God: Introduction


 The skeptic Voltaire was at least right on one thing when he said of religion and mankind, “If God has created us in his image, we have more than returned the compliment.” And truly, we live in a world that has created every imaginable god after the image of man.

We live in a world that conceives a variety of “higher powers.” The Muslim, or some nonChristian religionist, will often say that they believe in the same God as the Christian. We would differ with this conclusion. The Hindu will simply add the Christian God to the catalogue of gods in which he already believes. With this we would also differ. God cannot be the invention of a culture with a hidden agenda. God cannot be manufactured from the minds of those who are set on destroying their fellow man through violent means. God cannot be broken into theological pieces in order to cater to the changing whims of adherents who seek to pacify their own consciences. Our concept of God must in no way be determined by our human inclinations and desires. The fact is that men have this insatiable desire to create gods after their own desires. This is why Emil Brunner wrote, “For every civilization or every period in history it is true today: Show me what kind of God you have and I will tell you what kind of humanity you possess” (Man in Revolt, 1939).

Man has a hard time learning the truth that God must not be formed to fit man; man must be formed to fit God. A god that is determined and defined by the culture of those who bow down to it, is a god who has been invented by man. Gods that portray the culture of man are simply the imagination of those who have manufactured a higher power after their own behavior and beliefs.

Since the Christian bases his definition of God on the Bible, we could correctly assume that his understanding of God is different from any religion that does not use the Bible as the source of research to discover and define God. For this reason, the Christian does not believe in the god of those created religions that have rejected the Bible as the final authority for defining God.

Men have too often reversed the process of discovering God. They have created religious beliefs after their own desires, and then, searched for a god to fit their religion. This humanistic approach to discovering the one true God will never work. This system of thought will always leave one with a god that is subservient to the mental capacity and desires of those who have manufactured their own religion. Any true search for the true God must begin with God Himself. If there is a God, then certainly this God would reveal Himself. It is our task, therefore, to find and investigate the revelation of this God.   We must set aside our own inclinations about who we think God should be and simply accept the revelation of who God says He is. God does not believe in the gods we create.

Christians believe in a loving and merciful God who is just, and thus, deals with man without respect of persons. He is a God whose primary means to encourage man to do right is His character of love. For this reason, the apostle John wrote, God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16). John was more explicit concerning our understanding of God when he wrote, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). Any religion that is based on anything other than the principle of love cannot be true. Neither can such religions give us a correct understanding of God. A loving God does not reveal an unloving faith.

The fact that the nature of God is love helps us in our search through the catalogue of religions in the world today in order to discover the one true God. World religions and denominations of churches that do not focus on that by which God works to move man—love—cannot be the faith that is revealed by God. Religions, therefore, that justify that which is unloving simply cannot be founded on the revelation of a God of love.

We must study through those scriptures in the Bible that give literary definitions of the character of God. However, unless we are prepared to exemplify in our lives the loving nature of God, our intellectual knowledge of Scripture will only take us so far in understanding who this God of love really is. Unloving interpreters will never come to a knowledge of the God of love in the Bible.

God will allow us to use the Bible alone in our efforts to discover who He is. In other words, the God of the Bible will settle for no other supposed written revelation in order to discover who He is. One cannot use the Qur’an or the Bhagavad-Gita or any other religious literature in order to discover the true God of the Bible. Other religious authority other than the Bible can only be man’s definitions of who he thinks his god is. If we are to discover the God of the Bible, then certainly we must limit ourselves to the Bible. When it comes to discovering the God of the Bible, the Bible restricts our studies to it alone, for through it God has defined who He is.

In Romans 1:20 Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” One might refer to God’s revelation of Himself through that which is created as natural revelation. Through such revelation, God has assumed that we have enough sense to understand that the environment in which we live did not spontaneously generate. It was created, and thus, it has the marks of a Creator and Designer.

Unfortunately, some cannot get past the physical environment in which they live. Their understanding of God is limited to their empirical feedback from the physical world. A host of religions today are thus limited to rocks and trees that God intended to simply ignite our wonder to search for His direct revelation. But many have tripped over the created rocks, and thus found it impossible to discover the Rock of Ages.

Though God has revealed Himself through the created world, we must not stop at the created world in order to discover His being.   Nature is only an empirical launching pad from which we must be lifted into the special revelation of the God who created the launching pad. Therefore, unless one arrives at the Bible in his or her investigations of who God is, he or she will never discover the one true God.

Does this mean that because the Christian has the Bible that he understands all that God is? Not at all. It does say, however, that he has an advantage over those who grope after God through the maze of their theologies and traditions. But at the end of the day he must confess his inability to fully comprehend the incomprehensible. In De Veritude, Thomas Aquinas was right. “The highest knowledge we can have of God in this life is to know that He is above all we can think concerning Him.”

We must allow ourselves to be challenged concernng who we think God is. We must first break down some misconceptions of God in order to reconstruct a biblical perspective concerning the nature of God.   Therefore, as we take this mental journey through some theological and philosophical conceptions of God, we must be prepared to allow the Bible to be sole dictionary of our definition of God.

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