Who is God?
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? Isaiah 40:18NKJV
How would you describe God? If someone asked you “Who is God?” or “What is God like?” what would you say? Would you answer with the Scripture (1 John 4:8) that “God is love”? Or would you answer with the Scripture (Heb. 12:29) that “God is a consuming fire”? Would you try to present God according to the full testimony of Scripture? Many people, including professing Christians, describe God without any reference to the Bible, but rather how they feel He must be, according to the dictates of their own hearts.
Question 7 of the Larger Catechism asks, “What is God?” It gives the answer: “God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Consider the fullness of this answer! Moreover, after each adjective at least one Scripture verse is cited to show where it is found in the Bible. The Westminster Assembly based their answer of who God is entirely on the testimony of Scripture.
First we see that God is a Spirit. This means, as the 19th century First Catechism explains it, that God “does not have a body like men.” To say that God is a spiritual being is to say that He is not comprised of any atoms or cells but on the contrary all that He is is incorporeal and non-physical. God made all physical matter but God Himself is not composed of such stuff, and therefore He is in no way limited by physical objects or space. Thus the Catechism goes on to teach that as a spirit, God is infinite in His being, infinite in His glory, infinite in His blessedness, and infinite in His perfection. In other words, God is without limits, without end, in His being and in the nature of His being, which is glorious, blessed, and perfect. And as His being is infinite, so is His glory, blessedness and perfection infinite.
After this initial statement of God’s “infinite” being and nature, the Catechism goes into specific attributes of God as described in Scripture. God is all sufficient. God lacks nothing, He needs nothing beyond Himself for any reason. I remember hearing a Christian teacher once ascribe God’s creation to His boredom – that God created the universe, and particularly man, because He was bored. This is absolutely not true! To say that without the creation God is bored is to say that God needs something beyond Himself to be content, that His perfect being in and of Himself lacks contentment, which is blasphemous! Thus, the Catechism declares God’s all-sufficiency (as well as each of His other perfections) is “in and of Himself.” God does not derive His being or any of His perfections from anything outside of Himself.
Furthermore, God alone is eternal. Sometimes we talk about Christ giving us “eternal life” in salvation, but strictly speaking God alone has eternal life – that is life both without ending and without beginning. It is true that all of the elect will live forever (everlasting life), but each one had a beginning in time. God alone did not. Accordingly, God’s perfect eternal being is unchanging and unchangeable. For God – who is perfect in every way – to change, would mean for God to become less than perfect in some aspect of His being. A perfect being can only change for the worse! So you see that God’s unchangeableness does not mean that God is like a frozen statue that cannot speak or act, but it means that God always speaks and acts consistent with His character – God never changes who He is. And neither can any outside force or happenstance or deliberate act of man (like the Fall) change God or cause God to change His plans. What this means is that you can always trust God to be who He has revealed Himself to be, and to do what He has said He will do. And so you can know for certain that all that God is and does will be in exact harmony with all of His perfections. Give thanks to God for who He is – for His glorious and wondrous attributes!