Who is God? What is He like? Six personality traits of God…
Who is God… He is Knowable.
God, who created the universe in all of its magnitude and creative details, is able to be known, by us. He tells us about himself, but even goes beyond that. He welcomes us into a relationship, so that we personally can get to know him. Not only can we know about him, we can know him, intimately.
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord,
who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)
Who is God… He is Approachable.
God invites us to talk to him and engage him in what concerns us. We don’t have to get our act together first. Neither do we need to be polite, theologically correct or holy. It is his nature to be loving and accepting when we go to him.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)
Who is God… He is Creative.
Everything we make is put together with existing materials or built on previous thoughts. God has the capacity of speaking things into existence, not just galaxies and life forms, but solutions to today’s problems. God is creative, for us. His power is something he wants us to be aware of and to rely on.
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.” (Psalms 147:5)
“…where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1,2)
Who is God… He is Forgiving.
We sin. We tend to do things our way instead of God’s way. And he sees it and knows it. God does not merely overlook such sin, but is prepared to judge and condemn people for their sin. However, God is forgiving and will forgive us from the moment we begin a relationship with him. Jesus, the Son of God, paid for our sin with his death on a cross. He rose from the dead and offers us this forgiveness.
“We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done… We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.” (Romans 3:22,25)
Who is God… He is Honest.
Just like a person who lets you know their thoughts and feelings, God clearly tells us about himself, the possible difference being, he is always honest. Everything he says about himself, or about us, is reliable information. Truer than our feelings, thoughts, and perception, God is totally accurate and honest in what he says. Every promise he makes to us can be fully counted on, he means it. We can take him at his word.
“The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:130,105)
Who is God… He is Capable.
How would you like to be always 100% right, about everything? God is. His wisdom is unlimited. He understands all the elements of a situation, including the history and future events related to it. We do not have to update him, counsel him or persuade him to do the right thing. He will, because he is capable and his motives are pure. If we trust him, he will never make a mistake, never undercut us or deceive us. He can be fully trusted to do what is right, in all circumstances, at all times.
“No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame…” (Psalms 25:3)
Was There Ever Nothing?
A thought journey on the beginning of time and the origin of the universe
Have you ever thought about the beginning? What is that, you say? You know — whatever it was that showed up first. Or whatever it was that was here first, at the earliest moment in time. Have you ever strained your brain to think about that?
Wait a minute, you say, isn’t it possible that in the beginning there was nothing? Isn’t it possible that kazillions of years ago, there wasn’t anything at all? That’s certainly a theory to consider. So let’s consider it — but first by way of analogy.
Let’s say you have a large room. It’s fully enclosed and is about the size of a football field. The room is locked, permanently, and has no doors or windows, and no holes in its walls.
Inside the room there is…nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a particle of anything. No air at all. No dust at all. No light at all. It’s a sealed room that’s pitch black inside. Then what happens?
Well, let’s say your goal is to get something — anything at all — into the room. But the rules are: you can’t use anything from outside the room to do that. So what do you do?
Well, you think, what if I try to create a spark inside the room? Then the room would have light in it, even for just a moment. That would qualify as something. Yes, but you are outside the room. So that’s not allowed.
But, you say, what if I could teleport something into the room, like in Star Trek? Again, that’s not allowable, because you’d be using things from outside the room.
Here again is the dilemma: you have to get something inside the room using only what’s in the room. And, in this case, what’s in the room is nothing.
Well, you say, maybe a tiny particle of something will just show up inside the room if given enough time.
There’s three problems with this theory. First, time by itself doesn’t do anything. Things happen over time, but it’s not time that makes them happen. For example, if you wait 15 minutes for cookies to bake, it’s not the 15 minutes that bakes them, it’s the heat in the oven. If you set them on the counter for 15 minutes, they’re not going to bake.
In our analogy, we’ve got a fully enclosed room with absolutely nothing in it. Waiting 15 minutes will not, in and of itself, change the situation. Well, you say, what if we wait eons? An eon is merely a bunch of 15-minute segments all pressed together. If you waited an eon with your cookies on the counter, would the eon bake them?
The second problem is this: why would anything just “show up” in the empty room? It would need a reason why it came to be. But there is nothing inside the room at all. So what’s to stop that from remaining the case? There would be nothing inside the room to cause something to show up (and yet the reason must come from inside the room).
