Theology is defined as “the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity” by Dictionary.com. Even more simply put: Theology is the study of God.
As I think back on all the hundreds of sermons I have sat through, and hundreds of hours of bible teaching and ministry sessions I have sat through, I can’t recall one where the subject was pure theology: just “God!” In this it seems I am not alone. Apparently, even in Christians seminaries, students can graduate without ever hearing a single teaching purely on the characteristics of “God.” Perhaps this has something to do with the Christian God being a “Triune” God; in that He is one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Not an easy concept to get one’s mind around.
About three weeks ago my 8-year-old daughter received the gift of tongues and at the time was shown a vision to the Throne Room of Heaven. She told us that she had seen God the Father, Jesus, hundreds of angels and one seraphim there, and was able to describe each in detail. When asked to describe God the Father, she said He was just like “a bright shining light.” This is the same description of God I saw when He gave me a prophetic vision of a picture of His glory, “a bright shining light.”
When I pray, I occasionally also use the image from Psalm 17:7 of God the Father with His mighty outstretched right hand, gathering, as Luke 13:34 says, his children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings. But other than that, my mental image of God the Father is pretty much identical in every aspect to that of my daughter.
The question which arises is this: what does the Christian Bible say about its author? How does the Bible describe God?
Before we start looking at the Bible descriptions of God, we need to remember that the Hebrews who wrote the Bible often wrote in terms of word pictures. Now this does not mean that in the Bible there are no literal descriptions of God, but that we need to be open to our interpretation of the Bible descriptions: some are literal, some figurative. For example, one day per year one priest would enter the Holy-of-Holies and, I’m guessing here, but I’m sure the image of God which he got was that God was “a bright shining light” amidst a cloud of billowing smoke. I’m pretty sure Moses saw much the same as he communed with God the Father on the mountaintop. This all makes sense when we recall Exodus 13:21 which says literally that “Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the right away, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night.”
The first thing we can know about God is that He is a Spirit Being. He was not “made”, He just “is.”
Secondly, as Job 13:8 and Hebrews 1:3 demonstrate, God the Father is a Person. He has a personal spirit body, a personal spirit soul, a personal spirit like that of angels and man, but his body is spirit substance, rather than flesh and blood. Studying the Bible, we can see God the Father as being omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (all places and one time) and omniscient (all knowing), yet He travels (Exodus 13:21) and He moves about (Exodus 33:22). God is also seen as being, if not endowed with human physiology, as being attributed as possessing or acting as if he possesses many aspects and characteristics of human physiology. Certainly this means God has a bodily presence, as Genesis 3:8 demonstrates, when He came to talk with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for they (Adam and Eve) “… heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”
When God spoke to Adam and Eve and to Moses, He had a voice (Exodus 6:2) and a finger (Deuteronomy 9:10) with which He wrote the 10 commandments into the stone tablets. As He spoke to Moses (Deuteronomy 5:22-25) all of the Hebrews heard Him and were terrified. To speak, means God has a mouth (Numbers 12:8), and with that lips and tongue (Isaiah 30:27) and nostrils (Psalm 18:8) from which issued smoke and through which he can breathe (Genesis 2:7). With his nose, God can smell (Genesis 8:21) and with his tongue God can taste (Leviticus 1:17). Through His eyes and eyelids (Psalm 11:4), God can see and through his ears (Psalm 18:6), God can hear.
God has body parts like a waist, loins (legs) (Ezekiel 1:27) and feet (Exodus 24:10) on which He stands. God has a face, a back and hands (Exodus 33:23) and an unseen form (John 5:37), with mighty hands and arms (Deuteronomy 5:15) and He sits on a throne (Isaiah 6).
Though a Spirit body, God has a personal spirit with a heart and emotions, who can be hurt and grieved (Genesis 6:6). God has a mind (Romans 11:34) and can be angry (1 Kings 11:9), repentant (Genesis 6:6), jealous (Exodus 20:5) and can hate (Proverbs 6:16).
As we look at these physiological and emotional attributes of God from the Bible, we find in many ways, God is like us. In a minute sense this is true, for as Genesis 5:1 says “… In the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.” But to all practical and theological comparisons, we are so, so very far from God, such that there is less difference between us and a single bacteria from your kitchen sink, than there is between us and God.
God gave us the His Holy Bible as the A-Z of Life for mankind. In the Bible, God gave us and gives us (for it is certainly His Living Word) revelations of Himself with which we can cope and understand, with our limited mental powers.
Ultimately, the Christian God is a relational God and He wants to fellowship with us. God’s only begotten son Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we may be justified and live forever with Him in heaven; if we will but accept God for who He is, and accept Jesus for who He is.
Genesis 1:1 starts the Bible saying “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The word rendered here as “God” is the Hebrew אלהים or ‘ĕlôhı̂ym (pronounced el-o-heem’) is a plural noun. Thus, from the beginning, we can see that God was not alone, but had Himself for company in the form of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. This is confirmed again in Genesis 1:26 where we read that “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…” Not long after God had made man, as Genesis 2:18 tells us, “Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” and then God made Eve for Adam, so that Adam would have company. This is certainly evidence of a loving and caring and a relational God.
If we never study the Theology of God the Father, how can we ever come to an appreciation of who God is and what God has done for us ? Throughout His life on earth, Jesus did not take the focus of those around Him onto Himself, but rather, at all times pointed them to God the Father, as He says in John 14:10“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The Words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works.”
Brothers and sisters, let us regularly spend time on the study of God. I pray this article will help open your eyes and mind and heart and it has mine, and be a small stepping stone in establishing a better and closer relationship with our God.