Apologetics: The Character and Nature of God

God has many attributes (qualities) that define who He is and what He is like. Some attributes describe his deity (“god-ness”), and some His character.

You will find that all of God’s attributes are infinite, they are without limit. There is nothing lacking in any quality of God. God is perfect. God’s attributes are infinite. There no limits to His power, understanding, etc. (1 Kings 8:27, Psalms 103:17).

God: The Nature Of His Deity

God is a Person, not a force (Exodus 3:14). God has a will (Exodus 6:6-8), understanding or wisdom (Exodus 3:7, Isaiah 1:18), emotions (1 Kings 11:9, Mark 1:11), and we can communicate with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God is the living God (Jeremiah 10:10).

The Trinity

We believe in one God, the creator of all things, infinitely perfect and existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

– Beatty Community Church
Statement of Faith

God: One And Only

How do we know there is a God?

While the believer already knows God is real, and has God’s Holy Spirit as a witness, the non-believer also has evidence available to him as to God’s existence and some aspects of His nature.

Isaiah 6:3 says that the whole earth is full of God’s glory. Habakkuk 3:3 and Psalms 19:1-4 say the earth and heavens are full of His glory and praise. Acts 14:17 refers to God’s goodness to all men. Romans 1:19-20 says that God has made his power and divinity (God-nature) known to all men through His creation. These passages refer to the evidence of God’s existence from what He has created. (The only other possible meaning of these verses would have to do with human praise towards God, but I don’t think that is the true meaning because obviously not everyone is praising God.)

We also know God exists and what He is like because He revealed Himself to us through the Bible (Romans 10:17).

How do we know there is only one God?

The Bible states in many places that there is only one God. The Hebrew “Shema” in Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear, Israel: Yahweh our God is one Yahweh.” (The “Shema” is the Jewish confession of faith. The word means “hear” in Hebrew.)

The name “Yahweh”, (sometimes also pronounced “Jehovah” or translated “the LORD”) means “I AM” or “the self-existing One”. It is singular, meaning there is only one self-existing being. (By self-existing, I mean that God always existed, was never created, and is not dependent on anyone or anything for his existence

A more direct statement as to the uniqueness of God is found in Isaiah 43:10 where God says “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” Other passages such as Isaiah 44:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 8:6 also say that there is no other God.

General References On Only One God

Trinity is the term that Christians have given to the concept of one God existing as three Persons. The word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, but the concept is. This topic shows where this doctrine came from and how we know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same God.

The scriptures make it very clear that there was, is, and will be only one God.

The Hebrew Shema shows the unity of God (Deuteronomy 6:4). The name “Yahweh” means “the existing one” or “I AM”. It is singular – not “We Are”.

There is only one God. There is no other (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, 32:39, 2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Kings 8:60, 2 Kings 19:15, Psalms 86:10, Isaiah 45:5-6,14,18,21-22, 49:9, Mark 12:29-32, 1 Corinthians 8:4,6, Ephesians 4:6, 1 Timothy 1:17, James 2:19)

There was never any other God before, nor will there ever be another God in the future (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6-8).

God is the First and Last (Revelation 1:4-8, 17, 2:8, 21:6-7, 22:12-16, Isaiah 48:12-16). In the Isaiah passage, the One who is the first and last, who laid the foundation of the earth, has been sent by Yahweh and the Holy Spirit. A clear reference to the Trinity in the Old Testament.

The only wise God (Romans 16:27).

There are many false gods mentioned in the Bible, but only one true God (John 17:3).

All other “gods” in the Bible are not real gods. They are called gods because men perceive them as such and worship them, but they have no divine attributes (Psalms 82:1-8). A real god cannot die. God is talking about those who were placed in positions of authority, like Moses, who was considered god to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1-2). God did not talk directly to Pharaoh, but used Moses as His representative. As such, the way Pharaoh treated Moses was the way God was treated.

God: Three Persons

Trinity means…

There is only one God, but there are three equal and distinct Persons that make up God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are in complete unity. “Trinity” is the word we use to describe this. It means Tri-unity.

How do we know this describes God’s nature?

While the Bible does not use the word “trinity”, it speaks of three Persons as one God, each having the divine nature and character.

Although each Person in the Godhead is equal, each has a different relation to us (example: Matthew 20:22-23). God the Father loved us, Jesus Christ died for us, showing us God’s mercy, and we receive life (a spiritual relationship with God) through the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14, Jude 1:20-21). The Father chose us for salvation, Jesus Christ made justification possible, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us (1 Peter 1:2). When all three Persons are mentioned, the Father is sometimes referred to as just God because His position in the Godhead is the highest.

