Is that your concept of God? Is your god an entity from another plane of existence that can perform supernatural actions but is still not totally in control? An entity that you can manipulate if you’re strong enough or smart enough? One that can be persuaded if you use just the right argument? A god you can appease by some set of rules or a god that you can negotiate with? A god you can manipulate to your way of thinking? A god you can look in the eye and go toe to toe with? If this is your God, I say to you Puny God!
Let me tell you about my God. My god is the creator of the universe, and as such, He is sovereign. The God-inspired writer of Genesis begins with “In the beginning God created…” Gen 1:1. The New Testament book of Revelations 22:13 says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” What these verses have in common is the claim to authorship and supreme authority or sovereignty. In Genesis 1:1 God is claiming responsibility for the creation of the universe and all that is in it. In Revelation, He is explaining His position in life. He is saying before me there was nothing and after Me, there will be nothing. These statements lead to the apparent position of supreme authority or better stated: ultimate Sovereignty. Sovereignty is defined by Merriam-Webster as
: unlimited power over a country
: a country's independent authority and the right to govern itself
In other words, the government of a country has unlimited power to enforce the rules of that society. The only caveat to this is that the society which is being governed gives the government the power to enforce the rules. Any government could not enforce the rules unless the populace is in support of the government. Once the populace no longer supports the government some kind of revolution occurs. That is the limit of sovereignty in human terms. This is the best definition of sovereignty we have in relationship to God and something immediately becomes apparent. This definition though it is clear and easily understandable does not fully explain the sovereignty of God. We need not support Him for Him to enforce the rules. We cannot form a revolution that will remove Him from his position. Whether we acquiesce or not, He will still be God.
If we look closer into the concept of Sovereignty in relation to God we begin to notice some distinct characteristics of God. In Revelation, He makes the claim “I am the Alpha and Omega” Alpha meaning first or beginning, and Omega meaning the extreme final part. Then it says “The First and the Last.” Then it says “the Beginning and the End”. God is saying he is the completeness of existence. What he is doing by using this vernacular is describing to humanity who he is in a manner which we may understand. He is saying He is at the beginning and at the end simultaneously. He is the first and the last at the same time. He is the first and final part. If you think about this description, it will lead you to the conclusion that God is everywhere all the time. The reason He can be the first and last at the same time is because He created time. The creation of time was for our benefit, not His, He is not subject to the laws of time for He created the laws of time. Thus, He can and does live without being affected or interrupted by time.
According to Genesis, God created the universe. Think about that for a moment. God created everything that exists. Before God created it, nothing existed. To be even clearer, before God created the heavens and the earth not even the emptiness of nothing existed. It is hard to imagine the total emptiness of everything. For example, nothingness has a boundary. The boundary is where something begins. Nothing exists until it finds the borders of something, then its boundaries are defined. But before God created the universe there did not exist even the basic elements of anything. Then God brought it all into existence. From the most basic parts of existence to the most complex organism, God created it all.
The problem I think people have with God is not the concept of God but, an understanding of who God is. God is not a man. He is not an entity we can define. Not because He is undefinable, or because He is hiding, but because we are determined to put Him into human terminology, God cannot be limited by our simplistic intellect! How do we describe an entity that existed before time began? One that in reality created time! An entity that is not part of our human experience but is so far removed from us that we lack the vocabulary to actually describe Him. Just because we lack the ability to describe Him does not mean he does not exist. I was there when both of my daughters were born. However, if you were to ask me to describe childbirth, I would lack the ability to describe it accurately because I did not have the baby. My wife and all mothers would have a much better ability to describe birth because they lived it. My inability to describe it in an accurate way does not negate the fact that my children were born. Our inability to accurately describe God does not negate the fact that He exists.
When we think of the complexity of existence we need to ask what kind of intelligence is required to create the universe and the earth. It requires an intelligence that far exceeds anything that humanity has identified. Yet the one that created the universe had to be all knowing. Why, might you ask? In order to make everything in our universe work, the creator would need to know how everything affects everything else or there would be constant uncontrolled chaos.
I had a traumatic physical experience a few years ago. I had a heart attack. Not your run of the mill heart attack, I had what the nurses called a “widow maker.” To explain, if you have the type of heart attack I had you usually died. I had several highly trained doctors. I had a heart surgeon, nephrologists, a pulmonary specialist, a general surgeon, an infectious disease specialist, a gastroenterologist, a general practitioner and my wife who did more than any of the doctors to save my life. During the most intense part of my treatment I was unconscious, so my wife was the one that relayed this to me. During my stay in ICU, the doctors would confer and my wife would listen in as they were discussing the proper course of action. Because my kidneys had stopped functioning, the nephrologists had the lead. The other doctors would passionately argue for a certain course of action and the effects of doing or not doing dialysis on me. They were all concerned about how the poisons in my body would affect my recovery. Every doctor was concerned with how a specific course of action would affect their specific specialty. There was not a single doctor that claimed to have a full understanding of how a specific course of action would interact with another specialty. These very highly trained professionals did not have all the answers. Fortunately, for me, they made the correct choices. I believe it was because God, the one who had all the correct answers was, in the end, the one that was directing the course of action. These highly trained doctors were concerned that if they made the wrong choice I would die. Their concern was that they did not know how one action would affect another condition. This was just a heart attack with complications. Imagine a universe without knowing how one thing affects the other. We would not exist.
