Who is God? There have been many thoughts towards this question for thousands and thousands of years. Some suggest that there are many gods while others suggest that there are no gods at all.
So, what I want to do in the final studies of this season is take a look at the Lord and answer the many questions about God. To do this, we are first going to dive into who God is in our study this week and then in our following studies, we are going to see what the Lord is like through some of the parables that Jesus taught.
Who is God?
So, who is God? To some, the Lord is everything and to others, when the question who is God gets asked, they will respond in a manner that shows they don’t care. To some, the Lord is just an imagination or something made up by man. To answer the many questions that we have about who God is, I want to focus primarily on who God says that He is. Why should we guess about who God is when the Lord testifies of Himself and tell us repeatedly about Himself throughout scripture?
In the book of Exodus, there is an event recorded between the Lord and Moses where God testified of Himself to Moses, and since it is recorded in scripture, He testified of Himself to us as well. Now, prior to this, the Lord had testified of Himself to Noah and the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) through the covenants He made and kept.
Through the great flood and Noah, the Lord showed that He does not tolerate sin but He is ever faithful and a deliverer to those who are faithful to Him (Gen. 6:6-8; 7:1,23). The Lord repeatedly stated to the patriarchs that He is the Almighty God as He made Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob a great nation of people that inherited the land promised (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:1-9; 28:13-15). Within this scripture, we will also see that the Lord was letting it be known to these believers that He would be with them wherever they would go.
So, what was the Lord establishing very early on about Himself to mankind? God was letting it be known to mankind that He is Almighty. God showed that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. God is all powerful, all knowing, and is everywhere at all times.
God testifies of Himself
By the time we first see the Lord testify of Himself to Moses, the children of Israel were in the bondage of Egypt. Some would suggest that the Lord was not so powerful if the children of Israel were in bondage in the first place. The truth of the matter is that the Lord used the bondage of Israel to show (to testify to) all of mankind that He is almighty. How did the Lord testify of Himself in Egypt?
Scripture shows us that the bondage of Israel in Egypt was incredibly harsh and very brutal (Ex. 1:13-14). As I often state, Pharaoh viewed himself as a god and believed himself to have power and control over the children of Israel. Yet, when Moses came upon the bush, God first told him to take his sandals off because the place where he stood was holy ground (Ex. 3:5).
The Lord was establishing He is divine and should be respected as such by us. God then said to Moses, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows” (Ex. 3:7). So, the Lord was well aware of what was happening to the children of Israel and was even still with them.
Afterwards, the Lord said to Moses, “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Ex. 3:8). The Lord came to Moses and worked through Moses to deliver the children of Israel from someone who thought himself to be mighty. This, again, is the Lord showing that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
To drive this testimony home even more, the Lord said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Thus you (Moses) shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you” (Ex. 3:13-14). So, God is absolute — He is everything. In the book of Revelation, God said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev. 22:13).
So, when one asks the question: who is God? The Lord will respond that He is. God is constant, which is to say that the Lord is eternal. God is everything. Now, let’s dive even deeper into who the Lord is as we continue into our study.
The Sovereign God
In the first study of this season – The Devil: Origin of the Fallen Angel – we focused on the fact that the Lord is the creator of all things known and unknown, visible and invisible (Col. 1:16-17). When the Lord tells us that He is Almighty, this means that He is sovereign — He has authority and power over all. So, there is nothing and nobody that is above God.
The creator of all
There are some that suggest that God was created (or born), and that He even has equals. Those that would suggest that the Lord was created (born) or has equals end up creating a major problem that would go unsolved. There would be an unending paradox created in that God’s creator would have to have a creator, and that creator would need a creator – it would be an unending loop.
There would then be the unsolved problem about life – existence. How could all things exist if they were not created? We would be asking ourselves to believe that all things simply existed with no creation at all. Frankly, that makes absolutely no sense and it is actually a point that both faith and science can actually come to an agreement on.
