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Greatest Story Ever Told - Who Is God - Chapter 2
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'... God ...', Gen. 1
But wait a second. We have reviewed the history of the universe, and even the history of angels before humans were created. So who are all these folks anyway?
First of all we were introduced to God. Then we were introduced to angels. And we haven't seen either of these two. We know about dinosaurs because we have seen pictures of their bones in books and on TV, and we have even seen them in museums. We know what plants and animals are because they are outside of our homes and schools and work places. We see them, smell them, and touch them everyday.
But who is God? What does He do for a living? Where does He live? What does He eat? Can we see Him? Wow! Questions, questions, questions.
Well God is a living being. Kind of like you and me. We live and breathe, and eat and sleep, but God is a little different than you and I. Well, actually He is a lot different.
God is the beginning of all life. He is a real person certainly, but He is not a human being, like you and I. God is not an animal, He is not a fish, nor even a plant. God is not a part of nature like some mysterious invisible force making all things grow.
God is a spirit. A spirit is a supernatural being that is far greater than you and me. If you watch cartoons on TV, then you have seen all those super hero guys and gals. They fight all the evil in the world and have some pretty cool powers, but they also have their weak moments. Sometimes they get tied up or caught in the grip of the bad guys powers. Not so with God.
God on the other hand is far greater than all those cartoon super heroes. God is perfect. When we think of God we need to realize something first. God is three separate persons. Though we refer to the one name 'God', this is really referring to all three persons in Gods family. Think of it as your family name. If your last name is Jones for example, then when people say Jones, then they are referring to your entire family - your mom and dad and brothers and sisters or whom ever there is in your family. Also, someone could be talking to you directly and call you by your last name - Jones. Kind of like this, 'Come on Jones. Lets go to the store.' So even though they called you by your last name, they are really talking to you specifically and not to your entire family. So the context of the conversation determines to whom they are speaking.
Well, God is the family name of the three persons in Gods family. They have names also. The head of the family is God the Father and He is called simply that - Father. The second member of that family is the Son or God the Son. But the son actually has a name - Jesus Christ, and we refer to Him generally by that name. The third person of the family is called the God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes He is referred to as the Spirit of God, or even just the Spirit. Some people call Him the Holy Ghost, but He isn't really a ghost, it is just a name some folks use.
Now we have the three persons of Gods family - Father, Son, and Spirit. And remember that the Son has an additional name - Jesus Christ. This is very important to remember because He will be the single most important person in your life. The Son, is the one who created all that you see around you. He even created your life. He created the stars we see at night and all those galaxies in the night sky. He created the sun that keeps us warm during the daytime, and all the animals and plants we see everyday. He even created all those tiny little things we can see under the microscope. Things we think of as being invisible. Jesus Christ created everything that exists.
But who created God? Well, no one. God has always existed. From a time long, long ago. Even before time began, God existed. God was perfectly happy during that period of time. But God had a plan. Actually the Father had a plan and the Son and the Spirit agreed with the plan because it was a perfect plan. God was going to create living creatures and then have them live with Him forever in the universe. But He wanted creatures who could make up their own minds and choose what they would want. He also had to let history run its course so that all living things could choose for or against God. And those who chose for God would live with God, and those who chose against God would not live with God. Choosing to live with God is very good because everything good comes from God. Choosing to live apart from God is very bad because there is nothing nor anyone else in the universe that can hold your life together. Running away from God means that you will be destroying your own life.
God had to teach people all the good things that would happen in their lives if they chose for God, so that they would actually choose to be with God. God also had to teach people all the bad things that would happen to them if they refused to be with God.
Since God holds the universe together, then by choosing to be with God, you also choose to be a part of life that is supported by God, a very happy life and a very prosperous life. If you choose to be away from God, then there is nothing that can support your life, since God is that only thing that holds life together, and by choosing against God, then, your life would fall apart in disaster, and you would not be very happy. You would be totally miserable.
So who is God? What is He like, and how does he hold all of this universe together?
