Who is God - and how can I know this amazing Being?
The God many reject or ignore doesn't exist. And 'the God I believe in' often exists only in our imagination. Who then is God really?
We should clarify to start, the nature of God is such that we don't get to make him up. He is who he is. In fact this is what his name means.
John Piper explains it well:
"God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)
God’s name is almost always translated LORD (all caps) in the English Bible. But the Hebrew would be pronounced something like “Yahweh,” and is built on the word for “I am.” So every time we hear the word Yahweh, or every time you see LORD in the English Bible, you should think: this is a proper name (like Peter or John) built out of the word for “I am” and reminding us each time that God absolutely is.
There are at least 10 things the name Yahweh, “I AM,” says about God:
1. He never had a beginning. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is. And always was. No beginning.”
2. God will never end. If he did not come into being he cannot go out of being, because he is being.
3. God is absolute reality. There is no reality before him. There is no reality outside of him unless he wills it and makes it. He is all that was eternally. No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God.
4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is.
5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. The entire universe is utterly secondary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God’s decision to keep it in being.
6. All the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to substance. As an echo to a thunderclap. All that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies is, compared to God, as nothing.
7. God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is.
8. God is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no law-book to which he looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.
9. God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth. All reality that is outside of him he created and designed and governs as the absolute reality. So he is utterly free from any constraints that don’t originate from the counsel of his own will.
10. God is the most important and most valuable reality and person in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe."
(Originally posted on DesiringGod.org)
The God who reveals himself in the Bible is entirely different from the non-existent gods of Greek and Roman mythology who manifest every moral sin of humans writ large. Pagan gods, calling ourselves, or the earth, 'gods', even calling the universe, composed of all its galaxies, falls short.
There is and can only be one true God, greater than all these. Philosophically this truth is termed monotheism. But even to acknowledge monotheism may be not yet to know God - in two ways:
Islam is monotheistic but depicts a deity distinctly unlike Yahweh. Judaism is monotheistic and acknowledges Yahweh but does not him beyond his Old Testament covenant and moral precepts. Jesus Christ reveals the heart of God Incarnate in the missio dei "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10)
We may know about the true God revealed in the ministry, cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ but not yet know him personally, cleansed of guilt and shame, leaving only love, joy and hope eternal!
It is this knowing God-in-Christ, including being known by God-in-Christ, that is the hope and purpose of this site, that you may have life and life abundantly beyond measure, worshiping the true God forever!