Table of Contents
NATURE OF GOD
This section goes over the theological questions concerning the nature of God in relation to the attributes of God.
How Does God Reveal Himself?
To understand the nature of God, it is important to understand how He reveals Himself to us. God reveals Himself in many different ways and through various sources. The Bible teaches up that God reveals Himself in a universal manner, equally to all people; and to individuals, He appeals to each man according to the type of person that they are.
Revealed To All People
The nature of God and His divine attributes are revealed to everyone:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1.20
God reveals Himself in our conscience
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…” – Romans 2.14-15
God reveals Himself through His Word:
God reveals Himself through His Son:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds… – Hebrews 1.1-2
Nature of God Revealed To Individuals
To People Individually, God does reveal Himself in different ways
26. With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 27. with the purified you deal purely, and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. – 2 Samuel 22.26-27 (Ps 18.26)
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. – Titus 1.15
whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), – 1 Kings 8.38-39
THE WILL(S) OF GOD
It is important to understand Gods will to understand the nature of God. God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will:
… the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will – Ephesians 1.11
The Bible teaches that, to the best of our human understanding, God has 2 different yet cohesive ‘Wills.’ Meaning there is 1 desired direction that He will accomplished, but 2 ways that He works to accomplish it.
We know that God is sovereign and nothing will hold back His plans or desires. God created creatures that have a choice or free-will to either choose His way or a different way, therefore some things are done contrary to what He desires, because of this free-will. Although this is true, the ultimate workings of the universe and everything that is done by the creatures in the universe will succumb to His divine plan, and Hid sovereign purposes will succeed in the end.
God’s Perfect Will (or Moral Will)
The perfect will of God is that which corresponds as if all of His creation was perfect, the way He created them to be. In other words God desires everything to be in love, perfection, holiness and beauty because those are His divine attributes; and He desires all His creations to follow His ways.
The nature of God in perfection and love, desires what is good and joyful and for all His creations that they may experience His beauty and glory, joy and peace, for He is the author of everything good.
- He desires that all men would repent and be saved. [2 Peter 3.9; 1 Tim 2.4]
- He does not want any wicked person to perish, or to have to face judgment. [Ezekiel 18.23]
(God) Whose desire is that all men may have salvation and come to the knowledge of what is true. – 1 Timothy 2.4
Although this is true, because He gave mankind the ability to have free will to choose, the fact remains that some people will willingly choose to turn away from God. Therefore He must use His Divine Will to satisfy His divine nature:
God’s Divine Will (or Sovereign Will)
To understand the nature of God, it is important to understand His Divine Will. This is His will that dictates His actions corresponding to all of His divine attributes, in face of opposition to His ways. Even though He doesn’t want the wicked to perish, He will punish them and send them to hell because He is just and holy.
The wicked will perish, and God knows who is going to perish. God is pleased to do justice.
Like a father that has to correct His children, even though He loves them, He must discipline them to effectively correct them. As for those who are not Hid children, He will sentence them to the punishment they deserve.
This means that God, whom knows everything, allows us to have free will and free choice in order to choose [Joshua 24.15] what we will serve or desire, yet He will still decide the result of our choices.
Examples of God’s 2 Wills
Hardening of Pharaoh
Perfect Will: God wanted His people to go free
Come, then, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may take my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. – Exodus 3.10
Divine Will: He Harden Pharaohs heart so He wouldn’t let them go
And the Lord said to Moses, When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have given you power to do: but I will make his heart hard and he will not let the people go. – Exodus 4.21
Purpose: Why?: That His power and glory might be shown
And the Lord said to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh: for I have made his heart and the hearts of his servants hard, so that I may let my signs be seen among them: And so that you may be able to give to your son and to your son’s son the story of my wonders in Egypt, and the signs which I have done among them; so that you may see that I am the Lord. – Exodus 10.1-2
Jesus Died for all the sins of the world on the cross.
Perfect Will: God hates murder, execution of the innocent, the plotting of evil men & betrayal. [Luke 23.11]
Divine Will: It was God’s will (plan) that Jesus would die for the sins of all men. [Acts 2.23]; It pleased the Father to bruise the Son, knowing what would become of it [Isaiah 53.10]
Purpose: Why?: This had to take place because of mans free will that chose sin; so God could have a plan of redemption. [Hebrews 2.10]
Israel Failed to Believe in Messiah – and be Saved
Perfect Will: God desired the salvation of His people Israel
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, putting to death the prophets, and stoning those who are sent to her! Again and again would I have taken your children to myself as a bird takes her young ones under her wings, and you would not! – Matthew 23.37
Divine Will: God hid it from their eyes [Matt 23.38]
What then? That which Israel was searching for he did not get, but those of the selection got it and the rest were made hard. – Rom 11.7
Purpose: Why?: So that God would move the Jews to jealousy by choosing the gentiles (non-Jews); and repent.
So I say, Were their steps made hard in order that they might have a fall? In no way: but by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, so that they might be moved to envy. – Rom 11.11
The Final War
In the last battle against Jesus, the anti-Christ will act according to God’s will! the anti-Christ beast comes from the abyss and is the personification of all sin and rebellion.
Perfect Will: God’s desire is that all men would submit to Jesus willingly, and that no one would have to die in their sins; waging war with Jesus is sin.
Divine Will: God will give into the 10 Earth kings will to give their power to the beast, so that God’s word will be fulfilled, so the beast can make war with Jesus. [Rev 17.8]
Purpose: Why?: So that all evil will finally be put in its place and God will overcome the evil one (devil).
