Attempts have been made, however, to give a definition for Who and What God is. Anselm said that God is "that than which nothing greater is conceivable" and that he is "the supreme Being." Yet, this does not begin to encompass what God has revealed of himself in the Bible regarding his existence, nature, character, purposes, and most significantly in the person of Jesus Christ. The study of God is theology.
"I AM who I AM." - Exodus 3:14
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us..." - Acts 17:24-27
Other than creation itself, God is revealed in several ways, including conscience which testifies to us that certain things are wrong; and by special revelation through the Church; the bible and the prophets. Most importantly though, God is revealed in Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. The Church teaches that we have knowledge of God, only because God has shown himself to his creation. God is the Lord and has revealed himself unto us; "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Ps 118:26-27). Also, God's self-revelation is found in His Son Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the gradual and partial revelation of God in the Old Testament. Jesus is the one truly "blessed ... who comes in the name of the Lord."
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 28:19
Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God." In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.
There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever. - St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, P.G., X, 986.
Just as the Father is "ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same" (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), so the Son and the Spirit are exactly the same. Every attribute of divinity which belongs to God the Father: life, love, wisdom, truth, blessedness, holiness, power, purity, and joy, belong equally as well to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1This verse not only says that "the Word" (Jesus) is synonymous with God, but also says that the Word was "in the beginning", which means that He existed before all else existed, something that is only true of God.
This is reinforced two verses later, in which Jesus is described as the creator. Genesis refers to God as being the Creator.
"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." - John 1:3
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." Acts 5:3-4
We don't know God by his essence and nature, but his energies come down to us. God's energies, which are God himself, permeate all his creation, and we experience them in the form of deifying grace and divine light. Truly our God is a God who acts in history, intervening directly in concrete situations.
God knows everything: "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." - 1 John 3:19-20
Because God is outside of time, He can see and knows the past and the future as well as the present.
In the bible, the word "God" does not always refer to God's being as a whole, but more specifically refers to the Person of the Father (God the Father). Here are some verses which demonstrate this:
Notice how in each case, "Father" can be substituted for "God." For example, "For the Father so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son," and "not that we loved the Father, but that He loved us and sent His Son."
Bible uses several different words to refer to God. "God"
itself is not a name, but an Old English word meaning supreme being,
deity, which the translators who translated the Bible in to English
chose as the appropriate English word for the Hebrew Elohim
and the Greek Theos
used in the Old Testament and New Testament respectively.
The other main term for God is the Hebrew Adonai, usually translated Lord. There are various compound words also used in the Bible, such as el shaddai, which means God Almighty ("el" is a short version of elohim).
YHWH is given in the Bible as God's actual name. In most English Bibles it is translated as Lord, in small capitals. The name has various other English versions, including Yehovah, Jehovah, and Yahweh. The most likely meaning of the name may be "He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists," but there are many theories and none is regarded as conclusive.