Learning About What You Cannot See
MANY of the most fascinating things we cannot see. For example, because the marvel of a baby developing in the womb was long an unseen “miracle,” the first photographs of it were most amazing.
2 There are other important things that we cannot possibly see, such as the forces of magnetism and gravity. Yet they are real. We can learn much about them by observing the effects they produce. It is similar with God. However, if we are interested in learning about our Creator—which we should be—we have to apply ourselves.—Compare John 3:12.
3 Primarily, there are two means of learning about God, whom we cannot see. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, mentioned one, writing: “His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) Yes, creation testifies about the existence of a Supreme Being. In addition, it gives indication of his qualities, what he is like. The second means is far more important, for it provides more exact information about God. It is the written revelation found in the Bible.
WHAT IS HE LIKE?
4 As recorded in the Bible, Jesus said that “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24) That means that the Creator does not have a physical body of flesh as we do. This should not be difficult to accept for persons who are acquainted with such unseen realities as gravity, magnetism and radio waves. A major distinction with God, however, is that he is a living, intelligent Person with qualities that we can discern. What are some of these?
5 Have you ever watched huge waves crashing against a rocky coast? Or have you observed the tremendous force of a volcano? These are but small-scale indications of the power that the Creator must possess, for he made the earth and its forces.
6 With Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2, scientists explain that all matter is nothing more than energy locked up in the basic atoms. Men have shown this to be true with the explosion of their atomic bombs. Yet did you know that such tremendous explosions release less than one percent of the potential energy of the atoms? Imagine the awesome power of the Creator who put together all the atoms in the universe. Thousands of years before Einstein was born, the Scriptures acknowledged that the Supreme Being is the source of tremendous energy. (Isaiah 40:29) With good reason the Scriptures repeatedly call him “God Almighty.”—Genesis 17:1; Revelation 11:17.
7 God has often used his power in ways that directly affected humans. An example is the Exodus, when God delivered Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt. You may want to read aloud the brief account in Exodus 13:21–14:31. Picture yourself among those being protected by an awesome pillar of cloud by day and by a blazing pillar of fire at night. How would you have felt when it seemed that the pursuing army had you trapped against the Red Sea? Imagine, though, watching as God used his power to form the water into towering walls on both sides so you could escape. What a God he is!—Exodus 15:1, 2, 11; Daniel 4:35.
8 The Exodus also showed God’s ability to accomplish things from a distance. To do this, he uses his invisible active force, his spirit, or holy spirit. Though this active force is impersonal, it can, like a powerful breath of air, exert power. God used his spirit in creating the material universe. (Psalm 33:6; Genesis 1:2) But he can also use it to strengthen and help persons.—Judges 14:5, 6; Psalm 143:10.
9 One who designs and then makes some machine certainly has knowledge of its structure and functions. Hence, does not what we see on earth and in the heavens assure us that God has vast knowledge? Chemists spend a lifetime seeking to understand the makeup of natural substances. What knowledge the One who created these substances must have! Also, scientists are studying the cell and minute forms of life. The Creator had to know these fields thoroughly in order to produce life in the first place!
10 God’s knowledge extends over the whole range of the universe. He can call by name all the billions of stars that he created. (Isaiah 40:26) After just some of God’s vast knowledge was recounted, a man named Job humbly confessed: “I have come to know that you are able to do all things, and there is no idea that is unattainable for you.” (Job 42:2) Do we not have ample reason to feel similarly?
11 God is also the embodiment of wisdom, because he successfully applies his knowledge. For example, he designed plants so that they are able to combine water and carbon dioxide from air to form sugars and starches, which are needed as food for humans and animals. Plants can also make complex fats, proteins and vitamins that we use to keep healthy. All our food depends on an amazing cycle that involves the sun, rainfall, lightning and bacteria in the soil. (Jeremiah 10:12; Isaiah 40:12-15) As a person learns of God’s dealings, he comes to appreciate in his heart why one Bible writer exclaimed: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!” (Romans 11:33) Is that not how you would want to feel about a God receiving your worship?
AN APPEALING PERSONALITY
12 It is easy to see that the Creator is a considerate and an abundant provider. We already mentioned some things about his arranging for food. But a writer of Bible psalms said:
“You set springs gushing in ravines, running down between the mountains, supplying water for wild animals, . . . You make fresh grass grow for cattle and those plants made use of by man, for them to get food from the soil: wine to make them cheerful, oil to make them happy and bread to make them strong.”—Psalm 104:10-15, Jerusalem Bible.
God prepared the earth in such a way that there can be more than enough food for all mankind. The tragic food shortages that cause so much suffering usually come from man’s greed or mismanagement.
13 Our Creator does more than abundantly supply what is needed to sustain life. He also makes it enjoyable. God could have provided nourishing food that was all tasteless. Instead, we have an endless variety of delightful flavors in healthful foods. Also, let us not overlook that God made us so that we can enjoy the beauty of colors, such as those of flowers and fruits. And he gave us the ability to enjoy the sound of music. How does all of this make you feel about God?
14 Thinking on this, many persons have been moved to conclude that God must be very loving. They are convinced that he is. The Bible agrees, for the apostle John wrote: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) The Creator is the very personification of love; it is his dominant quality. If someone asked you what God is like, that would likely be your first reply. He lovingly expresses warm affection toward humans. God is no abstract idea nor a remote deity. He is a warm person with whom we can have a loving relationship. Jesus said that his followers could pray to God as their Father, someone close to them and interested in them.—Matthew 6:9.
