Many people would admit to believing that there is a God.
Some leave it at that and never explore that thought.
Others choose to blank out any control that God may have.
Some choose to pray to some higher power in times of crisis.
Many see something special in Jesus, but just don’t commit the time to finding out about him and what he actually said.
Others start to see this world as being unsatisfying and they start to look for a meaning to their life and many find God.
What does it mean to ‘find God’ and what is God really like? This article looks at: ‘What is god like in Christianity.’
Table of Contents menu
1. What is God like, could he be real?
If God is real, is he distant? Did he start things off with a Big Bang or instant creation and then stand aloof from this world?
Is God merely a ‘Force’ for good?
Perhaps he is an ‘old man with a grey beard’ and a bit out of touch with modern lifestyles?
Throughout the Bible, we can learn what God is like through stories, direct revelation from God himself, his prophets, how he dealt with Israel and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, God is spoken of as:
- a real person
- a King giving orders
- a Master workman carrying out his designs and purposes.
- a person that can be known.
2. What is God like, he wants us as his children
Even in the Old Testament God’s heart is seen as wanting people to be his children. The psalm written by Asaph states:
you are all sons of the Most High.”Psalm 82:6 NIV
In the New Testament, we also see God plans to call people his children but also for those who turn to him, he wants to adopt them into his family and to give them his very own Spirit who will be in them:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;Romans 8:15 NIV
rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ ”
3. Jesus came with God’s authority
When Jesus Christ appeared about two thousand years ago in Israel he caused quite a stir!
They were all filled with awe and praised God.Luke 7:16-17 NIV
‘A great prophet has appeared among us,’ they said. ‘God has come to help his people.’
This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.”
Massive crowds followed him, not because of any gimmicks, nor a big marketing team, he just spoke with authority about spiritual things and many people marvelled at what they heard:
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”Matthew 7:28-29 NIV
He was gentle, compassionate, and spent time with those who weren’t in the ‘in-crowd’:
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.Matthew 9:10-11 NIV
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ “
He touched those seen as outcasts of society – the lepers, he restored sight to the blind and he spoke to everyone.
He challenged the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of that time and he was angry with them because they blocked the way to heaven:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!Matthew 23:13-14 NIV
You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.
You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
4. Seeing Jesus is seeing God
Jesus is God in human form and when people looked at Jesus and heard him speak they were witnessing an image of a God who is everywhere and invisible:
The Son (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”Colossians 1:15 NIV
What is God like, perhaps surprisingly, he consists of three persons, that is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
His eternal plan was for Jesus to be born to a virgin girl without the necessity of human sperm.
He broke the cycle of humanity’s sin and he lived a sinless life.
While on Earth he was God in a human body:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’).Matthew 1:23 NIV
After Jesus rose from the dead he went back to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
His plan includes making us his children and getting us to heaven for everyone who believes in him.
5. God sees everything
He knows everything about us!
He sees what we do now and what we have done.
That may scare us, but remember he wants to adopt us as his children.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.Psalm 139:1-14 NIV
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
He wants us to willingly submit to him in love:
Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.John 14:23 NIV
My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ “
6. What is God like – we can’t see Him!
When we ask the question; ‘What is God like?’ We immediately hit a problem.
Because God fills the universe, He’s in all places at any given moment.
He is also outside of time. Everything from the beginning of eternity to the end of eternity is set out in front of Him.
All knowledge and wisdom that is to know, He knows, and lots more besides that.
All the actions and thoughts of every single person, that has lived, and who will live in the future are known by Him.
And because he is so much different from ourselves He just cannot be seen with our limited eyes.
a) Ask the caterpillar what he sees!
So when we say; ‘What is God like?’ it’s rather like us asking a caterpillar to describe the view, from the top of Mount Everest!
It’s totally beyond the mind of the caterpillar.
It cannot see any further than the nearest stone, let alone be able to answer the question!
And so it is with us!
We are limited and mortal.
God is unlimited, – infinite, – eternal, – and invisible.
So, we recognise that we have a problem.
Left to our devices, we would never be able to grasp what is God like.
We need HELP!
b) I know how an engine works!
Imagine a very young child asking how a car engine works.
The father could start talking about pistons, crankshafts, valves, etc.
And within a few seconds, the child would be lost, and wouldn’t have grasped any of it.
But if the father said: ‘Well Tommy, we give you food to keep you going through the day, and it’s the same with a car. The car needs food to keep it going, and that food is the petrol.’
Tommy goes away HAPPY. He now knows how an engine works!
7. God uses simple language to describe himself
The illustration of how an engine works is how God dealt with unveiling himself to us.
