It’s an age-old question.
Who is God?
And a close second to that is:
What is God like?
And to answer these questions, we have to look to the unchanging, eternal Word of God. Any attempt to answer these questions apart from God’s Word can lead us to false conclusions about God, which in turn will affect the way that we interact with Him.
To understand who God is, we need to know what He says about Himself.
A.W. Tozer once said:
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.1
Who we believe God to be is a vital aspect of our faith. And because of its importance, we need to be sure that our view of God aligns properly with what God reveals about Himself throughout His Word.
Let’s take a look at four attributes of God that Scripture reveals to us.
The Attributes of God
God is EternalThe Word of God opens with the presupposition that God exists.
Genesis 1:1 states:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.2It’s a declaration of God’s eternality. It’s a message to humanity that God’s existence need not be proved, only accepted. Before anything existed, God was there. Infinite. Eternal. Existing outside of time, space, and all other boundaries we know of as humans. God exists, not only forever in the future, but forever in times past. There has never been a moment God wasn’t there.
Moses, the author of Psalm 90, sums up God’s eternality by stating:
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.3Everlasting to everlasting. God always has been and always will be.
God is OmnipotentThe Word of God is clear that not only is God eternal, but He is all-powerful.
The prophet Isaiah outlines God’s omnipotence when he records God stating:
Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?4This attribute of God declares His ability and capacity to control everything. Nothing is outside of His care. No decision is too big. No person too small. It’s God’s omnipotence that empowers us to trust Him and be content knowing that nothing and noone is outside of His reach. And it’s this attribute of God that leaves us standing humbly in His Presence knowing that the very breath we breathe comes from Him.
Puritan clergyman Stephen Charnock writes about God’s omnipotence:
As holiness is the beauty of all God’s attributes, so power is that which gives life and action to all the perfections of the Divine nature. How vain would be the eternal counsels, if power did not step in to execute them. Without power His mercy would be but feeble pity, His promises an empty sound, His threatenings a mere scarecrow. God’s power is like Himself: infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; it can neither be checked, restrained, nor frustrated by the creature.5It’s God’s omnipotence that enforces and empowers His infinite wisdom and precepts laid out in His Word.
God is OmniscientNot only is God eternal and all-powerful, but He is also all-knowing.
Psalm 147:5 tells us:
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.6God has a unique ability to know everything within Himself. Nothing is hidden from Him. But the beauty of God’s omniscience is that He knows us intimately. Before we were ever born, God already knew our name. He formed us within our mother’s womb, intricately and intentionally.
In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the omniscient attribute of God when He says:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.7God’s unlimited knowledge doesn’t create distance between Himself and His creation. It establishes a unique and intimate relationship between both parties. And it’s God’s infinite knowledge that leaves us laid bare before Him, seen, known, and welcomed into relationship with Him.
God is Omnipresent
David writes in Psalm 139:
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.8Because God is omnipresent, He is everywhere, at all times. There is nowhere He is not.
Theologian John M. Frame had this to say about God’s omnipresence:
He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, and so he is in every location. He is also the creator of time, the one without beginning or end. So he has been present in the world since its creation, and there will never be a time from which he is absent.
Even at the announcement of Jesus’ birth to Joseph in a dream, an angel of the Lord declared:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).10Jesus, the physical embodiment of God on the earth, carried a name that served as a declaration to everyone that God was here. Present. Close. And because God is infinite and unchanging, His Presence remains with us today.
Want to Learn More?Each of these attributes, along with many others found throughout God’s Word, provide us with a proper image and description of who God is. And it’s when we know who God is, according to His Word, that we can more deeply and intimately step into a relationship with Him. If you’d like to go deeper in your study of who God is and what His attributes are, check out our course: The Attributes of God. In this course, Dr. Michael Heiser expounds on the unique, unshared attributes of God laid out in Scripture, as well as the attributes God chooses to share with us as His image bearers on the earth. If you’d like to know more about God, His attributes, and how this course can benefit you in your study of who God is, click here.
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