So, let’s suggest and then think about it for a moment that the universe has always existed without ever being created. If this were to be the case, this would mean that the universe – the visible and invisible – would have no beginning or even an end; we would be saying the universe is infinite (or eternal).
The idea of an infinite universe has been thrown around for a very long time. The reason some give thought to the idea of the universe being infinite is because of how expansive the universe is. The problem with this idea that science runs into is that scientists theorize that there is an age to the universe and that it is still expanding rapidly. Scientists theorize that the universe is nearly 14 billion years old. So, if the universe has an age, that means the universe is not infinite.
In fact, most scientists suggest that the universe has limited energy and will eventually die. Some say that there will be a “big freeze” as stars eventually die and galaxies go dark until the universe reaches absolute zero. Others believe that the universe will eventually tear apart as it rapidly expands or it will all compress back together again into a single point. So, the opinion of most scientists is that the universe is not infinite but is finite – there is an eventual end.
Now, something else that amazes scientists when it comes to space and the universe is the order that is found in space and the universe. There is a great deal of order and clockwork that is found in the study of the universe that does not necessarily speak to logic. Logic would suggest that the universe should be wild and uncontrollable but it is not! In our limited minds we are even able to calculate when things are going to happen nearly down to the very instance that something happens out there and that is absolutely amazing.
Now, this order is unexplainable to some but the Lord tells us that He is the one in control of this universe and establishes its order (Job 38:31-33). Again, the Lord said that He is the one that created the heavens (the universe) and the earth (Gen. 1:1). The answer to these unanswered questions is obvious – there was/is a Creator and one who is in total control over it all.
God testified that He and He alone is the one who is in control. The universe needs God to keep rule over it. Life needs a creator and its creator is the Lord. To put an end to the paradox of God being created, or having equals, we must understand that God is the sovereign ruler over all things and He is the end to such a paradox. So, who is God? God is life and the sovereign ruler over it.
The eternal God
Speaking along these lines, some might ask what God was doing before the creation? This question is another misunderstanding of who God is, but I can certainly understand where this question is coming from. So, I believe that it is important we work to answer this question so that we can come to have an even fuller understanding of who God is.
The misunderstanding here involves time itself and trying to bound God to the restraint of time. What you should understand is that before creation, time did not exist. God created time when He created this physical universe and time only exists in the space of this universe. In this universe,we find that time is very strange in that it can move differently and is very relative to those that occupy this space.
God is outside of the physical universe as He is the one that created it. So, how does time apply to the Lord if He is not outside of this physical universe? We must answer the question as to where the Lord is so that we can get an understanding of what time means to Him.
The Lord, as scripture makes clear, is in His heavenly kingdom. We know that the Lord is outside of the physical universe because when Jesus spoke of His coming to our world, He repeatedly stated that He came from heaven (eternity). In one statement, we will see that Jesus said, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).
Then, when Jesus spoke of going back to heaven after His physical death, He told the disciples that He had to leave this world in order to go back to His Father’s house. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
The disciples believed that Jesus was talking about going to a place that was in this world, but as we have seen, Jesus came from heaven. Heaven is not in this world. Where the universe has its limits, heaven has absolutely no limits – it simply is. Heaven is constant – it is eternal. Heaven is where the Lord is.
God is not bound to the same limits that we are bound to. As heaven is constant, God is constant. God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow (Heb. 13:8). God always is – He is Spirit (John 4:24) and the Lord, as we have seen, is eternal.
Now, I do want to answer the question as to what the Lord was doing “before” the creation. Scripture indicates to us that the Lord was in planning and preparation mode of actually dwelling with us in eternity. Before being crucified, Jesus stated to the disciples that the heavenly kingdom was prepared before the foundation of the world. To those that will inherit the kingdom of heaven, Jesus said, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).
This is why you often hear me say that God always planned to dwell with mankind eternally: He was planning our eternity with us before existence. Unfortunately, as we know, sin interrupted that plan and we have essentially been taking the long way to getting to eternity. That said, one day we will be removed from these restraints and leave the boundaries of this world and join the Lord in eternity.