He is too difficult to comprehend, but He has chosen to reveal Himself in a simple way that we can understand.
He gives illustrations, and He describes Himself as having bodily parts.
It is so we can understand a little about Him.
He went about this in two ways:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways ..”Hebrews 1:1 NIV
He spoke to individuals, who then spoke out what they had been told, and they also wrote it down.
This is recorded in the Old Testament, the first 70% of the Bible.
.. but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, (Jesus Christ) whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.Hebrews 1:2-3 NIV
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His Being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.”
So the invisible God, the One who fills the universe, sent His Son Jesus to this earth.
Jesus is totally, and completely God, but He humbled Himself, and He took on human form.
And yet, even in this limited expression of God, the Bible tells us that Jesus exactly represents the Being of the Almighty, invisible God!
What Jesus said, was what God was saying.
What He did, was what God wanted Him to do.
He is perfect in all His ways and all His thoughts.
These things are recorded in the New Testament, which is the last 30% of the Bible.
8. God has qualities that only He has
So when we ask the question, ‘What is God like?’
We know that God has chosen to explain Himself through the pages of the Bible.
By reading the Bible we can come to realise that God has certain qualities that can only refer to Himself.
These are that the three in one God, that is; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; exists independently of any other thing or person.
They alone are the source, and fountain of all life, and everything that exists.
God is a Divine Spirit, without bodily parts. And being of Divine Spirit He is infinite, without limit.
Everything about Him is limitless.
He is bigger than the universe.
All things are suspended in His constant Presence.
Wherever we go, wherever angels go, He is always there.
He is infinite in time because He is eternal. Without beginning, and end. And He is unchanging.
He is perfect, so He would have been imperfect if He has changed or altered in any way.
That does not mean that He is static.
He is always active, upholding things by His power, and working His purposes out.
He observes and responds to sin, either to punish sooner or later or to forgive those who turn from their sin and who turn to Him.
9. God has qualities that we also have
By reading the Bible, we can also realise that God has certain qualities that can refer to ourselves, as well as Himself.
Obviously, these qualities are minute in us but limitless in God.
For example, power, knowledge, goodness, love, etc.
Do you realise that mobile phones, computers, and DNA research, do not leave God baffled? He made ALL the elements so that we could make these sorts of things.
That would be like toddler Tommy, feeling that no one in the world was as clever as him, just because he had made a little car from Lego bricks!
Tommy would feel that not even the person who designed the Lego bricks, could ever understand how Tommy had made such a wonderful car!
That sounds funny, but that is how a lot of people see our modern world in relation to God.
But He knows far more than all the scientists will ever know.
So, while we are looking at all these qualities that God has, the important thing to realise is that He is perfect and that we can totally trust Him.
He is totally committed to what He has said in His Word, the Bible.
We can totally trust and rely upon His promises.
10) God is our Father
So far we have looked at what God is like, but we haven’t looked at knowing God as Father, as our Heavenly Father.
Jesus taught us to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.”
And John wrote:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”1 John 3:1 NIV
If we are believing and trusting Jesus Christ, then that is what we are; children of the living Father God.
But many people will not have God as their father.
He will be unknown to them.
Jesus came across many who refused to submit to His teaching, and He said to them;
If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now I am here.John 8:42 NIV
I have not come on My own; but He sent Me.
Why is My language not clear to you?
Because you are unable to hear what I say.
You belong to your father the devil.”
What an abrupt thing to say!
But it needed to be said.
We all need to ask ourselves the question; ‘Who is my father?’
Not who is our earthly blood father?
But is God our Father, or is the Devil our father?
If it is the latter, we will have a bitter eternity.
If God is our Father then what peace and joy are stored up for us!
How can I be saved and have a relationship with God?
a)If God is all-powerful am I safe?
Who is God? If he is all-powerful and can do what he wants, is he totally trustworthy?
Will he change his mind and leave me in a vulnerable place?
Has he got any commitment to me or could he suddenly turn round and stamp on me?
That can be a very scary place.
Imagine being just a few feet away from an eight-foot tall (2.4 metres) fully-grown grizzly bear standing on its hind legs; one quick move and you would be caught!
But God is not like that, millions of people around the world and back through history will vouch that God is faithful and tender:
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.Matthew 12:20 New Living Translation
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.”
When Jesus saw the crowd and how vulnerable they were he said:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”Matthew 9:36 NIV
He saw them as defenceless as sheep against a pack of wolves and he wanted to lead them to a safe place.
Neither Jesus nor God wants to take advantage because we are weak and helpless, they are full of compassion and want to help:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16 NIV
God is all-powerful and it is interesting to see how he deals with evil world leaders:
b) Does God change His mind?
