Who is God?

On an old episode of Murder She Wrote, there once appeared a scene a bit like this. Under a canopy in the back garden of a large, ornate house a wedding guest who was sat among the other guests waiting for a wedding to begin when she struck up a conversation with the old lady at her side.

“Lovely day for a wedding, eh?”she remarked.

“Oh yes, lovely!” Came the reply.

“Are you here with the bride’s side or the grooms?”

“The bride’s. I’m a distant cousin of her mother’s.”

“What do you think of the dress? I think she’s going to look lovely in that gorgeous silk!”

“Of course! It will bring out her eyes beautifully!”

“What color are her eyes anyway? I’ve never been close enough to see.”

“Deep blue! They go beautifully with her long blond hair and pale skin!”

“Interesting! . . . . You don’t really know the bride do you?” mused the guest, “She has olive skin, dark brown eyes, and short black hair, and she’s wearing cotton with eyelet lace. Just why are you at this wedding?”

Embarrassed, the other guest looked down, mumbling incoherently. “I . . . ., I . . .. “

“Don’t worry,” returned the guest, “I know you’re only here for the food. I saw you slipping some of the appetizers into your purse just a few minutes ago.”

Who knew the bride? Who knew (or was) an impostor? Actually, from this short exchange we don’t know, but the guest that started the conversation sure ‘knew’ a different person than the old lady! If only discerning who knew God were so simple! Or is it?

It’s true we don’t know more than the Bible tells us about Jesus’ looks, and discussing what he was wearing and the style of his hair would not really help much either, but are there ways to tell if, when we talk about knowing God, we are at least discussing the same being? I think there are!

One person says God once had a disagreement, with Jesus having to talk the Father into letting him sacrifice himself – twisting his arm, so to speak, till, sometime after the fall, a way was made for salvation. Another thinks that God, the Three in One, had the plan already in place before sin and that in Him is no shadow of turning. One person believes that Jesus Christ existed from all eternity with no beginning. Another thinks Jesus did not exist till the incarnation, when ‘Christ’ was somehow united with the man Jesus – in Mary’s womb, at his baptism, or, perhaps, at his resurrection. They all say they love and worship Jesus.

One person thinks Jesus came in sinful flesh and lived a perfect life – like we can live if we make all the right choices – and died so that our sins could be removed from us and taken to the Heavenly Sanctuary, where they are piling up till they will finally be dumped back on Satan, the originator of sin. This person believes Jesus moved from one apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to the other in 1844, and has begun the final work of deciding who gets to go to heaven and, this person hopes, if they do good enough and remember and confess every sin, they will be saved in the end. Another believes that Jesus’ death at the cross took care of sin, once and for all, and after He ascended, Jesus went and sat down at the right hand of His Father right then, and, having trusted Him for salvation, therefore has confidence that their adoption is sure and that they have begun the life that will continue through eternity.

One person thinks that God the Father has a body like the Son (though the Son became human and gave up part of His abilities as God) and that the Holy Spirit is something or other that comes from both of them, another thinks that God is Spirit and that only the Son took on a human body (while still remaining fully God). One person thinks that God needs to be vindicated before His creation, another thinks that God needs no vindication. And I could go on, and on. . .

If all we know is “This one thinks, but that one thinks” we know no more than the watchers of that wedding conversation. We know that the people are not describing the same person, but do not know which one is actually describing the real person. Finding out, were you at that wedding, would be a simple matter: ask the mother of the bride, look around for a picture of the bride, or just wait till the bride herself arrives. In the case of God it is almost as simple. We have the accounts of Jesus and his life as God on earth, we have the book God gave us to show Himself to us, and, better than anything at that wedding, we have the Holy Spirit who God himself has promised will lead those who seek into all truth. Go to the source!

(in the interest of full disclosure, I originally posted this on the FAF Forum thread, “Different Gods”, and am copying it here, edited for grammar and layout, for quicker reference. Notice typos or other things that need corrected? Let me know!)

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