For the 100th blog post, I thought it would be fun to discuss some, probably not all, of my thoughts on God.
So, here we go:
As a Christian, I believe that there is one Triune God. What this means is that I believe there is one God-essence that is manifest in three persons. In Christianity we refer to them as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father is a spiritual being who wills things to happen. The Son, is better known as Jesus Christ. The Son has existed with the Father eternally, but chose to act in history by taking on humanity and fusing it with his own nature. This happened at the birth of Jesus around 4 BC. Jesus was hung on a cross and his human spirit died, but his God-essence remained in tact. When he was resurrected, his human spirit was returned and now he remains in human form in heaven. The third character is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has existed with the Father and the Son eternally. The Spirit indwells believers and gives them comfort, peace, and purpose as he reveals to them what God wants them to do in life.
So there is one God-essence that exists equally and in unity between each of these three beings. That makes Christianity somewhat confusing. Christianity is mono-theistic, in belief about God-essence, but recognizes that three beings contain the one essence.
The Spirit is not the Father, the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, but they are each God. They also always work together in unity.
What the Father wills, the Son does, through the Spirit. For example, the Father willed that the Son save humanity from sin, so the Son added humanity to his divinity and was born of the virgin Mary. It was the Holy Spirit who opened her whom and allowed her to become pregnant as a virgin. So the Son saved came to earth to save humanity through the Spirit.
Ok, I promise it will get easier to follow from here.
Now that we have sort of defined who God is in Christianity, let's talk a little about what he does.
I believe that God knows all things actual and possible. He knows what life choices we will make and all choice we could make. He knows infinite numbers of paths that our lives could take given any decision we could make in any situation. God knows every thought every living creature has ever had, has, or will have. He knows the inner nature of the heart. This is what we mean by stating that God is an all-knowing being.
God also acts in time. God created the universe and holds it together, but God also acts in time and in events in history. Throughout history many people have claimed to do things in the name of God, that were not the actual workings of God. It is sad that people through their own selfish motives have been willing to raise the banner of holiness to justify evil. But when God works in history, it is for good. God is the friend of the down-trodden, the rejected, the orphans, the widows, the discriminated, the hurt, and the broken.
I also believe that God is consistent in his being. God does not change who he is; his nature is remarkably consistent.
God is also very situational. He chooses to act in the way that is best for his creation in every situation.
Sometimes people tend to describe God as if he is an emotionless killjoy. This is not the case. I believe that God created humans to have emotions as a reflection of himself. I believe that God perfectly expresses his emotions, and this is part of what makes him situational. Different situations warrant different emotional responses. God's emotional responses are always consistent with his nature and perfectly suited for the situation at hand.
God is not some bland emotionless being. He is not some deity that has stepped away from earth as an onlooker. God is active in human affairs daily. He delights in all he has created, and he desires for his creation to enjoy life to the fullest.
Because God desires his creatures to enjoy life, and because he is active in human affairs, God desires for humans to talk to God. Many people make prayer out to be a formal time where several basic statements are made, so that they can move on with life. But prayer isn't really about saying what your supposed to say when your supposed to say it. Prayer is about talking to God as if he is a friend and father. Prayer is about conversing with God throughout the day. It is about sharing your struggles, your pain, your sorrow, your accomplishments, any good news you receive, needs that others may have, and doing all of it with an attitude of thankfulness. I think we should be respectful of God when we talk with him, but we should also be relaxed and honest. We should also look for answers to our prayers. We should look for answers by observing things that happen around us, and by listening to the Holy Spirit as he prompts us.
I think God wants us to follow him and obey him, but he wants us to do it joyfully--not legalistically, not ritualistically, but consistently.
Don't get me wrong, I love the church and think that some rules must be followed and that some rituals are necessary. What I am saying here is that we do not follow traditions just to follow traditions. We should do things ritually, only when they are done from our heart for God.
God is also forgiving and empowering. God forgives us for a sin. We all have it. God empowers us to overcome sin and to accomplish things we could never do on our own. Accomplishing such things, of course, helps lead to enjoying a full life. God gives people joy. The joy God gives remains present. Sure, everyone has bad days, hears bad news, and goes through trials, but when we know God is walking through the trials with us, we have a joy that allows us to keep going even when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
While God allows us to go through tough times and experience pain, God never wrongs us or mistreats us.
God is perfectly good.
You may say..."ah yes, but if God were so good, why does he allow evil to exist?"
That is a good question. I could do a whole series of blogs on the concept of God and evil, but for today I will simply state that God allows evil to exist, and has a perfectly "good" reason for doing so. Being a finite creature, I cannot fully comprehend the mind of God, the mind of an all-knowing being, but knowing that he is a good being--based on what he has done in my life--I can trust that he is in control. If God were not, I think evil would be much, much, much, much, much worse. BTW--in the book of Job, God allows Job to lose all his possessions, his health, and his family, and when Job asks God why he allowed such things to happen, God did not answer his question, but instead told Job, I know what I am doing, and you need to trust me.
God is not just a cosmic being, he is my best friend, and he is a father to the fatherless, he knows me better than I know myself, and he walks with me daily. Or rather...I walk with him. Sometimes I get off the path and go astray, but his love for me is not based on condition, like the love of many people is, and so whenever I stray, it is always only one step back to him. God gives peace. The peace he gives cannot be found in anything else, and nothing else can compare to the joy that comes with God's peace.
I hope you will consider believing in God if you don't already. And by that, I mean having a daily relationship with him--talking with him in prayer, reading his word, learning about how you can better follow him each day and doing it. I don't mean saying, "Oh I believe in God," and then walking away and living like he is not with you every waking moment.
If you really want peace in life, if you really want a full life, if you really want to find meaning and purpose in all you do, believe in God, and invite him to be a part of your life, everyday.
If you feel led, share some of your thoughts on God with me in the comments section.