Who is God? His Nature, Roles, and Works

Discover who God is according to the Bible and aspects of His divinity that we all should know!

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Updated Feb 19, 2024
Who is God? His Nature, Roles, and Works

No other question is more important than “Who is God?” Learn about the roles, nature, and works of God to more deeply understand Him. Find Scriptures that provide context while revealing His character.

Get this one right — and experience who He is each day — and you’ll enjoy life to the full! We see this in Deuteronomy 7:12-13, Psalm 16:2, John 10:10, and James 1:17. We also see this today. 

"I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (Psalm 16:2)

“The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long.” - A. W. Tozer

Who Is God?

The Bible does not give one specific definition of God. Instead, it assumes God's existence from the beginning and reveals His nature and work throughout. God is understood as the supreme being and the creator of the universe. 

God is Our Creator

The Bible begins with the statement, 

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, NIV).

This verse introduces the notion that God initiated the existence of the world through a deliberate and purposeful act of creation. God is thought to have brought the universe into existence without pre-existing materials. This idea emphasizes God's absolute power and sovereignty over all of creation. God continues to sustain and uphold the universe. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul writes, "In him [Christ] all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17, NIV), suggesting God's ongoing role in maintaining the order and existence of the world. The act of creation is often seen as a manifestation of God's glory and creative wisdom. Psalm 19:1 expresses this sentiment: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (NIV). Understanding God as the Creator of the universe provides a framework for understanding the nature of God and humanity's place in the world.

God is the Holy Trinity

The Trinity refers to the understanding of God as one essence existing eternally in three distinct persons: Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. The Trinity asserts that there is one God—that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share the same divine essence. The concept of the Trinity is not explicitly laid out in a single biblical passage but is inferred from various biblical teachings, such as the Great Commission, where Jesus speaks, referencing each entity.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20).

Each person of the Trinity is understood to have distinct roles while sharing the same divine nature. The Father is often associated with the role of creator and source, the Son with redemption and revelation (especially in the Incarnation of Jesus), and the Holy Spirit with sanctification and empowerment. The relationships within the Trinity are considered eternal and unchanging. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have existed in a perfect and loving relationship from eternity past. This eternal communion reflects the idea that God is inherently relational. The Trinity is often described as a divine mystery, acknowledging that human language and thought are limited when trying to grasp the nature of God. It goes beyond our ordinary understanding of unity and plurality. The work of redemption involves the Father sending the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world for the salvation of humanity and the Holy Spirit's role in convicting, guiding, and empowering believers. 

Definition of God

"God" is central to many religious and philosophical traditions, representing the ultimate and transcendent being. In monotheistic religions such as Christianity, God is understood as the creator and sustainer of the universe, possessing attributes such as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence. God is seen as the source of moral authority and the ultimate object of worship and devotion.

Nature of God in the Bible

So, “Who is God?” Among many other biblical and theological words, five stand out. All five words are multiplied by eternity and infinity. 

In other words, what do we mean when we say, “My love falls impossibly short of God’s love?” Everything about God stretches not only across the 100 billion light-years of this universe, but also stretches far beyond this universe to God’s throne in heaven. 

So, what are the five words that answer, “Who is God?”?

1. God Is Sovereign  

“Sovereign” appears hundreds of times in Scripture and is embedded 6,700 plus times in the sacred divine name, YHWH. The latter typically appears as the word “LORD” capitalized in most modern Bible translations. 

When we think about who God is, we begin by describing Him as all-powerful (omnipotent) and everywhere-present (omnipresent). 

The biblical heroes of the faith rejoiced in both aspects of God’s sovereignty. King David said, “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). Later he prayed, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).

The initial followers of Jesus Christ prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them” (Acts 4:24). Later the Apostle Paul described God as “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

So, does God’s power and presence permeate every moment and millimeter of your life? 

Yes! You’re never alone. And you’re never powerless. God is with you, asking, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Call out to Him now.

2. God Is Working

He is providential, and while the word “providence” (referring to God) doesn’t appear in a single Bible verse, in some ways, that’s fitting. After all, “providence” speaks of God’s eternal, infinite, and (mostly) invisible hand at work in nations, tribes, families, and individuals. 

Heroes of faith — Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, Ezra, Esther, and many others — rejoiced in God’s providence, which increased their faith and trust in Him. Job humbled himself before God and said, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Centuries later, the Lord assured the prophet Isaiah: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Isaiah 46:10). 