Now, before the foundation of creation was laid, we should also understand that the Lord was not alone. Yes, as we have seen, the angels were with the Lord prior to God creating our universe. However, when I say that the Lord was not alone in this instance, I am not speaking of the heavenly angels being with Him. We must remember what we have already studied this season, the angels were created by the Lord.
Again, prior to the creation of this physical universe, the Lord was preparing to dwell in His heavenly kingdom with mankind. Though the angels are not a part of this physical creation, they are certainly a part of a different creation that has to do with the heavenly kingdom. (I also touched on this in my study – The Devil: Origin of the Fallen Angel).
Prior to the creation of the angels, the Lord was still not alone. Who was with God? Jesus tells us who was with the Lord. In His prayer in the garden, Jesus stated, “Now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world way” (John 17:5). At the end of that same prayer, Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
What this means is that Jesus, the Son, was with the Lord. John used this knowledge that Jesus had taught him to open His gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Now, not only was Jesus there before the creation, but we have to remember that the Holy Spirit was also present.
We are told in the book of Genesis, that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters when the earth was without form and void (Gen. 1:1-2). Someone smart will point out that this mention of the Spirit of God in Genesis is during the creation, but again, let us remember that God is Spirit. Most importantly, let us remember God in three persons.
The Godhead (the Holy Trinity) is God in three persons – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we see in the Great Commission from Christ, the disciples of Christ are commissioned to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) – God.
Now, we must make clear that the Godhead is not a reflection of three individual persons in the manner of how we would think of three separate people. As separate individuals, we all think and work for our own cause for the majority of time, right? Well, the Godhead works together for one singular cause. Each person of the trinity is equal to one another and serves in a different role which works together for one singular cause.
Some may think that there is a hierarchy when it comes to the Godhead but that is not the case and we should certainly not make that be the case when the Lord has said otherwise. According to Christ, the Son submitted Himself to do the will of the Father. Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). At the same time, the Holy Spirit submits Himself to both the Father and the Son. Yet, they all work together as co-equals.
We will see this confirmed in a statement that Jesus made to the Jews. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:19-21).
Roles of the Godhead
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, in his closing benediction, he spoke of the Godhead and the role of each person. In the closing of his benediction, Paul wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). In each of the roles, let us notice the word grace (love) is repeatedly used because God is love.
As we see throughout scripture, the Father is essentially the planner – He has a will. As we have seen, the Father is the Father of creation which includes all things. In his gospel, John wrote, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3).
The Father, as we know, is also the Father of the only begotten Son (John 3:16). The Father is also the Father of all of those who follow in the way of Christ. Again, in his gospel, John wrote, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
Though the Father has a will, we have seen that the Son also shares in this will. Now, the Son’s role was to come to be our propitiation – He ministered and then suffered for us. After His resurrection, Jesus stated that all authority in heaven and earth was given to Him (Matt. 28:18). What does this mean? Let’s take a look again at what Jesus said to the Jews.
To the Jews, Jesus said, “the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23). So, the Son sits at the right hand of the Lord with this power and authority.
The role of the Holy Spirit is to carry out the will of the Father and Son, which again, shows the Godhead working together. As we have seen in scripture, the work of the Holy Spirit includes dwelling in the hearts of those that genuinely believe in the Son. Through this inner dwelling, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf, while also making known to us the truth. Jesus said to the disciples, “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He (the Holy Spirit) will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:5-15).
What is God Like?
Again, we should not look at the Godhead as a form of hierarchy because each part submits Himself to the other and works together for one singular cause (or will). All of this information that we have gone over in this study is all from sound doctrine that comes directly from the Lord.
Now that we know that the Lord is sovereign – has all power and authority – this could leave some with several questions. Some may begin to wonder what God is like – is He nice or is He harsh? I want to answer all of these questions, but let’s tackle those questions in our study next week.
In next week’s study I want to take a look at some parables that speak to what the Lord is like. So, let’s pause right here for now and then we will come back in the next study of this series by taking a look at what the Lord is like.