DOES GOD EXIST?
We often speak or hear about “GOD”, but do we understand who our God really is? Many religions describe a being referred to as “God.” Do we know what makes the God of the Bible unique from other gods? Understanding who God is, is of utmost importance because a false idea about God is idolatry.
Voltaire (real name François-Marie Arouet) (1694 – 1778) was a French philosopher and writer of the Age of Enlightenment. His intelligence, wit and style made him one of France’s greatest writers and philosophers, despite the controversy he attracted. Voltaire once said: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”.
Too many like Voltaire says God was invented by man. An open-minded individual however would look at both the reasonable and scientific explanations about who God is, why a Creator do exist and the logic behind such a reasoning. Also, why God cannot be just the fabrication of man’s imagination or that religion is just a one-sided effort by man to try to fill a certain psychological need. It is the rare person who has never wondered about the existence of God. Our minds are such that we wonder. Is there something, or someone, who is beyond what we can see with our eyes and who is bigger than the physical universe we are a part of? To be GOD, such a being would have to be peerless, incomparable, unique and unmatched. Is our God such a person?
The fact of God’s existence is actually so obvious, both through creation and through man’s conscience, that the Bible calls the atheist a “fool” (Psalm 14:1). Accordingly, the Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; rather, it assumes His existence from the very beginning (Genesis 1:1). He has revealed to humanity the essential things we need to know about Him. The Bible reveals the nature, character, and work of God. It also reveals His purpose for our lives, what He expects of us, and what He has determined about our future.
CREATOR, SUSTAINER AND RULER
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. Likewise, God is not subject to the physical creation, but is spiritual in nature, residing in the spiritual dimensions of heaven.
Theism is the belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe. God did not only create the universe and then left it to its own fate. 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.
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.
God is a spirit (John 4:24), without physical form (i.e., not composed of ordinary matter) and His appearance is not like anything we can describe. Exodus 33:20 tells us, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” As sinful human beings, we are incapable of seeing God in all His glory. His appearance is utterly unimaginable and too glorious to be safely perceived by sinful man.
God does however give glimpses of what He looks like to teach us truths about Himself, but not necessarily so that we can have an image of Him in our minds. Two passages that powerfully describe God’s amazing appearance are Ezekiel 1:26-28 and Revelation 1:14-16.
Ezekiel 1:26-28 declares, “Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.” Revelation 1:14-16 proclaims, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
These passages represent Ezekiel’s and John’s best attempts at describing the appearance of God. They had to use symbolic language to describe that for which human language has no words; i.e., “what appeared like,” “like the appearance,” “he looked like,” etc.
There are also descriptions of God that describe Him with wings and feathers (Psalm 91:2-4). Although God’s primary nature is spiritual, He is nevertheless 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). Sin will be no more, and we will be able to perceive God in all His glory.
WHERE IS GOD?
The Bible says that God cannot be contained within the universe (1 Kings 8:27). In addition, it 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 easily be answered with the limited knowledge we possess. All we really know is that God exists everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12).
Along with being all powerful, and able to be present at all places at all times (omnipresent), God is also all knowing (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28) — having knowledge of all things that are possible to be known, including the entire history of the universe—past, present, and future. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
God is sovereign. Nothing in the universe occurs without God’s permission. God has the power and knowledge to prevent anything He chooses to prevent, so anything that does happen must, at the very least, be “allowed” by God. Even Satan cannot succeed in any of his plans, if not allowed by God. God will never create evil, but often allows Satan to go forth, and then turns it around and uses it as part of our sanctification process. Tests, trials and tribulations also reminds us of our dependence on God.
God is infinite (1 Timothy 1:17), incomparable (2 Samuel 7:22), and has all power and authority (Ephesians 1; Revelation 19:6). 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 (Malachi 3:6). 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.
God is also just (Acts 17:31), loving (Ephesians 2:4-5), truthful (John 14:6), and holy (1 John 1:5). He shows compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3), mercy (Romans 9:15), and grace (Romans 5:17). God also judges sin (Psalm 5:5) but also offers forgiveness (Psalm 130:4) to those who repent.
The sad thing about modern-day Christianity is that many who call themselves Christians, ignore all of God’s characteristics, except for one – His love. His love is being misused as they expect of Him to bless them abundantly and to never get angry with them for living like the world, without any fear or respect for His holiness. Such people has created a weak, imaginary “Christmas Father-like” god for themselves and should not be surprised when they hear the words, “I never knew you” on judgement day. One only need to study the book of Revelation to realize the fury and wrath of God towards the unrighteous.
