In this study we will understand God as given to us in Scripture so that we can understand who He is and what constitutes His being.
First off, there is one God, yet three persons that make up the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. This is called the Trinity.
Trinity is not a term found in the Bible, but is used in theology to identify the God of the Bible. In essence it means 3 in one. It comes from the terms “Tri” and “Unity” for Trinity. This Trinity includes; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Scriptures that identify the Trinity include, Mat 3:16-17; 28:19; John 14:16-17; 1 Cor 12:4-6 and Eph 4:4-6 where Spirit = God the Holy Spirit, Lord = God the Son, God = God the Father, 2 Cor 13:14.
Mat 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of Trinity: “The union of three divine persons (or hypostases), the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in one divinity, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three Persons (or hypostases as to individuality).” Hypostases is the plural of hypostasis which means “the substance, the underlying reality, or essence.
Each member is identified as God in scripture:
The Father is God, John 6:27; Rom 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2.
Jesus Christ is God, John 1:1, 18; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13.
The Holy Spirit is God, Acts 5:3-4.
This Trinity constitutes what is called the Godhead. This Godhead is shown to us in the first book of the Bible in the first chapter, in the first verse, Gen 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Hebrew word for God there is ELOHIM. ELOHIM is a plural word. EL or ELOAH is the singular Hebrew word for god. But here ELOHIM is used which is a plural word but used in the singular. It was an early indication of the Trinity.
Gen 1:2 helps further identify the Godhead but identifying the Holy Spirit in the creative act, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
Later in Gen 1:26; 3:22 God said, “Let us make man,” and in Isa 6:8, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” In these passages the plural pronoun for God, ELOHIM, is used.
What makes the three members of the Godhead one is their shared essence or attributes. Each member of the Trinity, though a separate person, has the exact same representation of the attributes of the other members of the Trinity. They share these attributes equally, infinitely and eternally.
There are two errors we must avoided when describing the Trinity:
1. That the Godhead is composed of three distinct Persons, (i.e. Peter, James, and John, who are related to each other in the loose fashion by which men associate themselves together relative to certain ideals and principles). That supposition in the case of God would be Tritheism – three gods.
2. That the Godhead is one Person only and that the triune aspect of His Being is no more than three fields of interests, activities, and manifestations.
We will note the major attributes of God below, but the Westminster Catechism written in 1648 by the reformers is one of the best definitions given as to who God is: “God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, every where present, almighty, knowing-all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”
Each of the categories of this definition can also be termed attributes and combined make up the essence of God. Each of these attributes can be taught exhaustively individually, but we will note the main characteristics that make up God
The main attributes of God include:
Sovereignty, Righteous, Just, Love, Eternal Life, Omniscience (all knowing), Omnipotent (all powerful), Omnipresence (every where at the same time), Immutability (unchanging), and Veracity (absolute truth).
Sometimes these are viewed as His:
1. “Absolute Attributes”, which include: spirituality, infinity, and perfection.
a) Spirituality means God’s life and personality. God is immaterial, yet spirituality implies life. God is life, Jer 10:10; John 4:24; 1 Thes 1:9, and yet He does not possess life as we do, but He is life, He lives.
b) Infinity means self-existence, immutability, and unity. By infinity is meant that God is without boundary or limitation. He invented space and time and exists within and outside of these.
c) Perfection means truth, love, and integrity. The intellect, character and affections of God are perfect
2. “Relative Attributes”, which include:
a) Those related to time and space – eternity (God is not subject to time, He has always existed), and immensity (God is not subject to space).
b) Those related to creation – omnipresence (God is personally present everywhere), omniscience (God knows perfectly and eternally all that is knowable, whether actual or possible.), and omnipotence (God is all powerful, infinitely able to do all things within the range of His holy character or essence).
c) Those related to moral beings – veracity and faithfulness, mercy and goodness, and righteousness and justice.
From the various combinations of these main attributes we understand God to be, merciful, holy, just, faithful, good, kind, compassionate, gracious and grace, etc.
In addition, God is “spirit”, John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” That is why He is invisible, and commanded Israel to never make any images of Him. Yet at the same time He can manifest Himself to the visible.
God is also “light”, which also refers to the majesty and glory of God. He is light and dwells in unapproachable light, 1 Tim 6:15-16. As light God is eternal, immortal and invisible, 1 Tim 1:17.
1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
1 Tim 6:15-16, “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
Light as we know it is gives us several interesting parallels as all light is made up of three parts yet we see it as one light. It is one substance but is composed of three different properties: Actinic or radiating energy, Luminiferous or illuminating, and Calorific or heat-producing. It is also broken down by: Ultraviolet, Light and Infrared. In addition, light has three primary colors of the prism or rainbow: red, yellow, and blue, and all colors emanate from the absorption or reflection of these three.
The actinic property is like God the Father, He is neither seen nor felt.
The luminescence property is like God the Son, both seen and felt.
The calorific property is like God the Holy Spirit, felt but not seen.
Therefore we see how the composition of light is analogous to the three Persons in the Godhead who are One. Light is one with three properties. God is one in essence but three Persons.
