"God is not a man."
I get the feeling that most people think that God is an old man who lives in heaven. He wanders around adjusting His robe, has Saturday's off, and spends most of His time sitting on a throne, which has a table next to it, with a giant hour glass sitting on it with the sand slowly filling the bottom of the hour glass, watching and waiting for the judgment day.
The scriptures teach us God is everywhere, He see's all, hears all and knows all, He is not limited in any way.
"Though to be sure, not far from each one of us is He inherent, for in him we are living and moving and are ... seeing that out of Him and through Him is all."
Acts 17:28, Romans 11:16
God, Who is spirit, has revealed Himself in many different forms throughout the scriptures in order to reveal His thoughts and ways to His creation. He has taken on a human form, as well as other forms of nature, these are called Theophanies.
The scriptures will use terms as;
- The Face of God;
- The Hand of God;
- The Back of God;
- The Voice of God; as if He is human.
God told Moses:
"You cannot see My face, for no human shall see Me and live."
The Glory of God would be too great for any mortal to look upon.
Does this mean that God has an image?
God is invisible.
It means that all the wonders of God, His ways, His purpose, His essence would be too much for any mortal to take in so He reveals Himself in ways that mankind can relate with.
Here are some of the forms and Images He took.
He walked in the garden with Adam, the form He took we are not told but, we are lead to assume He took on the image of mankind so He could relate to His creation. Adam said to God in Genesis;
"And he replied to Him, I heard the sound of You walking in the garden"
Later He appeared to Abraham in the form of a man;
"God appeared to him among the oaks of Mamre as he (Abraham) was sitting at the opening of the tent when the day was brightly warm. When he lifted his eyes, behold, he saw three men standing by over against him."
He appeared in a burning bush to Moses;
"Then the messenger of God appeared to him in a blaze of fire from the midst of a thornbush. So he stared, and behold, the thornbush was consuming with fire, yet the thornbush, it was not being devoured. Hence Moses said; Let me withdraw, I pray, and discern this great sight, for what reason the thornbush is not being consumed. When Yahweh saw that he withdrew to discern, God called to him from the midst of the thornbush and said: Moses! Moses!"
Later He appeared to Israel, while they were in the wilderness, in a pillar of fire by night and in a cloud by day.
"Then God was going before them by day in a column of cloud to guide them along the way, and by night in a column of fire, to give light for them to go by day and night."
In the New Testament we see God in another form.
John 1:1-2, 14
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was toward God, and God was the word. This was in the beginning toward God"... And the Word became flesh and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Colossians 1:14-15, 2:9
"Whom we are having the deliverance, the pardon of sins, Who is the Image of the invisible God, first born of every creature ... For in Him the entire complement of the Deity is dwelling bodily."
These verses are of course speaking of Christ.
So we can see that God, Who is invisible, has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind in many different forms, and has revealed and reveals Himself through these forms.
When God came into these vessels was He limiting Himself?
Was He only in the vessel and no where else?
Through these vessels God dealt with individuals, and at other times to many people to reveal what He was about to do, or was doing, or will do.
"By many portions and many modes, of old,
God, speaking to the fathers in the prophets,
in the last of these days speaks to us in a Son."
God now reveals Himself in the Son, Christ.
He shows His love for His creation through Christ. Christ didn't come to bring religion to the world; He came to reveal God and His love for the world and draw all mankind to Him.
"While we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes...For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian. For God does not dispatch His Son into the world that He should be judging the world, but that the world may be saved through Him ... How that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them."
Romans 5:8; John 3:16,17; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
All religions require some kind of sacrifice that one must do in order to be initiated into the religion. You will read in the Bible where God dealt with different people, or, groups of people,
at certain times, in ways that required a sacrifice of some kind. All these sacrifices were designed to fail, because it required a human to make it work. If they were supposed to work they would not have failed. Any human effort, or sacrifice, will always end in failure when it comes to our salvation. That's why Jesus came into the world, His sacrifice is once, for all, no other sacrifice is necessary, and this is the difference that Christianity is supposed to bring.
"For this He does once for all time, offering up Himself ... By which will we are hallowed through the approach present of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time ... Now where there is a pardon of these, there is no longer an approach present concerned with sin."
Hebrews 7:27; 10:10, 18.
God was in Christ doing this; Jesus was and is the vessel that God uses to bring all mankind to Himself.
God is the One Who conciliated us to Himself, our salvation is all His doing.
"That we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind."
1 Timothy 4:10
It is God Who is the Saviour. Most try to take salvation away from God by saying that it's up to you to save yourself. They take the completed work on the cross and the resurrection and reduce it to a human decision or sacrifice then call it; "The Gospel." This teaching try's to rob God of His sovereignty and Christ of His ministry.
"And there is no salvation in any other one, for neither is there any other name, given under heaven among men, in which we must be saved ... Who Himself carries up our sins on to the pole (cross) ... How that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offences to them."
Acts 4:12, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:19.
This was and is all God, in Christ, not us. It is Him Who is the Saviour not ourselves, it is His name that is given for salvation not ours, it is Him Who carried away our sins not us trying to remove our own sin, and it is Him Who will reconcile all to Himself.
That's how simple it is!
Even though God, at times, seems to condescend to a man, He is still God. When you come to understand this you will actually see God as God, this is something foreign to most people, as most see Him as a man, or, lets say a Superman, with a mans reasoning. You will also see Christ as the One God is fulfilling all His ways through; that being bringing all His creation into subjection to God.
"For He subjects all under His feet ... Now whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all."
1 Corinthians 15:27-28
And as you come to see God as God you will understand what Isaiah meant when he was inspired to write this about God;
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord."
In other words; "He is God, and we're not."