Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by workmx, Apr 28, 2014.
How do you define god? What characteristics does god possess?
I can almost guarantee you aren't going to get any answers that will satisfy you through this question. I don't think you can define God other than to say that He is love. I would also add that He is the all powerful Judge. How can we define something that is beyond our comprehension?
I've been thinking about how to answer your question in a way that would satisfy someone looking at this topic from a secular point of view and I'm just not sure it can be done.
Sorry, I really wanted to answer your question.
HT- that is a great answer. Thanks.
Huntingteckel's answer IS a good one, but there are others...I will give one here for your consideration...God is so transcendent in His essence that the Orthodox believe one of the best ways we can understand "God" it twofold...
First (a), by how He has revealed Himself in person and word and second (from the human limitation) by understanding what He is not (b)...
He is eternal (thus not limited by space and time)
He is the Creator (thus not subject to the nature or laws of creation)
He is all powerful (not limited by natural concepts of power)
He is loving (not impersonal or indifferent)
He is all knowing (not limited to what happens as a source of knowing)
He knows the end from the beginning (thus not surprised by any development or choice)
When He says something will happen if one path is followed and something else if a different choice is made, it does happen (thus not unable to keep His word...He can be counted on and trusted)
And the list can go on...but you get the idea...
God is the beginning and the end.
He is Love, he is Holy, he is Light, he is Good, he is Eternal, he is Sovereign, he is Omniscient, he is Omnipresent, he is Omnipotent, he is Perfection, he is our Creator, he is Spirit, and he is Truth.
God is the ultimate Good, the ultimate Blessing, and the ultimate Reality.
All that is rests on his shoulders.
He is. His name is "I AM", and we ARE because of him!
Thanks BP and CW - I suppose that those characteristics are noted in the bible. I have a list of characteristics and passages where they are cited in my bible reading notes. From memory, I recall that there were 23 character traits and 3 traits of his speech (word). Does that sound about right?
Don't be modest. I know you're smarter than it am. Probably been a Christian a lot longer too.
He is everything. All traits are His.
Defining God without scripture from Him, is beyond our ability. We need to just accept that. We cannot percieve a first and last / alpha and omega. We are a creation = fact. Scripture = truth, is a fact we can know. Hence, God is first = fact we need to accept 'as is'. Trying to grasp it = headache.
Scripture describes Him as a good God. Many examples throughout scripture of those 'good God' characteristics....righteous, just, longsuffering, patient, merciful, impartial etc.
A -So god is everything: both good and evil?
KJ -So we can rely on the bible to know the nature of god? I remember 23 or so traits from my reading of it.
Definitely. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
God is impartial Acts 10:34. God is longsuferring Jonah 4:2. Any God ''is'' in scripture = characteristic of God using our vocabularly. It is important to understand that God describes Himself in our vocabularly. We know good = good. So God would not describe Himself as good if it meant evil. Many think that God's 'good' = our good and evil.
I did wonder about that: Isaiash (45:7) describes god as the source of all good and evil.
I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the lord, am the one who does these things. (Isaiah 45:7 NLT)
No mention of evil.
I disagree! I do not think God is His creation, therefore, I do not think God is evil (but that's another whole discussion that perhaps we should have in another thread). For example, God in some ways has posed limitations upon Himself (patiently practices Self restraint) by allowing man to have dominion, and some creatures to have the ability to act independent of His control and compulsion (hence Satan's rebellion)...and in these (as well as other factors) "evil" is equated with acting in opposition to God and to what is His intended best interest for creation...
You are misinterpreting Isaiah 45 (part of that other conversation we should probably have)...
The word the KJV uses for "create" is not correct. Create is " bara" (to call forth from nothingness) and this word is "yatzar" or "make" (to form or give form to) and so is saying that the Lord, from the circumstances and according to the personalities of these people and these two men, will bring His final intent to pass. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and He continually had warned them that the wages due for sin is death. For example, if you jump off a skyscraper without a net, will you not plummet into sidewalk splat? Sin, or transgression of the law, is like the consequence of transgressing gravity or any other immutable law. You know you should not do it and lovingly someone has taught you :Thou shalt not jump off the skyscraper" but in our self will we will not have anyone telling us what to do and we jump anyhoo! So the children of Irsrael had transgressed the law (just as immutable as gravity) and their demise was inevitable. Nebi was going crazy to take over the world anyway. Only this time the Lord was not going to intervene in fact He encourages Nebi to conquer them using those circumstances and conditions which were already present..
Next, the word for evil here is actually not speaking of moral or spiritual evil (and most translations bear this out...especially the Masoretic), it is speaking of sorrow and disaster as opposed to shalom or peaceful wellbeing. These rebellious idolatrous Israelites would receive the consequence of their willful actions in violation of God's immutable laws. See the warning of love detailed in Deuteronomy 28. So God is not saying He is the originator of evil, He is allowing the disaster that is about to come upon them by simply not doing anything to stop it. He will not look upon them, after all this time (many centuries), with mercy and grace. In Jeremiah, He tells the prophet not to even pray for this people He will not listen. He has given them grace on top of grace over and over and they mock His effort to bless and take all the glory and live a life of debauchery....this is "the arm of the Lord" you do not want to experience. But in the end this will cause them to return unto Him and seek Him, and then, He will save them. So it is not that He created "evil" because evil is not a thing in and of itself it is simply the absence of all good (ultimately Him) just as cold does not really exist but as the absence of heat and darkness the absence of light. Do you understand? I hope so.
Hope this helped....
Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
P.S. evil is RA which is evil: רַע ra`
I form ohr, and create choshech; I make shalom, and create rah; I Hashem worketh all these things. (Yeshayah 45:7 OJB)
Darkness, translated from the Hebrew word: “Choshech”: Root word Chosh, which is the root word for lacked, missing, unenergetic, lacking energy, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, secret, secret place, worthless, meaningless. Darkness or Choshech is all of the previous descriptions.
We're not talking about "darkness" but "evil".
But isn't ra (rah) the hebrew word for evil? Edit: as A points out.
Again, evil is not a "thing" that was created...it was an allowable potential within beings who were created to act on their own...willingly submitting or possibly rebelling...true or genuine love or obedience can only exist alongside the possibility of indifference, hate, and rebellion an so on...other things like deaths which result from volcanic eruption or earthquake, etc., are not good or evil, they are merely natural consequence (referring to evil in a relative sense)...
So what I am saying is in Isaiah 45 we ave the word ra but it is to be taken or used in the context of the point being made...God allowing Nebuchadnezzar to come in and do his thing, to any of us would appear to be "evil" but God is merely making this happen by not intervening any longer....He has given Judah every possible grace imaginable, next to controlling their every action and choice like some grand puppet master...He foreknows that letting them taste the consequence of their actions and choices that were continually opposed to His word and His guidance, will cause many to turn unto Him again...this ultimately (though appearing to be what we would call evil) is good!