God Exists! But What Is He Like?
WHAT about his personality? Is he the type of individual we would grow to love if we got to know him intimately? Do you not feel that these are important questions?
How can we get to know some of his qualities? At Romans 1:20, the Bible suggests: “For [God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made [“understood through His handiwork”—New Berkeley Version], even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.”
By taking an in-depth look at what God has made, “His handiwork,” we can learn what some of his qualities are. Well, what do we see?
Love and Goodness
These qualities are very evident in the way in which we were designed. Our bodies were made to do more than merely live; rather, they were meant really to enjoy life. Our eyes can see in color. Some animals see only in black and white, yet the world is filled with dazzling colors. We can smell, and we have taste buds. So eating is not merely a necessary function; it is delightful. Such senses are not absolutely vital for life, but are an evidence of a loving, generous, thoughtful Creator.
Loving concern is also evident in the animal kingdom. The great number of little “cleaner fish,” sometimes called “Doctor Fish,” is an example. At present, over 40 species have been designated as “cleaners.” These fish seemingly devote themselves to the removing of parasites and fish lice that could clog the gills of other fish and make them sick.
“More than this,” a cleaner fish “will nibble away at patches of fungi and bacteria which may be infecting the skin, and if the fish has been injured, it will eat away any dead flesh and thus clean up the wound,” reports the book Animal Partners and Parasites.
So you can see that these fish are very much like little “doctors,” sometimes even maintaining “offices” or “cleaning stations.” One “office” was observed serving over 300 fish during a period of six hours. Just imagine the picture: Fish waiting in line to be waited on, some “standing” on their heads or upside down as the cleaners work them over. All this “professional” treatment by the “doctors” and not one “doctor bill”!
How important is such cleaning activity? One of the top authorities in this field, Conrad Limbaugh, called it “a constant and vital activity.” He once removed all the known “cleaners” from a certain area and within a few days the number of fish had dropped drastically—eventually about all had left. And the few that remained “developed fuzzy white blotches, swelling, ulcerated sores and frayed fins.” All because the little “doctors” were gone!
Do the “cleaners” do it merely for the meal that they receive?
“None of them [the cleaners] appears to depend exclusively on the habit for its food.”
“Neither of these two fishes [two of the most zealous cleaners] is highly dependent on cleaning for food, and they can subsist on small crustaceans; both pick these from plants, the señorita [a type of cleaner fish] can also take them from the bottom and directly from the water.”
So they do not have to care for these other fish. Yet they do. Who could have designed such an efficient little cleaner—complete with bright colors to be easily identified, pointed nose and tweezerlike teeth? Who must have put such a living instinct into these little creatures? Only a loving, considerate Creator.
A factory owner with a wholesome appreciation for life will install in his factory many safety valves to protect those who work there. These valves, placed on boilers or other equipment to relieve pressure that might build up to an explosive force, are evidence of his genuine care for people.
In our world we see many such “safety valves” put there by creation’s Designer. The Creator “makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) The way in which rain descends is one outstanding example of the use of “safety valves.”
Water by the billions of gallons is stored above our heads in the clouds as vapor. Water is heavy, a cubic foot (.03 cubic meter) weighing over 62 pounds (28 kilograms). A large cloud is estimated to weigh as much as 100,000 tons! Can you imagine the havoc that would be wrought if the water vapor formed one massive “drop” and cascaded to earth? What devastation! But, for some still unexplainable reason, the tiny water droplets join themselves together around a particle of dust—but only up to a certain size, no larger—and then they fall to the ground. The gentle rain showers seldom hurt the most delicate of flowers. We surely benefit from this “safety valve.”
Or consider the terror in winter if the water fell as colossal chunks of ice. Here again, at the moment of release, a “safety valve” produces little flakes that float down harmlessly and provide a cuddly blanket that conserves the warmth of the ground for the benefit of the vegetation.
Many persons in lands where the temperature can change rapidly may recall that when they were children, during the night when the temperature dropped suddenly, their mother or father got up and covered them with an extra blanket. Remember the next morning as you snuggled in your cozy bed, how “warm” you felt inside, knowing that Mom or Dad was so considerate of your welfare? Well, should it not warm our hearts toward our heavenly Father who provides this silvery blanket of snow for the preservation of the vegetation? Yes, his “handiwork” testifies that he is a tender and loving Creator who cares about us.
What about the quality of justice? It is vital that we establish whether the Creator has this quality. We know that a God of justice would not forever tolerate the glaring injustices, the lawlessness, the climate of evil that exists earth wide today.
There is evidence of such a quality from something within ourselves. What? It is described in a statement of truth in the Bible:
“For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their CONSCIENCE [“sense of right and wrong,” Amplified Bible; the Greek word means “distinguishing between what is morally good and bad . . . commending the one, condemning the other,” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon] is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.” (Rom. 2:14, 15)
It is the existence of conscience, a law “written in [our] hearts,” that gives us a sense of right and wrong. This is strong evidence that our Maker himself must be a God with a moral sense, having the quality of justice.
