So, What Is the Nature of God?
When we think of God in general, (not just the Christian version of God), we can’t help but find ourselves “shaping out” the nature and attributes of God as we observe the physical world and utilize our capacity to reason and think philosophically. Of course, this ‘natural’ approach to understanding God can only take us so far. We simply MUST have direct revelation from God to completely understand His nature and His character. But let’s stop shy of special revelation for the moment and simply reason through the nature of God in a rather classical way.
The Four “Omni’s”
A classical understanding of God leads us to the belief that if there is a God, He would be “all powerful” (after all, He did actually create all this stuff from nothing); He would be “all knowing” (a God that has ultimate power would have the power of ultimate knowledge); and He would be “all present” (God is not a material being, and as a spiritual being, he is not limited to time and space). There is a fourth attribute that might not be as obvious at first, but does seem consistent with the created world around us. If there is a God, he could also be described as “all loving” (after all, how else can we account for the presence of love in the world, and why else would God choose to create in the first place if He did not LOVE His creation?) These four attributes are given the Latin prefix “omni” (meaning ‘all’) and can be listed as “omni-potence” (the ‘all powerful’ nature of God), “omni-science” (the ‘all knowing’ nature of God), “omni-presence” (the ‘all present’ nature of God), and “omni-benevolence” (the ‘all loving’ nature of God).
So, Does He Have What It Takes?
Now when we take a hard look at the man we know as Jesus, we have to assess both His claims and his deeds. When we read about His life and his teaching, we get a true glimpse into His nature as a man, and the truth about His nature as GOD. Let’s take a look and see if Jesus possesses the nature of God as we have reasoned it from the created world around us.
The Omniscient Jesus
Over and over again in the Gospel accounts of the ministry of Jesus, we see that Jesus is all knowing. He clearly knows more about people than they realize about themselves, and He knows more about the future than anyone seems to understand as well. Take a look at one example from the Gospel of John, as Jesus speaks with the Woman at the Well:
John 4:16-19, 28-30
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.”… Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
This one conversation is so amazing in the way that it demonstrates not only the ‘all knowing’ nature of Jesus, but also His divine insight into the heart of humanity and His compassion to carefully meet us right where we are! The Gospels tell us repeatedly that Jesus knew the thoughts of people around Him (Luke 6:8 and 11:17, for example) and He also knew who would betray Him (John 6:70). More importantly, Jesus knows the very nature of our hearts:
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
The omniscient nature of Jesus is clearly delineated in the Bible. Of course, it is also clear that Jesus, as God Himself, denies Himself a number of divine rights and privileges that remain with God the Father. Don’t be fooled by this. Jesus tells us in His conversation with Peter on the night that He was arrested that He could easily call down the infinite power of God:
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
But Jesus chooses NOT to access the power He has at His disposal for the reason He mentions here. Jesus had a plan and a mission. And to the extent that He needed to achieve these goals, Jesus was willing to lay this power down at the Father’s feet, (including some of his omniscience) in order to live in human form with us and offer Himself for us.
The Omnipresent Jesus
Of course, while Jesus lived and walked among us, He was limited to space time and matter, just as we are (yet another quality of His nature that He surrendered for a time to save us). But that is not the case today, and Jesus spoke clearly about this issue while He was with us. He promised that He would be in our midst at all times. Listen to what He said while with His disciples:
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them…”
“… and, lo, I am with you always….”
Jesus told us that He possesses the ‘all present’ nature of God Himself.
The Omnibenevolent Jesus
The ‘all loving’ nature of Jesus can be demonstrated in two ways. First the fact that Jesus would lay down His life as the supreme demonstration of His love is an incredibly powerful proof. Look at what Jesus had to say about this:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
If this is truly the indication of what it is to love, then few of us have ever loved anyone as Jesus loves us. He paid the ultimate price of love. How many of us could ever love to this extent? And remember that unlike our human version of love, Jesus loves mankind even though we are seldom, if ever, worthy of His love!
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus does not limit His love to simply those who are worthy. He loves and desires that ALL should come to know Him:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
We simply CHOOSE how it is that we will respond to the Love of Jesus. He loves ALL of us enough to want us saved, but respects our free agency enough to allow us to reject His love, should that be our desire. Even that level of respect for our own choice is a powerful demonstration of His love. Jesus’ omnibenevolence is demonstrated not only by the broad group that He loves, but also by the extent to which He is willing to demonstrate that love.
