Who God Is
In my research on the character and attributes of God I decided to look at the beliefs of the Methodist Church concerning God. This week I am choosing to share some knowledge gleaned from umc.org regarding “Who God Is” and “What God Does”. The following is a quote from this site:
“When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From early in our Judaic roots we’ve affirmed that God is one and indivisible, yet God is revealed in three distinct ways. “God in three persons, blessed Trinity” is one way of speaking about the several ways we experience God.
We also try to find adjectives that describe the divine nature: God is transcendent (over and beyond all that is), yet at the same time immanent (present in everything). God is omnipresent (everywhere at once), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing). God is absolute, infinite, righteous, just, loving, merciful…and more. Because we cannot speak literally about God, we use metaphors: God is a Shepherd, a Bridegroom, a Judge. God is Love or Light or Truth.”
The article goes on the talk about what God does. He “creates…, sustains…, loves…, suffers…, judges…, redeems…, and reigns…”.
In the beginning God was. Then He created all that we see and know and experience and much that is beyond our understanding. He continues to be Creator.
I want to pick up one of the words used by the author of the UMC site: You may ask, “What does it mean to say “God suffers”? The writer says it this way, “God suffers. Since God is present in creation, God is hurt when any aspect of creation is hurt. God especially suffers when people are injured. In all violence, abuse, injustice, prejudice, hunger, poverty, or illness, the living God is suffering in our midst.”
A verse from the Old Testament, Genesis 6:6, also backs up the thought that God suffers.
“And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
We see Jesus, in the New Testament, upset by the violation of the Temple: John 2:13-16.
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
The night of the “Last Supper”, just before Judas’ betrayal, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:44 “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
And we all know and agree that Jesus suffered a horrific beating and the agony of the cross. Yet, He knew giving His earthly life was necessary for our sakes. He didn’t do things for His sake. He did these things in accordance with God the Father’s will for Him. He gave Himself for you and me. He was our substitute. He paid our debt.
Praise His Holy Name. God is Good. All the time.