What is God like?
What is God like?
God is not some unknowable, impersonal divine essence, such that our own personalities ultimately become an illusion. Nor does “He” or “It” or “She” manifest through our alleged “higher consciousness” so that God and our true self are one. God is not the universe itself and the universe is not His body. God is not the originator of all religions or an eternally hidden deity who is perpetually unknowable, unapproachable and indescribable.
Although we cannot fully understand God, we still can know Him. We know Him through a personal relationship of faith and through a study of what the Bible teaches about His nature. What is God Like?
- Spirit (God does not have a physical body)— John 4:24: “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth”
- One (A simple—not compound—being)—Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.”
- Personal (He can be known; He can and does have relationships with people)—John 17:1–3: “When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.’”
- Trinitarian (While He is One, He is expressed in the “persons”—Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost).)—2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
- Omnipotent (All-powerful)— Jeremiah 32:17: “O Sovereign LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power. Nothing is too hard for you!”
- Omnipresence (Everywhere present)— Psalm 139:7-10: “I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”
- Omniscience (All-knowing)—Psalm 139:1-4: “O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.”
- Transcendent (Distinct from the universe) — Acts 17:24-25: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is.”
- Immanent (God is near)—Deuteronomy 4:7: “For what great nation has a god as near to them as the LORD our God is near to us whenever we call on him?”
- Incomparable/Incomprehensible—2 Samuel 7:22: “How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you—there is no other God. We have never even heard of another god like you!
- Invisible (cf. Spirit)—John 1:18: “No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart; he has told us about him.”
- Inscrutable(Beyond human understanding)—Is. 40:28: “Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”
- Immutable (Unchangeable)—Malachi 3:6: “I am the LORD, and I do not change”; James 1:17: “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows”; Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
- Unsearchable—Romans 11:33-34: “Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor?”
- Infinite (Without known limits)—1 Kings 8:27: “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!”
- Eternal (Transcends time and temporal limitations)—Psalm 90:2, 4: “Before the mountains were created, before you made the earth and the world, you are God, without beginning or end,… For you, a thousand years are as yesterday! They are like a few hours!”; 2 Peter 3:8: “But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”
In addition to the above list, when wondering what is God like, the Bible also tells us that God is:
- Good—Psalm 118:1: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”
- Holy(completely separate from evil, absolutely pure)— Psalm 5:4-6: “O God,you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the slightest sin.
- Therefore, the proud will not be allowed to stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil.”
- Righteous(morally perfect)—Zephaniah 3:5: “But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice—…”
- True— Hebrews 6:18: “So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.”
- Loving—John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”