The Nature of God

The Knowledge of God

While it’s true that we can never fully comprehend God, it does not follow that we can have no knowledge of Him at all. We can know Him only in part, but nevertheless with a knowledge which is real and true. This is possible because God has revealed Himself (1 John 5:20, John 17:3, Romans 1:19).

Knowledge of God from Special Revelation

While it is not possible to define God, it is possible to give a general description of His being. It’s perhaps best to describe Him as a pure Spirit of infinite perfections. The description involves the following:

God is a pure Spirit

The Bible contains no definition of God. The nearest approach to it is found in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, “God is spirit” (John 4:24)

This means that He is essentially spirit, and that all the qualities which belong to the perfect idea of spirit are found in Him. The fact that He is pure spirit excludes the idea that He has a body of some kind and is in any way visible to the physical eye (1 Tim 6:16).

God is personal

The fact that God is spirit also involves His personality. A spirit is an intelligent and moral being, and when we ascribe personality to God, we mean exactly that He is a reasonable Being, capable of determining the course of His life.

Many deny the personality of God and simply think of Him as an impersonal force or power. However, the God of the Bible is certainly a personal God, a God with whom people can converse, whom they can trust, who enters into their experiences, who helps them in their difficulties, and who fills their hearts with joy and gladness. Moreover, He revealed Himself in a personal form in Jesus Christ (Malachi 2:10, John 14:9b).

God is infinitely perfect

God is distinguished from all His creatures by infinite perfection. His being and virtues are free from all limitations and imperfections. He is not only boundless and limitless, but also stands out above all His creatures in moral perfection and in glorious majesty.

The children of Israel sang of the greatness of God after they passed through the Red Sea: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

God and His perfections are one

Simplicity is one of the fundamental characteristics of God. This means that He is not composed of different parts, and also that His being and attributes are one.

It may be said that God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to man. They are simply so many manifestations of the divine Being. That’s why the Bible says that God is truth, life, light, love, righteousness, and so on.

– Louis Berkhof

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