There is a heirarchy within the Trinity. Jesus said God the Father is greater than Him, and Holy Spirit was sent on Jesus’ authority ( John 14:26,28).

General Reference On Three Persons But One God

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not the same person, but they are the same God. How can three persons exist as one God? We can’t comprehend this, because we exist as only one person in ourselves, but this is the nature of God.

God refers to Himself in the plural (“us”) many times ( Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, Isaiah 6:8, Hosea 12:4-5).

David referred to Yahweh and Lord as two separate persons (Psalms 110:1, Matthew 22:41-46, Revelation 22:16).

The one who laid the foundations of the earth, the I AM, is sent by Lord Yahweh and His Spirit (Isaiah 48:12-17).

The Trinity was present at Jesus’ baptism. While the Holy Spirit descends onto Jesus in the form of a dove, the Father speaks from above and calls Jesus His Son, which means Jesus is of the same nature as the Father (Matthew 3:16-17).

The disciples were told to baptize in the name of the Trinity ( Matthew 28:19).

Paul wrote a benediction in the name of the Trinity (2 Corinthians 13:14).

All Persons of the Trinity have a part in our salvation (1 Peter 1:2).

All Persons of the Trinity have a part in our Christian living ( Jude 1:20-21).

All Persons of the Trinity have a part in building up the Church ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

The Trinity teaches (Nehemiah 9:20, Job 32:8, Isaiah 54:13, Matthew 23:10, John 14:26, Galatians 1:12, 1 John 2:20,27).

Not the same Person playing different roles.

The Persons in the Trinity are distinct. It is not one Person playing different roles. Jesus is not the Father. The Holy Spirit is not Jesus. The following show this:

Jesus did not seek His own glory but that of the Father (John 8:50, Hebrews 5:5).

Jesus spoke not His own words, but the Father’s (John 12:44-50, John 14:10).

Jesus did not know when He would return, but His Father did ( Mark 13:32).

Jesus was forsaken of His Father on the cross (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus, the Lamb, approaches the throne of God (Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 5:6-7).

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from the Father (John 15:26).

Who created the world?

Each Person in the Trinity had a part in creation. God the Father had a part (Genesis 1:26, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalms 100:3, Psalms 102:25, Psalms 148:5, Proverbs 16:4, Isaiah 40:28, Acts 17:24). God’s Son Jesus had a part (Isaiah 48:12-16, John 1:1-3, Acts 3:15, Hebrews 1:1-12, Colossians 1:15-17). The Holy Spirit had a part (Genesis 1:1-2, Job 26:13, 33:4). This shows that these three Persons are the same God.

Who raised Jesus?

Each Person in the Trinity had a part in Jesus’ resurrection. God the Father had a part (Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 33-34, 37, 17:31, Romans 4:24, 6:4, 10:9, 1 Corinthians 6:14, 15:15, 2 Corinthians 4:14, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Hebrews 11:19, 1 Peter 1:21) Jesus had a part (John 2:19-21, 10:17-18). The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). This shows that these three Persons are the same God. (1 Peter 3:18 is also sometimes used to show the Holy Spirit raised Jesus, but it refers more to Jesus’ body coming back to life.)

Omnipotent & Sovereign

Omnipotent means…

Omnipotent means all-powerful, almighty. Nothing is too difficult for God. God is not only most powerful, but is infinitely powerful. (Meaning, no matter how much power God uses, He still has just as much afterwards as he had before. God never tires. Isaiah 40:28)

How do we know God is omnipotent?

Jesus said that nothing is impossible for God (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37), and that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). The Bible also says that nothing is too hard for God in Jeremiah 32:17, 27.

God created the universe out of nothing by simply speaking it into existence (Genesis 1:1, Psalms 148:5, John 1:3, Romans 4:17, Hebrews 11:3), and His power continues to sustain the universe (Nehemiah 9;6, Acts 17:24-28, Colossians 1:17). God is the source for our strength ( Psalms 68:35, Philippians 4:13).

Questions such as “Can God make a rock too heavy for Him to lift?” are not valid because the question tries to force a limitation (i.e. “too heavy to lift”) on a limitless God.

There are things that God cannot do, but they have to do with His character, not His power. He will not violate His character. For example, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18).

Sovereign means…

Sovereign means God does whatever He wants. Nobody and nothing hinders Him.

How do we know God is sovereign?

