What Is God? (Part 1)

Question 7a – What Is God?

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – Jhn 4:24 ESV

God is a spirit, Or “the Spirit is God”; a divine person, possessed of all divine perfections, as appears from his names, works, and worship ascribed unto him; See Gill on John 4:23; though the Arabic and Persic versions, and others, read as we do, “God is a spirit”; that is, God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: for taking the words in this light, not one of the persons is to be understood exclusive of the other; for this description, or definition, agrees with each of them, and they are all the object of worship, and to be worshipped in a true and spiritual manner. God is a spirit, and not a body, or a corporeal substance: the nature and essence of God is like a spirit, simple and uncompounded, not made up of parts; nor is it divisible; nor does it admit of any change and alteration. God, as a spirit, is immaterial, immortal, invisible, and an intelligent, willing, and active being; but differs from other spirits, in that he is not created, but an immense and infinite spirit, and an eternal one, which has neither beginning nor end: he is therefore a spirit by way of eminency, as well as effectively, he being the author and former of all spirits: whatever excellence is in them, must be ascribed to God in the highest manner; and whatever is imperfect in them, must be removed from him:

and they that worship him; worship is due to him on account of his nature and perfections, both internal and external; with both the bodies and souls of men; and both private and public; in the closet, in the family, and in the church of God; as prayer, praise, attendance on the word and ordinances:

must worship him in spirit and in truth; in the true and spiritual manner before described, which is suitable to his nature, and agreeably to his will. [Gill]

“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven–what can you do? Deeper than Sheol–what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” – Job 11:7-9 ESV

Canst thou by searching find out God? God is not to be found out by human search; that pleased to make known; see Ps 92:5; the Targum of the verse is, “in the height of heaven, what canst thou do? in the law, which is deeper than hell, what canst thou know?” (i) שמים גבהי “altior est altissimis coelis”, Junius & Tremellius. 11.9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea; the ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea; see (k) Ps 72:1; but God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite, Ps 147:5; and will admit of no dimensions; as his love, so his wisdom, has an height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth immeasurable; see Eph 3:18; from hence it appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is in vain for us to seek for him elsewhere: next the sovereignty of God is discoursed of. (k) “Quid oceano longius inveriri potest”, Cicero. Orat. 36.there is a God may be found out by inquiring into the book of nature, by considering the creatures that are made, who all proclaim some first cause or maker of them, who is God; but then it cannot be found out what God is, his nature, being, and perfections: an Heathen philosopher (i), being asked by a certain king what God was, required a day to give in his answer; when that was up he desired a second, and still went on asking more; and being demanded the reason of his dilatoriness, replied, the more he had considered the question, the more obscure it was to him: the world by wisdom, or the wiser part of the Heathen world, knew not God; though they knew there was one, they knew not who and what he was; and therefore in some places altars were erected to the unknown God, Acts 17:23, and though some of the perfections of God may be investigated from the works of nature, such as the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, Rom 1:19; yet not all his perfections, such as his grace, mercy, &c. proclaimed and displayed in Christ; nor indeed his counsels, purposes, and decrees, which lie in his eternal mind, are the thoughts of his heart, the deep things of God, which none but the Spirit of God searches, knows, and reveals; and since Zophar’s request was, that God should show to Job “the secrets of wisdom”, these may be meant here, either evangelical wisdom, the wisdom of God in a mystery hid in his heart from everlasting, and the mysterious truths and doctrines or it, things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of; these are not to be found out by human search, but are by the revelation of God; or else the reasons of the proceedings of God in Providence, which are out of the reach of men, dark, intricate, mysterious, unsearchable, and past finding out:

canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? to the uttermost of his nature and perfections; all his attributes, the last of them, and the extremity thereof: that God is perfect and entire, wanting nothing, and is possessed of all perfections, may be found out, or otherwise he would not be God; but his essence and attributes, being infinite, can never be traced and comprehended by finite minds; there are some perfections of God we have no idea of, but are lost in confusion and amazement as soon as we think of them and reason about them, as his eternity and immensity particularly; for, when we have rolled over in our minds millions and millions of ages, we are as far off from eternity as when we began; and when we have pervaded all worlds, and every space and place, we have got no further into immensity than at first; we are confounded when we think of a Being without beginning and without bounds, unoriginated, and unlimited; yea, even it is but a small part of the works of God in creation that is known by men, or of God in and by them; nay, by divine revelation, which gives the clearest and most enlarged view of him, whereby he has proclaimed his name, a God gracious and merciful, &c. yet it is only his back parts that are shown, not his face; it is only through a glass, darkly, we now see; indeed, in the other world, we shall see him face to face, and as he is, yet then never comprehend his essence: and, after all, it is only in Christ that God is to be found, to saving purposes; in him is the most glorious display of him; being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; and not only all his perfections are in him, as a divine Person, but they are glorified by him as Mediator; every step in salvation is taken in Christ, and every blessing of grace comes through him; what of the divine Presence and communion with God is enjoyed is by him; and he will be the medium of the enjoyment of God, and of all the glory and happiness of the saints in the world to come. (i) Simonides, apud Cicero, de Nat. Deor. l. 1.

It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Or, “is higher than the heavens” (i); either the wisdom of God and the secrets of it; the perfection of his wisdom, by which he has made the heavens; or evangelical wisdom, hid in his heart, and which the highest of creatures, the angels, come at the knowledge of only by revelation; and therefore, what can man do to find it out, unless God reveals it? or wisdom displayed in dark providences, which can never be accounted for until the judgments of God are made manifest: or else, “he that is God”, as the Vulgate Latin version, is “higher than the heavens”; the heaven is his throne on which he sits, and therefore he must be higher than that; the heavens, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain him; he fills up the infinite space beyond them; how is it possible therefore to find him out, to comprehend him?

deeper than hell; what canst thou know? meaning, neither the grave nor the place of the damned, for both which “Sheol” is sometimes used, but the centre or lowest part of the earth; there is a depth in God, in his essence, in his thoughts, in his wisdom, displayed in nature, providence, and grace, that is unfathomable; we can know nothing of it but what he is pleased to make known; see Ps 92:5; the Targum of the verse is, “in the height of heaven, what canst thou do? in the law, which is deeper than hell, what canst thou know?”

The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea; the ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea; see (k) Ps 72:1; but God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite, Ps 147:5; and will admit of no dimensions; as his love, so his wisdom, has an height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth immeasurable; see Eph 3:18; from hence it appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is in vain for us to seek for him elsewhere: next the sovereignty of God is discoursed of. [Gill]

Answer – God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal; and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

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