Well, you say, what about a tiny particle of something? Wouldn’t that have a greater chance of materializing in the room than something larger like, for example, a football?
That brings up the third problem: size. Like time, size is an abstract. It’s relative. Let’s say you have three baseballs, all ranging in size. One is ten feet wide, one is five feet wide, one is normal size. Which one is more likely to materialize in the room?
The normal-size baseball? No! It would be the same likelihood for all three. The size wouldn’t matter. It’s not the issue. The issue is whether or not any baseball of any size could just “show up” in our sealed, empty room.
If you don’t think the smallest baseball could just show up in the room, no matter how much time passed, then you must conclude the same thing even for an atom. Size is not an issue. The likelihood of a small particle materializing without cause is no different than a refrigerator materializing without cause!
Now let’s stretch our analogy further, literally. Let’s take our large, pitch-black room and remove its walls. And let’s extend the room so that it goes on infinitely in all directions. Now there is nothing outside the room, because the room is all there is. Period.
This black infinite room has no light, no dust, no particles of any kind, no air, no elements, no molecules. It’s absolute nothingness. In fact, we can call it Absolutely Nothing.
So here’s the question: if originally — bazillions of years ago — there was Absolutely Nothing, wouldn’t there be Absolutely Nothing now?
Yes. For something — no matter how small — cannot come from Absolutely Nothing. We would still have Absolutely Nothing.
What does that tell us? That Absolutely Nothing never existed. Why? Because, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing!
If Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would not be anything outside it to cause the existence of anything.
Again, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing.
However, something exists. Actually, many things exist. You, for example, are something that exists, a very important something. Therefore, you are proof that Absolutely Nothing never existed.
Now, if Absolutely Nothing never existed, that means there was always a time when there was at least Something in existence. What was it?
Was it one thing or many things? Was it an atom? A particle? A molecule? A football? A mutant baseball? A refrigerator? Some cookies?
Does God exist? Here are six straight-forward reasons to believe that God is really there.
By Marilyn Adamson
Just once wouldn’t you love for someone to
simply show you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, “You just have to believe.” Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.
But first consider this. If a person opposes even the possibility of there being a God, then any evidence can be rationalized or explained away. It is like if someone refuses to believe that people have walked on the moon, then no amount of information is going to change their thinking. Photographs of astronauts walking on the moon, interviews with the astronauts, moon rocks…all the evidence would be worthless, because the person has already concluded that people cannot go to the moon.
When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.”2 Before you look at the facts surrounding God’s existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider…
1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:
The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4
Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.
Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that thousands of chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.5
Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.
Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.
Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.6
The human brain…simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.
The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.
The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages — simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.
2. Does God exist? The universe had a start – what caused it?
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”9
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”10
The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn’t change — on earth or in galaxies far from us.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
“The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.”11
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, “Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”12
4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior.
All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!
Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.13
Why is this so amazing? One has to ask….how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person’s body should develop.
Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.
I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok, you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.
I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”
Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy” as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me.
6. Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you’re looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.
He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”14 He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, “follow my words and you will find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”15
What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can’t do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people…blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects…created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature…walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you’re seeing.16
Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although God views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.
Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”17 This is God, in action.
Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We’re told that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”18
God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ.
If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.
This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her].”19 If you want to do this, but aren’t sure how to put it into words, this may help: “Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen.”
God views your relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, Jesus Christ said of us, “I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”20
So, does God exist? Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.
(1) Romans 1:19-21
(2) Jeremiah 29:13-14
(3) R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20
(4) The Wonders of God’s Creation, Moody Institute of Science (Chicago, IL)
(8) Hugh Davson, Physiology of the Eye, 5th ed (New York: McGraw Hill, 1991)
(9) Robert Jastrow; “Message from Professor Robert Jastrow”; LeaderU.com; 2002.
(10) Steven Weinberg; The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe; (Basic Books,1988); p 5.
(11) Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity; (Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2007, chapter 11).
(12) Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (New York: BasicBooks, 1998), 43.
(13) Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and author of The Language of God, (Free Press, New York, NY), 2006
(14) John 8:12
(15) John 14:6
(16) John 14:11
(17) Jeremiah 31:3
(18) John 3:16
(10) Revelation 3:20
(20) John 10:27-29