When God created the universe and all that is in it, He did not become part of his creation. There are aspects of God in the creation, but God Himself is not in the creation. It is much like an artist who you can appreciate and benefit from their creation, but you do not have direct access to that creator – the artist. God, the creator lives, or better said, exists outside of that which He created. If He were to live or exist in that which He created, He would be subject to the limitations of His creation. Since He exists outside of His creation He has total sovereignty over his creation. He can dispose of it, keep it, change it or simply redo it. He has the ultimate authority to make final judgments about it, and the creation (us) does not have a say in it!
The creator of everything we see lives in a realm we cannot access or have influence over. What we do on this small ball does not have a material effect on the realm of God. It is important to understand that we are not the single concern of God. I dare say we are not his main concern! We are simply not that important.
Though I have no evidence of this, I do not find it to be too farfetched. What if the creator of this universe created another universe and, in the other universe Adam and Eve did not sin? Now we know that God has created other creatures, angels for instance. We know this because the Bible describes other creatures. So it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that He has created other universes. Since we know He has created other creatures besides us, exactly how awesomely big is God? Is it possible that we are simply utterly ignorant of who God is? We need to remove Him from our understanding of a man type God. In other words, a God that is in resemblance of man. Though the bible says we are created in His image, I think we have to take the word image a little more literally. We may have a resemblance as well as some of God’s attributes, but we are a great deal more unlike Him than we are like Him.
In movies and books, man tries to imagine what life away from our planet might look like. We come up with some pretty imaginative life forms. We wonder if there are other planes of existence. We postulate on the possibility of a parallel universe that operates just outside of our ability to identify it. We send exploratory crafts in search of proof of life beyond our earth. We have enjoyed stories of universes outside of anything on this planet. But we have a problem with a creator that created us. We have a hard time accepting that the God that created us lives not bound by the same restraints as we are. Why? I find it interesting that we can have brave new worlds; we can create new solar systems where different life forms exist and thrive, but we cannot accept the plane of existence where all of this already exists.
After God created the “heavens and the earth,” in verse two it says “and the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface.” Gen 1:2 (NLT) This is an interesting statement because it separates God from his Spirit. It, the Spirit of God is being treated as a separate entity. Now you might ask isn’t God essentially a spirit? Does God have a body? In Gen 1:26 (KJV) “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” In this verse we see God speaking and He says “in Our image”. The second word of the verse says “God” singular, and then it says “in our image.” Then it says ‘after our likeness”. In the same verse it goes from the singular “God” to the plural “our” and then as if to emphasize the point, it says “ours” again. Then Gen 3:8 (NLT) it says “they heard the Lord God walking about in the Garden”. From this statement, you would conclude that indeed the Lord God has a body. For only a body could produce sound in a garden. So far, God has been described as a spirit and an entity with a body. So we might conclude that the “our” that God used in verse 26 is describing the spirit of God and the body of God. In the New Testament we have the writer of the book of John referring to Jesus, and he described him in this way:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Jn 1:1-3 (KJV)
The writer of the book of John is placing Jesus at the creation and not only is he placing him at the creation, he is saying that it was Jesus himself that brought forth the universe and all that is in it. From this topical review, we can conclude that God is, at least, three distinct persons operating as one. How do we arrive at “as one”? God said, “let us make man in our image.” God is the description of the three as one. Since the singular word used is “God” and not Gods the three entities are being referred to as one. Now the concept of the Trinity is very complex. It is a complex concept I barely understand, but for the purpose of describing God, it is sufficient to understand the basic idea of the Trinity, because that is a singular trait that can only be ascribed to God. Though man was created in the image of God, we have never been described by anyone to be three distinct persons; as God is: God the Father, The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ the son.
Where does God live? Well, he lives in a place called heaven. As to its actual location, no one has found it. Is it because He exists in a plane of existence just outside the ability of human senses to detect? If, as I believe, we were created by God and God created everything that exists, he has to exist somewhere beyond our space and time requirements. This place is the place that our scientists are looking for, a place where we can find different life forms. This is a place where the rules are different, where life operates under a different set of parameters. Maybe it is located in the ninety percent of our brains that lie dormant. Maybe it is right beside us and we don’t believe because we can’t access it and not because it is not there.
To summarize, the creator of the universe does not need us. We cannot change his plans. We cannot challenge, or we can but we can’t’ win. He is powerful beyond our understanding. He is bigger than our imaginations. He cannot be overpowered, cannot be negotiated with. He cannot be intimidated. We cannot influence him. We are utterly powerless before him. He is sovereign.