his will.

The Word of God (The Holy Bible)

The good news is that we all have the opportunity to know and love this wonderful God personally. Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” (John 17:3). But how can we know him? Simply by reading his perfect written revelation to humankind, the Bible, or by hearing someone preach its message faithfully (Romans 10:13–14). The Word of God has the power to turn our hearts from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:8–9), through the Holy Spirit who works through it (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Therefore, the Bible is said to be “living and active”; its message cuts through to our soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

Whenever we read and meditate upon the Scriptures, God is directly telling us something about himself, and about his deeds throughout history. In fact, the main purpose of God commanding his revelation to be written down was for our salvation (2 Timothy 3:14–15). He is the very standard of truth, and declares to us what is right (Isaiah 45:19). He had his Word written down so that all peoples of all generations could know the truth, and have a saving relationship with him. Hence, God is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).

God Alone Is Worthy of Worship and Praise

The Bible calls us to worship God for his greatness (Psalm 95:6). All of the heavenly host bows down before (Nehemiah 9:6), praises (Psalm 148:2Luke 2:13–14), and serves him (Psalm 103:21). To God alone belongs our prayers (Matthew 6:6), worship, and service (Luke 4:8). When the final judgement occurs, everyone will bow before God and worship him, regardless of whether they had believed in him up till that point or not, because God will reveal his glory in all its fullness to all (Isaiah 45:23).

For those who have patiently waited for the Lord Jesus’ second coming, it will be a joyful day, but not for those who have rejected him (1 Thessalonians 5:1–11); for the former it will be a day of salvation, but for the latter it will be a day of destruction. God will take those who waited for him to his perfect, everlasting kingdom, where he will dwell with them personally as their God (Revelation 21:1–6).

What will you do? Will you believe in and worship the one and only true God, who created you, and who wants to have loving fellowship with you? Will you give him thanks and praise for giving you all the good things you have received in life (James 1:17)? Will you ask him for forgiveness, and put your faith in Jesus Christ, who loved you and gave himself for you (Galatians 2:20)? Knowing about God is as simple as reading and listening to what he has told us about himself throughout the ages, which has been graciously preserved in the Bible for us. To him alone be the glory, majesty, and power forevermore. Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.