THE GOSPELS 65
THE NATURE OF GOD
In our last essay, we emphasized that the main order of the Christian life was not going to church, but creating a close personal relationship with God. “God so loved the world”, so He wants a love relationship with each of us, His children. In order for us to do this, we must know who He is and what His characteristics are, in the same way you know this about your closest friends.
Having a personal relationship with Him means to be aware of His presence with you every hour. He is Spirit, and therefore is invisible but ever present. The Hebrew writer pointed out that it is important to know that He “is”. Paul, in Athens, says, “He is not far from any one of us”. The recognition of this should be a sobering and guiding thought, and is essential to real Christian faith.
Many think of God as Super man. This is very wrong. God is not simply the fastest and most powerful creature in the universe. He is the Creator of the universe, and His word alone made everything that exists. None of the characteristics of the earth man are true of God. The only way in which we were “made in the image of God” was that we were given a spirit with which we can be related to Him. All the rest of us is simply a creature, subject to the limitations of space and time.
To say that God is outside of, and not limited by, the laws of space and time, is to say He is beyond what we can even imagine. We have no words for, nor conception of, a dimension outside of space and time. However, the One who dwells where space and time cannot limit, can be aware of the most distant point in space and yet know the thoughts and intents of every individual heart.
It is not unusual for someone to blame God for the misfortunes of earth creatures and judge Him by our standards of right and wrong. As I have pointed out many times, God is not subject to some set of rules which we conceive of as being fixed. Nor must He change His rules to fit the vagaries of our changing society, or what we consider
to be the “laws of nature”. He is not subject to rules of right and wrong. He created right and wrong. What is right is right because He said so, and what is wrong is what is contrary to His will.
Finally, because He is outside of space and time limitations, He does not view mankind en masse. Instead, He views each person as an individual, hears every prayer and responds to every action and thought personally. For this reason, we should speak to Him often during the day. We do not have to kneel in formal prayer. We can share with Him every concern, every triumph and every loss, as we would a companion at our side. There are no formal times or words one needs for prayer. I have often said I do not believe God gives men the power of “faith healing”, but that does not mean that I cannot take my concerns for ailing loved ones to Him in prayer. He knows best and loves most, so I must leave the results up to Him.
Too many people have their religious relationship with the church. In this case, the church stands between them and a real personal relationship with God. I have known many who were pious keepers of every religious rule of the church, but personally were mean-spirited and arrogant toward their fellowman. One who has a personal relationship with the Father could never be like this. That personal relationship goes with you twenty-four hours a day. It is a sobering warning to the unfaithful, but a source of comfort and joy to those who want to be His children, and to make His will theirs.