All over the world people visualize God in a variety of ways. We utilize different ideas, symbols and personalities to describe and illustrate Him. Christians even disagree on how to view and understand God, bouncing between a demanding King, a judgmental Overlord, and a loving Father.
Since we are created as offspring of God and designed to be His image and likeness (reflections and resemblances), some conclude He is like us. However, our sinful perceptions and messed up versions of Him are a far cry from who He really is. So, what is the Eternal One really like?
Seeing The Eternal
Our Scripture declares The Eternal Deity is not like any other; “I am God, and there is no one like me.” (a) [see endnotes for NASB Scriptures] The Eternal One says “For I am God, and not man.” (b) The Eternal One is obviously more than anything He creates and as our source of life, He is more than any offspring.
God responds to our misconceptions with, “You thought I was like you.” (c) And, “God sees not as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (d) Additionally, “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man, that He should repent.” (e) Moreover, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (f)
While many have seen expressions of the Eternal One, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten (Jesus)…has explained Him.” (g) His expressions have appeared in our world as angels and men, even as fire and wind. His presence has been felt and His voice heard. God’s expression has even appeared as a unique son, Jesus Christ. (h) The Eternal One however is much more than His expressions.
Even time has no hold on God, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (i) “The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator…does not become weary or tired, His understanding is inscrutable (unfathomable).” (j)
Ascribing human characteristics to God tends to lessen His greatness. When we think God is like us, it gives credibility to our inappropriate thoughts and behaviors. While we cannot discover the “depths” or “limitations” (k) of the Almighty, we can appreciate His amazing appearances and His abiding presence.
Even time has no hold on God.
Everything in Scripture relates to core truths, revealing aspects of God’s nature and His desire to guide us through this life. So, why does our Bible often appear to contrast itself? It is because we fail to see Scripture as a relational revealing. When we approach God’s word as blending complements, we can see the apparent contrasts are really balancing factors. This is how a greater understanding is revealed.
Instead of arguing over the issue of salvation as being by faith or by works, we should realize apparent differences are really balancing factors. Scripture goes on to say: “Faith, if it has no works, is as dead, being by itself…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (l)
Faith and works are intricately tied together. Salvation is not earned by works but if works do not follow our faith, it is not faith. We are to “work out” into expressions, what God is “working in us.” (m) Our salvation is a life-long process that transforms us from what we were into “lights in the world.” (n)
Biblical faith is more than a belief system or set of rules. Scripture defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (o) In other words, biblical faith includes the activity of fine-tuning in us what God (the unseen) is saying and desiring to do in and through us. Our faith is supported by our confident persuasion that it will be! This is why Scripture says “without faith it is impossible to please God” (p) and “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” (q)
Salvation is not earned by works but if works do not follow our faith, it is not faith.
Light & Love
Many people today visualize God as either one, two or three persons. Several arguments are made over the differences and many usually end up agreeing that it’s a mystery. When we realize God spoke of Himself in the plural tense during the creation account: “Let us…in our…according to our,” (r) we can see He spoke of the methods He would utilize to make, reform and mature mankind.
The Eternal One helps us experience His love and relate to Him as offspring that become children through three expressions: as our Father, as an anointing presence of the Holy Spirit, and as a pattern son.
- As Father, God is our source of life and the one who oversees our growing development.
- As Holy Spirit, God is the abiding presence that dwells with, among, and in our midst.
- As Jesus Christ, God is the image and likeness of God that man can most clearly envision.
The life, words and actions of Jesus illustrate God’s desire for each of us during this life. As offspring of God, we can know and experience His insightful guidance through any of His revealing expressions. Each expression of the Eternal One seeks to lead and guide us through this life.
What about the various ideas, symbols and personalities we use to describe, illustrate and worship God? Scripture says God hears and responds to the intents of our heart. (s) Surely He is able to look beyond our limitations and imperfections, and is not put off by our tainted perceptions, holy symbols or rituals.
God does not grow and develop like us, so we should not limit Him to our human views, perceptions and understandings. Too often we tend to condemn those that do not see as we perceive or act like us. Thankfully the Eternal One is not like us, we can actually approach God in our immaturity, speak to Him and He hears us.
So, what is the Eternal Spirit really like? “God is light” and “He is love.” (t) In God, light and love are not independent features; they are intimately bound to each other. Godly light does not exist apart from godly love. While The Eternal Deity is light and love, His expressive actions cannot be one or the other. God’s expressions are enlightening-love and loving-light.
Since God is Light and Love we must ask ourselves as children of God, are our expressions loving and enlightening? May we seek to see more clearly God’s light and love, so we become better reflections and resemblances of His image and likeness, like Jesus was and is!
God’s expressions are enlightening-love and loving-light.
a) Isaiah 46:9; b) Hosea 11:9; c) Psalm 50:21; (d) 1 Samuel 16:7; e) Numbers 23:19; f) Isaiah 55:8-9; g) John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; Exodus 33:20; h) John 1:1, 14; i) 2 Peter 3:8; j) Isaiah 40:28; k) Job 11:7; l) James 2:20-26; m) Philippians 2:12-13; n) Mark 13:13; o) Hebrews 11:1; p) Hebrews 11:6; q) Romans 10:17; r) Genesis 1:26; s) 1 Kings 8:39; t) 1 John 1:5; 4:8;