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 Who is God?

Now we will take the next exciting step: Let us talk about the wonderful God who reveals himself in the Bible.

Long ago, the apostle Paul visited the Greek city of Athens. He found that the people there knew very little about God. Listen what he tells them:

"As I walked through your city and looked at the places you worship,  I found an altar on which was written, "To an unknown God. That which  you worship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now proclaim  to you" (Acts 17:23).

What Paul said about those people in Athens is also true today of many millions of people all over the world. They believe in God, but he is an unknown, strange and mysterious figure!

The Bible has good news for each one that seeks after God: You can get to know God. And more than that: you can have a personal relationship with God! This personal relationship with God is the very heart of true faith.

God Reveals Himself

As we have already said, God is unknowable if man has to depend on his own small mind alone. We can only know God if and when he reveals himself to us by making himself known to us. He reveals himself in different ways.

1. He reveals himself in a general way in his great creation. As the Bible  says:

"How clearly the sky reveals God's glory!
How plainly it shows what he has done! ...
No speech or words are used,
no sound is heard;
yet their voice goes out to all the world
and is heard to the ends of the earth."
(Psalm 19:1, 3, 4)

This revelation is very often misunderstood, as explained by the apostle Paul:

"Ever since God created the world,
his invisible qualities,
both his eternal power and his divine nature,
have been clearly seen;
they are perceived in the things that God has made.
So those people have no excuse at all!
They know God,
but they do not give him the honour that belongs to him,
nor do they thank him. ...
Instead of worshipping the immortal God,
they worship images made to look
like mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles"
(Romans 1:20-23).

2. God then also spoke to his people through prophets and priests. They were the messengers of God that made the will of God clear to the people.

3. He revealed himself best of all through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as we shall see later.

"In the past, God spoke to our ancestors many times
and in many ways through the prophets,
but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son"
(Hebrews 1:1-2).

4. Today he still speaks to us through his Word, the Bible. In the Bible we find the messages that God gave through creation, the prophets and also through Jesus Christ. The whole Bible is a description of how God revealed Himself to men and how he worked in their lives.

God is Almighty

In the Bible we learn that God is mightier than all things that are mighty. He is the all-knowing, glorious God of all creation.. He is the Lord of all nations and of everything that exists everywhere in this world or in the rest of the universe. He is the perfection of beauty, power and purity. He is the source of the beautiful, peaceful sunset, the joy of the early morning light or dawn, and the new life of every spring.

God is Love

What is even more wonderful, God reveals himself in the Holy Bible as a God of love, who feels for us as no other can, so kind and peace-giving.

"God is love, and God showed his love for us
by sending his only Son into the world,
so that we might have life through him"
(1 John 4:8-9).

The more you read the Bible, the more you will come to understand something of his wonderful nature.

God, our Heavenly Father

And now, dear student, prepare to receive the greatest wonder of it all: The Bible teaches us that this great and glorious God who is Lord of everything that exists, can be approached by us in a most personal way, as our Father in heaven! If we believe in Jesus Christ, we become children of God (John 1:12). Isn't this marvelous? You can come to him like a child and simply say: "My Father," and you can be sure that you are in contact with him and that he is listening to you!

This is the glorious God whom we come to know in the Bible. Let us therefore approach him reverently, with deep humbleness and respect. Therefore also, our whole attitude to him must always be one of loving worship, of thanksgiving and praise.

You know the Sanskrit term "Bhakti," or loving devotion. Well, we should offer to God much more than only Bhakti -- we should always offer to him our praise and thankfulness and all that we are or possess! As the apostle Paul explains:

"So then, my brothers,
because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you:
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God,
dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.
This is the true worship that you should offer"
(Romans 12:1).

Test Yourself No. 4

Answer the following questions to see how well you have understood this lesson. Then compare your answers with the answers you will see when your click here [answers].

1. Describe the idea you had of God before you started with this course.
2. Name four ways in which God revealed himself.

3. Name some of the characteristics of God that we discover in the Bible.
4. Describe in your own words how you feel that we should come to God and  what our attitude should be to him.