What We Believe: God (Part 1)
“There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe.”
"Who (or what) is God?" Almost everyone asks themselves this question, even if it's just to answer with skepticism that there even is a God. There are many different conceptions of God in the world today. Despite common sayings, these ideas about God cannot all be correct, since they differ widely in what they say God, the gods, or the Ultimate is. Their beliefs about God are so different that they are incompatible, no matter what cute bumper stickers about "Coexisting" may imply.
The religions of the world are often broken down into categories by the number and nature of the gods they worship. Christianity worships one God, so it is called a “monotheistic” religion. This follows from the Jewish belief about God expressed in the Sh’ma: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) Nothing else is god, neither the idols worshipped by the nations around Israel in the past nor the spiritual and material interests that drive humanity today. God is the one true and existing God, as expressed in the name He revealed to Moses, I AM (Exodus 3:14).
Our God is a living and personal God. He is not an impersonal force, nor is He some kind of indefinable “oneness” which is part of everything. He exists with His own thoughts, personality, and attributes (which we will cover in a future post). God is intelligent, which means He is able to think, to plan, and to communicate with Himself and with His creatures. He is the Designer and Creator of the universe, which can be observed to reflect His design and purpose (Psalm 19:1-3). He is spiritual, living not in a body but as a spirit (John 4:24). When Biblical authors use anthropomorphic language, which describes God in human terms, such language is an analogy, not a description of the reality of God. God is also personal, having the ability to relate to Himself and to His creation through His personality rather than as a mere directive force.
While God is the Creator, He did not stop with making the universe and His ultimate creation, humanity. God is also the preserver of His creation, enabling it to continue in its existence and order (Acts 17:27-28). He is the absolute Ruler over His universe, a fact reflected in the traditional beginning a many Jewish prayers: “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe.” This understanding of God as King carries over in the New Testament with the ascription to Jesus as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16).
Perhaps most significantly to us, God is also our Redeemer. This redemption began with the announcement at the Fall of a “seed of the woman” who would conquer Satan, and was continually demonstrated in God’s mighty acts on behalf of His people, Israel. The great act of redemption in the OT, the Exodus, demonstrated God’s power and care for His people. The ultimate act of redemption came in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Later articles of our statement of faith will explore redemption further, but here we simply say that the redemption of humanity is all due to the power and grace of the one true and living God.