What is God like? Throughout the ages, that question has been asked by more people than any other. Our little children are only a few years old when they come in their innocent simplicity and inquire of us, “What is God like?” Philip the apostle asked it for himself and for all mankind: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). Philosophers repeatedly have asked the question. Religionists and thinkers have wrestled with it for millenniums.

Paul preached at Athens and spoke of mankind’s quest for the “Unknown God.” He declared God’s intention that mankind “should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28). Paul was speaking about the presence of God in the universe—a Presence that becomes the living, vibrant voice of God causing the human heart to reach out after Him. Alas! Man has not known where to reach because of sin. Sin has blinded his eyes, dulled his hearing and made his heart unresponsive.

Sin has made man like a bird without a tongue. It has within itself the instinct and the desire to sing, but not the ability. The poet Keats expressed beautifully, even brilliantly, the fantasy of the nightingale that had lost its tongue. Not being able to express the deep instinct to sing, the bird died of an overpowering suffocation within.

Eternity in our hearts

God made mankind in His own image. He “hath set the world [eternity] in their heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What a graphic picture! How much it explains ourselves to us! We are creatures of time—time in our hands, our feet, our bodies—that causes us to grow old and to die. Yet all the while we have eternity in our hearts!

One of our great woes as fallen people living in a fallen world is the constant warfare between the eternity in our hearts and the time in our bodies. This is why we can never be satisfied without God. This is why the question “What is God like?” continues to spring from every one of us. God has set the values of eternity in the hearts of every person made in His image.

As human beings, we have ever tried to satisfy ourselves by maintaining a quest, a search. We have not forgotten that God was. We have only forgotten what God is like.

Philosophy has tried to give us answers. But the philosophical concepts concerning God have always been contradictory. The philosopher is like a blind person trying to paint someone’s portrait. The blind person can feel the face of his subject and try to put some brush strokes on canvas. But the project is doomed before it is begun. The best that philosophy can do is to feel the face of the universe in some ways, then try to paint God as philosophy sees Him.

Most philosophers confess belief in a “presence” somewhere in the universe. Some call it a “law”—or “energy” or “mind” or “essential virtue.” Thomas Edison said if he lived long enough, he thought he could invent an instrument so sensitive that it could find God. Edison was an acknowledged inventor. He had a great mind and he may have been a philosopher. But Edison knew no more about God or what God is like than the boy or girl who delivers the morning newspaper.

A. W. Tozer and Gerald B. Smith, Jesus, Our Man in Glory: 12 Messages from the Book of Hebrews (Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread, 1987), 39–41.










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