Who created God?

Many have wondered where God came from or who created God. The Bible presents a distinct narrative about God: He has always existed. The opening words of the Bible are, “In the beginning God.” God was present at the beginning of the universe, but God Himself has no beginning. Psalm 90:2 says, “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” Psalm 93:2 says of God, “Thou art from everlasting.” In Job 41 God asks, “Who hath come before me that I should repay Him?” Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” The Bible clearly teaches that God eternally existed before He created the universe. God does not have a beginning. God does not have a creator. God does not have a father, mother or progenitor. He has always existed.

This truth creates a problem. The human mind cannot comprehend how something or someone can exist without a point of origin. Everything we know had a beginning. Despite the difficulty of fully comprehending what it means for God to have no beginning, that is exactly what the Bible teaches.

The eternality of God confounds the mind, but no other solution offers a more reasonable or comprehensible answer. If God did not eternally exist then where did all things come from? The answer of mythology is that a god or his forerunner sprang out of nothing. But how does nothing suddenly become a deity? The answer of modern science is that an infinitely dense spot suddenly appeared out of nowhere, spun faster and faster until it finally blew up and became everything. Though this hypothesis is often couched in scientific terms, the possibility of a super massive, infinitesimal point appearing out of nothing is as likely as the great giant Ymir forming out of the mists of the abyss. Nor does an infinite number of universes existing in an intricate multi-verse solve the problem. This only pushes the problem off into another dimension. The options are the same, the multi-verse eternally existed or it had a beginning. The claims of an eternal multi-verse or of a universe that originated in nothing are no more plausible than the claim of an eternal God. The Biblical claim of an eternally existent God who created all things is the only one that offers a genuinely coherent explanation for the existence of the universe as we know it. God is, was and always will be.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15)

Are Ghosts Real?

Ghost stories are for many people a cherished part of childhood. Ghosts still attract a lot of attention today through reality shows which follow the investigations of ghost hunters and paranormal experts. Some surveys have suggested that as many as half of all Americans believe in ghosts.

Ghosts stories become serious when people speak of beloved family members who have returned to offer comfort or guidance. This kind of ghost story is found all around the world. Many cultures have stories of ancestors whose spirits remain in contact with the living. Several of the major Oriental religions and nearly every tribal religion believes their ancestors are still present and interact with the living. Since belief in ghosts is so widespread, is that not proof ghosts are real? Does the Bible say anything about ghosts to help understand this topic?

The Bible teaches that every person has an eternal spirit. Genesis 2 tells how God breathed into man to make him a “living spirit.” From that point onward the Bible treats man as a physical creature with a spirit which continues to exist after the death of the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) The Bible teaches that the spirit departs at death (James 2:6), but it never indicates that the spirit of the dead remains on the earth. Instead, the Biblical picture consistently teaches that when this life is over so is the person’s interaction with the earth and the living. At death the body goes into the grave and the spirit goes directly into heaven or hell (Luke 16:22-23; Phil 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Consequently, whatever strange things the living may see or feel, they are not the spirits of people consigned to remain on the earth.

If ghosts are not the souls of the dearly departed then what is the explanation for the unearthly phenomena seen by people? Many ghost stories can be attributed to emotional agitation. Grieving family members often see everyday events, like a bird perching nearby or a gentle breeze through the garden, as the actions of the spirit of a loved one who recently died. Such events need have no ghostly origin. Birds perch, breezes blow and butterflies flutter on a regular basis. These everyday events only gain significance when a grieving person associates them with the memory of a with a departed loved one. Such attributions prove nothing about the reality of ghosts. Many of the other experiences of ghosts are nothing more than strong emotions. Feelings of fear, nervousness, agitation or excitement are just feelings. They prove nothing about the existence of ghosts. The cause of those feelings may be nothing more than overworked imaginations.

Stories of moved items, damaged property or manifestations of a dead person present a more difficult challenge to explain. No certain answer can be given. Two plausible explanations can be suggested which do not require the existence of ghosts. First, unknown physical forces may be the cause of many mysterious movements. A shelf that suddenly falls over may be the result of nothing more than a weak leg that gave way, or an unnoticed vibration in the house which caused an already precarious shelf to topple. Second, though people do not become ghosts when they die, spiritual creatures do exist. These spiritual creatures are able to interact with the physical world. The Bible speaks of angels and demons involving themselves with the affairs of this world. Demons are described as inhabiting people and causing them great harm. (Matthew 17:15-18) Possibly demonic influences are the cause of some of the phenomena attributed to ghosts. Possibly certain demons afflict a location for the purpose of terrorizing or deceiving people.

In the end, no matter what strange experiences a person may have had, the Bible teaches that death ends a person’s involvement with this world. All explanations for unfamiliar phenomena have to be filtered through the Biblical teachings about life, death and the afterlife because the Bible is the only reliable source of information for what happens to a person after death.

What Does God Look Like?

“No man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Though no one has seen God, many people have a mental image of God. They may imagine God to be like an man with white hair and a long white beard. They may have in their minds a picture from a children’s Bibles or from their own imagination. Whatever their picture of God is, probably most people recognize their mental image of God is not what He actually looks like. What does God look like? Does the Bible tells us?

God is a spirit. (John 4:24) The words of Jesus teach that God is entirely spirit. A spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) so God’s appearance is not defined by the physical norms with which we are familiar. As a spirit God may have a discernible appearance, but God is likely not a bilaterally symmetrical upright anthropoid (He probably doesn’t look like a human being). Genesis 1:26 says God created man in His own image. This image almost certainly does not refer to the human form. Instead, the image of God probably refers to the intellect, spirit and ability given to man.

