Really, Who Is God?
TO MANY children God is a very real, rather imposing figure, but not at all frightening. When children, under the age of ten, were asked to write to God, their letters revealed a directness, a charm and reverence. For example, one child wrote:
“Dear God, When you started the earth and put people there and all the animals and grass and the stars did you get very tired? I have a lot of other questions too.” To this child, it is obvious that God is real. The child does not know much about God, but he is willing to learn, for he has “a lot of other questions.”
Another child expressed a similar attitude, writing: “Dear God, What is it like when you die? Nobody will tell me. I just want to know, I don’t want to do it.”
Children generally have a sketchy, but warm concept of God. But, when grown up, persons frequently lose that confidence and trust in God. The education they later receive often undermines their faith.
A CHILDISH BELIEF?
Does this mean that it is childish to believe that God is a real person who is concerned with earth’s affairs? Is such a God merely the figment of youthful imagination? Is he only fictional, much like Santa Claus?
Well, consider: Marvelous design and orderliness are everywhere evident in the universe. “It is enough for me,” observed the late scientist Albert Einstein, “to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature.” Of what is this superb orderliness and tremendous intelligence evidence?
From our own experience we know that intelligence is associated with the mind. And we know that the mind is associated with a brain in the body of an individual. Thus, this great mind responsible for the design and orderliness of the universe must be that of the Supreme Being, the great Person who is God, with a definite body and individuality and powers.
Even though most people say they believe in God, who do they believe He is? Do they consider him to be a real person? Do they seek to learn more about him, and to serve him? Who do you believe God is?
Some religious leaders say that God is “the Ground of Being,” “the Force of Life,” “Ultimate Reality,” and so forth. But what does this mean? Really, such descriptions of God are misleading, hiding the truth as to who He actually is. They have only confused people, and have undoubtedly contributed to the vague concept of God that so many persons have.
At the same time, most persons have done little to learn about God. They have not gone to his Word the Bible to see what he says about himself. As a result, they are not inclined to speak to God in prayer. This, no doubt, is due partly to uncertainty as to how to address God; for example, what name to use in speaking to Him.
They also have the problem of knowing what to speak to God about. Somehow such persons fail to see the marvelous provisions that God has made for mankind.
Actually many persons go through life giving less thought to God and what he has done than to their job or other matters of life. Only when they experience serious trouble do they think about Him. For example, should they become seriously sick, beyond the help of doctors, then they may turn to God with fervent pleas for help. The attitude seemingly is, when all else fails, it is time for prayer. But does such an attitude manifest genuine appreciation for God?
The fact is, most persons apparently view God as a very distant, uninterested individual, rather than as a close, loving Father who is intimately concerned with his children. True, the majority undoubtedly will say that they believe that God created the universe and is responsible for the complex and intelligent life on earth. However, at the same time, they apparently feel that humankind is now on its own, that God has divorced himself from problems on earth, and that he will not take any action to correct matters.
Is this true? Is God more like an uninterested bystander than a loving, helpful Father? What are the facts about God? Just who is he? Properly, what conception should we form of him? What responsibilities do we have toward him?
A PERSONAL GOD
God is not some abstract force or power, but he is a real person. This does not mean that he has a body of flesh and blood as humans have. Rather, he is an invisible Personage. “God is a Spirit,” the Holy Scriptures explain. (John 4:24) And as the Bible also says, God made “his angels spirits,” like himself.—Ps. 104:4.
Just as angels have names, one of them being identified in the Bible by the name “Gabriel,” so God is identified by a name that distinguishes him from all other persons. (Luke 1:26) Is that name Jesus? Many religious persons have been led to think so. However, the Bible clearly shows that Jesus is the name of God’s Son. (Luke 1:31, 32) Jesus thus is not God, he is only the Son of God. At all times Jesus directed his followers to worship and serve his God and Father in heaven.
In fact, during his earthly ministry Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray in connection with God’s name: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed [or sanctified] be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9, AV) And later during his earthly ministry Jesus said in prayer regarding God’s name: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.”—John 17:6.
