The Institute of Bible Doctrine
Learning about God
Who is God? If you wanted to know about God, or find out who He is and what He is like, who would you ask?
Your Mum and Dad?
Your science teacher?
Maybe a 'wise man' sitting on a mountain top?
Actually, the best person to tell us about who God is...
God Himself! God wants us to know about Him, so He gave us the Bible to teach us about Him and His special plan for mankind (including you, of course), all written down and put into a book for us.
We can say that the Bible is the written word of God (like a letter written from Him to us). The Bible is the the only true source of written information we have about God because it comes directly from God Himself.
What would you like to know about God? If you could interview God and ask Him questions, what kind of questions would you ask?
In this book we will answer some questions which a lot of children might wonder about God. Maybe they are the same questions you have! For example, you may be wondering:
Question One: Is God a person, or a spirit? (Or maybe He’s some kind of angel?)
Answer: God is a Spirit (John 4:4), which is why He is invisible to us. Because He can think and can make decisions just like us, we can also say He is a person. In fact, the Bible says man was made ‘in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:26). However, God is certainly not an angel – He made the angels!
Question Two: Where does God live?
Answer: The Bible teaches us that God lives in heaven “upon His throne.” Not only that, but as an Omnipresent Spirit He exists everywhere- in the heavens, on earth, even under the sea! (Psalm 139:7-9). He also dwells inside every person who believes in Jesus Christ, as we learned in the previous book I Believe, Volume Two.
Question Three: How old is God? And where did He come from anyway?
Answer: God is eternal – without a beginning or an end (Psalm 90:2). He has always existed - for millions and billions and trillions of squillions times gazillions to the xillionth power of a bazillion years, times infinity!
Question Four: How does God reveal (show) Himself to us?
God reveals Himself to us in many ways. The perfect order of God’s creation (from the stars and planets in the sky which operate like a giant clock, the beautiful designs and smells of flowers, or the weird dangly thing that attaches to the head of the angler fish deep down in the ocean) shows us that God is not only a super-genius, but He has the power to create anything He wants.
God reveals His character to us through the humanity of God the Son - Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ came into the world people could see ‘God in the flesh’ (John 1:14), meaning God took on human form, being born into a human body. They heard God teach, they talked with Him, they saw Him perform miracles to help the sick and needy, and ultimately saw God’s love for mankind demonstrated when Jesus was crucified on the cross and then took the punishment for our sins. God revealed His power over death when Jesus walked out from the tomb three days after His physical death.
God reveals Himself through His Word – The Bible.
The Bible is the thinking of God! (1 Cor. 2:16). The Holy Spirit inspired certain men to write down the Words which we now read in the sixty-six different books that make up the Bible (2 Pet. 1:21). Throughout history God has also chosen people to teach His Word, so that anybody interested in knowing God and His plan could learn. For example, in the old times (even before Jesus was born into the world) God used prophets and temple priests to teach people about God. Now, God uses people called evangelists and pastors who preach and teach from the Bible so we can learn about God and understand God’s plan for us.
From studies of the Bible we can learn that there are ten distinct characteristics (traits) of God. Every one of these characteristics of God is perfect, which means that God is perfect in every way.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN
This means that God has the highest authority over all creation - including all angels, all humans, and all of nature: “…You alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18b) For this reason we can use the crown of a king to represent God’s Sovereignty.
GOD IS LOVE
1 John 4:16 tells us "God is Love." God's love is not emotional (emotional love changes all the time), but is immutable, unconditional, and based on His Integrity. God has always loved you, and always will – even when you sin against Him.
GOD IS IMMUTABLE
God never changes, neither can He be changed by anyone. This is why we use a rock to symbolize God’s Immutability.
GOD IS ETERNAL
God has no beginning, and no end. God IS eternal life, and this life He gives to all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16; 1 John 5:11).
GOD IS TRUTH
He knows what is right and wrong, and tells us clearly what His standards are - as written in His book, the Bible. He never lies, and is deceived by nobody. He always keeps His promises to you, He is always faithful (Psalms 100:5).
GOD IS RIGHTEOUS
“Righteous” means being without sin or any form of wrong-doing. Because God is perfectly righteous, He can have nothing to do with sin, except to punish sin (from His Justice) in order to satisfy His perfect Righteousness.
In His humanity, Jesus “knew no sin.” (2 Cor. 5:21). Because of His unique birth He had no sin-nature or AOS (Adam’s Original Sin). Also, He always chose to do the will of the Father, even under great pressure (Matt. 26:39) or temptation to sin (Matt.4:1-11).
GOD IS JUST
God is always fair, exercising justice (discipline / punishment) to those who make bad decisions and so fall short of His righteous standards, but blessing those who choose to do His will and make good decisions. In other words, if you disobey God He will discipline you, but if you obey God, He can bless you – even beyond what you can ever think or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20).
Now for the ‘OMNI’ attributes (‘omni’ comes from the Latin language. It means ‘ALL’) :
GOD IS OMNISCIENT (“is ALL knowing”)
Since eternity past, God has known everything, including all events of what we consider as past, present and future. (God exists outside of time, so He sees all things happening at once!) God knows what you need. He knows what makes you happy. He knows all the good and bad decisions you will make in your life. God’s knowledge is infinite – WOW!
GOD IS OMNIPRESENT (“is in ALL places”)
God exists outside the universe and all through the universe too. God is everywhere, which means that wherever you go He will always be with you. (Hebrews 13:5)
GOD IS OMNIPOTENT (“is ALL powerful”)
By Jesus Christ the universe was created and is sustained for our benefit. (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16). At the end of time He will destroy the universe and create a new one for us (2 Pet. 3:10; Revelation 21:1). Nothing is impossible for God! (Luke 1:37).
God exists as three personalities, but He is One God. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is THREE persons in ONE! We call this unique relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit “The Trinity” (Think of the words ‘three’ (‘tri’, as in ‘triangle’) and ‘unity’)
Though the word ‘Trinity’ doesn’t actually appear in the Bible, there are many verses in Scripture to teach us about The Trinity.
God the Father is God: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort...” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God the Son is God: “For in Him [Jesus Christ] all the fullness of Deity [God] dwells in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9)
“I [Jesus Christ] and the Father are One! “ (John 10:30)
God the Holy Spirit is God: “And Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him.” (Matthew 3:16)
“Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
God’s own creation also helps us understand how ONE God exists as THREE Persons:
He made ONE Universe that exists in THREE inseparable parts: Space, Time, Matter/Energy (Matter can convert into Energy and vice-versa).
Space exists in THREE inseparable dimensions: Height, Width, Length.
Time exists as THREE inseparable parts: Past, Present and Future.
Light, a type of Energy, exists in THREE parts : Infrared, the Visible Spectrum (i.e. the colors of the rainbow), and Ultraviolet light!