Before you say, “I don’t believe.” Chapter 2

Whether or not you believe in God, what do you think Christians believe about Him?

I remember asking this of an atheist with whom I was having a serious discussion, and as he described ‘God’ as he thought I saw Him, I eventually exclaimed, “Well, if that is what God is like, I too am an atheist.”  Before walking away from God, it is important to know who God is!

Christians believe that God made man in His own image, but that doesn’t mean that we can make Him in our image!  God is not a Santa Claus figure, or some angelic being with little to occupy Himself.  Nor is He distant, disinterested or disengaged from the very world and people whom He has made.

It is basic to Christian belief that God has revealed Himself to us, whom He has created.  So what we believe about God is what He has made known to us about Himself.  There are many ways in which God has declared Himself, but He has done this primarily through His written word, the Bible, and through His living, loving Word, Jesus.

It is foundational to the Bible that there is only one God.  The one God is Triune: He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  (Incidentally, human beings, whom the Bible says were made in the image of God, are also tri-une, namely each person comprises spirit, soul and body).  Christians speak of God being a Trinity, and in this doctrine alone we find that God is relational and united.  We read in the Bible that God is love – if there were not multiple personality in the Godhead God could not have been eternally loving, for there would have been a situation before anything began when God would have had no one to love!  In every great work of God described in the Bible, we can see that each Person of the Trinity is at work.

Jesus emphasised that God is Spirit – He cannot be seen or touched.  He is eternal, having no beginning or end. He is not subject to anyone, and is Lord of all.

We have further insights into who God is and what He is like throughout the Bible.  He is omnipotent – able to do all things; omnipresent – everywhere; omniscient – knowing all things, and immutable – never changing and totally reliable.

The familiar words ‘God is love’ comprise a quite revolutionary sentence.  Millions live their lives in fear that God is vengeful, spiteful, unpredictable and nasty. Yet, we learn from the Bible that He is holy, righteous, just and fair, infinitely loving and compassionate to all.

God, who is the One who brought everything into being, upholds all things by His powerful word.  He knows the end from the beginning, is never being taken by surprise, and certainly does not need to call an emergency cabinet meeting in Heaven!

Although God has revealed Himself to humanity, there are inevitably many things about Him we cannot fully fathom.  He is God, and we are humans.  He is our Creator, and we are His creation.  He is infinite, and we are finite and fickle.  There will always be areas where the Christian is left wondering – simply not understanding – what are God’s immediate purposes in what is happening.  The Bible says, ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law.’[1]

God is knowable.  Though He lives in His Heaven, by His Holy Spirit He will live in the lives of those who call to Him and put their trust in Him.  God can be known as our guide and helper.  To those who have turned to Him, He promises to be with them through their lives, through death and into eternity.  There are no Bible promises that believing Christians will have a wonderful life without problems, but there are countless assurances that God will be with all who trust Him through the joys and tough times of life.

The almighty God came into our world, clothing Himself in humanity, in the person of Jesus.  God became a man and made His dwelling with us.  He was all that God is, and all that true humanity should be as He walked on earth, destined to go to the cross and there carry our sin upon Himself.  Jesus then rose again, demonstrating the power of God, expressed in His self-sacrificing love for us.

[1] Deuteronomy 29:29

< Chapter 1 ¦ Chapter 3: Have you carefully considered the reasons why Christians believe in God?

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