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My pastor (Calvary Chapel) referred to God as His father, then once said that God is everywhere and in everything (i.e. - inside each person) and then that God is Love.

So now I am confused as to what God is.

How does Christianity describe God? If that is not agreed upon, what are the main Christian doctrines on what God is?

For example, if God can be with/inside everyone at the same time and hear all our different individual prayers at the same time, is it wrong to think of Him as a sole entity, like being just a father to me? Should Christians view God as a multidimensional or unquantifiable being?

What is the Christian perspective on the description of God?

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The Bible provided multiple name for God, Elshadai for God Almighty. Are you looking for the list of the name of God? –  David Laberge Jun 16 '12 at 2:07
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Calvary Chapel? No wonder you're confused. (jk) –  Jas 3.1 Jun 16 '12 at 3:12
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I think this is a good question, I'm just not sure where to begin. I think the Protestant view would be "everything the Bible says about Him is true." It would be difficult to summarize that in a few paragraphs, though. –  Jas 3.1 Jun 16 '12 at 3:22
    
A quote I like: "a god small enough to be understood is not a god large enough to be worshipped." –  thursdaysgeek Jun 18 '12 at 23:34
    
It is wonderful that you ask this question. I hope that you get a lot of good answers. I will, in time, contribute some writings from the Church Fathers, Catholic and Orthodox. I hope the question stays open. –  Waeshael Jun 23 '13 at 17:56
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3 Answers 3

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The following recent books are very popular and explore the topic. I have read the first two and heard some sermons from the third.

Books: The Attributes of God by A. W. Tozer Knowing God J.I Packer The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

Tozer's sermons are easily found, for example here.

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=8130752728

Common ideas or 'attributes of God, go as far back as bible commentary, and many different sorts of commentators surprisingly agree on most of them.

The first key concept of God  is that he is infinite and has no boundaries. The infinitude of God is central to the name God told Moses to use:

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “ I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘ I am has sent me to you. ’"

'I AM' implies infinity. God always was. This means therefore, whatever God is He is so without any limit, having no beginning.  This leads to the second primary concept, he is ineffable and incomprehensible.  This means we can never fully explain Him as the finite can't comprehend the infinite.

Although there are few books fully dedicated to the subject, all Bible commentators recognize these attributes when encountering them in a particular bible verse. Attributes, based on what the Bible say’s about God are always explained from an ' I AM' perspective. For example, the Bible say’s God is wise, therefore, He is infinitely wise.

One attribute always leads to another. If He is infinitely wise then He must be infinite knowing. Otherwise his wisdom would have a limit or boundary. He could be fooled over things He did not anticipate.

Common attributes:

Powerful - this often implies all powerful, that is all power is derived from Him. He is therefore the sustainer, that is all things are held together by Him. This includes all molecules an even the Devil himself.

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Omnipresent - that is He is everywhere but the universe cannot contain Him.

Psalms 139:7-8 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Omniscient - that is all knowing, past and future.

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

All wise - He knows the most perfect means for achieving the most perfect ends, using the most prefect ways. He knows the end from the beginning.

Romans 11:33 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Self Sufficient - that he needs nothing or anyone in any sense. Kind of implied by the name 'I Am' or possibly Psalm 50:10-12 might be a good reference.

Transcendent - that is His excellence, value and glory rises infinitely beyond anything. This is self evident everywhere in the Bible.

Good - that is he desires the utmost good of all creatures (there is controversy among theologians on what this means because Calvin in one sense restricted goodness, love and grace to the elect). I think that was a critical error on his part, though on most subjects I usually agree with him.

Merciful and Full of Grace (this is the most controversial) I take mercy to be preventing judgment for the purposes of His grace. Also implies pity and understanding of our weakness without grace. Grace, that He is infinitely willing to provide His endless riches at Christ's expense.

Deuteronomy 4:31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Romans 3:23-24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Holy - that is perfectly without sin. I take this actually to men 100% loving, without any hate whatsoever. (Most theologians would prefer other wording, stinking to just pure whatever else they think pure might be) Example: Leviticus 19:2

Just - that is never showing any partiality or favoritism but able to perfectly discern what is fair. Example: Deuteronomy 32:4

Other attributes can be added to the list, almost whatever is good in a person, God is so perfectly. Virtually every page of the Bible assumes one or more of these attributes.

The Bible argues that all mankind can understand some of God's attributes like His eternal power:

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Some attributes such as his love and grace seem only perceived by faith.

Other attributes may be manifest specifically by the incarnation, in the God-Man. For example God's empathy is difficult to perceive in the The bible, except when reading the gospels ad witnessing how much empathy Jesus had for those that were suffering.

Some like Tozer argue that no attribute can be greater than another as they are all infinite. Others disagree noting that love is greater than patience and kindness, since they are just subsets of love.  Therefore, 1 John 4:8,  'God is love.' really implies the 'essential attribute'. If it wasn't how do we explain that when we try to be like Him, we are to put love on top?

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these are the best descriptions of God I have seen all in one place, thanks. –  Greg McNulty Jun 16 '12 at 21:05
    
@GregMcNulty - Was an excellent question, was excited as soon as I saw it. Cheers –  Mike Jun 17 '12 at 15:14
    
@Mike I'm glad to see you so active on the stackexchange. Keep up the good work! You're absolutely right about merciful being the most controversial. One could argue, "if he is merciful, why is there hell?" But that leads to the nature of hell and if it's just an eternal sleep or fire and brimstone. A topic well debated in Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christianity': christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/march/3.59.html –  user1054 Jun 17 '12 at 17:34
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I hope that this is the beginning of a vigorous discussion from all Faiths. There can't be any more pressing question for us to seek to answer. Jesus spent his life on earth trying to get the "lost sheep" to understand.

In a nutshell, God is to be experienced, God cannot be understood apart from personal experience. In this sense God is a "personal" God. You and I will experience God differently. My knowledge of God comes from my direct experience of God's intervention in my life. I know what God is only from what God has done for me. No one can argue against what I have experienced.

Jesus said "the kingdom of God is within you" and "if you keep my words, I and the Father will make our abode in you. " Abode has the Hebrew meaning of "tabernacle" the place where God resided when "on earth" in Hebrew theology. So your pastors statement agrees with Jesus's teaching. To "keep His words." means to remember them and not teach others something different.

You will start to recognize God in your own life as you begin to attribute unexpected events to God's intervention in your life. The more that you give "credit" to God for the good things in your life, the more receptive to God you will become. A Sister superior from a convent in town, taught me that God is in the ordinary.

In teaching the Anglican and Episcopal brethren (Priests, Deacons, and Acolytes) about God, I had to explain to them some of the obscure things that Jesus teaches us about God from the Bible, and I used the Church Fathers understanding. I especially used the parables of Jesus to explain how others experienced God. The writings of a few of the Fathers have survived since the 2nd. cent. I have spent some 10,000 hours studying about 100 books.

What I will say about God is from the orthodox viewpoint - Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox. If this is okay with you, I will post some of my lessons here.

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I believe in a deist deity, who created natue and don't intervene with natural affairs. God has no beginning or end, has always been and will be. The deist God requires no worship only peace.

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Hi, and welcome to Christianity SE! You should check out our tour page and see [what makes us different]( meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/1809/4188) than other sites. This answer isn't actually an answer -- the question is seeking a Christian perspective, rather than a deistic one. –  Ryan Frame Jun 23 '13 at 1:28
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