Well God, all three members of His family, have certain super abilities. They know and can do things that we could never do or even imagine. Actually there are ten characteristics that make God different from all of us, and that makes Him far superior to any one of us. These are those ten characteristics. Now some of these words are big words, but we'll describe each one of them.
They are: 1. Omniscience, 2. Omnipotence, 3. Omnipresence, 4. Immutability, 5. Veracity, 6. Eternal Life, 7. Love, 8. Justice, 9. Righteousness, and 10. Sovereignty. These are the ten characteristics that make God unique. Each one of the members of the Godhead possesses them (that is what we call the family of God sometimes - the Godhead. We also call the family of God the Trinity sometimes because there are three members in the family).
Anyway, all three persons of Gods family have these characteristics. So they are all identical in a way because they all have these characteristics, that is why we say that God is 'one', which means one in essence. Gods essence is made up of these ten things. But remember that God is three separate individuals, even though they all have these same characteristics.
This makes all three members of Gods family equal, or co-equal with each other. They are all the same. They have the same knowledge. They have the same abilities. Again, this is why we say that God is one.
Now for each of these characteristics.
1. Omniscience. What in the world is that? Well, that is when you know everything. When you are young, very young, you think that your mom and dad know everything. They are so smart. Mom cooks really cool foods, you know the good for you things like cookies and fudge. Right!! And Dad can fix anything, well most anything. He can do this because he generally gets lots of practice with your toys and mom's house stuff. You know that dad's favorite phrase on those toy boxes is 'Some Assembly Required', right? This really means that the kids will put it together and dad will watch in awe as they figure it out. Ok, so mom and dad are not omniscient, but they do know a lot. When you get into your teens, then you realize that it is 'you' who really knows it all, and that mom and dad are kept around to provide allowance and such.
Ok, so what does this have to do with God? Well, God is omniscient. God knows everything. He not only knows all that there is to know, but He knows all that could be, too. If you decided to stay home from school, God would know what you will actually do at home. But if you had decided to go to school, like you should, then God knows what you would have done at school. God knows everything that you actually do, and He knows all the things that you might have done if you had made different choices. More than this. God knew all these things long ago, long before you and I were even alive. He knew what we would think, what we would decide, and even what we would do at every moment of our lives. So omniscience means that God knows all that there is to know about actual things and even possible things. God is really smart. Far smarter than you or me.
2. Omnipotence means all powerful. God has total and complete power. He can do anything He wants. He can make things out of nothing. He made the universe out of nothing. If He wanted a plate of cookies, then He could just think cookies and they would appear, right in the cookie jar. God can do more than create things, He created all life - you and me, angels and animals and plants and so forth. God created all life. God can even move mountains if He wanted. He could pick them right up and throw them into the sea. So God is pretty strong. He can be very gentle too. He can hold each one of us and not harm us at all, but protect us, even with that same power that he created the universe.
3. Omnipresence means that God is everywhere. God is not fixed at one point like you and I are. We are either sitting or standing, or laying down or even walking. We can only be at one place at one time. Sure we could have cameras all over the place and watch those places on a TV screen, but we would not be at those places. We would be in a room looking at the TV screens that were hooked to wherever we had cameras. God is different. He does not have a body like you and I do. God is a spirit, and this allows Him to be everywhere at the same time. He is right in the room with you, right now as you read these words. God is with you when you are at school or at work. He is with you when you are asleep. God is in all the universe all the time, so nothing escapes His eye. He can see everything. He can even see your thoughts. So you cannot hide anything from God. There are no secrets kept from God. He knows everything and is everywhere so He can see everything, too.
4. Immutability means to always be the same. God never changes. And this is important because this makes God reliable and stable and dependable. God has had the same essence since eternity past. He has had the same policy with which He deals with each one of us during our lives. He even dealt with the angels with that same policy. So God is fair. He doesn't treat you any differently than He would treat anyone else. But more than this, God is unchangeable. He can't change Himself, nor is He susceptible to outside forces that might try to make Him change. This all makes God reliable, stable, and dependable. We know that once we get to know God, we can be secure in the knowledge that God will never cheat us, nor change the rules on us. When God makes a promise, He keeps it, and God has made many promises for each one of us.
