The True and Living God

“He be not far from everyone of us.”
—Acts 17:27

MANY THINK THAT THE most important study of man is man. To become acquainted with God, however, contributes far more to one’s present peace of mind and heart, as well as to a greater assurance of his future well-being. In the Book of Job—written four thousand years ago, and which is one of the most dramatic poems ever to be expressed in human language—it is stated, “Acquaint now thyself with him [God], and be at peace.”—Job 22:21

Fifteen hundred years later the Prophet Daniel, seeing the division, the tribulations, and persecutions that were to come upon the people of God, before which many would weaken and fall, added, “But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Dan. 11:32) Valor in Divine service is contingent upon our knowledge of the God whom we serve.

Some centuries later Jesus declared, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3) In these words Jesus is not calling our attention to the way in which we may obtain eternal life—although this also would be true—but is emphasizing that the object of eternal life is that we may know God and his beloved Son. This will require eternity, during the endless ages of which we will be continuously measuring the breadth and sounding the depth of the infinite mind and character of God. And man will never be able to comprehend him fully. The Apostle Peter added his testimony, saying, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” (II Pet. 1:2) Our ‘grace’ and our ‘peace’ are contingent upon our acquaintanceship with God. The psalmist wrote that only the “fool”—that is, one who does not have a knowledge of the Creator, and is unable to exercise faith in him—says in his heart, “There is no God.”—Ps. 53:1

Many people believe that there is a God, although the vast majority of these entertain no definite ideas concerning him and what his designs for his human creation might be. No matter how far one has fallen from that image of God which was represented in father Adam, in his heart and mind there usually lingers the desire to worship a higher power. Man is essentially a worshipping animal.

All nature bears testimony to the existence of a Supreme Being. In Hebrews 3:4 we read, “He that built all things is God.” Astronomy declares this; chemistry attests it; botany illustrates it; geology proves it; zoology shows it; and the science of physics demonstrates it.

Intelligence is found behind all creation—an intelligent first cause. The fact of the existence of God’s supreme intelligence is seen in the infinite design of this great universe, including our solar system and the planet Earth. It is seen also in organic and inorganic matter, and in the relationship of the two. It is seen in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in the food we eat. Man was not created for the air, nor for the food. These, rather, were designed and created for man, long before he was created. And what a loving design this was on the part of an all-wise God and Creator!

Man’s abilities vary, but he owes all to the fact that he was designed and created by an intelligent Creator who endowed him with qualities of mind and heart similar to his own. And who among the followers of Jesus could for a moment doubt the existence of God? Our every experience as Christians testifies to the existence of a personal Deity, whose we are and whom we serve.

The God whom we worship, the God of Divine revelation, the God of the Bible, is presented to us everywhere, and on every page of his Word, as a personal God. He has a personality. The Bible reveals that our Heavenly Father thinks, feels, and wills. The fact that he thinks shows that he has an intellect. The fact that he feels proves that he has sensibilities; and the fact that he wills means that he has character and acts consistently therewith.

As a personal God, he possesses the quality of knowledge, for the Scriptures declare, “The Lord God of gods, he knoweth.” (Josh. 22:22; Ps. 44:21; Acts 15:18) God, whom we worship, has sensibilities. He has pity. He loves. (Ps. 103:13) He exercises his will. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” (Luke 11:2) Paul speaks of him as working “all things after the counsel of his own will.”—Eph. 1:11

God works, but always according to the counsel of his own will. He has never found it necessary to consult any of his creatures as to what he should do, or how. This is a fact we might well consider, for we are sometimes prone, in our prayers, to advise God what he ought to do. It is fortunate for all his creatures that he has never taken their counsel into consideration.

God has a body. In John 5:37 we read, “Ye have neither heard his voice … nor seen his shape.” This means simply that although God has a body, man has never seen that body or organism at any time. God is a spirit—a spirit being. In I Corinthians 15:44-49 the Apostle Paul explains that there are spiritual bodies and also natural or human bodies. God is spirit, therefore his organism is spirit, made up of spirit substances.

