Who is God?
Every believer is called to teach the words of God at all times. Foundational to this calling is understanding the simple truth of who God is. There is a divine tension between the reality that God is both knowable and yet incomprehensible. God himself declares His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Though the finite will never fully understand the infinite, the profound grace of God is on display when He reveals His character to His creatures. It is these attributes of God that will paint the landscape concerning our base understanding of the creator. In addition, understanding the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is critical to understanding who God is.
The Attributes of God
With bold declaration, the book of Genesis affirms God is the creator, author, and maker of the heavens and earth. The apostle Paul also asserts this truth saying,
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25).
Though God is indeed our creator, theologians make a distinction between his attributes that are either incommunicable or communicable. In other words, attributes of God that are either shared or not shared with mankind.
Shared attributes of God with mankind.
Not only does holiness mean without sin, but also set apart. It is God’s holiness that prompts living creatures to never cease saying, “Holy, holy, holy” (Revelation 4:8), but also causes a man of God to cry out, “Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). The holiness of God spotlights the moral purity and divine excellence of God, contrasting man’s sinful depravity and finite essence.
The unlimited power of God is His omnipotence. It is the creator who declares, “…’My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:10). Fundamental to this declaration is that there is no other God and none like Him (Isaiah 46:9). Whatever God wills, He will bring to fruition and nothing will hinder Him.
God is the sovereign King who rules over creation. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15). Not only does God rule over the creation, He has divine ownership over His kingdom. Erwin Lutzer said,
“If there is one single reason why good people turn evil, it is because they fail to recognize God’s ownership over their kingdom, their vocation, their resources, their abilities, and above all their lives.”
God is all-knowing, and the creator of time knows the fullness of it. The past, present, and future are within God’s knowledge, and “his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:5). Job declares He is “perfect in knowledge” (37:16), and the apostle John says, “…he knows everything” (1 John 3:20).
Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Charles Ryrie said,
“The wisdom of God tells us that God will bring about the best possible results, by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time” (quoted by Chip Ingram in God: As He Longs For You To See Him, p. 128).
Love is the direct manifestation of God because God is love (1 John 4:8). The most perfect display of God’s love evidenced to humanity is that He “sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). It was this divine self-sacrificing act of Jesus Christ for sinners that defined love to and for all of humanity. The apostle John says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
The apostle writes, “For the the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). The wrath of God is the perfect manifestation of God’s holy anger against sin. J.I. Packer comments:
“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil” (Knowing God, 151).
Attributes not shared with mankind.
God’s independence is on display in the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Our lives are dependent upon God, the creator, who is independent of his creation. God does not live in temples made by man. He is not even served by human hands, because he doesn’t need anything (Acts 17:24-25). The giver of life stands independent of life.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). God does not change. The psalmist declares the heavens and earth will perish one day but God will remain (102:25-26). He will remain the same, and His years will never end (Psalm 102:27). James says, “…with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (1:17). How comforting to know God’s character remains unchanged, and from that nature then grounds the permanency of His purposes and promises.
God created time, and therefore He is not bound by its constraints. Moses describes God as “the eternal God” who “is your refuge” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Furthermore, the apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Not only does Paul ascribe God as “the King eternal” but he also gives honor and glory to him “for ever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17). The psalmist writes, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
God is present everywhere and nowhere is man able to flee from His presence. “Am I a God at hand, declared the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill Heaven and Earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
The One True God: Three Persons in One
Christianity proclaims there is only one true God. Moses proclaims to Israel, “Here, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). God himself declares, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God…” (Isaiah 45:5). Though the Old Testament professes God as one, the New Testaments also attests to the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Looking at both the New Testament and Old Testament evidence, theologians conclude that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are unified in nature yet different in role and relationship. That is to say, our God is one God consisting of three persons in one. These three persons share distinct roles and yet live in communal relationship with one another.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20).
“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).