Who is God?

The first step in getting acquainted with Christianity is to understand that it is a way of life set out for us by God. But who is God">

Who is God?

The first step in getting acquainted with Christianity is to understand that it is a way of life set out for us by God. But who is God, and why should be care if he wants us to pursue a lifestyle in keeping with the teachings of Christ?

The God of Genesis

There are numerous characteristics of God which are revealed in the very first book of the Law of God, the book of Genesis. First of all, God is the creator (Genesis 1). There are only two categories of things in the universe, created and Creator. God is the Creator of all else. It is for this reason that he deserves to be worshiped, praised, and obeyed (Revelation 4:1 1; Psalm 8; Acts 17:24-28). We owe our very existence to Him.

Secondly, God is a sovereign lawgiver. The book of Genesis tells us that the Creator gave commands to man, beginning with the prohibition against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to the instructions to Noah regarding the ark and the animals, to the mandate for Abram to leave his country and go to Canaan, and continuing with all his other commands. Along with these commands, the Genesis story tells about the blessings of obeying God's commands and the catastrophes which follow for those who disobey. God is a commander, a lawgiver. God is in charge. Man must obey God.

Thirdly, God is powerful in his sovereignty. The word God, ELOHIM, in Genesis means great or mighty. Some of the titles given to God in Genesis also emphasize his awesome power. He appeared unto Abraham and Jacob as "God Almighty" (Genesis 17:1; 35:1 1). The mysterious priest, Melchizedek referred to God as "God Most High," (Genesis 14:18-22). This shows that there is no being above him. His strength is reflected in his title, "the Fear of Isaac,' (Genesis 31:42). In Genesis, it is the all powerful God who decides the fate of human beings, who brings cataclysmic events like the great flood, and who uses the circumstances of people to accomplish his purposes. God the Creator and Lawgiver is Omnipotent in his power.

Fourthly, God is aware of what goes on in every human life. Hagar called God "the Living One who Sees," (Genesis 16:13-14). He is the God who "heard" Hagar's cries in the desert as he hears all things. He heard the cries of Abel's blood and Sodom's sins (Genesis 4:10; 18:20). God is a God who sees and hears everything which goes on in the world. He sees and hears everything because he is literally everywhere or OMNIPRESENT (Psalm 139).

God is Everlasting. Abraham called on the name of the Lord, "the Everlasting God," (Genesis 21:33). God is, as the Book of Revelation says, the "Alpha an Omega ... who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,' (Revelation 1:8). Moses wrote in his great song, "Thou has been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God," (Psalm 90:1). Nothing we do, build, plan, or experience will last as long as God. He was there before we were born and will be there after we die. He is the fundamental reality of the universe.

God is The Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25). As such, he judges righteously according to truth (Romans 2:1-3; 3:1-3). He cast Adam and Eve from the garden, brought the curse upon Cain, brought the great flood upon the ungodly of Noah's generation, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and brings judgment upon all who rebel against him in disobedience. Each one of us will give an account of himself/herself to God (Romans 14:12).

God is Not Like Us

One of the great biblical doctrines about God is that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). As a Spirit, he does not have physical limitations and physically tied properties like human beings. He has no physical body at all (Luke 24.39). While God sometimes appeared to human beings in some kind of accommodated human form, these human-like appearances did not show God as God really is (John 1:18; Exodus 33:18ff). Since God is not like human beings, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that God thinks or judges things like we do (Isa. 55:8-9). In addition, we must not make any kind of image or idol to represent God, for in so doing, we are destroying his essence as entirely spiritual and making something physical of him. Since God is a Spirit, we depend completely on his revelation to tell us what he is like and what his will is for our lives, and could never discover these things through empirical means (1 Corinthians 2:8-14).

Who is God? He is the Creator, our Lawgiver, Omnipotent, All seeing, Omnipresent, Everlasting, and the Judge of all- the earth. He is a Spirit, unlike man, separate altogether in his essence. Knowing these things about God will help us deal with God more intelligently and more successfully pursue a relationship with him.

The Holiness of God

The holiness of God is greatly emphasized in the Law and in the New Testament. God is Holy (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-17). This means that he is completely unique or set apart from everything else. That which is designated by God for his purposes is holy. God designated Israel in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament as a holy people (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9). God designated the tabernacle or temple in the Old Testament as a holy place (Exodus 25:8-9). In that holy place God designated holy items of furniture (Exodus 26-27). God designated particular individuals as holy priests so that they might serve him in the holy place, and he designated holy garments for these holy men to wear as they served in the tabernacle (Exodus 28-29; 28:36). God even designated "holy oil" and "holy incense" for use in the temple worship (Exodus 30:22-38). In the Law God specified "holy conduct" for his people which set them apart from other peoples (Leviticus 18:1-5; 19:1-2). God did not accept any deviations from these designated "holy things" or "holy people,' (Leviticus 10:1-10; Numbers 16; 1 Samuel 13). Those who failed to respect the holiness of God whether in their moral lives or their religious conduct were severely punished. It is vital that we understand this characteristic of God so we can appreciate his uncompromising nature and his insistence that we do exactly as he has specified. "Have it your way" is not the motto of the Holy God. Instead, his motto is "do it my way." Remember, God is not a man. His holiness is his uniqueness. We cannot respect his holiness without obeying his commands.

The Justice of God

Another basic characteristic of God is his justice. This quality is at the core of his nature. God's justice has to do with the way he must respond to those who violate his nature and do that which is evil. His justice means that sin must be punished. We see the justice of God in his punishment of evil, from the casting of Adam and Eve out of the garden, to the great flood in the time of Noah, to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to the plagues against Egypt, to the Babylonian Captivity, to the destruction of Jerusalem, to the final judgment. God's judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:2). The justice of God is that characteristic which produces the reality of guilt. Something inside the mind of God will not rest until sin is punished (Genesis 4:10). Guilt for our sins may or may not exist in our own minds, but it exists in the mind of God (Leviticus 4:13,22,27,etc.). Because God is the Creator and he is Just, each one of us must give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12). We will all stand before the judgment tribunal of God and be dealt with according to our deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15). It is only because of the sacrifice of Christ that God can remain just and still forgive the sins of those who trust and obey him (Romans 3:24- 26).

We are so thankful that another great characteristic of God is love (1 John 4:7- 10). Throughout the Old Testament, God demonstrated that he was a loving and forgiving God (Hosea 1 1:1; Exodus 34:5-6). God's people from the time of the Exodus onward were often guilty, but God always accepted their repentance, forgave them, and took them back. God's love is demonstrated in his continual sending of the prophets to beg them to return. The classic picture is that which is given in the book of Hosea. Hosea married a woman named Gomer who became unfaithful to him. When she would not cease her adulteries, Hosea divorced her. God went to Hosea later and told him to take Gomer back and love her again. He did so, demanding that she agree to a trial period to prove her faithfulness. As Hosea was willing to take his adulterous wife back, so God was willing to take his people back when they repented and sincerely turned to him (Hosea 3). God loved us all so much that he sent his own Son to die for us (John 3:16). His love is unending for those who will come to Him and submit to his Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-39). It is the love of God and the justice of God which have always been in tension, and which required God's redemptive plan in Christ. God's love is self sacrifice for the good of others.

What shall we learn from these characteristics of God? Since God is Holy and

God is Creator, Lawgiver, Omnipotent, Omniscient, , Omnipresent, Everlasting, Judge of All the Earth, Just, Holy, and Loving. Our God is a Spirit, and is unlike man in his thoughts and his ways. This is the God whom Christians seek to know, love, and serve.