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What Is God?

“Who is god” is a common question, and an important one. Asking “What is God” is just as important. So many things come to mind when we hear the word God. Our thoughts can range from religion, to judgment, to spirituality. There are a number of ways to break this down, but these three are up there. But what about relationship? Is this a possibility?

Years ago I was playing tennis with a friend. Afterwards we were discussing theology – a favorite topic of mine. As he was talking, he kept using relational terms. He was saying, “me and God,” and “we,” and “when I talk to him.” I said, “It sounds like you have a personal relationship with God.” He laughed, and said, “I do.”

“God,” like many terms in western culture, has taken on meanings that don’t actually reflect the God of the Bible – the Father Jesus reflected. The well-meaning spiritual folks talk of God as nature (My Church Is The Woods stuff), and that he’s everywhere. This has elements of truth, but there is a bit more to God. He is spirit, though.

I’ve been listening to some biblical theologians discuss the Old Testament for the past few months. They outline how the Jewish people repeatedly talk in terms of “God and his people” – it’s a major theme – perhaps the theme. It’s quite a love story actually. In short, the Old Testament is not the fire and brimstone many of us grew up with – just the opposite. It shows God’s steadfast commitment and love for His people – just like any father would have for his children.

When we ask, “what is God,” it’s not a simple answer because it requires a relationship to understand. It would be like someone asking me “what is my daughter?” I could only say you’d have to get to know her to truly discover and understand just how beautiful, amazing, and profound she is.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson


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