God is sovereign. There is nothing that can prevent God’s will from being accomplished. Whatever God sets out to do, is done (Psalms 115:3, 119:89-91, 135:6, Proverbs 16:9, Isaiah 43:13, 44:24-28, Daniel 2:21, 4:35).

What significance does God’s omnipotence and sovereignty have for us?

Believers can find great comfort in this. What seems hopeless to us isn’t to God. Whatever God sets out to do, He accomplishes. Nobody can stop Him.

God made certain promises to those who believe in Him. For example, He says He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Since no one can prevent God from fulfilling His will, Paul says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…” ( Romans 8:31,35-39).

God is also the source of our strength. In our weakness, we are to trust in Him. (Isaiah 40:25-31)

Sometimes, God puts us in situations where we can see no way out, for the purpose of increasing our trust in Him. While we can’t see any hope, it’s easy for God.

Omnipresent

Omnipresent means…

This means “everywhere-present”. God is everywhere. However, God is not “in” everything in the pagan sense (i.e. God is not all and all is not God).

How do we know God is omnipresent?

The Bible says there is nowhere in the universe, in heaven or earth, we can go to escape the presence of God (Psalms 139:7-12, Jeremiah 23:23-24). God is distinct from His creation – He existed before the universe and created it ( Isaiah 40:26).

What significance does that have for us?

Because God is present everywhere, we can pray to Him and worship Him where we are. We can do His will wherever He leads us and He will be there with us. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)

Omniscient & All-Wise

Omniscient means…

Omniscient means “all-knowing”. God knows everything. God knows how everything works because He created it. God knows everything that happens because He is omnipresent. He knows everything that happened in the past and what will happen in the future (because He is outside of time – He sees the past, present, and future as if it were all the present to Him).

How do we know God is omniscient?

The Bible says God’s understanding is infinite (Psalms 147:5) and that His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16). He knows all about us (Psalms 139:1-4).

Wise means…

Wise means showing good discernment and judgment.

How do we know God is wise?

Romans 16:27 calls Him the “only wise God”. His wisdom is much higher than ours ( Isaiah 55:8-9, 1 Corinthians 1:25).

What significance does God’s omniscience and wisdom have for us?

God knows what is best for us (more than we ourselves). God’s working in our lives (and everywhere else) is based on His knowledge of the outcome (and vice versa – He has an outcome He desires and He works in our lives to accomplish it).

When we are in situations where we need wisdom, we can ask God, who is the source of wisdom for He offers it to us (Daniel 2:17-23, James 1:5)

We are not God’s experiment where God is trying to gain some sort of additional knowledge. When God allows trials in our lives, God isn’t hoping for the best outcome. He already knows what will happen. He knows what we can and can’t handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). He allows things to happen for His own purposes.

Therefore, we should trust Him, who already knows our future.

Eternal & Self-Existing

Eternal means…

“Eternal” means timeless (existing outside of time), without end. God is immortal. He is not subject to death. God is preexistent. He existed before creation.

How do we know God is eternal?

In Psalms 90:2, the writer says God exists “from eternity to eternity”. God has always existed (Psalms 93:2) and He lives forever (Deuteronomy 32:40).

God is called the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13), or the First and the Last, signifying God existed before anything and after everything is gone, will continue to exist ( 1 Timothy 6:16). (This is not to imply that we will not live forever with God. God said we will. Our life is hid in Him. But our source of life is from God. We are not self-existent)

Self-existent means…

“Self-existing” means never having had a beginning and not being dependent on anyone or anything for existence

How do we know God is self-existing?

God’s name, Yahweh, or “I AM” (Exodus 3:13-14) includes the idea of eternal self-existence.

What significance do these attributes have for us?

God said that those who believe in Him would have eternal life with Him. Because of this promise, and because God is eternal, we can be assured of eternal life.

Holy, Perfect, Righteous & Just

Holy means…

“Holy” means “set apart”. In referring to God, it means He is unique (there is no other god like God) and absolutely pure or good; there is no sin found in Him.

How do we know God is holy?

In Leviticus 11:44, God commands the Israelites to be holy because He is holy. Isaiah 40:25 says God is the Holy One. Psalms 22:3.

Perfect means…

“Perfect” means mature and complete. There is no quality lacking in God.

How do we know God is perfect?

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says we are to be perfect just as God is perfect. (This means we are to be spiritually mature – not lacking in any spiritual quality.)

Righteous means…

“Righteous” means God is morally pure in His relation to others. (The Law is God’s standard of righteousness.) He does not inflict evil on someone unjustly. He has not and cannot sin.