Twenty-three centuries ago, Aristotle spoke of the reality of such an inward law, calling it a “natural justice and injustice that is binding on all men.” Others have called it “natural law,” “the supreme law” and the “law of nations” or of humanity. Yes, a natural sense of what is just or unjust seems to be “binding on all men.”
A prominent anthropologist, M. F. Ashley Montagu, stated the view that many scientists shared: “Murder is universally regarded as a crime, and if the murderer is caught and brought to justice the penalty is usually death. Incest regulations are universal . . . private property is universally respected.” Though what constitutes murder or self-defense or “private property” might vary considerably, the root practices are consistently condemned. Despite differing opinions as to the content of such “natural law,” “almost all admit the existence of such a law. . . . conceived as the ultimate norm of right and wrong.” (Italics added)—Encyclopedia Americana.
Many still would discredit the existence of conscience by arguing that by nature man is aggressive, even murderous, without a sense of justice. Evidence to the contrary has recently come to light.
One outstanding example was the recently discovered Tasaday, a primitive people living in the Philippine rain forest. These people are thought to have been isolated from the main stream of civilization and its pressures for hundreds of years. One of the scientists who lived with them for some time said: “These are incredible people. . . . no greed, no selfishness. . . . They don’t know about killing, murder, war! Never heard of them.” He also observed: “Everyone goes around talking about people being bad because that’s human nature. . . . When you see these people, you have got to say, ‘No, man is not basically evil.’” (The Gentle Tasaday—1975) Yes, though imperfect and with sinful tendencies, man still displays a basic sense of conscience. One encyclopedia put it thus: “Actually, no culture has yet been found in which conscience is not recognized as a fact.” Indeed, this inward sense of right and wrong exists and does affect our conduct for the good.
‘But what about the many murderers, rapists, sadists—persons who seem to have no conscience at all? Does not their behavior disprove such a conclusion?’—so some might ask in objection.
What if the pilot of an airplane refuses to listen to the instructions from the airport control tower and he crashes, causing extensive damage and loss of life? Does this prove that the control tower “does not exist”? Look, by contrast, at the hundreds of planes that generally comply with the instructions of the control tower, usually making the airport a safe place. So because some have ignored or “thrust aside” (1 Tim. 1:19) this “natural law of justice,” refusing to be guided by it, that certainly is not sound evidence denying the reality of such a law.
During World War II, the Nazis committed horrors against innocent persons. For these acts that stunned the world, many of the Nazi leaders were brought to trial after the war. For the most part, these leaders denied responsibility for such acts, saying that they were merely obeying Nazi law and their governmental superiors.
“Political loyalty, military obedience are excellent things, but . . . there comes a point where a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his conscience.” So argued the chief prosecutor from Great Britain.
“Guilty” was the verdict against those men. Why? They should have obeyed “a higher natural law of justice,” reported one reference work.
Some have criticized such trials, saying that such a “natural law” did not exist and the defendants could not legally be tried by it. However, the statements of some of these hardened leaders give additional support that such conscience does exist; that such a force was operative within themselves but was merely ignored. Defendant Walter Funk said: “And when these measures of terror and violence against Jews were put up to me, I suffered a nervous breakdown . . . I felt ashamed and the feeling of guilt at that moment and I do feel the same way today, but too late.” Hans Frank (sentenced to death for his crimes) admitted: “I feel a terrible guilt within me.” (Italics ours)
Yes, if we are honest with ourselves we know quite well that we do have inside us an inherent sense of right and wrong, a “natural law of justice.” Who put such a real law within us? Certainly man himself is not the author of such a law. It could only have originated with our Creator and Designer. Are we not led to the following conclusion: the Creator himself must be a God with a moral sense, a God of justice?
How grateful we should be to know this! For it assures us that he will not forever tolerate the gross injustices and wickedness that exist today. His sense of right and wrong, or justice, will cause him to act in behalf of those who want to live by his standards of right.
God’s Qualities Should Draw Us to Him
From our short examination, what is your personal judgment or “verdict”? Many readers no doubt would agree that there is convincing evidence pointing to this conclusion, namely, that a loving and just God of awesome power must exist.
Indeed, to see examples of his concern and generosity toward us is touching. Many, perhaps, would like to get to know him even better. What we observe about him through his “handiwork,” though impressive, is still only “some clue to his [God’s] nature.” (Acts 14:17, The New English Bible) A number of questions still remain unanswered.
For instance, it is natural to wonder why wickedness developed in the first place. Why has God allowed it to continue for so long? When will he use his power to rid the earth of evil, thereby displaying his justice? In fact, what was his purpose in making the earth and all life on it? What is the purpose for our existing?
The answers to these questions are available. Why not get in touch with the people who publish this magazine, Jehovah’s Witnesses? They will be happy to help you free of charge to find convincing answers.
[Picture on page 12]
Sometimes big fish permit “Doctor Fish” (also called “cleaner fish”) to remove parasites from even inside their mouths
[Pictures on page 15]
Nazi War Leader Hans Frank: “I feel a terrible guilt within me.”