Who is God?

When we speak of God, it comes with great difficulty as to not constrain the true nature of God to mere terms of human understanding.[1] Despite the limitations of human understanding and language, we must make some attempt to describe God so that our understanding may grow. Human definitions must be understood to neither be exact nor fully encompassing. Under this understanding, we may glean glimpses of the divine attributes of God. As we describe the “being” of God, we initiate the knowledge of His existence.[2]

Many descriptors have been attributed to God, such as loving, merciful, just, omnipotent, immutable, and sovereign. While this list is not exhaustive, it does display His personal nature.[3] Because of God’s personal nature, the question of whether God can suffer arises. Tragic events occur that cause human suffering and the created disobeys the Creator, so from a human perspective, it can be imagined that God would suffer as well. Contrary to this, the classical view claims that it is impossible for God to suffer or be changed in relation to external factors.[4] This view holds that suffering would diminish God’s sovereignty[5] which opposes His very nature and immutability.[6] The nature of God is perfection, which cannot be improved upon, nor can it be worsened, so it cannot be affected as such.[7]

If God is loving, then why does He allow evil to exist in the world?  Things that are normally considered evil may not in fact be, but instead, be instruments to accomplish good.[8] Evil may be allowed to exist because God hates nothing he has created, or the evil may exist to strengthen the faith of His creation[9] It is certain that the Lord will one day bring evil to an end. Jesus Christ will come again, saving the faithful, and judgment brought upon the wicked. In this, it is reasonable that temporary suffering on Earth is nothing more than a minor issue until the Kingdom of God is consummated.  

[1]. Gerald Bray, God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 137.

[2]. Ibid., 138.

[3]. Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology (Wiley. Kindle Edition), 199.

[4]. Ibid., 204.

[5]. Bray, 150.

[6]. Bray, 140.

[7]. McGrath, 204.

[8]. Ibid., 224.

[9]. Bray, 146.

Gordon Bland

I am a seminary student working toward my M.Div. While I grew up Pentecostal, within my first semester of seminary, I came to a different understanding of the Word and theology. I am now Reformed Baptist. #1689 I love teaching others about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, for it was Christ that transformed me. For a number of years, I was a militant atheist and substance abuser. If God can change me, I know he can do the same for you! I am but a wretch, yet He still chose to give me grace. He truly is amazing and deserves all our praise!

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