The Scriptures reveal that originally God alone possessed immortality, which is one of the qualities of the Divine nature, and when Jesus was raised from the dead the Divine nature was bestowed upon him. (I Tim. 1:17; 6:16) A good definition of immortality is the one given by Jesus when he said, “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”—John 5:26

Eternity has to do with existence. God is said to be the first: “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6) The beloved Son of God, Christ Jesus, was highly exalted to the Divine nature at the time he was raised from the dead by the “glory of the Father.” (Rom. 6:4) This same glorious reward is promised to the faithful footstep followers of the Master. The Creator will continue to remain the Supreme Being in all his great universe. He has said, “My glory will I not give to another.”—Isa. 42:8


The God whom we worship, the God revealed to us in the Bible, in his very nature is self-sufficient. He needs nothing to add to his own personal sufficiency. (Acts 17:25) At times we might presume that God needs something, such as our advice, perhaps, or our assistance. He not only does not need anything from us, but is continually bestowing his gifts upon us. He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.—James 1:17

God is omnipotent. Omnipotence means almightiness—able, that is, to do anything. Nevertheless he reveals to us that he has placed a limit upon his omnipotence. We are told in Hebrews 6:18 that God cannot lie, and in II Timothy 2:13 that he cannot deny himself. In James 1:13 we are informed that God is not tempted by evil. He is a holy God, a righteous God, and a God of justice and power. In Job 9:6-9 we read that God is as boundless in the exercise of his power as is the universe itself.

As we have seen, our God is a person, and has all the qualities peculiar to personality. The Bible speaks of the ‘ears’ of God, the ‘eyes’ of God, his ‘mouth,’ and his ‘face.’ We also read of the ‘finger’ of God, as well as his ‘hand,’ his ‘arm,’ and his ‘feet.’ We may not know fully all that is intended by these expressions, but in Psalm 94 we are given at least a hint by the question, “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?” (Ps. 94:9) How strange it would be if the one who created the ear could not himself hear! Yes, we are assured that God has the sense of hearing—he can hear everything, everywhere, all the time, to the farthest reaches of his great universe.

Again the psalmist wrote, “He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Ps. 94:9) This means that God has the ability to see everything, everywhere, all the time. Of God’s omnipotence in this respect Jesus declared that not a sparrow falls to the ground that the Father does not notice. This is not only a literal statement of fact, but it does emphasize God’s ability to see and be apprised of the smallest things in our lives.

The Bible informs us emphatically that God never did have a beginning; it tells us just as definitely that his works had. It follows, then, that God existed prior to any of his works of Creation, which means that there must have been a time when he was alone. When we contemplate his character, including his self-sufficiency, we are impressed by the fact that God could be just as contented and happy alone as with all the works of Creation surrounding him.

If this were true, however, why did God trouble himself to create the universe? He was not troubled, for we cannot think of God being troubled over anything. He accomplishes the most difficult task as easily as the simplest one. Even this is a misstatement, for we cannot say that anything is either easy or difficult for God to do. He does what he wills to do, and nothing can resist that will.

We might ask what God was doing when he was alone, or what he was doing before he did anything! But here again is a misstatement. We cannot think of God as ever having been idle. With human beings there is usually much commotion attached to being busy, but this is not necessarily true of God; for many of his mightiest works are accomplished without ostentation and without noise.

The God of the Bible is the great and Supreme Architect of all that exists, or ever will exist. He planned it all according to the counsel of his own will. So, in all that eternity of the past, when he was alone, he might well have been formulating plans and purposes which will require the eternity of the future to accomplish. Our finite minds stagger as we try, even in a small way, to comprehend the God of eternity and his eternal works. We and all the hosts of heaven are but as little children playing with minute grains of sand on the shores of the ocean of eternity, where before our startled imagination spread the boundless purposes of our God, which are fathomless and immeasurable.


Omniscience means the knowledge of all things, and God possesses such knowledge. He perceives all things, he remembers all things. We are glad, however, that associated with the memory of all things he has given us the assurance that there are some things he elects to forget. This, too, is a quality of omniscience. Concerning Israel under the New Covenant which he has promised to make with them, God’s promise is that their “sin” and “iniquity” he will remember “no more.”—Jer. 31:31-34

We are told that all things are naked and revealed before God. (Heb. 4:13) In his perceptive powers he has an aptitude for calculation, order, color, weight, size, form, detail, time, place, harmony, construction, beauty, sublimity, and above all things else, intuition. All that he has ever seen, all that is yet to be seen, God has the ability to remember to all eternity!

Think of the infinite mind that was able to design everything which exists in his great universe—in the spirit world, and in the material world. All are the products of his wisdom and his power, and all designed in keeping with his justice and his love. In the creation of man, God endowed him with similar capacities, limited in scope to his environment, but capable of expansion throughout the ages. When at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ man stands once again before his Creator in perfection, he will be just stepping over the threshold of the opportunities and possibilities which will continuously unfold throughout the eternity which is before him.

