Written by Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
Published in the Courier of Russellville, Arkansas on May 8, 2015
Most readers of this paper would probably claim to believe in God. Not all, but most would likely profess to have faith in God, and true faith at that.
That noted, who is this God? Throughout this nation we rarely think about that—far less often than we really should.
I saw that some years ago when an Episcopalian Air Force chaplain in another state took me to a meeting of a community interfaith organization. Among the people there were a Hindu fellow, a Wiccan woman, and even a worshipper of Isis (the ancient Egyptian goddess). Nice folks, all of them.
For the most part their meeting was your average business meeting. If memory serves me right, they were focused on their on-going efforts to put interfaith resources in area hospitals.
Then the meeting got interesting. After they finished their business, they directed their attention to me and another young chaplain candidate. They had some time left over and dedicated it to telling us how we were all alike, how we all worshipped God. Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, worshippers of Isis—according to them, people of every religion worship the same God.
While they all happily nodded their heads, I expressed my doubt. I explained my hunch that we all probably couldn’t even agree on the very first verse of the Bible, which states, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
What happened next was priceless. One of them asserted that I was sorely mistaken; they all could certainly agree with what I had just said. However, immediately after him, another one of them piped up to contradict him, to say they couldn’t. And before the conversation could go much farther, the chair adjourned the meeting.
So who is God? Who is the God you believe in? Do you know?
By and large we say a lot about God. People take his name on their lips many times each day, sometimes to praise him, sometimes to misuse or even abuse his name. It would be good for us to have some understanding of who he is.
What does the Bible say?
In the Bible God has revealed himself as an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable being (as opposed to an impersonal force). As one historic document has summarized the vast testimony of the Bible, God is “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
Furthermore, in many places in Scripture, such as Deuteronomy 6:4, God states that he alone is God. In Isaiah 45:22 we likewise hear, “I am God, and there is no other.”
That noted, God has also revealed himself as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “These three distinct persons are one, true, eternal God,” as one of the Protestant Reformers summarized the teaching of Scripture, such as Matt 3:16-17 and Acts 5:3-4.
Is this the God you believe in? Is this the God you worship? Why or why not?
Think about that.
For further study, read John 10:27-30.