Though God is a spirit without physical form He has appeared to men in human form. When God told Abraham of His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrha He came to Abraham in the likeness of a man (Genesis 18:1). When God appeared to Joshua He appeared as a human warrior ready for battle (Joshua 5:13). God also appeared to men in other forms. He descended on Mt. Sinai in smoke and cloud accompanied by fire and lightning (Exodus 19:16). He descended on the temple in the form of a glorious cloud (2 Chronicles 5:14). Yet, later God appeared to Elijah but He was specifically not in the earthquake, the whirlwind or the fire (1 Kings 19:11-12). None of the forms in which God appeared to men are the natural appearance of God. They are coverings which mask His glory so that men may see His presence.

Few places in the Bible describe the actual appearance of God. In Revelation 1 the resurrected, glorified Jesus speaks to the disciple John. Jesus is described as having hair as white as wool, eyes like flames of fire, feet glowing like molten metal, a voice like a roaring flood and a face like the noonday sun. (Revelation 1:14-16) Most of the descriptions of God the Father focus on the majesty of His throne room and the magnificence of the angels which attend Him. Ezekiel 1 is a most vivid description of the throne of God. Though Ezekiel said much about the glorious things in God’s presence all that was said about God Himself is that His appearance was of a “fire, and it had a brightness round about it.” (Ezekiel 1:27) All Ezekiel could see was the “likeness of the glory of God” (Ezekiel 1:28). Ezekiel could not see God Himself. No one can see God. God told Moses that no one can His face and live. (Exodus 33:20) The holiness and glory of God are so great that no person can survive the full majesty of His presence.

The Bible uses various allegorical descriptions of God. All of these descriptions are metaphors, not intended to give a physical description of God. For example, He is described as a Shepherd (Psalm 23), though we know God does not actually carry a crooked staff and spend most of his time in a pasture. The Old Testament frequently speaks of God having arms and hands. These are descriptions of His power, not His limbs. Much is said about the mouth of God, but this refers to God as the source of revelation to men not the features of His face. God has healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2) and His people can trust under His wings (Ruth 2:12). God is not actually winged like a chicken, an eagle, a jet fighter or an angel. These various images are descriptions of God which present Him in a form humans can understand. They are intended to be understood as word pictures, not literal depictions. A great bridge may be described as a beautiful woman with her hands reaching out to grasp the shores and her mighty arms holding up many travelers. No one imagines the bridge is shaped like a human woman, but all understand the description as a metaphor which describes the beauty and strength of the bridge. The metaphors of God are not literal descriptions of His appearance but images to tell us a little about His glory, character and nature.

The question of God’s appearance is a fascinating one. Maybe one day in heaven the redeemed will be able to fully enjoy an unhindered sight of God in His glory. What is most important is that men know God’s character. God has not told us what He looks like. He has told us who He is. He revealed to us His love, mercy, holiness, grace, perfection, power, presence and limitlessness that men may know Him, worship Him and trust Him.

Does God Hate Homosexual?

Probably everyone has seen images of people carrying signs declaring, “God hates homosexuals.” Is this true? Does God hate homosexuals? The sin of homosexuality is despicable to God. (Leviticus 18:22) Those who live in homosexuality without repentance will not enter heaven. (1 Corinthians 6:9) The spread of homosexuality is the judgment of God upon a nation. Homosexuals are under the wrath of God and their homosexuality is the wrath of God upon them. (Romans 1:25-27) The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality, in the Old and New Testament. However, the Bible never says that God hates homosexuals. The Bible says God hates sin and He hates sinners.

The Bible says God hates sin. Several sins are listed as especially despicable to God, such as: pride, deceit, murder, fraudulent business practices, injustice and homosexuality. These lists of abominations do not single out homosexuality as unique among sins, nor do they minimize homosexuality’s sinfulness.

Yet, the Bible says that not only does God hate sin, He hates individuals. Hosea 9:15, “I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings.” Leviticus 26:30 warns the Israelites that if they did not obey God’s commands then God will say to them, “My soul shall abhor you.” Psalm 5:5 says simply, “(God) hates all workers of iniquity.” So, yes, God hates homosexuals. He hates homosexuals in the same way He hates all those who rebelliously and willfully persist in sin.

If you are still reading at this point you are probably demanding to know how the God who is Love can be said to hate anyone. God’s hatred of sinners is not a petulant or arbitrary hatred. God’s hatred does not in any way restrict the expression of His love. While a complete and satisfying reconciliation of God’s hatred and God’s love is not possible, the Bible clearly declares both. God is love and He hates sin and sinners. We must recognize that God’s love is not contradicted by His hate. The the hatred of God expressed in the Bible must not be confused with the unrighteous animosity common in human hatred. God can love the sinner perfectly while also hating them for their sin. In the end, the love of God for all men is unquestionable and undeniable. John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s love for the world is so great that while we were still in our sin He gave His Son to die for our sin. (Romans 5:8) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) God’s love extends to all humanity, regardless of their sin.

The reality is that all people are separated from God. No one is righteous. No one seeks after God. (Romans 3:10-11) Every person is naturally alienated from God and an enemy against Him. (Colossians 1:21) Every person is by birth the child of wrath and the child of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2-2) Despite our sin God in His love gives the offer of salvation freely to all. God in His love gives salvation freely to all who trust Jesus for forgiveness. God does not exclude homosexual from His grace anymore than he excludes those who were once murderers, blasphemers or persecutors of Christ. (1 Timothy 1:12-14)

Homosexuals are under God’s wrath. They are dead in trespasses and sins just like everyone else. As a result, homosexuals are sinners in need of the mercy and grace of God. Because they are sinners they can be saved. They are not outside the reach of God’s love. Homosexuals are no less able to be saved than any other sinners because God loves them.