There are literally scores of different man-made theories regarding the nature of God. Most of you have been exposed to one or more of these existing theories. Your parents may have taught you their idea of what God is like when you were very young.
Naturally, no little child will argue with his parents about a thing like that. It is beyond his grasp at first, and yet he instinctively feels that his parents must really know what they are telling him. So the child accepts what his parents tell him almost without question.
Isn’t that about the way you got your first idea of what God is like?
Think it over. Doesn’t the little Hindu child in India have as much right to believe what his sincere parents tell him as you had to believe what your parents said? Yet the millions of Hindu, Buddhist, and Mohammedan children are all taught to believe in very different kinds of gods from the God we worship.
You may not have thought about it, but even here in the United States of America there are many different ideas of what God is like. Some think that God is just one person, and can never be any more. Others believe in a trinity. They think that God is three persons, God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They believe that all three persons compose one God, and that there can never be any more persons in this union.
Millions of modernists in this land think of God as some sort of essence which permeates the universe. To them, God is sometimes the “embodiment of all good.” Others think of God as a name for the inherent powers within man, they think we are already “gods.”
Then there are the atheists, who believe there is no God, and the agnostics, who say they “just don’t know.” They must go blindly on in this life and make the best of the present, for they can’t admit a future life without acknowledging the existence of God. But, after all, are they any more mixed up than all the millions of others with their differing, often contradictory, ideas about God?
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
Are you willing to re-examine with honesty and candor your ideas of what God is like? Will you permit your mind to grasp and accept the truth on this subject, even if it is contrary to what you were taught as a child? God says, “Prove all things: hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).
We can easily see proofs of the existence and power of God in the world around us. The perfect symmetry of millions of heavenly bodies, the unerring instinct which guides the animal world in their course, generation after generation, the scientific law that only life can produce life, all those and countless other examples clearly point to an all-wise, all-powerful God.
As the apostle Paul expressed it: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (unbelievers) are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20) The world around us demonstrates the power of God as Creator, and His character as the giver and sustainer of the laws that control the universe.
Apart from these general truths about God which we can discern from observation, there is no means by which we can know the nature and attributes of God unless He reveals this knowledge to us. There may be many ideas of men, of church organizations, of philosophers, of laymen, but these cannot be relied upon unless the basis of their belief is revealed by God. In this matter, we must look to God’s revelation, not human reason. If we want the truth, we must find what God says, not what man thinks.
By fulfilled prophecy, by answered prayer, by scores of proofs, we can know, if we want to, that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It is His revelation to man of His nature and character, and of His purpose in giving us life. It is in His Word, then, that God reveals to us the truth about what God is.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is consistent on the nature and purpose of God. But it is a growing revelation and the truth is made increasingly clear in the New Testament.
When God first made man, we find a very important reference to His nature. In Gen. 1:26 God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The Hebrew word for God in this passage is “Elohim.” It is a uni-plural noun meaning “more than one.” It is a word like “Church” or “family.” It shows that there are more than one God, but that they are bound together in one union, as a family. Notice that God (Elohim) said, “let us make man in our image.” There was one God, but more than one person in God. God made man in His image, after His likeness, so God is not just a thought or essence. God has definite form and shape, though not composed of matter.
Genesis 1:2 reveals that, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Here we find the Holy Spirit mentioned as an active force, but not as a personality. It is more fully described in the New Testament. So at the very beginning, we find that God is described as being composed of being more than one personality. “Let us make man in our image.”
The New Testament confirms this truth. In John 1:1-3, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word is revealed in this verse to be the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Logos, Word, or Spokesman. He is God. Here we have the clear revelation that there were at least two personalities who were God, God the Father, and the Word who became Jesus Christ (v. 14). Verse 3 reveals that, “all things were made by him (the Word of God); and without him was not anything made that was made.” So Christ, the Word was the active personality of God in executing the creation. In Colossians 1:16, Paul writes, “For by him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth.”
