What is God?
Questions like this, when asked in our world, will provoke all sorts of answers. Different people from various religions and worldviews will give you a plethora of responses to this very crucial question. Hindus will tell you that there is no one god; there are multiple gods. Some religious scholars estimate that there are nearly 300,000 deities in the Hindu religion! A popular view around the time of the founding of our nation was that there is a creator who established this universe, but then stepped back to let his creation run its course. This view, called “Deism,” posits that God is not involved in the universe He created; God is the creator but not the sustainer. Still others today, when asked, “What is God?” may say that God is a mere figment of our imagination. “There is no God,” they say. Perhaps they take the view of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, who believed that God is a made up being arising out of our psychological need for a strong father figure. Or maybe they take the view of Karl Marx, who posited that “religion is the opiate of the masses,” asserting that God is an oppressive tool by which the capitalist bourgeois maintain control over the poor proletariat.
But how do we as Christians answer the question, “What is God?”
Before we can answer this question from a Christian perspective, we have to assert two foundational truths. 1.) God is a real being. In opposition to atheistic views, we believe God is real. He doesn’t exist merely in our minds. We did not create Him, but He created us (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3). 2.) God is a communicator. He has made Himself known through the book of His creation (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18,19). He has also spoken in past times through the prophets (Hebrews 1:1). Furthermore, God has communicated to us through His Son, who is God’s Eternal Word (John 1:1-3, 18; Hebrews 1:1,2). But, for our benefit, God has given us the Holy Scriptures. The testimony of the prophets and the truths concerning His Son are found in the Holy Scriptures, the word of God, given to us that we may know what we are to believe about God and what He requires of us.
As we seek to answer this question, “What is God?” we want to do so based upon what He, the true and living God, has communicated to us about Himself in His word. In the following editions of our newsletter, we will seek to answer this big question of “What is God?” We will try to do so from the Scriptures, the final standard of our faith and practice. But, so that I’m not prattling on for years on this immense subject, we will use the answer to this question supplied in the Westminster Shorter Catechism as a rubric for what Scripture teaches about God. As we seek to better understand more about our God in the coming months, it may help you to memorize this answer from our catechism. The answer is as follows:
4. What is God?
God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.