There are many different views about what God is like. He can be depicted as a nice old man upstairs or an ogre under the toll bridge. We often make God what we want Him to be like rather than who He really is. The God of the Bible is often different than the popular persona of Him. The way we—including many Christians—like to picture God is not the way God. What is God like to you? Here are some common views of God voiced by people today:
God is like a Grandpa. The grandpa-God is popular, forgiving, and a generous giver. Whenever we do something wrong he smiles and says, “It’s okay, I understand, don’t worry, I love you. Here’s some ice cream.” He is positive and reluctant to punish—sometimes forgetful. Grandpa God loves to spoil and send home his grandchildren satisfied.
God is like Santa Claus. Some think God is like a Cosmic Easter Bunny, Mr. Rogers, or jolly old St. Nick. “He sees you when your sleeping, He knows when your awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” He likes to give lots of gifts; blessings to all good kids and coal to the bad kids. All we have to do is ask and He will give us whatever we desire, like a genie in a bottle. The problem with the Santa Claus God is that the older we get the harder it is to believe that He is real.
God is like my Buddy. Some think God is like a casual friend. We go together like milk and cookies or macaroni and cheese. We text and Facebook each other often, but it is nothing more than casual and fun conversation. We like to call on Him when we need a friend because he is non-judgmental and low-maintenance. He will look out for us, but doesn’t interfere with our personal business.
God is like an Unfair Judge. Some think God is commonly known as the overbearing, always anger judge. He wears a long flowing judicial robe and carries a gavel waiting to inflict punishment and pain on sinners. He keeps a list of our tardies and demerits. This God is overly involved in our daily lives and world events. He is angry at sin and rightfully punishes the unfaithful. Feeling guilty?
Is God like some of these characteristics? God is loving, forgiving, and blessing. He is a friend. He is just and angry at sin. God is very different—compared to you and than most popular concepts of Him. As we read through the Bible we see that God is not like us. We have already discussed that I believe the Bible is absolutely true, which includes what that Bible says about God. He is set apart. He is in a class of His own. He is not untouchable or unattainable; rather He is distinct in His divine attributes. Here is what the Bible says God is like and humanity’s responsibility to Him:
Man is responsible to God because He is an indefatigable Creator
In the first verse of the first book of the Bible it declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” [Genesis 1:1] Everything exists [i.e. mountains, mammals, microorganisms, Milky Way] because God is—including you and me [cf. Genesis 1:26-27]. God spoke and it was. The Bible says that the creation itself sings of it Creator, “The heavens declare Your glory” [Psalm 19:1; cf. Romans 1:19-20].
God is a beautiful Creator. As the Creator of the universe and everything He does not get tired, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” [Isaiah 40:28] It is true God rested the seventh day of creation not because He was tired, but as a model for His creation who is not omnipotent. As Creator, there is not a job God cannot handle, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.” [Jeremiah 32:17]. The affairs of seven billion people on this planet are not outside His job description either.
Now there are some people that argue, “So what if God made all that is and me? That doesn’t mean He is intimately involved in the affairs of His creation nor govern over it? Even if He is governing, He is not doing a very good job!” This is easily debunked when we look at the remainder of the Scripture that follows Genesis 1. From Genesis 2 through Revelation 22—even now—God is intimately involved in the lives of His people. God is alive and at work. Since He is my Creator and Originator, He owns me and expects me to obey.
Man is responsible to God because He is infinitely Holy
Not only is God a Creator—He is infinitely holy. In other words, God cannot sin. It is not that He doesn’t know the nature of sin; rather His holy character prevents Him from sinning. When getting a glimpse of God, Isaiah see angelic beings praising God saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” [6:3] God is holy, which means He is sinless. When Isaiah saw God for who He was [holy], he also saw himself for who he was [unholy].
Since God is sinless He cannot be prejudiced [Acts 10:34-35]. He cannot break a promise [Psalm 89:34]. Therefore, He does not know of a sin He cannot not forgive nor think of a better plan of salvation than His own [Exodus 34:6-7]. God is who He says He is—perfect and infinitely holy. Since God is holy, He expects holiness from His creation. There is no sin in His heaven. Those whose sin is not covered by the blood of Christ will not be in heaven either.
God is not a garbage man throwing out our sinful trash without a cost and delivering to the local dump never to be recovered again. Our sin does have a severe cost: death [Romans 3:23]. Sin must be judged. Yet in God’s grace He sent Jesus Christ to pay the ransom for my sin and He stands as my advocate before the throne. When I commit my life to Christ His blood declares me, “Not guilty!” He loves righteousness and justice.
In Summary, what is God like? He is not like us. He is Creator and Holy. He is perfect and without sin. Since God is my holy Creator I am responsible to Him. He owns me. I report to Him. He is the standard by which I live by and will be judged. If you want to know about what God is like look at Jesus [Read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John]. Is this your God? Do you know Him?