God exists. So what is He like?
Thankfully, God has not left us in the dark concerning His character, personality, or attributes. The Bible affirms that anyone can figure out something about what God is like by looking at what He has made:
For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
So what does creation specifically reveal about God, beyond the fact that He exists? First of all, we can easily see that God must be extremely powerful, as the above scripture verse states.
What was your reaction the last time you heard a window-rattling boom of thunder nearby? Your heart probably skipped a few beats. But does thunder scare God? Of course not, since He’s the one who invented it.
It stands to reason that the Creator is superior to the thing created. So we can certainly conclude that God is more powerful than thunder and lightning.
But let’s not stop there.
God must be more powerful than the most powerful thing we can imagine because, whatever we can think of, God created it. If He made something powerful, He must have greater power to have created it.
He must be more powerful than the force of a raging hurricane or a twisting tornado. He must be more powerful than the force of the surging tides or the torque of the spinning Earth. He must be more powerful than the gravity of the sun or the combined gravity of every star in every galaxy. He must be more powerful than the nuclear energy that would be released if every atom in the universe was split.
How powerful is God? Words fall short of adequate description. That is why theologians use the term omnipotent, meaning “all-powerful.”
Within the same line of reasoning, it’s evident to everyone that God is great. That, too, is an understatement. Think about the immensity of the universe God has made. Even if you can grasp how great the universe is, you still haven’t grasped how great God is. Why? Because He made it all, and, therefore, must be greater.
How immense is the universe? Before we tackle that question, let’s consider just our solar system.
It takes light from the sun, traveling at 186,000 miles per second, about five hours to reach Pluto, the planet farthest out in our solar system. If there were an interstate highway from Earth to Pluto, and you drove sixty-five miles an hour the whole way, it would take you over six thousand years to make the trip, one-way.
Let’s travel a little farther out. The nearest star to us (other than the sun) is Alpha Centauri, and the light shining from it takes over four years to reach us. When you look at Alpha Centauri, you’re really seeing it as it looked four years ago. But Alpha Centauri is just a short hop from Earth compared to some other places in our universe.
Our solar system is not too far from the outer edge of the Milky Way galaxy, a group of billions of gravitationally-bound stars that slowly circle a densely-clustered core. Our little solar system makes the complete swing around the galaxy about once every 230 million years.
How big is our galaxy? At least one hundred thousand light-years in diameter. And the Milky Way is just one galaxy out of billions in the known universe.
Galaxies cluster in groups, of which there are millions, and they in turn cluster in “superclusters.” So just how big is the known universe? Nobody knows.
Astronomers have discovered that the universe is constantly increasing in size, indicating that it had a beginning. Presently, it would take at least twenty billion years to travel across it-that’s if you traveled at the speed of light.
When you look up in the sky at night, you’re looking back across the ages of time. Many of the stars in our own galaxy are as much as 80,000 light-years away. That means you are actually seeing those stars as they looked 80,000 years ago because that’s how long ago their light started its journey to us.
How great is God? He must be even greater than His creation. He must be greater than the universe.
God is also, quite obviously, very intelligent. Once again, that is an understatement, which is why theologians use the word omniscient to describe Him, meaning “all-knowing.”
Even if you could catalogue the combined knowledge of every person, you still wouldn’t know a fraction of what God knows. There is nothing that is a mystery to Him because He’s the one who designed and created everything.
God knows the answer to every riddle of science and nature. He’s the one who calculated the gravitational pull that one galaxy would exert upon another, and He planned the complicated molecular structure of the DNA in every cell of every living thing. If, as scientists tell us, every cell in your body contains the DNA-coded instructions for the function of the trillions of other cells, then God must be more intelligent than any of us can begin to imagine. Talk about micro-technology!
Furthermore, it stands to reason that such an intelligent Creator, who has blessed His creatures with a limited amount of wisdom, must have an infinite degree of wisdom. Since God created us, He must have an ultimate plan for us. He must have some objective He is working toward-an ultimate goal.
Surely He couldn’t be a mad scientist performing a complicated, colossal experiment. The creation is too complex-too much planning went into small details-even to suggest that we are part of a temporary game or nonsensical whim.
There must be a reason God created us.
The Love of God
God must also be loving. How can we deduce His love just from looking at His creation?
First of all, God has been good to you and me. As the apostle Paul once stated in a sermon, “Yet He [God] did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17; emphasis added).
Rain and food are evidence of God’s kindness toward us. Every glad heart is a tribute to love He has shown.
Most of us have taken God’s goodness for granted, but we shouldn’t. He could have given us only onions to eat, breakfast, lunch, and dinner! And with the wave of His hand, God could shut off global rainfall permanently.
The summer before last, the city where I live endured thirty days of drought. When it finally did rain, everyone appreciated it. Even a TV weatherman reportedly said “Hallelujah!” right on the air.
My point is, God has been good to you and me, and we should be thankful.
Why is God good? Because God is loving.
Second, we have to suspect that if we, as God’s creatures, can know and experience love, then so must He. Unselfish love is universally recognized as the highest virtue anyone can possess. Selfless people are respected above all others. Shall we assume that God is less virtuous than the most virtuous human beings? Perish that thought! Surely the Creator of love is Himself the very personification of love.
The Bible confirms what creation preaches: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This is something that even those living in the deepest jungles believe. The most uneducated idol worshipper realizes that there are many things beyond his control, some of which he associates with pleasure and some of which he associates with displeasure. The pleasurable things tell him that the Creator must love him, and this gives him the hope of somehow winning his god’s full favor. Thus he tries to influence his god to that end, hoping to experience more love.
God is Moral
Finally, we can deduce that if God is love, then He must be moral and upright. The reason is because His perfect love would require that He love everyone equally. If God loved one person more than He loved another, then He wouldn’t be perfect in love.
Consequently, perfect love cannot remain passive when injustice is committed. If one person whom God loves takes selfish advantage of another person whom God loves, then God must react. If He has no reaction, then He can be rightfully accused of endorsing injustice and therefore of being imperfect in love. Would you consider a human judge to be a loving person if he let murderers and drug pushers go free without punishment? His actions would indicate that he didn’t love the very people who elected him!
Perfect love must establish a standard of conduct, a code of ethics, that it expects the objects of its love to obey.
That standard of conduct, which God has established, is universally known: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When we act in our own self-interest to the degree that others suffer, God-who in perfect love, loves everyone equally-declares we have sinned.
That universally-known law of love is not something one has to be taught-it is instinctive. We call its voice our conscience. All of us are born with this law written on our hearts because it has been given to us by God. That should be obvious to anyone who has ever heard a two year old protest, “That’s not fair!” He’s voicing the universal internal belief that injustice is not right and selfishness is wrong.
The God who gave every person a conscience is indeed moral and upright. He wouldn’t deposit an instinctive code of ethics within His creatures unless He Himself lived by that same code. Otherwise He’d be hypocritical.
If God isn’t moral and upright, then He isn’t perfect; He isn’t loving; and He isn’t God.
The knowledge of all these attributes of God can be obtained without ever reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, or acquiring a degree in philosophy. All we need to do is open our God-given eyes, turn on our God-given brain, and listen to our God-given conscience.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).