God: His Essence

God wants us to know Him.  He has revealed Himself through nature (Psalm 19:1; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20).  He has revealed Himself through Jesus (John 1:18; 14:9; 1 Timothy 3:16 KJV/NKJV). He has revealed Himself through inspiration (John 16:13-15; 2 Timothy 3:16).

We should want to know Him.  Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).  Paul said that God created man, “So that they should seek the Lord, in hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:28).

This writing will consider the essence of God.  I mean by this: the nature of His being. 

1. God is eternal.

He is the uncaused one.  He had no beginning, and He will have no end.  He is “eternal God” (Deuteronomy 33:27; Also consider – Deuteronomy 32:40; Psalm 90:2; Psalm 102:24).  He is not infinitely existing in one direction (geometry illustration – think a ray).  He is infinitely existing in two directions (geometry illustration – think a line).

2.  God is Spirit.

This is stated in John 4:24.  The word “spirit” (pneuma) is used of things like – (a) wind (possibly, John 3:8); (b) breath (2 Thessalonians 3:8); (c) attitude or disposition (Matthew 5:3); (d) an existence without flesh and blood (Luke 24:39).  It refers to that which is immaterial, or invisible to human eyes.

We currently see God, only through the eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6).  The human eye cannot currently see God in His essence (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18;; 5:37; 6:46; 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 4:12).  However, one day the faithful will “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

3.  God is omnific.

He is the source of all creation.  He “made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11).  He created man (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 100:3).  He created even the angels (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2-5).  It is the Creator, and not creation, who should be worshipped and served (cf. Romans 1:25).

4.  God is omnipotent.

He is all-powerful.  He is the source of all physical energy and power in the universe.  He can do all things which are: (a) things that power can do (note: there are some things which power cannot logically do, e.g., create a four-sided triangle); and, (b) consistent with His nature and His will.  Job concluded, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).  Jeremiah agreed saying, “There is nothing to hard for You” (Jeremiah 32:17).

5. God is omnipresent.

He is aware of all things.  He is not limited by time or space.  It is impossible to flee from His presence (Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Hebrews 4:13).  “The eyes of the LORD are in every place.  Keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

There is coming a day of judgment.  He knows every secret thing (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Romans 2:16; 1 Timothy 5:24-25).  He knows every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Some question His omnipresence.  (a) They are troubled by passages such as Genesis 3:8; 4:16; and, Jonah 1:3.  John w. Haley explains, “The ‘presence of the Lord,’ from which Adam hid himself, and Cain and Jonah fled was the visible and special manifestation of God to them at the time; or else it denotes the place where the manifestation was made” (Haley, Alleged Discrepancies, p. 58).  (b) They are also troubled by Genesis 11:5, 7 and 18:20-21. James Burton Coffman explains “of course, God’s omniscience enables him to know all things instantly; but this language accommodates itself to the behavior and customs of men” (Coffman, Genesis, p. 243).

6.  God is omniscient.

He is perfect in knowledge.  He needs no counsel or instruction (Isaiah 40:13-14).  He knows all things.  A sparrow does not fall to the ground without His knowledge (Matthew 10:29).  He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30).  He knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2; Ezekiel 11:5).  He even knows the future (Isaiah 46:9-11).

Some question His full knowledge of the future (a) They turned to passages like Genesis 22:12.  Roy Lanier Sr. answers objectors saying, “This was accommodative language, such as a teacher of science uses when he says to his class, we will put two gases together in a certain proportion so we will know whether water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.  He speaks as if he did not know, though he has performed that very experiment a hundred times” (Lanier, The Timeless Trinity, p. 146).  (b) They turn to Jeremiah 19:5.  Robert Taylor Jr. explains the passage, saying, “Relative to such God never commanded it; He never spoke of it; it never entered His mind, i.e. to authorize such heinous acts” (Taylor, Studies in Jeremiah, Vol. 1, p. 149).

7. God is immutable.

He is not like man who changes and perhaps matures over time.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He declares, “I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6; See also – Numbers 23:19; 2 Timothy 2:11-13).

Some question this.  (a) They struggle with passages like Genesis 6:6.  However, John W. Haley explains, “If man changes, the very immutability of God’s character requires that His feelings should change toward God” (Haley, Alleged Discrepancies, p. 66).  (b) They struggle with Exodus 32:14. James Burton Coffman explains, “God never repents of anything in the usual meaning of the word; but when the actions of man justify a change in God’s purpose, he does not hesitate to change it; and that phenomenon is called ‘repentance’ of God in the scriptures. Concerning God’s purpose of overthrowing Nineveh, ‘When God saw that they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil which he said he would do unto them, and did it not’ (Jonah 3:10). In the repentance on God’s part mentioned here, it was not any change in Israel, but the pleading intercession of Moses that precipitated it” (Coffman, Exodus, p.444).

8.  God is self-sufficient.

God does not depend on man (Psalm 50:12; Acts 17:24-25).  Yes, He does receive joy and pleasure when man does right (Luke 15:7, 10, 11-32; Philippians 4:18, etc.);  however, He does not depend upon us for His existence.

It is man who is dependent on God (Acts 17:24-28).  Man would not exist with Him.  Man could not sustain Himself without Him.  How thankful we should be!

“There is a God, He is alive, in Him we live, and we survive; From dust our God created man, He is our God, the great I AM” (song: Our God, He Is Alive by A.W. Dicus).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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