Here’s the next installment in the Bible Basics series. The first dealing with God.
2.) “The Nature of God” As we have already noted from John 4:24, “God is Spirit”, and as such cannot be found in a “place” as we understand it. We may think of Heaven as up in the sky, but more to the point Heaven is all around, but not here. We dwell in a linear time and space, God dwells outside of this in a timeless eternity. Other scriptures tell us that God is “spirit”. In Col.1:15 God is described as “…the invisible God…” In 1Tim.1:17 He is described as “…the King eternal, immortal, invisible…”
God also has “personality” and this is clearly seen in His Word. One is that He made man “in His image”. Gen.1:26 we see God creating within His Triune being a man “…in Our image, according to Our likeness…” There is no end of debate on what this means. But let’s look at a few things that are different between man and beast, like a will rather than instinct; creativity rather than curiosity; reason rather than urge; the ability to worship rather than simply respond. Whatever is the outcome of the discussion we as humans have been uniquely created by God to correspond to His Being.
His personality is also seen in His many names in the Bible. Like; “Jehovah-Jireh”: The Lord will provide. “Jehovah-Rapha”: The Lord that heals. “Jehovah-Nissi”: The Lord our Banner. “Jehovah-Shalom”: The Lord our Peace. Each of the many names of God in scripture describes an attribute of His personality. Not only in His names, but also in His actions are seen the attributes of His personality; He can be grieved (“repenteth” KJV), Gen.6:6. He is angry (1Kings 11:9), He is jealous (Deut.6:15), He loves (John 3:16), and He hates (Prov.6:16). These are sometimes call “anthropomorphic”; that is assigning to God things that are “human”. We know that God is not jealous as we understand jealousy etc.
God’s personality is also seen in the unity of the Trinity. Scripture clearly asserts that God is One. Deut.6:4, Is.44:6-8 amongst others. But God has chosen to reveal Himself in Three. First of all is the Hebrew name “Elohim”, used in Gen.1:1 is a plural form of the word, plural not in the sense as we understand but plural as in “more than two”. Then there is the use of personal pronouns for God, Gen.1:26; “Us”, “Our”. (Same as Gen.11:7, and Is. 6:8) Appearances of Jesus in the O.T. are known as “Theophanies” and can be seen in places like, Gen.16:7, and chap. 18 amongst others. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is clearly seen in places like Gen. 1:2, or Psalm 139:7 amongst others.
When we move to the New testament we have a flood of Trinity appearances. The baptism of Jesus; Matt.3:16-17, in our baptism command; Matt.28:19, 1Cor.6:11, 2Cor.13:14, are but a few of the more than 30 NT references that contain the Trinity directly.
So God is Spirit, He has personality, and He is Three in One.