A part of our We Believe… series

Ever since we have been able to record our thoughts human beings have tried to find ways of explaining what and who is behind our existence. People of faith attribute this to (a) divinity who is often given titles such as Almighty, Omnipotent and Creator as a result.

Christians believe in one God, who is without beginning and end, who is not limited by time or space, from whom all things originate and to whom everything will return. At the same time Christians experience God also as unspeakably close, as intimate in ways we can never fully understand. God is equally the completely other and at the same time God embraces us with love too deep for words.

Christians furthermore proclaim God’s self-revelation by the 3-fold title of ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ or sometimes ‘Creator, Redeemer & Sustainer’.

For some people it is helpful to think about what God’s attributes or characteristics might be. ‘God is Love’ is one such common way of understanding the nature of God. Generally speaking God is thought of as being:

  • Omnipotent (all-powerful)
  • Omnipresent (present everywhere)
  • Omnibenevolent (all-loving)
  • Omniscient (all-knowing)

People have sometimes responded to these ideas by using abstract imagery – such as ‘God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere’. Many have used poetic imagery to try put these ideas into words, including the 17th Century English minister John Mason, whose hymn ‘How shall I sing that majesty’ ends with these words:

Thou art a sea without a shore,
a sun without a sphere;
thy time is now and evermore,
thy place is everywhere.

Some thoughts to ponder

  • Have you ever had an experience that made you aware of ‘something greater than you’?
  • What images of God do you find helpful?
  • How do you respond to each of the characteristics commonly ascribed to God?
  • Are there any other characteristics that you think would be helpful?

Join the conversation

Please feel free to share your thoughts below and if you use twitter to post your ideas using the hashtag #StJWeBelieve