Surely, therefore, it is of utmost importance that we know the name of God and use it. Jesus used it, and all faithful servants of God have done so. In fact, God’s personal name appears in the Bible some 7,000 times! It is found, for example, in the King James Version Bible at Psalm 83:18, which reads: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”
Yes, Jehovah is God’s own self-chosen name. “I am Jehovah,” God declares. “That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory.” (Isa. 42:8) In the original Hebrew language of the Bible God’s name appears in Tetragrammaton form (יהוה); the Tetragrammaton being defined as: “The Hebrew word written JHVH (or JHWH, YHVH, YHWH), representing, without vowels, the ‘ineffable name’ of God, . . . commonly transliterated in English as ‘Jehovah.’”—The American College Dictionary, page 1252.
In imitation of God’s faithful servants in the past, true Christians today use God’s name. Does the religion with which you associate do so? If it does not, then it could not be the true religion, for God said: “My people will know my name.” Not only would they know what the name is, but they would know it as a name glorified by reason of God’s own acts. Also the Bible says: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Isa. 52:6; Rom. 10:13; Joel 2:32) How vital, therefore, that you associate with those who exalt God’s name and treat it with respect!
A LOVING PROVIDER
As one comes to know who God really is, there are O so many things to speak to Him about. Just look around and observe his marvelous creations. “He is the Maker of the earth,” the Bible tells us, “the One firmly establishing the productive land . . . He has made even sluices for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” (Jer. 10:10-13) The appreciative person is moved to exclaim, as did the Bible psalmist: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”—Ps. 104:24.
True, humans may labor hard to feed and clothe their families, perhaps working long hours to plant seed, and toiling beneath a hot sun to harvest the fruitage. Yet, who makes that seed develop into nutritious food that can give strength to their bodies and cause their children to grow? How is it that seed, plus a little water and soil, can produce such miraculous results? Is any human responsible? No, but it is God’s doing! It is “God who makes it grow.”—1 Cor. 3:7.
What the Bible says is true; God gives “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:15-17) Thus, just as an infant is dependent upon its parents for necessities of life, so all humans are dependent upon Jehovah God. He truly is a loving provider. As the Bible says: “He himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things,” and “by him we have life and move and exist.”—Acts 17:25, 28.
We should, therefore, be appreciative and thankful. We should make known to God our gratitude for the food we eat, the air we breathe, the beautiful scenery that delights our eye, the melodious sounds that please our ear, and His many other blessings. Do you? Do you, for example, offer heartfelt thanks to Jehovah God for the food you eat? It was He that made it grow.
GENUINELY INTERESTED IN MAN
However, man needs more than just God’s material provisions. While it is true that these can sustain him for a while, it is unavoidable that the deteriorating effects of sin eventually catch up with him and he dies. Man, even with his great advances in medical science, is unable to do anything to prevent this. How evident it is, therefore, that man also is in dire need of Jehovah’s spiritual provisions! Has God made these available?
Yes, he has! Even though the original human pair rebelled against him and the majority of their offspring have chosen to ignore him, God has not left mankind without hope or guidance. Think of it! “God loved the world [of mankind] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) How grateful we should be! Jehovah sent his beloved heavenly Son to earth as a ransom, thus opening the opportunity to all mankind to enjoy everlasting life in happiness in a new system of things.—Matt. 20:28.
Truly, what a wonderful God Jehovah is! He is, indeed, a loving Father who cares for man, not an uninterested bystander. He has not abandoned humankind, nor has he left them in ignorance concerning the present deplorable conditions. No, but God has made clear why humans die, how death will be eliminated, and why wickedness and human suffering have been tolerated for so long. All of this information he has made available in His Word the Bible.
This means that we have a responsibility toward the true God Jehovah. If we desire his blessing and eternal life we must avail ourselves of his provision to learn about Him. It is a life-or-death matter. Jesus Christ explained: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) How vital it is, therefore, to set aside time for regular Bible study! Do not put it off. Jehovah’s witnesses will be happy to assist you to obtain this valuable knowledge concerning God and his purposes. Remember, it means your very life.