Yes, we serve a living God; we worship Him! But do you really know the full nature/attributes of this God?
The propriety (or otherwise) of everything we do in our worship life (and the passion/conviction with which we do them) depends on what we know about this God, and so it is very important to find the truth about who this God really is; what this God is like, what this God requires us to do and/or not to do, etc. Otherwise a lot of the things we may be doing in worship, and a lot of the things we may be doing and/or refusing to do in life, may be in vain; inadvertently. Discover amazing insights in this discussion (and the sequel) to further enrich your faith and life.
There are several references to God (the one we adore, as opposed to idols, or even gods in general) in the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) of the Bible; these references help us to appreciate the nature/attributes of God, in the full/proper context.
The first distinguishing encounter of God is Genesis 1:1 (and the creation account in general) and the English expression used for the original Hebrew term translated as ‘God’ is ‘elohiym (el-o-heem’). Elohiym is a plural noun; meaning a number of deities together. It is the plural of ‘elowahh (el-o’-ah) which refers to a single deity. And the use of this singular noun ‘elowahh occurs just a few times in the Old Testament. So in a lot of cases in the OT, God refers to a ‘Team.’ This is much evidenced in Genesis 1:26; “And God (‘elohiym) said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness:..” Also Genesis 3:22 says: “Then the Lord (Yhovah) God (‘elohiym) said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil…”
Throughout scripture, especially from Jesus’s teachings, 3 principal divine beings could be identified as forming the ‘God Team or Divine Team’ (as I prefer to describe them) or ‘Godhead’ (as theologians describe them); they are: (a) The Father, (b) The Word (Also the Son: Immanuel/Jesus Christ) and (c) The Holy Spirit. (1 John 5:7, Matthew 28:19) Thus, when referring to God in our discussions/dealings, we have to be clear as to whether we are referring to the ‘God Team,’ or just the Father (or perhaps just the son, or just the Holy Spirit) and therefore use the appropriate personal pronouns; either ‘They/Them/Their’ or ‘He/Him/His;’ remember Genesis 1:26.
To distinguish the Father, the Jews used the proper name: ‘Adonay (ad-o-noy’ which is translated: ‘Lord’) and the national name: Yhovah (yeh-ho-vaw’ which is translated: ‘Jehovah,’ or ‘the Lord;’ also meaning: ‘Self-Existent’ or ‘Eternal’). A typical example is in Genesis 15:7-8, thus: “Then He said to him, “I am the Lord (Yhovah), who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” And he said, “Lord (‘Adonay) God (Yhovih; a variant of ‘Yhovah’), how shall I know that I will inherit it?” And so on.
Again, the clear distinction between the three divine beings must be noted and kept in focus as we go along. We have one Supreme God (the Father, who is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; though divine) then we have the Word (who is the Son, and not the father nor the Holy Spirit; though divine), and then we have the Holy Spirit (who is not the Son nor the Father; though divine). Later, we will explore this further.
God is Spirit
It is commonly known from scripture and from experience that God is Spirit, and thus cannot be seen visibly. In Jesus’s proclamation as per John 4:24, it is obvious that he was referring to God the father. Indeed, the English expression used for the original Greek term translated as ‘God’ here, is ‘theos (theh’-os) which is essentially used in the singular sense.
It is important to note that, unlike man that is both spirit and flesh, God the father is pure spirit; without form or visible parts. The human elements/parts like eyes, ears, arms, etc. used in reference to God in scripture and in our dealings, are simply communication tools (within our human communication limitations); more like a metaphor. Being pure spirit we can safely assume that He is not limited by time, space, and distance; likewise, He is not limited in knowledge, and power. Note that it is only a safe assumption because one cannot adequately prove/justify the assertions.