15 If you truly love someone, you want to see good come to that one. God feels that way toward humans. Out of love he warns us of things that would cause harm. These warnings are a protection. Also, they help us to understand God’s standards and how he will act or react. For example, the Bible tells us that he hates lying. (Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:13; Zechariah 8:17) This assures us that God himself cannot lie; we can believe completely everything he says. (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18) So when we encounter Bible statements that a person might view as restrictive, we should recognize them as reflecting God’s loving, righteous personality and his interest in us.
16 Further helping us to view God as a person to whom we can relate, the Bible shows that he has feelings in addition to love. For instance, he was “pained” when man rebelled against his righteous ways. (Psalm 78:8-12, 32, 41) He ‘rejoices’ when humans uphold what is right. (Proverbs 27:11; Luke 15:10) When we make mistakes, he is sympathetic, merciful and understanding. You will find it encouraging to read about this at Psalm 103:8-14. And the Creator is impartial, providing the sun and rain for all, and accepting worship from persons without regard for race or nationality.—Acts 14:16, 17; 10:34, 35.
17 Happiness is something that most of us want. Thus we have reason to come to know the Most High. The Bible describes him as “the happy God” and it shows that he wants us to be happy. (1 Timothy 1:11; Deuteronomy 12:7) He is ever a rewarder of those showing faith in him. (Hebrews 11:6; 13:5) And God has made a way for humans to be healthy and happy endlessly, as we will discuss in later chapters.
18 Another important thing that the Bible reveals about the Creator is that he has a personal name. In Hebrew it was written with four consonants, like this: יהוה. Most modern languages have a common rendering of this distinctive name. In English it is Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 tells us that people should “know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” (Compare John 17:6) Note that he alone is the Most High. There is but one Supreme Being. The ancient Israelites often expressed it this way: “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. And you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force.”—Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; compare John 17:3.
19 Our God, Jehovah, is timeless, as reason would indicate. Scientists say that the universe is thousands of millions of years old. So the Creator of the universe obviously must already have existed before that. This agrees with the Bible’s calling him the “King of eternity,” without beginning or end. (1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 4:11; 10:6) Man’s few thousand years on earth are a brief moment compared to Jehovah’s timelessness.—Psalm 90:2, 4.
OTHER BEINGS WE CANNOT SEE
20 The Bible reveals that there are also created persons who are spirits. After the Almighty had existed alone for a long time, he chose to create other spirit persons. Initially, he produced “the firstborn of all creation” and “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) This firstborn was with the Almighty God in the beginning of creation. Jehovah would later use him also as a spokesman, or Word, in communicating with others. (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16, 17) Eventually, this firstborn Son was sent to earth to become a man. He is known as Jesus Christ.—Galatians 4:4; Luke 1:30-35.
21 Working through this first created Son, God made other spirit creatures, commonly known as angels. These serve God as messengers and perform duties in the universe, including services in behalf of humans.—2 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 2:6, 7; Psalm 34:7; 103:20.
22 Both logic and the Bible indicate that the firstborn Son who was both created and sent to earth by God would not be equal to his Father. Some persons who claim belief in the Bible teach that Jesus and his Father are equal parts of a composite deity. This is not a new idea, for many ancient religions worshiped groups of gods. But contrary to this, the Bible clearly says that Jesus, as a separate person, received power from his almighty Father. It assures us that the Almighty knew things that Jesus did not, and that neither when on earth nor afterward was Jesus Christ ever equal to his Father.—John 5:30; 8:28; 14:10, 28; Mark 13:32.
23 For thousands of years in heaven, the Son had a close relationship with Almighty God, so that he could learn from God and imitate his ways. Thus when a disciple asked, “show us the Father,” Jesus replied: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:8, 9; 1:18) By our studying the Bible account of Jesus’ earthly life we can learn much about the Father, such as why God does things and what he expects us to be like. Jesus once said: “I am the way and the truth and life.” (John 14:6) It is vital for us to come to know him better, and thus also to know the Father. Reading the Gospel of John is an excellent aid. In doing so, do not concentrate on mere facts or details, but try to absorb the spirit of what Christ was like. He was the most important human you can learn about.
WE NEED GOD
24 As we learn about the Almighty through our observing creation and reading the Bible, it becomes evident that humans were not created to live independent of him. We were created to have a relationship with God, from whom we have received life and whose daily provisions sustain our lives. Trying to be independent of him and his Word, the Bible, may be compared to a person’s trying to find his way through an unknown wilderness without a good map. In due course he may get completely lost and die for lack of provisions to sustain life. It is similar when humans omit God and his guidance from their lives. The Bible and history assure us that to enjoy the best life we need more than food, clothing and shelter. For us to be truly happy, we need guidance and help from our Maker.—Matthew 4:4; John 4:34.
25 Many other persons know little about the Creator. As you come in contact with such persons and as opportunity allows, why not pass on some of the good things we have here considered? It is a fine thing when persons are inclined to share with others the important truths they have come to know about Jehovah, our loving heavenly Father.—Psalm 40:5.
How is it possible to learn about an unseen God? (1-3)
Why can you be sure of God’s awesome power and his ability to use it? (4-8)
What should we know about God as to knowledge? And wisdom? (9-11)
How do you benefit from displays of God’s personality? (12-14)
How does God show his loving interest in you? How do you feel about this? (Psalm 30:4, 5) (15-17)
What can we know about God’s name and life-span? (18, 19)
Why is God not alone in heaven? (20, 21)
What is the relationship between the Father and the Son? (22, 23)
Why should God be important in your life? (24, 25)
[Picture on page 33]
God’s power parted the Red Sea
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What do the sun, rain and productive soil indicate about God?
Is he not an abundant and a loving Provider?