Will he change his mind and leave me in a vulnerable place?
The Bible tells us that the Lord doesn’t flit around, he sticks to his plans.
He himself doesn’t change because he is perfect to start with.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”James 1:17 NIV
He is actually giving us good things in our lives, but so often we don’t see that.
I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”Malachi 3:6 NIV
Spiritually speaking those who believe in Jesus are the descendants of Jacob, so he won’t destroy us.
c) Has God got any commitment to me?
The Lord’s promise to Joshua is the same promise to each one of us who are believers.:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
Think of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, where the son behaved particularly badly; he went off with a lot of his father’s money, only to waste it on ‘wine, women and song’.
Then after spending it all he thought he would return to his father in absolute shame and become one of his father’s servants.
But what was his father doing?
He was watching the horizon for his disgraced son to return, not to punish him but to restore him in love back into the family:
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.Luke 15:20-24 NIV
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.
Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
So they began to celebrate.”
Wow, the son was not expecting that!
And Jesus was telling this parable to show what the heart of God the Father is like.
d) What does a holy God mean?
Different people have got very varied ideas on what the word ‘holy’ means.
Some of the suggestions or reactions would be to say; ‘very religious’, ‘boring’, ‘pure’, etc.
But what does the word actually mean?
It means “to be separate, put aside for special use”.
The meaning of the word ‘holy’ in the original Greek is:
Of God as the absolutely “Holy” One, in His purity, majesty and glory.Vine’s Expository Dictionary
It is used of men and things in so far as they are devoted to God.”
Here are some verses describing God which don’t sound boring:
Who among the gods is like You, O Lord?Exodus 15:11 NIV
Who is like You – majestic in Holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders.”
That is exciting that God is like that.
God is holy, He is absolutely pure, and without any blemishes.
He is set apart from humanity because He is sinless, absolutely clean.
He consists of pure light, and there is no darkness in Him.
There is no hint of darkness.
There is no one like Him, He is totally holy.
And therefore we are to treat Him as such.
We are to give Him honour and respect.
Therefore, if God is holy then he expects us to be holy as well:
You are to be holy to Me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be My own.”Leviticus 20:26 NIV
If we believe in, and follow Jesus Christ, He expects us to be holy.
To be set apart from the people round about us – to have Kingdom of God values.
But we cannot do this.
We need to rely upon Jesus Christ to make us acceptable to God.
We cannot make ourselves holy.
But as soon as we turn to God to be saved, God accepts us and we can then put on his Robe of Righteousness (his Robe of RIGHT-NESS)!
Then the Bible tells us to pursue holiness in our own lives:
Make every effort .. to be holy. Without holiness no-one will see the Lord.”Hebrews 12:14
11. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What are the characteristics of God?
The attributes or perfections of God are:
1) His glory which means that:
a) God is infinite and without limitation. He ‘lives in unapproachable light’, his ‘judgments are unsearchable’ and his ‘his paths beyond tracing out’.
b) God is self-existent and depends upon nothing else. ‘In the beginning God…’
c) God is consistent and dependable, who ‘does not change’, is not like ‘a shifting shadow, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,’
2) His Lordship and sovereignty which means:
a) God is all-powerful (God’s omnipotence); ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ And that ‘nothing is impossible’.
b) God is everywhere all of the time (God’s omnipresence); God is ‘from everlasting to everlasting, He sees all things, and he will judge the world.
c) God is all-knowing (God’s omniscience); The past is not gone forever, in Jesus ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’.
3) God’s holiness which means:
a) God is separate from all other things, He alone is God, He is pure, perfect, righteous, sinless, and without any evil imperfections.
b) From God’s holiness comes judgment and wrath.
4) God’s love and mercy which means:
a) A love which keeps giving out, even though the ones receiving his goodness and love do not deserve it. He has enabled this planet to sustain life and to continue providing harvests, etc.
b) A love which was at the centre of God’s plan to save humanity through the sending of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is God like according to the Bible?
The Old Testament seems to reveal a God of anger, paying back the people’s rebellion against Him.
The New Testament reveals God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was sent to save humanity by becoming a substitute for us.
Actually, both Testaments describe the same God. Right from the beginning God revealed bit by bit that He had a plan and the Old Testament points towards the coming of the Messiah.
Throughout the Bible, it shows us that God wants to be a father to us.
There are many laws, but God is showing us that it is impossible for us to totally obey all of these commandments, so we need to surrender to Him so that He can work in us.
References – open in new tabs:
If you don’t own a Bible you can get free Bible Apps see: 10 Best Bible Apps for Smart Devices in 2021