5. Veracity means truth. Actually it means absolute truth. Gods ways are truth. His works are truth. His words are truth. There is not even the tiniest bit of a lie or distortion in God. He doesn't try to deceive anyone, or fool anyone. God always tells it like it is, and He always give you the choice of making up your own mind. When we deal with truth, then we can make decisions on reliable information. God always gives us correct information.
6. Eternal Life means to live for ever, and even to have lived forever in the past as well. God has always existed. There was never a time when God did not exist. It's kind of difficult for us to grasp never having a beginning, but God never had one. He has always existed. God is sometimes called the 'self existing one', or 'Yahweh'. God has even been referred to as 'I Am', which simply means the self existing one, with no beginning and no end. God is entirely self contained. He has everything He needs to exist. He does not depend on anything or anyone to sustain His existence. Unlike you and me and our needs for food, clothes, shelter, toys and such, God does not need anything to keep Himself going. He is the origin of all things and the source of all things.
7. Love began with God. God is a perfect love though. We think of love in emotional terms and often we get all gooey in our emotions. But God is the best of all kinds of love. God is tolerant, and He treats us with patience. He does not treat us with conditions, or strings attached to His attitude toward us. He is fair and consistent in His policy toward us. He treats everyone the same and in all fairness. He does not have prejudice toward anyone, nor does He favor anyone over you or visa versa. God applies His policy evenly and fairly all of the time to all peoples.
8. Justice is one of God greatest attributes. God is honest. God can have nothing to do with anything that is unfair, or sinful, or wrong in any way. His justice demands that anything that is not truthful must be rejected, and or punished. If God sees sin, or wrong doing, then He makes sure that it is punished. Sometimes we get on the wrong side of God and then He will discipline us for that wrong. His justice is really our point of contact with Him. All sin had to be judged, So Gods justice looked at all that was not right and demanded that it be punished. This is why His son, the Son of God, the second person of the trinity, or who we know as Jesus Christ, came to this world as a man and went to the Cross to bear the punishment of our sins on Himself and in our place. We as mere humans could not bear this punishment on ourselves. The punishment of even one sin would be far greater than we could bear. We would not survive it. So the Son of God, Jesus Christ came to earth, as a man, and went in our place, to the Cross to receive this punishment that Justice demanded. If the price for sin had not been paid, then we would not have any access to God. Our existence would simply melt away into oblivion. God can have no contact with sin, and since all of us are sinful, then God could have no contact with us. So Gods justice found a way to get around this barrier. We call that plan the Cross, and we gain access to that plan by simply believing in Jesus Christ who went to the Cross for us, to save us.
9. Righteousness is God perfection and absolute separation from all sin. It is Gods sinless character, His perfect goodness. God has strict standards by which He lives. These standards are sin free. There are no flaws or defects in God. He has never sinned God is not able to sin. God is able, not to sin. He has perfect self discipline. God cannot be tempted, nor tested in any way that will make Him stumble or fail in His life. By the way the combination of Gods righteousness and His justice come together to make up Gods Holiness, and when you add His love to the package then you have His policy of grace toward mankind. By adding his characteristic of immutability then you have Gods faithfulness, but that is all another story.
10. Sovereignty is Gods sole decision making authority. He is the supreme ruler of the universe. His authority and His will, are absolute. He makes decisions based on the best result for each one of us. He never makes decisions that will end in harm for anyone. When people get hurt, it is due to their own bad decisions, not Gods. He determined what historical plan to choose. He decides when each one of us will come to life, in history. He makes all of these decisions for everyone and everything, even animals and the weather, based on what is best for us. He does all of this based on His omniscience, His total knowledge of what will happen, and on what might happen in time.
Hummm. Lets see now. That is all of the list of characteristics of God. Probably a good place to stop for this chapter.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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