Just means…

“Just” means God fairly administers His law. He is equitable. Those who obey the Law are rewarded and those who disobey the Law are punished.

How do we know God is righteous and just?

Psalms 145:17 declares that God is righteous in all His ways. Isaiah 45:21 and Genesis 18:25 say God is just. God is righteous in His dealings with us even when we are not (Daniel 9:14).

What significance does that have for us?

Because we are now children of God, and we represent Him, we are to be like Him in holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16), perfectness (maturity) (James 1:4), and righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11).

Although we are to act justly in our relationships with others ( Romans 13:7, Colossians 4:1), we are not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-2) – that is God’s job (Deuteronomy 32:35, Psalms 103:6, Romans 12:19)

Loving, Good, Gracious & Merciful

Love means…

God’s love (agape) is unconditional benevolence (favor) toward us. It is because of this love that God shows grace and mercy to us.

How do we know God is love?

1 John 4:8-9 tells us that God is love. It is part of His character. This means that God is the original and supreme example of love It was proven when He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us.

How is God’s justness reconciled with His love?

God is just as well as loving. His justice demands payment for our sin. But because of His love, He paid for our sins Himself, satisfying justice.

Good means…

While ‘good’ refers to God’s righteousness, it also refers to God’s actively seeking the good of those who love Him, and even those who don’t.

How do we know God is good?

God shows His goodness to all men (Matthew 7:11, Psalms 136:25, 145:9, Proverbs 29:13). Psalms 25:8-10 says God is good and upright, teaching men His ways. Jesus said that only one, God, is good (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18).

Gracious means…

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is His beneficial working in our lives.

How do we know God is gracious?

God is gracious and slow to anger (Psalms 145:8). Our salvation is an act of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 2:11), as is our sanctification ( 1 Corinthians 15:10)

Merciful means…

Merciful describes God’s compassion to us. It includes God’s forgiveness of our sins and His protection of us.

How do we know God is merciful?

God’s mercy is seen in his dealings with the Hebrews from the time they left Egypt. Even though they failed to keep His covenant, He forgave them and supplied their needs (Deuteronomy 4:31). God’s mercy is without limit (Psalms 103:17)

What significance does God’s love, goodness, graciousness, and mercy have for us?

If it were not for God’s love, then we would have no hope of salvation (John 3:16). But because of His unconditional love for us, there is nothing we can do to cause God to love us any more or less. We also know that God has our best interests at heart. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).

Trustworthy, Truthful & Immutable

Trustworthy means…

Trustworthy means God keeps His promises. Another word for this is faithful.

How do we know God is trustworthy?

Deuteronomy 7:9 says that God keeps His covenants. Psalms 89:1 says God is faithful. Sometimes we see the fulfilling of God’s promises. At other times it is by faith we believe He will (i.e. Abraham’s faith).

Truthful means…

Truthful means God does not lie.

How do we know God is truthful?

Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2 says that it is impossible for God to lie. John 3:33 says that God is true. Numbers 23:19 says He is immutable.

Immutable means…

Immutable or unchanging means God has always been and will always be the same. No aspect of His character or nature is subject to change. Even though this is more an aspect of His deity, its significance to us is seen also in His character.

How do we know God is immutable?

James 1:17 says that God does not change. (Malachi 3:6, Psalms 102:25-27)

What significance does God’s trustworthiness, truthfulness, and immutability have for us?

The basis of our relationship with God is His promises to us. He promises never to leave us or abandon us and to give us eternal life ( Psalms 37:28, 1 John 2:25). Because we know God keeps His promises, we can be assured of these things ( Lamentations 3:21-24).

God does not change (Malachi 3:6), meaning He has always been and will always be like He is now. This applies not only to His divine nature, but to His character. When God makes a promise, He keeps it.

Creator & Sustainer

How do we know God created everything?

The Bible says that everything that exists was created by God ( Genesis 1:1). The earth and the universe were created by God (Isaiah 48:13, Colossians 1:16). God transcends creation – He is not a part of creation but above it.

How do we know God sustains everything? (What does this mean?)

God not only created everything, but He sustains everything ( Job 12:10, Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:16-17, Acts 17:28, Daniel 5:23, Isaiah 45:18). God didn’t just start the world and let it run down like a top. If God were to cease to exist, so would the universe. God is involved (immanence) in His creation (Isaiah 57:15)

What significance does that have for us?

Our life is in God’s hands. He is in control of everything. We need not worry about what will happen to us when we trust in Him (Philippians 1:6). He knows our weaknesses.


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