God has the quality of omnipresence—not personally, but because he is able to ‘see’ everything and ‘hear’ everything, everywhere. From this standpoint we are always in the presence of God.

Being a person, God has size. But how large is God? We do not know. How big is bigness? How small is smallness? The atom was at one time thought to be the smallest particle. It is from a Greek word meaning ‘indivisible.’ But now the atom is being divided. Moreover, the atom is now known to be like a little solar system in itself, the particles of which it is made up being so small that the distance between them, it is claimed by some, is relatively greater than the distance between the sun and its planets.

Ferrar Fenton’s translation of Isaiah 43:13 reads, “I existed before time itself.” There was no need for time when God was alone. But with the beginning of Creation a unit of value with respect to duration became essential, and God is an exact timekeeper. He is carrying out his plans according to a definite schedule. We are not fully able to understand that schedule, for he has not revealed it to us in detail. But when God’s time clock strikes, he moves, regardless of who may stand still. It is well to remember this.

In the eighth chapter of Proverbs, Fenton’s Translation quotes the Logos—personified as Wisdom—as saying, “I existed before he [God] had created space.” How wonderful to think that when the great Architect began to put his plans into execution he pushed back the walls of nothingness and created space! Then, out of his infinite wisdom and great power, he sowed space with the constellations of the heavens. God, the Creator, did this!

Solomon, in dedicating the Temple, realized how circumscribed it was to be the meeting place between God whom he worshipped and the people who were to serve him, so he asked the question, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (I Kings 8:27) How wonderful that such a God is our Heavenly Father, that he dwells with us as his children, and that we have the assurance that he will give us strength in our every time of need!


The psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1,2) Then in the seventh verse of this psalm David added, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” So, while we are able to comprehend something of the glory of the Creator by noting the grandeur of his creative works, it is when we go to his Word and learn of his munificent designs toward his human creation that we acquire our most intimate knowledge of his glorious characteristics.

God created man in his own image, perfect, and fully able to measure up to the just requirements of his law. It was eminently proper that the Creator should exact absolute obedience on the part of his intelligent creatures. Since they disobeyed their Creator’s law, it was proper and equitable that they be condemned to death.

The Creator does not cease here with the revelation of his glorious character. Through his Divine plan for human recovery from death his love is displayed—“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus came to redeem man from death. To do this, he poured out his own soul unto death, thus taking the sinner’s place. This not only met the requirements of Divine justice and opened a way of escape for the sin-cursed race, but further manifested the Creator’s justice as well as his love—and the love also of his only begotten Son.

Beyond this, however, the full blaze of God’s glory is finally demonstrated through utilizing his power in the resurrection of the dead. The outstanding demonstration of this has already been given, although as yet recognized and fully believed only by a few. This was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The true followers of Jesus, those who have absolute confidence in the Word of the Lord and its testimony concerning the resurrection, have seen this marvelous manifestation of God’s glory. Concerning these Paul wrote:

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”—Eph. 1:18-20

The Apostle Paul wrote that “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,” (Rom. 6:4) meaning that this unprecedented use of Divine power displayed the glory of God, even as all the works of creation ‘declare’ his glory. The glory of God is likewise displayed in the “first resurrection” of the church of Christ (Rev. 20:5,6); and ultimately all mankind will recognize this evidence of the Creator’s glory.

Coming even closer to the hearts of the human race, as evidence of the glory of God, will be the resurrection of all mankind from the sleep of death. Jesus stated to Martha while preparing to awaken her brother Lazarus from death, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”—John 11:40

Habakkuk 2:14, a wonderful prophecy depicting the results of the reign of Christ in the earth, reads, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The Scriptures clearly reveal that one of the principal objectives of Christ’s reign is the restoration of the dead to life, and it may well be that the accomplishment of this by Divine power will be one of the mighty works of that kingdom which will contribute to filling the earth with God’s glory.

If, as Jesus indicated, the glory of God was revealed in the awakening of the one man Lazarus from death, what shall we say concerning the result of the awakening, not of one alone, but of the whole human family. This will be a demonstration of God’s glory, not in one community alone, but worldwide.

‘All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,’ and seeing it, the knowledge of his glory will indeed be ‘ocean deep’ the whole world over. (Ps. 98:3; Luke 3:6) No wonder the Revelator wrote, “Who shall not fear [reverence] thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for [or, when] thy judgments are made manifest.”—Rev. 15:4

Dawn Bible Students Association
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