HIS TRIUNE NATURE
As mentioned, God is spirit, by nature intangible (John 4:24). God is One, but He exists as three Persons — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17). This is similar in analogy to the nature of time. Time is past, present, and future. The past is not the same as the present, which is not the same as the future. But, there are not three times. There is only one thing called time.
The following is an extraction from an article published on the “Grace To You” (John MacArthur) website.
“… though the fullness of the Trinity is far beyond human comprehension, it is unquestionably how God has revealed Himself in Scripture—as one God eternally existing in three Persons.
This is not to suggest, of course, that the Bible presents three different gods (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4). Rather, God is three Persons in one essence; the Divine essence subsists wholly and indivisibly, simultaneously and eternally, in the three members of the one Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures are clear that these three Persons together are one and only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). John 10:30 and 33 explain that the Father and the Son are one. First Corinthians 3:16 shows that the Father and the Spirit are one. Romans 8:9 makes clear that the Son and the Spirit are one. And John 14:16, 18, and 23 demonstrate that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one.
Yet, in exhibiting the unity between the members of the Trinity, the Word of God in no way denies the simultaneous existence and distinctiveness of each of the three Persons of the Godhead. In other words, the Bible makes it clear that God is one God (not three), but that the one God is a Trinity of Persons.
In the Old Testament, the Bible implies the idea of the Trinity in several ways. The title Elohim (”God”), for instance, is a plural noun which can suggest multiplicity (cf. Genesis 1:26). This corresponds to the fact that the plural pronoun (”us”) is sometimes used of God (Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 6:8). More directly, there are places in which God’s name is applied to more than one Person in the same text (Psalm 110:1; cf. Genesis 19:24). And there are also passages where all three divine Persons are seen at work (Isaiah 48:16; 61:1).
The New Testament builds significantly on these truths, revealing them more explicitly. The baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 designates all three Persons of the Trinity: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” In his apostolic benediction to the Corinthians, Paul underscored this same reality. He wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Other New Testament passages also spell out the glorious truth of the Triune God (Romans 15:16, 30; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; Ephesians 2:18).
In describing the Trinity, the New Testament clearly distinguishes three Persons who are all simultaneously active. They are not merely modes or manifestations of the same person (as Oneness theology incorrectly asserts) who sometimes acts as Father, sometimes as Son, and sometimes as Spirit. At Christ’s baptism, all three Persons were simultaneously active (Matthew 3:16–17), with the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from Heaven. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father (cf. Matthew 6:9), taught that His will was distinct from His Father’s (Matthew 26:39), promised that He would ask the Father to send the Spirit (John 14:16), and asked the Father to glorify Him (John 17:5). These actions would not make sense unless the Father and the Son were two distinct Persons. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit intercedes before the Father on behalf of believers (Romans 8:26), as does the Son, who is our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Again, the distinctness of each Person is in view.
The Bible is clear. There is only one God, yet He exists, and always has existed, as a Trinity of Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (cf. John 1:1-2). To deny or misunderstand the Trinity is to deny or misunderstand the very nature of God Himself.”
We cannot understand God apart from His works, because what God does flows from who He is. Here is an abbreviated list of God’s works, past, present, and future: God created the world (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 42:5); He actively sustains the world (Colossians 1:17); He is executing His eternal plan (Ephesians 1:11) which involves the redemption of man from the curse of sin and death (Galatians 3:13-14); He draws people to Christ (John 6:44); He disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:6); and He will judge the world (Revelation 20:11-15).
A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
If God created the entire universe as a place to accommodate human beings, He must have had a plan in mind. The Bible says God wants as many people as possible to spend eternity with Him. However, since God’s standard for behavior is perfection in thought and deed, we will never be able to meet God’s standard on our own.
But God is also Savior of mankind, coming to Earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. 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). He provided the ultimate example of holiness and the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s evilness, in order to restore our personal relationship with Him. In the Person of the Son, God became incarnate (John 1:14). The Son of God became the Son of Man and is therefore the “bridge” between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). It is only through the Son that we can have forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), reconciliation with God (John 15:15; Romans 5:10), and eternal salvation (2 Timothy 2:10). In Jesus Christ “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). So, to really know who God is, all we have to do is look at Jesus.