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What is the nature of God?

The nature of God is a complex theological question that has been debated for centuries. God’s attributes and characteristics, as described in the scriptures and by theologians throughout history, reveal important insights into God’s essence and being.

Is God personal or impersonal?

Most monotheistic religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, describe God as a personal being with intellect, emotions, and will. This differs from pantheistic or naturalistic views of God that equate God with nature or the universe itself. The personal nature of God is evident through scriptural depictions of God communicating, feeling emotions, and making choices.

Evidence for God’s personhood

  • God speaks and interacts with people in the Bible
  • God experiences emotions like love, anger, and jealousy in biblical passages
  • God has intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom beyond human comprehension
  • God has a will and makes choices as evidenced by His creative acts and interventions in human affairs

This personal portrayal of God sets Him apart from an impersonal divine force and is fundamental to the theology of biblical faiths.

What are God’s primary attributes?

Theologians have identified several key attributes that describe the fundamental nature and character of God.


God is all-knowing. He possesses infinite knowledge and awareness, sees all things actual and possible, and knows the past, present, and future simultaneously. Nothing is hidden from His perfect knowledge and understanding (Psalm 139:1-6; Isaiah 46:9-10).


God is all-powerful. He has complete power over all things and can accomplish anything that does not contradict His divine nature. Nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 1:37).


God is present everywhere at the same time. He transcends space and distance, continually upholds the universe by His power, and can manifest His presence anywhere (Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24).


God has no beginning or end and exists beyond the constraints of time. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Psalm 90:2; Revelation 1:8).


God is the ultimate standard of morality, holiness, compassion, and purity. All that God is and does reflects His perfect virtue (Psalm 119:68; Mark 10:18).


God’s very nature is love. All His actions towards humanity flow from His unconditional, parental love for His children (1 John 4:8; John 3:16).

What is the Trinity?

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity describes God existing as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – united as one God. Each person of the Trinity shares the divine nature fully and equally.

Biblical basis for the Trinity

  • There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4)
  • Three distinct persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are called God (Matthew 28:19)
  • The Father, Son, and Spirit relate to one another personally (Matthew 3:16-17)
  • God is three and one at the same time (Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14)

Significance of the Trinity

The Trinity affirms that God is relational, demonstrating love and community within the Godhead. It highlights the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus as God Himself suffering to redeem humanity. It also points to the work of the Spirit in believers’ lives.

How does God relate to humanity?

Central to the biblical understanding of God is His desire for relationship with human beings. God created humanity for communion with Himself and continues to pursue restored relationship despite human sin and brokenness.

Aspects of God’s relationship with humanity

  • Creator – God specially created humans in His image and called us to be stewards over creation (Genesis 1:26-28)
  • Heavenly Father – God adopts believers as His children and treats them with paternal love and discipline (Romans 8:15)
  • Covenant partner – God initiates covenants and faithfully keeps His promises (Genesis 17; Hebrews 6:13-20)
  • Judge – God, being perfectly holy, requires justice and will judge sin (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Hebrews 9:27)
  • Redeemer – God pursues the redemption of fallen humanity through Christ’s sacrifice (Colossians 1:13-14)
  • Indwelling Spirit – God lives within believers and empowers them to bear Christlike fruit (Romans 8:9-11; Galatians 5:22-23)

What does God’s sovereignty mean?

The sovereignty of God refers to His supreme authority, rule, and control over everything that exists and happens. Some key aspects of God’s sovereignty include:

  • God governs creation and has authority over nature, history, and humanity.
  • Nothing happens outside of God’s ultimate will, even while allowing human free will.
  • God can intervene miraculously whenever He chooses.
  • All other powers and authorities are subordinate to God.
  • God works even evil events toward His good and just purposes.

Belief in God’s sovereignty provides security, meaning, and purpose. It inspires worship, reliance, and obedience towards God while trusting His wisdom and care even in difficult circumstances.

How do God’s justice and mercy interact?

A key tension in the nature of God is how His perfect justice and judgment relate to His mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Some insights on how justice and mercy interact in God’s character:

Justice and mercy meet at the cross

God’s justice demands a penalty for sin. But in love, God sent Jesus to justly bear that penalty on our behalf, demonstrating both justice and mercy (Romans 3:25-26).

Mercy never overrides justice

God graciously forgives, but only based on the just requirements of atonement and faith in Christ. Mercy does not nullify justice (Romans 3:24-26).

Justice is guided by mercy

God’s mercy tempers the enactment of justice. He patiently holds back judgment to allow time for repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

They are ultimately two sides of God’s love

Justice and mercy both flow from God’s perfect love and holiness. God always acts justly and mercifully for our ultimate good (Psalm 89:14).

How involved is God in the world today?

The degree of God’s current involvement and intervention in earthly affairs is much debated in theology. Here are three major perspectives:

Divine providence

This view sees God preserving creation, actively sustaining and directing all things to His desired purposes in an ongoing way (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

Miraculous interventionism

Some theologians argue God regularly performs supernatural miracles to influence the course of history, answer prayer, and protect His people beyond natural processes.


Deism claims God created the world but then stepped back to let natural laws run their course without further involvement. This seems inconsistent with Scripture and Christian theology.

In summary, Christian theology sees God intimately involved in preserving and governing creation towards His will, while also at times miraculously intervening within history and individual lives in supernatural ways.


This overview highlights some key perspectives on the nature and character of God found in the Christian tradition. There remains mystery, but the Bible provides glimpses of a personal, loving, all-powerful God who actively engages our world. Getting to know the nature of God illuminates our relationship with Him, faith, worship, ethics and hope for the future.