Who is God?
God is Eternal
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. -Psalm 90:2
One of the most difficult things for us to comprehend is the fact that God is eternal. As humans, we live our lives based on time. We define ourselves by when we were born and live our daily lives by hours spent at work, at home, doing activities and sleeping. Our entire lives are defined by time. However, with God there is no time (2 Peter 3:8). What may seem like an eternity to us is like the blink of an eye to God.
A God Beyond Time
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2). This particular passage identifies the fact that before the mountains were formed, before anything on earth was formed, or even the earth itself, God was gloriously present. Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Before anything else was, God was. From everlasting to everlasting indicates that God’s lifetime has no beginning and can have no end. He is the eternal God, the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). (See also Psalm 93:2; Proverbs 8:23; Micah 5:2; Habakkuk 1:12.)
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
In this passage we find the words Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, indicating that the Lord God is the beginning and end of all things. (THE RYRIE STUDY BIBLE, p. 1895).
God is Infinite and Eternal
The Bible nowhere attempts to prove or argue the existence of God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is. The existence of God is a fact taken for granted by the writers of both the Old and New Testaments. In the beginning God (Genesis 1:1). The Bible opens by announcing the sublime fact of God and His existence… (THE OPEN BIBLE, p. 1152) Since there is nothing in our human natures which corresponds to infinity (only the opposite finitude), it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to comprehend the term. Indeed, most dictionaries resort to defining it by negatives–without termination or without finitude.
Eternity is usually defined as infinity related to time. Whatever is involved in these concepts, we can see that they must mean God is not bound by the limitations of finitude and He is not bound by the succession of events, which is a necessary part of time. Also, His eternality extends backward from our viewpoint of time as well as forward forever. Nevertheless, this concept does not mean that time is unreal to God. Although He sees the past and future as clearly as the present, He sees them as including succession of events, without being Himself bound by that succession.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to ever-lasting, thou art God (Psalm 90:2). (A SURVEY OF BIBLE DOCTRINE, by Charles C. Ryrie, p. 23) In the book LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY by Henry C. Thiessen, on page 122 under the subject of “The Nature of God, Eternity,” the following explanation is given with regard to the subject of the eternity of God:
By the eternity of God we mean His infinity in relation to time; we mean that He is without beginning or end; that He is free from all succession of time; and that He is the cause of time. That He is without beginning or end may be inferred from the fact of His necessary existence: He who exists by means of his nature rather than his volition must always have existed and must continue to exist forever.
God is Three Persons
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… -Matthew 28:19 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” -Genesis 1:26a
Not only is God one, but he is also three persons: God the father, Jesus Christ the son and the Holy Spirit. God is wholly united as one, while still being three distinguishable persons with three different roles. God’s love is also reflected all the greater by the Trinity. In the Trinity, God is completely self-fulfilled. He didn’t need to create us for companionship. Nor did he need to create us to give Himself a sense of worth. He created us simply out of love for us and his desire for us to be more like him.
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” -Acts 17:22-25
God is Omniscient
When we say God is omniscient, we mean he possesses perfect knowledge of all things. The prefix “omni” means “all” and the word “science” comes from a Latin root meaning “knowledge.” The omniscient God has all knowledge in the world. God has never had to learn anything. He has never forgotten anything he ever knew. God knows everything possible. That means he knows and understands the sum total of all the world’s knowledge and even those things mankind has yet to discover. David wrote, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Ps. 147:5). Jude identified God a “the only wise God” (Jude 25). Most Bible commentators agree that wisdom in Proverbs is personified in Christ. As Christian seeks guidance in the daily affairs of his life, it is good to realize that God guides him because God knows the answers to questions the Christian has not yet fully comprehended.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9 Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge..? -Job 37:16
We could spend our entire lives in school, and never come close to obtaining all of the knowledge in the world. Realistically, we could do this and never learn a fraction of the knowledge that has been acquired over the ages. Even the most learned or intelligent in the word is no match for the knowledge of God. A.W. Tozer said in The Knowledge of the Holy, “To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.” God’s depth of knowledge is so far above our own that not only does he not need to learn, he doesn’t have the ability. God owns the sum of all knowledge and we as humans can add nothing to it.
One of the attributes of God is referred to by theologians as His “omniscience” (All Knowing). There are many Bible verses which describe God’s omniscience:
- “Great is our Lord, and of great powers: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).
- “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
The Scriptures teach that God is omniscient; His understanding is infinite; His intelligence is perfect. God’s knowledge is universal. It is unlimited in space, time or quantity. This is the characteristic of His knowledge corresponding to His immensity, eternity, and plenitude, and implied in them. God’s knowledge as universal is also His knowledge of all that is possible in any imaginable universe, and of all that is actual in Himself and in the existing universe. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world (Acts 15:18). (ELEMENTAL THEOLOGY, by Emry H. Bancroft, p. 46).
