11th August 2013

God—What Comes to Mind? 

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV UK) 

If someone says to you the word God, what first comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably think of a solitary figure somewhere in the sky. You might picture him as an elderly gentleman with a flowing white beard and a white robe. Or maybe as an aged black executive in a business suit, as portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the movies Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. Or maybe something like George Burns’ portrayal of God as an elderly character in Hawaiian shirts and tennis shoes. 

Some people think of God as actively involved in their lives, while others think of God as detached and remote, out there watching us “from a distance,” but not really involved, as suggested in the Bette Midler song. And then there’s the idea of an impotent God who might just be one of us, “like a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home” as proposed in the Joan Osborne song. 

How does the Bible present God? Many might think that the Bible presents God as a stern Judge, handing out divine rewards and punishments—mostly punishments—on everyone, based on how well they measure up to his high standard of perfect living. Even many Christians think of God this way—a harsh Father God who is prepared to destroy everybody until his kind and merciful Son steps in to give his life for wayward human beings. 

But that is decidedly not the biblical view of God. The Bible presents the reality of who God is through only one lens: the lens of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ alone is the perfect revelation of the Father. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus said (John 14:9 (NIV). If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus Christ. Jesus and the Father are one, the Gospel of John tells us. If Jesus is kind and merciful, and he is, then so is the Father. And so is the Holy Spirit—sent by the Father and the Son—by whom the Father and the Son dwell in us and lead us into all truth.

 God is not detached and uninvolved, watching us from afar. God is intimately and passionately involved in his creation at every moment continuously. For humanity, this means that God, who is Father, Son and Spirit, loves every human being into existence and loves them every moment throughout their existence in God’s redemptive way toward God’s final purpose for them, eternal life as his beloved children. 

If we want to think of God in a biblical way, we need to think of Jesus Christ, who is the perfect revelation of the Father. In Jesus Christ, all humanity, including you and me, has been drawn into the eternal bond of love and peace Jesus shares with the Father.

May we learn to accept and embrace the truth about who God has already made us to be with him in Christ, his children.

Holy Father, may we learn to accept and embrace the truth about who God has already made us to be with him in Christ, his children. This takes your eyes for us to see, and we humbly ask for your mercy in this regard. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

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