The Omnipotent Jesus
Jesus demonstrated His power here on earth by the vast number of miracles that He worked while He was here with us. The list is very impressive. Take a look at the miracles performed by Jesus as a demonstration of his power:
He turned water into wine (John 2:1-11)
He healed a nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54)
He healed an impotent man at Bethsaida (John 5:1-9)
He healed a man who was born blind (John 9:1-7)
He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44)
He produced the catch of fishes (John 21:1-14)
He cured two blind men (Matt 9:27-31)
He produced a piece of money in a fish’s mouth (Matt 17:24-27)
He healed a deaf and dumb man (Mark 7:31-37)
He healed the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26)
He passed unseen through the crowd (Luke 4:28-30)
He produced the miraculous catch of fishes (Luke 5:4-11)
He raised the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-18)
He healed a woman with the spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11-17)
He healed a man with the dropsy (Luke 14:1-6)
He healed the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
He healed Malchus (Luke 22:50, 51)
He healed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter (Matt 15:28; Mark 7:24)
He miraculously fed four thousand (Matt 15:32; Mark 8:1)
He withered the fig tree (Matt 21:18; Mark 11:12)
He healed the centurion’s servant (Matt 8:5; Luke 7:1)
He healed a blind and dumb demoniac (Matt 12:22; Luke 11:14)
He healed a demoniac in a synagogue at Capernaum (Mark 1:23; Luke 4:33)
He healed Peter’s wife’s mother (Matt 8:14; Mark 1:30; Luke 4:38)
He calmed the storm (Matt 8:23; Mark 4:37; Luke 8:22)
He healed the demoniacs of Gadara (Matt 8:28; Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26)
He caused the evil spirits to flee into swine (Mark 5:1-20)
He healed a Leper (Matt 8:2; Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12)
He raised Jairus’ daughter (Matt 9:23; Mark 5:23; Luke 8:41)
He healed a woman with a blood disease (Matt 9:20; Mark 5:25; Luke 8:43)
He healed a man sick with palsy (Matt 9:2; Mark 2:3; Luke 5:18)
He healed a man with a withered hand (Matt 12:10; Mark 3:1; Luke 6:6)
He healed a lunatic child (Matt 17:14; Mark 9:14; Luke 9:37)
He healed two blind men (Matt 20:29; Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35)
He walked on water (Matt 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:15)
He miraculously fed 5,000 (Matt 14:15; Mark 6:30; Luke 9:10; John 6:1-14)
He was transfigured (Matt 17:1-8)
He was resurrected (John 21:1-14)
He ascended to Heaven (Luke 2:42-51)
It’s pretty clear that Jesus had divine and miraculous power over the natural world. In fact, Jesus repeatedly demonstrated powers that we typically associate with the notion of “God”. Even if we were not Christians, but instead had rationally conceived the reality of a creator God, we would probably reckon that this God would have creative powers, the ability to forgive sin, the ability to bring His creation into His presence in some way, and the right to judge all that He has created. Well, Jesus demonstrated all four of these divine attributes and abilities:
The Power to Create
Jesus is not simply our Savior. According the Bible, Jesus is also our creator:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
The Authority to Forgive
And Jesus also repeatedly demonstrated His divine authority to forgive sins:
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe
The Ability to Grant Eternal Life
If Jesus is who He said He was, and is truly the creator of life, then it should not surprise us that He also demonstrated the ability to give of eternal spiritual life in the next world:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
The Right to Judge
It also makes sense that the author of our lives would also have the right to evaluate how we have lived as His creation. Jesus said that He had this authority:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
He Has It All
The Biblical eyewitnesses describe Jesus as much more than a good teacher. They describe Him as much more than a wise man. They clearly and repeatedly testify to the fact that Jesus possessed the very nature and power and wisdom and essence of God Himself. If we can trust these eyewitness accounts about Jesus (read more about this HERE), then we have to recognize the fact that Jesus possesses the exact nature of God. He is omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. Jesus is everything we would expect God to be. Perhaps this is why Jesus told His disciples:
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father
When we read Jesus’ words, when we examine His life and teaching, we are not simply studying the wisdom of yet another wise man in the history of humanity. We are standing in awe of God Himself.Click here
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