Q2: What is God?
ANSWER: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.
The "God question" has occupied the human heart from the beginning of time, and human history has offered many, many answers to this question. For the ancient pagan pantheist, God is everywhere and in all things. The created order is God--and so are we! The deist of the European Enlightenment believes God created everything but then left us to our own devices to sustain things ourselves. In the 19th century the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach concluded that God was nothing more than a projection of man's idealized self. And of course the modern atheist doesn't believe that God exists at all.
The biblical answer to the question "what is God?" can be found in the answer to this week's catechism question. Against the pantheist, Christianity affirms that God isn't in the created world, rather God created that world. Against the deist, Christianity affirms that God remains engaged in the world He created. He is the sustainer of all, and his will supervenes all things. Against Feuerbach and the atheist--well, against them both Christianity affirms that God exists.
Perhaps most importantly, Christianity insists on the personality of God, as revealed in Scripture and in the Word made Flesh. It insists that God is capable of loving and relating to Himself and to His creatures. Pagan philosophers such as Aristotle would have accepted the idea of a First Cause, but the notion of a loving--and indeed a suffering God would be, as the Apostle Paul observed, "foolishness to the Greeks." The God of the Bible is unique in His role as creator and sustainer, in his qualities of power and perfection, in His sovereignty over all things, and in His desire for a loving relationship with us.
Psalm 86:8–10 and 15
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God…. You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.