Another illustration of the Trinity, not as good, is an egg. The yoke, white, shell are three parts, but there is only one egg.
As Eph 4:4-6 tells us, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” Cf. Gal 3:20; James 2:19
And finally, God is life and self existent. He has always existed and will always exist. That is the eternal nature of God, without beginning or end. He is life and the giver of life.
John 5:26, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.” This tells us that the Father gave life to the humanity of Jesus Christ.
In fact another Hebrew term for God Jehovah from the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHVH means “Self-Existent One.” As an exalted title it was so sacred to the Jew that the use of it was avoided by the people for many generations, and when the scribes would write it when making copies of the Hebrew Bible they would break the quill and start with a new one.
The Bible ascribes these attributes to each member of the Trinity, for example taking the Omnipotence of God:
The Father is all powerful according to Mat 19:26.
The Son is all powerful according to Mat 28:18; Phil 3:21; Rev 1:8.
The Holy Spirit is all powerful according to 1 Cor 12:8-11.
Mat 19:26, “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Phil 3:21, “Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
1 Cor 12:8-11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
Some false concepts of God include:
“Pantheism” which is the belief that God is all and all is God. It views only the infinite nature of God and says that God is part a material part of everything in nature and that all those parts combine to make up God. This was popularized in the Star Wars movies represented in the “force.
“Polytheism” is another false doctrine about God as the word “poly” means “many.” It is the concept that the three members of the God head are three separate God’s rather than one God in three persons or personalities. This gives rise to the worship of many god’s as the Greeks and Romans did.
“Dualism” is the belief that there are two distinct principles or gods of eternal and equal power. The simples thought is that there is good and evil and they are at war with each other. Some would even say it is God vs. Satan as equal gods who are at war with each other. This is a false doctrine as God actually created Satan who is an angel, albeit a fallen one.
“Deism” is the belief that God created all things and then has left us alone. He has nothing to do with anything he created and is not a personal all powerful God who works in our lives each and every day.
Now back to the truth about God. The first thing the Bible teaches us about God is that “God is.” If that simple truth gets hold of your mind and heart it will move and mold your entire life. It will determine your science, it will determine your philosophy, it will determine your daily life, it will determine your eternity. “God is.” The psalmist tells us in Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
Typically he says there is no God simply because he does not wish to believe that there is a God. Now, there is a God, and a man that denies a fact simply because he does not wish to believe it is a fool.
There is abundant proof of the existence of God, so abundant that no man can sit down and consider the proof thoroughly and candidly without acknowledging the existence of God. Nature proves the existence of God. The man of science will tell you that in the minutest structure discernible by the most powerful microscope he finds perfect beauty, and most perfect adaptation of means to end. Then turning to the vast universe in the sky the astrologer would tell you that everywhere you look you can see order, symmetry, law, intelligence, design, all proving an intelligent Creator of the material universe in which we live.
If I took my cell phone and showed it to you and asked, “Do you believe it had a maker?” you would say, “Certainly.” “But why? Did you see it made?” “No.” “Did you ever see a cell phone made?” “No!” “Why, then, do you believe it had a maker?” “Because everything about it indicates an intelligent maker: it face, its symetry, its case, the buttons or touch screen capabilities, its battery, etc., everything about the phone proclaims that it had an intelligent maker, just as does the microscope or the telescope.
Rom 1:19 tells us, “That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
You see, God in His creation of man gave us an inert nature to seek out and find God. At the same time, in all His creation, He has made Himself knowable.
That is why every civilization that has come along since the creation of man has sought to find God. If they looked earnestly and honestly they would and did find the true God.
Rom 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
But many times they did not look earnestly and instead, to satisfy that inward drive and desire to find God, they would create their own god(s) as Romans 1 continues to tell us.
Rom 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
So we must ask ourselves, have I looked earnestly and honestly for God or have I ignored the signs and created other things in my life as god.
James 2:19, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”
And finally, One day we must all meet God. You and I some day must meet this holy God. As the prophet Amos cries in Amos 4:12, “Prepare to meet your God!”
You see every man and woman must some day meet God. The rich man must meet God! The beggar must meet God! The scholar must meet God! The illiterate man must meet God! The king must meet God! The emperor must meet God! Every one must meet God! The supreme question of life, then, is this: “Are you ready to meet God?” None of us can tell how soon it may be that we shall meet God. So are you ready? If not, I implore you to get ready to meet Him before leaving here tonight.
How can we meet God with joy and not with fear? There is only one way in which we can meet Him with joy and not with despair, and that is on the basis of His Son Jesus Christ. God is infinitely holy, and the best of us is but a sinner. The only way in which a sinner can meet the holy God is on the belief in the shed blood of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. And with that faith in the saving word of Jesus Christ upon the Cross any of us, no matter how outcast or vile, can go boldly to heaven and stand before our Holy God.
All you need to do is say in your own thoughts and words, “Yes Father, I believe that your Son Jesus Christ went to the Cross and took on my sins and paid the price for them so that I would not have too.” I believe that when His work was finished on the Cross that He died physically, was buried and three days later rose to eternal life.” So yes Father I believe that Your Son paid for my sins and was raised on the third day and through my faith in Him I too will have eternal life.”