Those who do God’s will, will be saved
Gods perfect [or moral] will is required to be followed by His children. [matt 7.21, 12.50; 1Jn2.17] God wants us to follow His perfect will for our lives, but if he has to, He will use His divine will to either correct us or judge us at the end.
GOD DOES WHATEVER HE PLEASES
Another aspect of hte nature of God is to understand that He does (or works) all things according to his will. He does what He wants to do, and He is able to because He is Sovereign.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: – Eph 1.11
Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in Earth, in the seas, and all deep places. – Psalms 135.6; Ps 115.3; Isa 46.10
Making clear from the first what is to come, and from past times the things which have not so far come about; saying, My purpose is fixed, and I will do all my pleasure; – Isa 46:10
God does not do anything by consulting with His creatures, or by conforming to their view; because He is the Supreme Being, perfect above everything and everything is dictated ultimately by His divine will. Anything other than His will would be less then infinitely wise and perfect and glorious.
No One Can Resist His Will
God gave free-will to all His creatures, but no one can resist God’s ultimate plans. He will carry them out to completion just as He tell us in His word, and His words will come to pass. Even what man plans for evil, God uses for good
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive – Gen 50.20
WHY DID HE CREATE EVERYTHING, US?
God not only created everything, but He holds everything together by His power.
Who, being the outshining of his glory, the true image of his substance, supporting all things by the word of his power, having given himself as an offering making clean from sins, took his seat at the right hand of God in heaven; – Hebrews 1.3 (BBE)
who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; – Hebrews 1.3 (ASV)
Everything exists and continues to exist because God is holding it all together constantly. All creation depends on God to exist and continue existing.
God created everything for His pleasure
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. – Revelation 4.11
We were created for Him
For by him all things were made, in heaven and on Earth, things seen and things unseen, authorities, lords, rulers, and powers; all things were made by him and for him – Colossians 1.16
What does this mean?
Does this mean God created us to be some form of entertainment? No, he created us in His image to have a relationship with us. To share eternity with us and all of His fullness (attributes of goodness, love, mercy, etc.).
And God said, Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the Earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the Earth. – Genesis 1.26
For you did not get the spirit of servants again to put you in fear, but the spirit of sons was given to you, by which we say, Abba, Father. – Romans 8.5
As we were designed before by him for the position of sons to himself, through Jesus Christ, in the good pleasure of his purpose, – Ephesians 1.5
God created us to share in all His glory forever:
In God’s presence is all joy, peace, delight and fulfillment. God is the one we should seek because He is the source of all goodness; and we should delight in Him alone because He is God our Father, and He alone is worthy.
Have no fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12.32
You will make clear to me the way of life; where you are joy is complete; in your right hand there are pleasures for ever and ever. – psalms 16.11
The delights of your house will be showered on them; you will give them drink from the river of your pleasures. For with you is the fountain of life: in your light we will see light. O let there be no end to your loving mercy to those who have knowledge of you, or of your righteousness to the upright in heart. – Psalms 36. 8-10
WHAT DOES GOD DESIRE
To understand the nature of God it is important to understand what He desires. This section will describe the things that please God, and why. In order for us as humans to understand and attempt to please God we have to listen to Him to learn what pleases Him.
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. – Eph 5.10
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God – Col 1.10
For mankind, God has 2 types of desires, a universal desire for our lives and a personal desire for our lives. God has a specific pattern and law He desires for us to follow as His people, but He also has a personal plan for your life He wants you to fulfill.
Universal Desire for all Mankind
God desires that all men would trust in Him. Trusting in God means repenting from a life of sinfulness and living according to God’s nature.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3.9
God requires us to have lasting obedient faith.
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Sam 15.22
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. – 1 John 2.19
To fear Him and hope in His mercy
The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Ps 147.11
To know who He is, and gives rewards
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Heb 11.6
What Pleases God
To understand the nature of God it is important to understand what pleases Him. The Bible reveals that there are 2 kinds of pleasures God takes in His creation.
- 1.) Obedient – Those done by a creature desiring to serve God in obedience,
- 2.) Reflective – Those done by the disobedient that reflect God’s goodness or original intent.
Only those who belong to God and are His children are able to please him fully without restraint, because they belong to Him and act so they may please their Heavenly Father.
There are some things that reflect His character and goodness that He is pleased with even though they are done with a disobedient heart, such as a just weight in the marketplace (Pr 11.1) or a faithful wife to her husband.
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. – Proverbs 11.1
God tells us that even the disobedient, when they do something good, do it according to the law of God written on their heart, in their conscience. Even though tainted, a good deed done by a disobedient heart still reflects God original goodness that was put into motion and His original intent for His creation. It is in this sense that God is please with the act or deed.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another – Romans 2.14-15
God is please by those who keep His commandments
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight – 1 John 3.22
A renewed mind in Him
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12.2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. – Romans 12.1
Living a spiritual life
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. – Romans 8.5
Doing good deeds
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. – Hebrews 13.16
Producing spiritual fruit
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith – Galatians 5.22-23
To have the knowledge of (about) God
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings – Hosea 6.6
Overcoming evil and sinfulness
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. – 1 Corin 10.13
the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one – 1 John 2.14
everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5.4
References – Nature of God
Systematic Theology, Dr. Norman Geisler V.II God & Creation.