God - an introduction

138 is an introduction

For us as Christians, the most elementary belief is that God exists. By "God" - without an article, without any additional addition - we mean the God of the Bible. A good and powerful spirit who has created all things, who is in us, who is in what we do, who is in and in our lives and who offers us an eternity with his goodness. In its entirety, God cannot be understood by man. But we can start: We can collect building blocks of god knowledge that let us recognize the basic features of his picture and give us a first good insight into who God is and what He does in our lives. Let us focus on the qualities of God, which a new believer, for example, may find particularly helpful.

His existence

Many people - even long-time believers - want evidence of God's existence. There is no evidence of God that satisfies everyone. It is probably better to speak of evidence or clues rather than evidence. The evidence gives us certainty that God exists and that his nature corresponds to what the Bible says about him. God "did not leave himself untested," Paul announced to the Gentiles in Lystra (Acts 14,17). The self-testimony - what is it?

creation : Psalm 19,1: 1,20 states: «The heavens tell the glory of God ...» In Romans it says:
Because God's invisible being, that is his eternal power and deity, has been seen from his works since the creation of the world ... »Creation itself tells us something about God.

Reasoning suggests that something Earth, Sun, and stars have purposefully made as they are. According to science, the cosmos started with a big bang; Reasons speak for believing that something has caused the bang. This something - we believe - was God.

regularity: Creation shows signs of order, of physical laws. If some of the basic properties of matter were minimally different, there would not be the earth if there could not be man. If the Earth had a different size or a different orbit, the conditions on our planet would not allow human life. Some consider this a cosmic coincidence; others consider the explanation to be more reasonable that the solar system has been planned by an intelligent creator.

Life: Life is based on incredibly complex chemical raw materials and reactions. Some consider life to be “intelligently caused”; others consider it a coincidence. Some believe that science will one day prove an origin of life "without God". For many people, however, the existence of life is an indication of a creator god.

The human being: Man possesses self-reflection. He explores the universe, reflects on the meaning of life, is generally capable of seeking meaning. Physical hunger suggests the existence of food; Thirst suggests that there is something that can quench this thirst. Does our spiritual yearning suggest that there really is meaning and can be found? Many people claim to have found meaning in the relationship with God.

Moral [Ethics]: Is right and wrong merely a matter of opinion or a matter of majority opinion, or is there an instance of human beings above good and evil? If there is no God, then man has no basis for calling anything evil, no reason to condemn racism, genocide, torture and similar abominations. The existence of evil is therefore an indication that there is a God. If it does not exist, pure power must rule. Reasons speak for believing in God.

His size

What kind of being is God? Bigger than we can imagine! When he has created the universe, he is greater than the universe - and not subject to the limits of time, space and energy, for it has already existed before there was time, space, matter and energy.

2 Timothy 1,9 speaks of what God did "ahead of time". Time has started, and God has existed before. It has a timeless existence that cannot be measured in years. It is eternal, of infinite age - and infinity plus several billion is still infinity. Our mathematics reach their limits if they want to describe God's being.

Since God created matter, he existed before matter and is not material in itself. It is spirit - but it is not "made" out of spirit. God is not made at all; it is simple and it exists as a spirit. He defines being, he defines spirit and he defines matter.

God's existence goes beyond matter and the dimensions and properties of matter do not apply to him. It cannot be measured in miles and kilowatts. Solomon admits that even the highest heavens cannot believe God (1 Kings 8,27). It fills heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23,24); it is everywhere, it is omnipresent. There is no place in the cosmos where it does not exist.

How powerful is God? If he can trigger a big bang, design solar systems that can create DNA codes, if he's "competent" at all these levels of power, then his violence must be truly limitless, then he must be omnipotent. "Because with God no thing is impossible," says Luke 1,37. God can do anything he wants.

God's creativity shows an intelligence that is beyond our grasp. He controls the universe and ensures its continued existence every second (Hebrews 1,3). That means he has to know what's going on in the whole universe; his intelligence is limitless - he is omniscient. Everything he wants to know, recognize, experience, knows, recognize, he experiences.

Since God defines right and wrong, He is by definition right and has the power to always do the right. «Because God cannot be tempted to evil» (James 1,13). It is in the highest consequence and completely just (Psalm 11,7). His standards are right, his decisions are right, and he judges the world fairly because he is essentially good and right.

In all of these respects, God is so different from us that we have special words that we only use in relation to God. Only God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal. We are matter; he is spirit. We are mortal; he is immortal. We call this difference in nature between us and God, this difference, his transcendence. He "transcends" us, that is, he goes beyond us, he is not like us.

Other ancient cultures believed in gods and goddesses who fought one another, who acted selfishly, who could not be trusted. The Bible, on the other hand, reveals a God who has complete control, who does not need anything from anyone, and who therefore only acts to help others. He is completely stable, his behavior is just and trustworthy. This is what the Bible means when it calls God "holy": morally perfect.

That makes life a lot easier. You no longer have to try ten or twenty different gods to please; there is only one. The Creator of all things is still the ruler of everything and he will be the judge of all people. Our past, our present and our future are all determined by the One God, the All-Wise, Almighty, Eternal.

His kindness

If we only knew about God, that he has absolute power over us, we would probably obey him out of fear, with a bowed knee and a defiant heart. But God has revealed to us another side of his nature: the unbelievably great God is also unbelievably merciful and good.

