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Who Is God?
by Dr. Linda Smallwood, BBS, M.Min., D.Min.


In This Series
Who Is God?
God Is a Trinity | Who Created God? | Six Personality Traits | Who Is God in Judaism?

In This Lesson
Introduction | What Does the Bible Say? | Summary


Perhaps someone — a friend, your child, one of your Sunday School members — has asked you that question. Or maybe you remember when you asked that question of someone else — your parents, a pastor, a teacher. Even now, as you ponder the question, you must surely know it is not an easy question to answer. Why? Because God is so much more than our finite minds or limited vocabularies can even begin to comprehend, let alone explain to someone else.

The fact is that we cannot define God, as far as a definition goes, because we cannot truly fathom all that God is and encompasses. What we can try to do is explain what God is to each of us from our own perspective.

  • To the New Testament Christian, God is the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • To the Jew, God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • To the Messianic, God is both of the above, combined I think.
  • To the Atheist, God does not exist, yet they continue to talk about Him.
  • To many people, God looks something like Charlton Heston on a mountaintop with ten tablets of stone.
  • To me, God is all of these, and much, much more.

In this lesson, we will discuss some of the answers; but certainly, this is not a discussion to end all questions. Rather, it is a discussion to only begin to answer the question and hopefully, to draw each of us into a more intimate relationship with this Person we call "God".

Of course, the question "Who is God?" immediately denotes an understanding that He is a Person, not a "what". He is Someone, not something.

Why Does It Matter?
It is important to think correctly about God because a false idea about Him may lead to idolatry. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19 NIV)

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What Does the Bible Say?
As we have already studied, the Bible is God's revelation to humankind of Himself — His name and attributes, what He wants to do and be in each of us, and what His plans are for the future.

The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; rather, it assumes His existence from the very beginning (cf. Genesis 1:1). However, the Bible does reveal the nature, character, and work of God.

We know certain things to be true of God because He has graciously revealed some of His qualities, character, and works to us through His Word. Now, let's go to God's Word to discover more about its divine Author.

  • He abounds in goodness.
    "Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!" (Psalm 31:19)

    "They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness." (Psalm 145:7)

    "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

    Romans 11:22—

  • He has all power and authority.
    "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

    "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" (Revelation 7:12 NIV)

    "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence..." (2 Peter 1:3)

    See also Ephesians 1 thru 3.

  • He hates sin.
    "The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." (Psalm 5:5-6)

    He can have nothing to do with sin. In fact, He cannot even look on evil. "You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong..." (Habakkuk 1:13a)

  • He desires a relationship with us.
    In the Person of the Son, God became incarnate.
    • "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).

    • The Son of God became the "bridge" between God and man. "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)

    • He is the only mediator between sinful man and our holy God. 1 Timothy 2:5—

    • It is only through the Son that we can have forgiveness of sins. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7)

    • It is only through the Son that we can be reconciled to God. John 15:15—

      "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10)

  • He draws people to Christ.
    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44)

  • He is almighty.
    "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

    Genesis 17:1—

    "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1)

    "...I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:18)

  • He is the Creator.
    "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?" (Isaiah 40:12)

    Genesis 1:1—

    "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of." (Deuteronomy 4:32)

    Isaiah 40:22—

    "Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing." (Isaiah 40:26)

    "Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it..." (Isaiah 42:5)

    1 Timothy 4:4—

    "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

  • He 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)

    1 Timothy 1:17—

  • He is forgiving.
    "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you." (Psalm 86:5)

    "To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness..." (Daniel 9:9a)

    Ephesians 1:7—

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  • He is holy.
    "And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3)

    Job 34:12—

    Revelation 4:8—

  • He is incomprehensible.
    "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)

    "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" (Isaiah 55:8-9)

    Romans 11:33—

  • He is infinite [having no limits].
    "Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:24)

    Psalm 147:5—

    "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27)

  • He is just in all His judgments.
    "Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly." (Nehemiah 9:32-33)

    Deuteronomy 32:4—

    "O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this." (Ezra 9:15)

    "And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!" (Revelation 15:3)

    Revelation 16:7—

  • He is light.
    "The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!" (Psalm 118:27)

    1 John 1:5—

  • He is long-suffering [patiently enduring].
    "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:15)

    "And count the patience of our Lord as salvation..." (2 Peter 3:15a)

    "The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6)

    Nahum 1:3—

  • He is love.
    1 John 4:8—

    "So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16 emphasis added)

  • He is merciful/gracious.
    "And he said, 'I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name "The LORD." And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.'" (Exodus 33:19)

    "For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them." (Deuteronomy 4:31)

    Psalm 67:1—

    "...I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster." (Jonah 4:2b)

    "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." (James 5:11)

    1 Peter 2:3—

  • He is omnipotent [all-powerful].
    "Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17 emphasis added)

    Deuteronomy 9:29—

    "...We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign." (Revelation 11:17)

  • He is omnipresent [everywhere].
    7"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 9If 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, 10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,' 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." (Psalm 139:7-12)

  • He is omniscient [all-knowing].
    "for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything." (1 John 3:20 emphasis added)

    "The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows..." (Joshua 22:22a)

    Psalm 44:21—

    Romans 16:27—

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  • He is one.
    Deuteronomy 6:4—

    "Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.'" (1 Corinthians 8:4 emphasis added)

  • He is our Shepherd.
    "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.'" (Jeremiah 31:10)

    Psalm 23:1—

    Ezekiel 34:15—

    "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant..." (Hebrews 13:20)

    "For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)

  • He is spirit [no body/invisible].
    "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)

    "To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)

    Deuteronomy 4:15-16—

  • He is truth.
    "So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes." (Isaiah 65:16 emphasis added)

    Jeremiah 10:10—

  • He disciplines His children.
    "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." (Hebrews 12:6)

  • He does not change.
    "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?" (Numbers 23:19)

    Malachi 3:6—

    "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17)

  • He receives glory.
    "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness..." (1 Chronicles 16:29)

    Psalm 96:9—

    "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

    "And he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'" (Revelation 14:7)

  • He rewards those who seek Him.
    "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

    Jeremiah 29:13—

    Amos 5:4—

  • He sustains the world He created.
    "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17)

    "... he upholds the universe by the word of his power...." (Hebrews 1:3b)

    Romans 11:36—

  • He works according to His will.
    "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV)

    Ephesians 1:11—

    "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13 NIV)

    2 Timothy 1:9—

    "For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled." (Revelation 17:17 NIV)

  • He will judge the world.
    11"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-15)

Who is God? He is the Supreme Being; the Creator and Ruler of all that is; the Self-existent One who is perfect in power, goodness, and wisdom; the perfectly holy and righteous One who so desires a relationship with us that He gave Himself as the bridge by which we might come to know Him.

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Dr. Linda SmallwoodQuestions/Comments?
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1 "Who Is God?", CARM — Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. np. Web. 1 August 2011.

2 "Who Is God", gotQuestions?org. np. Web. 9 August 2011.