You have probably never been taught that Christ was the active personality of God who did the creating of heaven and earth. Yet both the Old and New Testament show clearly that God the Father and Christ are two separate personalities. They are both guided by the same Spirit and they are both God. They work together in love, “Let us make man in our image.”
The Bible revelation is consistent on these things. But men are confused and divided in their own ideas. Because they do not understand the nature of God, they are ignorant of the great purpose of their lives.
Jesus Christ, who had been God from eternity and who created all things, “was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
God the Father sent Jesus Christ into this world with a message. Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). So Christ had been in heaven, as God, and was sent to this earth by another, God the Father, for a definite purpose.
Jesus Christ is the “messenger of the covenant” referred to in Malachi 3:1. He was sent to bring the message of the gospel or good news about the new covenant that God would make with man. He came into Galilee, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” That is the message He continually preached. It is the message Philip preached to the Samaritans (Acts. 8:12). Paul preached this gospel to the Gentiles at Ephesus and in Rome (Acts 20:25; 28:31). It is the only True Gospel.
This message, the true gospel which Jesus preached, gives us the startling answer to the question, “What is God?”
Jesus continually preached that we must repent and obey God if we wish to enter the kingdom of God. He taught that we must overcome our human nature and strive to be like God. He said, “Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
But how can human beings become perfect like God? Jesus revealed this process and how we can enter God’s kingdom to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Read this passage carefully (John 3:1-10). Jesus told him. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He showed that we have all been born physically, but that we must literally be born again, this time of the Spirit.
Christ was not talking about a sentimental, emotional experience. He was talking about being changed into, actually born of the Spirit. He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). Then Jesus described those born of the Spirit as being like the wind, which you can hear going to and from, but which is invisible (v. 8). “So,” he said, “is every one born of the Spirit.” Jesus was showing that you must be changed into Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write: “Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor. 15:50-52).
Here is another clear demonstration that we will be changed into Spirit, born of the Spirit, before inheriting God’s Kingdom.
Jesus Christ became flesh and blood during His earthly ministry. He is the perfect example of how we should live and what we shall be. At His resurrection, Jesus was born of the Spirit just as all faithful Christians will be when He returns ( I Corth. 15:50-54). In Romans 8:29, Paul says that Christ was the first-born of many brethren. He was the first to be born of the Spirit as every one of us can be. He is now a member of the kingdom of God, as every Christian shall be.
In Ephesians 2:18-22, we find that Christians are to become members of the household or family of God. Think about it. There is God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son, who is the firstborn of many brethren. Christians are made joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), and are members of God’s household, His family.
We see, then, that the kingdom of God is the family of God. As we mentioned, God is called “Elohim,” meaning more than one in the Old Testament. It is a word like “church” or “family.” One family, but more than one member in it. One God, but more than one person composing God.
One of the persons composing God is the Father; He is reproducing children after His kind, just like all the material creatures which He created are to do (Gen. 1:24)
Through God’s promises, we are to be born of God as His real children. It is not a matter of adoption as some modern translations have falsely rendered it. We shall become like God, receive His divine nature, and finally achieve the goal of being perfect as God is perfect. This will fulfill the new covenant described in Hebrews 8:6-13 where God said, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” We will have placed within us the very character of God. We will then Be God! We will be in His family, and thus have His prerogative. The apostle Paul reveals this to be so. In Corth. 6:1-4, he shows that Christians will finally judge the world and that we will even judge angels.
God is a ruling family, a kingdom. The good news that Jesus proclaimed is that by surrendering our lives to God, obeying His will, and receiving His character through the Holy Spirit, we may finally be born of, changed into, spirit as His sons. We will then be capable of ruling this earth in peace, under Him as our Father, and under Christ as our elder brother and King.
This should make everyone realize the tremendous meaning of life. We must strive daily in study, prayer and action to become like God that we may fulfill our purpose and be born as His sons at the resurrection when Christ returns to this earth.
God, or the family of God, will then be composed of many members. Yet they will all be one God, guided and motivated by, and composed of, the Holy Spirit, whose chief attribute is Love.
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