After witnessing a tremendous miracle, King Nebuchadnezzar wrote to everyone in his empire: “He [the LORD] does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35). The Apostle Paul reaffirmed that God “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

So, does God’s guidance and goodness permeate your life?

Yes! Life is abundant when you recognize and rejoice in both today!

3. God Is Holy

“Holy” and its synonyms appear more than 1,600 times throughout the Bible. It quickly becomes clear that God is holy, people aren’t, God expects us to be holy, and we can’t be without His divine transformation.

After giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord told His ancient people: “Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the LORD, who made you holy” (Leviticus 22:32). He also told them: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). 

Old and New Testament heroes of faith talk about the dichotomies of holiness, which both challenged them and spurred their faith into action. In the middle of the Bible, we’re told, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom” (Psalm 45:6). Toward the end of the Bible, we’re told, “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). 

So, does God’s glory and purity permeate your life? 

Yes! Now is the time to confess any known sins and embrace God’s holiness anew. 

4. God Is Love

Jesus and His apostles didn’t invent the idea of God’s love. Far from it! 

Remember the Lord’s sacred name, YHWH? Here’s the first part of how the Lord Himself defines it: “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD, and he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’” (Exodus 34:5-7). 

Did you notice the word “love” appears twice?

Actually, “God” and “love” appear adjacent to each other many, many times throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. The most famous of those verses is John 3:16. Other famous verses about God’s love include Romans 5:5, Romans 5:8, and Romans 8:38-39. Still, others include 1 John 4:7-10, 1 John 4:16, and 1 John 4:19. But it’s not enough to just know about God’s love. 

So, does God’s graciousness and passion permeate your life? 

Yes! Open your heart and arms to receive His love right now. 

5. God Is Omnipotent

When we think about who God is, we can’t finish before we talk about Him as all-knowing (omniscient). This doesn’t mean God knows all the facts in the universe. Well, that’s true; He does, but God knows much, much more. 

Remember phone books? A million facts, but none that could change your life. By themselves, facts are just facts. God not only has all knowledge but also has all-discernment, all-insight, all-understanding, all-wisdom, and “way-above-our-heads” ways.

The Lord puts it this way: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). 

In other words, “God alone knows” multiplied by eternity and infinity. 

None of us knows 0.000001% of everything that’s true and right and important and life-changing. So, why in the world are we ever tempted to think we know better than God? Do we know better than Him how to run our lives? Not a chance!

So, does God’s mystery permeate your life? 

Yes! Humbly acknowledge His higher, heavenly wisdom and ways today. 

Works of God

The works of God refer to the actions or deeds attributed to God as revealed in the Bible. These works exhibit God's nature, character, and purpose in relation to creation and humanity. Here are three of the most significant examples of God's works in the Bible:

Creation: One of the most fundamental works of God described in the Bible is the creation of the universe. In the book of Genesis, God is described as the creator of the heavens and the earth, bringing order out of chaos and filling the world with life. This act of creation demonstrates God's power, wisdom, and sovereignty over all things.

Redemption: Another significant work of God in the Bible is the redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ. God sent his Son, Jesus, to earth to save humanity from sin and reconcile them to himself. This act of redemption is seen as the ultimate expression of God's love and mercy towards humanity, demonstrating his desire to restore broken relationships and offer the gift of salvation.

Providence: God's providential care and guidance over creation and human history is also highlighted in the Bible. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God is portrayed as actively involved in the lives of individuals and nations, working out his purposes in the world. This work of providence is seen as a reflection of God's faithfulness, wisdom, and concern for his creation. This providence continues today through the active work of the Holy Spirit.

Who is God, According to the Bible?

John 4:24 - God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Numbers 23:19 - God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

1 John 4:16 - So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Revelation 1:8 - “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

God Is More Than We Can Know

In this article, I don’t want to imply that five words alone can describe who God is. Believe me, I know He is much more! 

When I read Scripture, I’m reminded that the Lord God is One in Three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) infinitely and eternally. 

When I’m stressed, I remember the Lord’s presence is with me and thank Him for His infinite and eternal joy and peace. 

When I’ve sinned, I recall the Lord’s holiness and love and thank Him for His marvelous, amazing mercy and grace. 

Bottom line: Don’t forget to experience who God is each day — so you can enjoy life to the full!

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ChristianChan

headshot of David Sanford new 2020The late David Sanford’s book and Bible projects were published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, Barbour, and Amazon. His latest book was Life Map Devotional for Men published concurrently with his wife Renee’s book, Life Map Devotional for Women.


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