Who is God?
by Rich Deem
When Moses talked to God at the burning bush, he asked Him His name. God replied merely, "I am that I am," referring to His self-existence, the Being of beings, eternal and unchangeable.
Many religions describe a being referred to as "God." Some of these religions describe the being God as one of many other gods created by more powerful gods or councils of gods. However, for the purpose of this paper, we are going to use the definition of God contained in the Bible. As such, God is the Spirit hovering over the waters of the primordial Earth—Creator of the universe (matter, energy, space, and time), along with other principalities and beings whose primary existence is outside this universe. However, God did not just create the universe and leave it to its own fate as deists proclaim. God is the personal being who walked and talked with Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in the garden of Eden. God is also Savior of mankind, coming to Earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to provide the ultimate example of holiness and the ultimate sacrifice for humanity's evilness, in order to restore our personal relationship with Him.
Who is God?
According to Christianity, God is the self-existent One, having no need of being created, since He has existed forever and is the cause of all things, including the dimension of time, to which He is not subject (see If God Created Everything, Who Created God?). Likewise, God is not subject to the physical creation, but is spiritual in nature, residing in the spiritual dimensions of heaven. God's power over the physical creation is absolute, such that He can manipulate matter, energy, space, and time at will. For this reason, God is said to be all powerful—able to accomplish any possible task He wills to do. Along with being all powerful, God is also all knowing—having knowledge of all things that are possible to be known, including the entire history of the universe—past, present, and future. Because God is all powerful (omnipotent) and all knowing (omniscient), He is also able to be present at all places at all times (omnipresent). God is also all loving—according to the Bible, "God is love" (1 John 4:16). The love of God prompted Him to create human beings in His image, in order to share His love with us. The Christian scriptures say that we can fulfill the entire law of God by loving Him and loving our fellow human beings (Matthew 22:37-40). God is absolutely holy—without any moral or character defect. In fact, the Bible says that God is incapable of doing any evil, despite being all powerful. God is unchangeable. In other words, He does not change any of His attributes or character at any time. Despite humanity's tendency to change its definition of morality, God's moral character does not evolve with the times, but remains constant.
Where is God?
The Bible says that God cannot be contained within the universe (1 Kings 8:27). In addition, the Bible says that God fills both heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24), which is a Hebrew idiom to describe the entire universe. So, God is both transcendent and immanent simultaneously. God's normal abode is in heaven, which is not located within the physical universe. According to the Bible heaven seems to operate under different physical laws, with the laws of thermodynamics seeming to be absent. So, the question "Where is God?" is not one that can be answered with the knowledge we posses.
What does God look like?
Since human beings are created in the image of God, most artist's renditions picture God as looking like a human male. Although the Bible uses the personal pronoun "He" to describe God, it never says God looks like a human male. Word pictures describing God usually use words such as "like" or "as" in their descriptions. So, we find that both males and females were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), although God is not a hermaphrodite. Likewise, there are descriptions of God that describe Him with wings and feathers (Psalm 91:2-4), although nobody would suggest that God is an overgrown chicken. In fact, the Bible says God is a spirit (John 4:24)—without physical form (i.e., not composed of ordinary matter). Although God's primary nature is spiritual, He is able to take on physical form in order to interact with human beings on Earth. In fact, the Bible says that God took on human form, coming to earth as Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible says that believers who die will go to heaven and "see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2), because they will be like Him, possessing "spiritual bodies" (1 Corinthians 15:44). So, there is no way to know what God actually looks like in heaven, until we actually get there (see entrance requirements).
What does God want from me?
If God created the entire universe as a place to accommodate human beings, He must have had some sort of plan in mind. The Bible says God wants as many people as possible to choose to love Him and spend eternity with Him. Since God's standard for behavior is perfection in thought and deed, we are going to find it very difficult to meet God's standard on our own. However, since God loves us so much, He has provided another means by which we can attain perfection. Jesus, as God, took on the form of a human being and lived on the earth in the first century (Philippians 2:5-8). Besides teaching, His main purpose was to provide the ultimate sacrifice for sins (bad things we do), by living a completely sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), dying on a cross (Colossians 1:19-20), and rising from the dead (Romans 6:9-10). It is through belief in Jesus and His sacrifice for sins that one is declared righteous and free from sin.1 One who believes in Jesus follows Him,2 being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who guides Christians as they become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). So, those who believe in Jesus are declared righteous and will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
God is the ultimate Being in existence, perfect in power, love, and character. Since God wanted to share His love with others, He created the angels and human beings—spiritual creatures who can related to Him. Because God is love, He wants us to love Him and love other people (Matthew 22:37-40). God came to earth in human form as Jesus of Nazareth to teach us about Himself and to provide the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, so that those who believe can have fellowship with Him. The Bible encourages all people to turn from their selfishness to become lovers of God, to fulfill God's perfect law of love.