Who Is God? - Bruce Skinner
This page contains a transcription of the podcast episode entitled, “Who Is God” presented by Bruce Skinner.
In this episode Bruce unpacks the characteristics and motivations of God. God wants us to know Him and desires a personal relationship. It is up to you to decide. How will you respond to the personal invitation of God?
“Hello and welcome to YWAM Newcastle podcast. We are really excited to introduce a new four- part series called “Getting to know God”. This teaching series is designed to help you grow deeper in your relationship with God. We’re going to begin today with the topic “Who is God?”. Have you ever wondered what God is like? What He’s really like? This topic helps us begin our journey of getting to know God better. Our guest speaker, Bruce Skinner is a good friend of ours and an experienced teacher in YWAM Australia. If you have ever done DTS with us you will recognise him talking on topics such as the character and nature of God and also the Holy Spirit
We hope you enjoy this teaching and are ready to receive fresh insight and revelation.”
“Who is God?” What a great question! Who is God? Not “What is God?” but “Who is God”? ‘What’ gives you the potential to think inanimate, impersonal, just a power being but when we say ‘who’ it raises questions of personality. We in the Christian world we say “God in three persons”; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and we see that when Jesus arrived he referred to God as ‘Father’, ‘my Father’, ‘Abba’, Then he said ‘I and the Father are one. You know, ’I am in Him and He is in me and I am one’, ‘if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father’. So there’s something about relationship between a father and a son.
Then of course, Jesus later on refers to the Holy Spirit. He says “I am going to send a Helper that you’re going to need” and of course we know that as being the Holy Spirit.
So we see God in three persons; Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
If we think about the big questions that every human being at some point has to wrestle with is: “Where do we come from?” “Why am I here?”, “How did this come to be?”, “What is my purpose for existence?”. I think the answer to those questions are really held in the fundamental questions of life.
If I am real, where did I come from? Maybe there’s a God that created all this. If God is real, then maybe I need to understand what this God is like if I am to understand what my purpose for existence is. Now a lot of different worldviews, religions, beliefs have come up with different ideas about where we came from — whether it was the Greeks with Zeus and their other gods. Or whether it was Gog and Agog and and all of these other Old Testament references to other gods that were others worshipped. Whether it was Pali for the people of the the islands that believed in the god of fire and things like that. Maybe it’s the Buddhists that believe in different versions of our reality and where we came from. Or secular Humanists or Atheists that believe that it was all just a matter of time and chance and circumstance; that in the vastness of the universe that they believe always existed, time, collisions, heats, explosions and all of those things happened — that by chance we came to be. I’ve looked into a lot of those different views of where we’ve come from but I don’t find them very compelling. I think they lack something that I only find has reality when I consider what this thing, the Bible, this book that we have, gives us a different idea about where we came from.
Now, the Greeks, the philosophers understood that if this world and the universe and everything that we see is real and it’s good, where did it come from? Maybe, they suggested, maybe there is a greater being that is above and beyond, more powerful, that created this thing that we think is good, and if that’s true then maybe we should worship that God. But they couldn’t find that God. They couldn’t prove that that God existed with their processes of scientific discovery — and so they assumed well God doesn’t exist and so this is all there is. So rather than worship or give worth and value to that God we will worship the creation instead of the Creator.
Now as Christians, we have this story that has been recorded in this book, the Bible, over about 4,000 years of history of people’s experiences and that have been written down and we have those now to refer to as something is a reference point that helps us answer some of these questions about ‘Where do we come from?’ and “Why are we here?”.
Now as a Christian we start with Genesis, chapter one verse one. It says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. You know I’ve looked at all the other views and I’m comfortable with the idea that God created it and so I’m good with that assumption – that God created the universe and everything in it, so i’m good with that. I understand what He created — the matter, the air that we breathe, the ground that we walk on, the plants, the animals, everything — That God is the creator of all those things. I’m good with that. What i’m really interested in is not that did God create the universe, but “why?”. What was the motivation of God for creation? Because my basic understanding is that everything that God does, a little bit like everything that we do, everything that God does is a reflection of God’s motivation — there’s a reason for it, there’s a driving motivation behind every action. We might call that God’s character — that God’s motivation is a pure reflection of God’s character and it’s God’s character and motivation that should be reflected in every action. If that’s true, then I can assume that everything God does is a reflection of motivation.
That’s what i’m really interested in. I’m good that God is powerful. If God can create it all — the universe and everything in it — then I’ve got no questions about God’s power and God’s capacity — my real interest is in God’s character; God’s motivation.
