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Don Stewart :: How Does the Bible Describe God?

Don Stewart

There is nothing that anyone can know about God's nature unless He reveals it to humankind. Without divine revelation humanity will be in darkness. Fortunately, the Bible has told us about God's nature. From the Scripture we can discover four basic description of God's character.

1. God Is Spirit

God is a spirit being. Jesus described God in this manner.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

God is not "a spirit" rather He is "spirit." Spirit is His nature - He is not a physical being. Because God has no physical form Israel was forbidden to make any images of Him.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:4-6).

2. God Is Light

The Bible also says that God is light.

This is the message we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

This can refer to the glory and majesty of God. Notice the Bible does not say that God has light; He is light. The Bible says that.

Which he will bring about at the proper time - he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen (1 Timothy 6:15,16).

3. God Is Love

The Bible says that God is love.

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).

Love involves other attributes of God including grace, kindness, and mercy.

4. God Is A Consuming Fire

The Bible also describes God as a consuming fire.

For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).

Fire is not God; God is like fire. The analogy of fire refers to the holiness and absolute righteousness of God's nature.

Fire Is Frequent Symbol Of God

Fire is frequently used as a symbol of God and His judgment against sin.

The Smoking Firepot And Flaming Torch

The Bible speaks of a flaming torch and smoking firepot when God made a covenant with Abraham.

As the sun went down and it became dark, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses (Genesis 15:17).

The Incident At The Burning Bush

There is the famous incident of Moses and the burning bush.

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he went deep into the wilderness near Sinai, the mountain of God. Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush. Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn't burn up. "Amazing!" Moses said to himself. "Why isn't that bush burning up? I must go over to see this." When the Lord saw that he had caught Moses' attention, God called to him from the bush, "Moses! Moses!" "Here I am!" Moses replied. "Do not come any closer," God told him. "Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your ancestors-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." When Moses heard this, he hid his face in his hands because he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3:1-6).

Elijah And The Altar Of Fire

God's judgment appeared on the altar of fire. Elijah the prophet taunted the false prophets of Baal.

Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!" And all the people agreed. . . . Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the ditch! And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, "The Lord is God! The Lord is God!" (2 Kings 18:24,38,39).

Summary

The Bible does not attempt to prove God exists or give any definition of God. Yet it does describe His nature in four ways: God is spirit - His nature is not flesh and blood. God is also light - there is no darkness in Him at all. God is also love. Finally, God's nature can be compared to a consuming fire. These four descriptions provide some insights into God's nature and character rather than giving us a definition of Him.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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