What is God like?
To acknowledge that God exists is one thing, and to acknowledge Him in the general sense that God speaks to us in creation and through the pages of the bible is one thing. But we need to know more. What is God actually like?
The Bible gives us many clear and positive answers to this tremendously important question. Here are some of them.
God is personal. God is not a ‘thing’, power or influence. He thinks, feels, desires and acts in ways that show him to be a living personal Being. But He is not just ‘the man upstairs’ or some kind of ‘superman’. But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King.
God is one. There is only one true God. He says, I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Yes God has revealed himself as a ‘trinity’ of three Persons – the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit, each of whom is truly, fully and equally God. The Bible speaks of the glory of God the father; it says that the Word (Jesus Christ) was God; and it speaks of the Spirit of the Lord. While there is only one God, there are three Persons in the Godhead.
God is spirit. He has no physical dimensions. He does not have a body, nor does he have any characteristics that can be defined in terms of size and shape. God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This means that God is invisible. No man has seen God. It also means that He is not confined to one place at a time, but is everywhere all the time: ‘Do not I fill the heaven and earth? Saith the LORD.’ Quite apart from everything else, this means that God is fully aware of everything that happens everywhere. This includes not only everything you do and say, but every thought that passes through your mind.
God is eternal. God has no beginning. In the Bible’s words, from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. There never was a time when God did not exist and there will never be a time when he will not exist. God describes himself as the one which is, and which was and which is to come. And He remains eternally the same: For I am the LORD, I change not. All that God ever was He still is and always will be.
God is Independent. Every other living thing is dependent on people or things, and ultimately on God – but God is totally independent of his own creation. He can survive on His own. He is not worshipped with men’s hand, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.
God is holy. Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises. There can be no comparison with the holiness of God. There is none holy as the LORD who is utterly without fault or defect. The Bible says of Him, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. And this holy God demands holiness from every one of us. His command to us today is: Be ye holy; for I am holy.
God is just. The Bible says that the LORD is a God of judgement: and that righteousness and judgement are the habitation of his throne. God is not only our Creator and Sustainer; he is also our Judge, rewarding and punishing, in time and eternity, with a justice that is perfect and beyond any appeal or dispute.
God is perfect. His knowledge is perfect. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. God knows everything in the past, present and future ,including our thoughts, words and deeds. His wisdom is perfect and utterly beyond our understanding. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!
God is sovereign. He is the sole and supreme ruler of the universe, and nothing whatever is outside our control. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that he did in heaven, and in earth. With God there are no accidents or surprises. He writes all the world’s history and worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. God needs no advice or consent for anything he chooses to do. Nor can anyone prevent him doing what he pleases: none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doeth thou?
God is omnipotent. He is all-powerful. In his own words Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? This does not mean that God can do anything (He cannot lie, or change or make mistakes, or sin, or deny himself) but that he can do anything he wishes consistent with his character.
These are just brief sketches of some of the things God has revealed in the Bible about his own nature and character. There are other truths about God in the Bible though there are many things about him we cannot possibly understand. He doeth great thingsand unsearchable; marvellous things without number. In that sense we cannot find him out an amount of human intelligence or reasoning can change that. This should hardly surprise us. If we could understand God he would be unworthy of our worship.