So, why did God create us? What was the purpose for creation? Could it be that God for all eternity-past was just bored? I don’t know that just seems a little uh lacks something to give me a motivation to worship God… That God for all eternity-past was bored and had nothing to do and decides one day to create something to just observe because God is bored — like an ant farm. You know, He creates the ant farm and now gets to watch it for all of eternity. He goes ‘oh great, now i’m not bored today’. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t compel me. I don’t find that a really compelling motivation for creation.
Maybe it’s that God for all of eternity-past is just, you know, knows “I’m God, I’m the great “I am”, yes I am, the Great ‘I am’, I know ‘I am’, I think ‘I am’, but am I really?”. “Am I really if nobody else knows that ‘I am’ and maybe I’m not”. Maybe God is insecure — God is lacking a sense of worth and value and perhaps out of that need to hear that God is good, He creates the universe and everything in it — creates other beings (like us) that are a bit smaller than God so that when we would consider the God of the universe we go, “Wow God is big! God is really good”, and then God hears that affirmation and goes “Oh, thank you! I feel so much better now!” Now I don’t know about you, but I find that lacks a compelling argument for the motivation of my existence and certainly doesn’t compel me to want to worship God.
Maybe we get a glimpse in the Bible — right in the beginning, in the very first line where it says “In the beginning, God…’. That Hebrew word, “Elohim”. In a broad definition of ‘Elohim’, is that God is plural. Of course, as Christians we have this doctrine that we hold to of the trinity — God in three persons. Maybe these three persons for all of eternity passed; before the beginning of time that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit there together for all of eternity-past. What were they doing? My conclusion is that they were experiencing relationship — one person to another and that that relationship was good; and it was so good that out of the overflow of their joy that they were experiencing they said “Why don’t we create others like us — other beings that can experience relationship the way we experience relationship — not just with each other, but with us?” If that’s true that means that we exist for the purpose of relationship with God — The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit — and that we (you and I) might also be able to experience relationship like that.
Now if this is true, if this is the way it really is, then this starts to shape everything now for me this affects ‘what do I think it means to be a human being?’. if i’m created for the purpose of relationship — what is a relationship? What does it mean to have relationship? Well, I guess it’s like any version of what we experience here on the earth. It’s like a relationship I have with my wife — it’s where I get to experience her person; which is a reflection of her motivation. I get to experience her motivation towards me in words and actions — and I get to decide whether I like those words and actions and do I like or love the motivation behind those actions. Do I want to accept and experience more of that or do I want to reject and hold back those things that are a reflection of her motivation? And the same me towards her. You see, I believe at the very core of our existence, our purpose, if it’s for relationship is our ability to choose whether I agree or disagree — whether I want more of that or not or I want to reject and have nothing to do with that. If that’s true, then that explains so much of our our personal experience that we have every day but it also helps me in understanding some of those very early stories in the Bible. Whether it’s the ‘fall’, you know, why did that happen? What was happening there? I think it comes back to that fundamental question about “if i’m created for the purpose of relationship i’ve got to be able to say no to God — I have to have that capacity to say ‘no’ to God. And why would God choose to give me that ability to say no unless it’s because God wants us to be able to have that capacity to say ‘no’ that we might have true potential for relationship with God.
And we see this consistently now as I look at the stories of the Bible, in my own experiences and others experiences as well, I see that reflected in everyday actions. I see it reflected in the scriptures and the stories of the Bible — where god is constantly wanting to woo us towards this loving heart of God; but we still get to decide whether we want to choose it or not. So if we want to know “Who is God?”, I think God is the perfect version of what we think very human existence is. That God has a deep desire for us to experience that as well.
So hopefully that’s given you a little bit of a taste; a bit of a tease; to want to dig in a little bit deeper and further into the motivation of God; of “Who is God?”. And so I hope this has helped to give a little bit of a introduction into the topic of “Who is God?”.
Thank you, Bruce! So God is three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As Bruce so clearly explained, He is a God who is in relationship and desires relationship with us. Because a true relationship involves a choice; it is up to us on how we will respond to God’s initiative towards us.
Here are a couple of questions to ponder:
- – What stood out to you from Bruce’s teaching?
- – Was God highlighting anything specific to you?
- – What are your beliefs about God and where do they come from?
- – How would you describe your relationship with Him right now in this moment?
We hope you can join us again to complete this series as we aim to help you grow in your relationship with God and take it to the next level. If you liked what you heard today and would like to discover more on this topic, you can check out our Discipleship Training School. We offer many more training options from seminars and certificate 3, 4 all the way up to diploma level.
Our prayer is that you continue to get to know God in a personal way.
Thank you so much for listening, hope to see you again.