He Knows Us, He Loves Us
It is truly wonderful to know that God not only knows each of us, but also loves us and cares for us. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). God has promised in His Word to meet all our needs, not all our wishes, wants, or whims. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek), “for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:32-33). The greatest need any man has is the need of salvation and forgiveness of sin. This need has already been met through Christ Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
His Omniscience Allows Him To Have a Plan for You
The most important thing that you or anyone should know is that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The very fact that you are loved by the Creator of this universe should fill your heart with the desire to serve Him with your life. The fact that God loves you is a fact too wonderful for most people to comprehend. Moreover, the fact is that the Creator wants to be your personal Savior and to give you the type of fulfilled life that you really desire to live. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:6-7).
God is Omnipotent
Each of us has some strength, but all power belongs exclusively to God. The power of God is beyond human comprehension. The Bible teaches that “[God is] upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3). When we say God is omnipotent, we mean God can do everything he wants to do. He can do anything that is in harmony with his nature. He can do the impossible (raise the dead) and the improbable (walk on water; John 6:19). “With God all things are possible” (Matt, 19:26). There are some things God cannot do, but this does not limit his omnipotence. God cannot look on sin (Hab. 1:13), deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13), lie (Heb. 6:18), or be tempted into sin (James 1:13). If God could do any of these things, he would not be God. This limitation represents things contrary to his nature. It is still proper to say God can do anything he wants to accomplish.
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” -Jeremiah 32:37 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26
Physically, we are limited. We can only go so long before we must sleep. We can only pick up something that is so heavy, before we must put it down or drop it. Our bodies are only limited to so much. God on the other hand is omnipotent. Omnipotent comes from the Latin ‘Omni Potens’ meaning all or unlimited power. The Bible displays time and time again, God’s unlimited power. In Jeremiah 32, even God asks, “Is anything too hard for me?” God’s power is best reflected in the creation. Not only were we created by God, but so were the planets, stars and the vastness of the universe. Our universe is just one reflection of God’s all-encompassing power.
God is Omnipresent
Every person has a presence, but only God is at all times everywhere present. One of the most difficult of the attributes of God to comprehend is his omnipresence. God is everywhere present at the same time. The perfections of God demand that he exist everywhere at the same time. This does not mean that God is “spread out” so that part of him exists here and another part of him is in a room down the hall. Everything of God is here, in the room down the hall, and in every other place at the same time. Throughout time people have assumed the existence of God. The psalmist said, “Thou art there” (Ps. 39:7-9). Hagar cried out in the desert, “Thou God seest me” (Gen. 16:13). The fact of God’s omnipresence is a constant source of guidance, comfort, and protection for the believer. We can never find ourselves beyond the presence of God.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. -Psalm 139:7-10
Of all of God’s attributes, one of the most comforting is his omnipresence. No matter where we are in life… God is with us. Not only is God with us in our travels, but he is also with us throughout the highs and lows of life. God doesn’t just disappear because things are not going well. Even though we may feel far from him, he is always there for us. The questions the writer asks in Psalm 139 are rhetorical: Where shall I go from your Spirit? When shall I flee from your presence? The answer is simple… nowhere. God is always with us, for good or bad, He is always by our side.
The Various Laws of God
God expresses Himself in various ways. The expression of His will is called the law of God. It is the extension of His nature and attributes. Some people describe the law of God as the Ten Commandments or the 632 rules and regulations Moses gave the Jews, but God’s law is much broader than that limited description. There are many areas in which God expresses His will.
The Natural Law of God
The Bible describes the natural world as being held together by God (Col. 1:17). The natural law of God is the expression of God’s will concerning the means by which He chooses to govern the world He created (Gen. 8:22).
The Law of Liberty
God also expresses His will concerning moral issues touching our life. This is called the moral law of God. Even in the New Testament, specific sins such as lying (Eph. 4:25), theft (Eph. 4:28), gossip (James 4:11), lust (Matt. 5:28), and anger (Matt. 5:22) are prohibited. This aspect of the law of God is reflected in the description of the Bible as “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).
The Social Law of God
The expression of God’s will concerning our relationships with others is called the social law of God. Jewish rabbis divided the Ten Commandments into two groups, noting that the first four describe one’s relationship with God while the remaining six describe one’s relationship with others. This second group of commandments is also called “the royal law” (James 2:8).
The Spiritual Law of God
A final aspect of God’s law is the spiritual law of God. This is the expression of God’s will relating to a person’s relationship with Him. Jesus called the command to love God the first and great commandment (Matt. 22:37-38). The Bible describes the law of God as holy (Rom. 7:12), good (Rom. 7:16), and spiritual (Rom. 7:14). It was given to reveal the nature of God (Ps. 19:7), provide a standard of life (Josh. 1:8), instruct Israel concerning their Messiah (1 Cor. 10:11), reveal sin in our life (Rom. 5:13), and direct us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).