A disciple asked Jesus: "Lord, show us the Father ..." (John 14,8). He wanted to know what God is like. He knew the stories of the burning bush, the pillar of fire and cloud on Sinai, the unearthly throne that Ezekiel saw, the whiz that Elijah heard (Exodus 2: 3,4; 13,21:1; 19,12 Kings 1; Ezekiel). God can appear in all these materializations, but what is He really like? How can we imagine him?

"Whoever sees me sees the Father," said Jesus (John 14,9). If we want to know what God is like, we have to look at Jesus. We can gain knowledge of God from nature; further knowledge of God from how it manifests itself in the Old Testament; most of the knowledge of God, however, from how he revealed himself in Jesus.

Jesus shows us the most important sides of God nature. He is Immanuel, that means "God with us" (Matthew 1,23). He lived without sin, without selfishness. Compassion pervades him. He feels love and joy, disappointment and anger. He cares about the individual. He calls for justice and forgives sin. He served others, including suffering and death.

That’s God. He already described himself to Moses as follows: "Lord, Lord, God, merciful and gracious and patient and of great grace and faithfulness, who keeps thousands of graces and forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, but he leaves no one unpunished ..." (Exodus 2, 34-6).

The God who stands above creation also has the freedom to work within creation. This is his immanence, his being with us. Although he is larger than the universe and is present everywhere in the universe, he is "with us" in a way that "with" unbelievers is not. The mighty God is always close to us. It is close and far at the same time (Jeremiah 23,23).

Through Jesus he entered human history, space and time. He was carnal, he showed us what life in the flesh should ideally be, and he shows us that God wants to lift our lives beyond the flesh. Eternal life is offered to us, life beyond the physical limits that we now know. Spirit-life is offered to us: The spirit of God comes in us, lives in us and makes us children of God (Romans 8,11:1; 3,2 John). God is always with us, working in space and time to help us.

The great and mighty God is at the same time the loving and merciful God; the perfectly just Judge is at the same time the merciful and patient Redeemer. The God who is angry with sin offers salvation from sin at the same time. He is tremendous in grace, great in goodness. This is not to be expected of a creature that can create DNA codes, the colors of the rainbow, the fine down of the dandelion blossom. If God were not kind and loving, we would not exist at all.

God describes his relationship to us through various linguistic images. For example, that he is the father, we the children; he the husband and we, as a collective, his wife; he the king and we his subjects; he the shepherd and us the sheep. Common to these linguistic images is that God presents himself as a responsible person who protects his people and satisfies their needs.

God knows how tiny we are. He knows he could wipe us out with a snap of the finger, with a little miscalculation of cosmic powers. In Jesus, however, God shows us how much he loves us and how much he cares about us. Jesus was humble, even willing to suffer if it helped us. He knows the pain we are going through because he suffered it himself. He knows the torments of evil, and has taken them upon us, showing us that we can trust God.

God has plans for us because He has created us in his image (Genesis 1:1,27). He asks us to adapt to him - in kindness, not in power. In Jesus God gives us an example that we can and should emulate: an example of humility, selfless service, love and compassion, faith and hope.

"God is love," writes Johannes (1 John 4,8). He has shown his love for us by sending Jesus to die for our sins, so that the barriers between us and God can fall and we can ultimately live with him in eternal joy. God's love is not wishful thinking - it is deed that helps us in our deepest needs.

From the crucifixion of Jesus we learn more about God than about his resurrection. Jesus shows us that God is willing to suffer pain, even pain caused by the people he is helping. His love calls, encourages. He does not force us to do his will.

God's love for us, which is most clearly expressed in Jesus Christ, is our example: «This is the love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be reconciliation for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so, we should also love each other » (1 John 4, 10-11). If we live in love, eternal life will be a joy, not only for us but also for those around us.

If we follow Jesus in life, we will follow him in death and then in resurrection. The same God who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us up and give us eternal life (Romans 8,11). But if we do not learn to love, we will not enjoy everlasting life. That is why God teaches us to love, in a pace that we can keep up with, through an ideal example that He has in front of us, transforming our hearts through the Holy Spirit who works in us. The power that controls the nuclear reactors of the sun works lovingly in our hearts, woos for us, wins our affection, wins our loyalty.

God gives us meaning in life, orientation in life, hope for eternal life. We can trust him, even if we have to suffer for doing good. His power is behind God's goodness; his love is guided by his wisdom. All the powers of the universe are at his command and he uses them for our best. But we know that for those who love God, all things serve the best ... » (Romans 8,28).

Answer

How do we respond to a God so great and kind, so terrible and compassionate? We answer with adoration: reverence for His glory, praise for His works, reverence for His holiness, respect for His power, repentance for His perfection, submission to the authority we find in His truth and wisdom.
We respond to his mercy with gratitude; at his mercy with loyalty; on his
Goodness with our love. We admire him, we worship him, we give ourselves to him with the wish that we have more to give. Just as he showed us his love, we let him change us so that we love the people around us. We use everything we have, everything,

what we are, everything he gives us to serve others, following Jesus' example.
This is the God we pray to, knowing that he hears every word, that he knows every thought, that he knows what we need, that he cares about our feelings, that he wants to live with us forever, that He has the power to fulfill us every wish and the wisdom not to do it. In Jesus Christ, God has proved himself faithful. God exists to serve, not to be selfish. His power is always used in love. Our God is the Most High in Power and the Most High in Love. We can absolutely trust him in everything.

by Michael Morrison


pdfGod - an introduction