The publishing industry would find it well nigh impossible to produce a full list of books either under the subject or on just the key word “God,” being innumerable as they are.

In our generation, books like Experiencing God or Knowing God have sold in thousands, signifying current interest in the unseen and the unknowable personality that still eludes human comprehension.

One of the best-known words in the Greek language is theos, simply translated as “God.” Many of us are familiar with its derivatives such as “theocentric,” “theocracy” or “theology.”

The ancient Greeks had a quite different view of God than the Jews and Christians. To the Greeks, theos spoke of an ordered universe.

Their gods were sustainers of all that existed and guarantors of natural order. They were assumed to be impersonal forces.

Later, in Homer’s time, gods were thought to be eternal, though their actions and reactions were marked by human frailties. They were unable to alter the fates of people viewed as sources of evil.

When a god was offended, he supposedly sent trouble to people. To Aristotle, a god was the final cause of all that exists.

The Jewish-Christian view of a personal God is foreign to Greek mythology. For this, one has to turn to the biblical Scriptures to take in the personal, eternal, and infinite God.

The Scriptures contain some general references to God. When King Herod pretended to be a god, the true God punished him with death.

At least twice, Apostle Paul was mistaken for a god because he performed miracles. Scriptures condemn any exaltation of a person or a thing to the position of God.

By tracing theos, one can learn much about the God of the Bible. In Christ, God came down among people. Hence, Jesus is called “Immanuel, God with us.”

People understood God mostly by the things said about Him.

He was seen as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Following on from this statement is the truth that He is also our God (Romans 1:8).

Another aspect of the relationship with God is His position as a Heavenly Father. Christ often referred to God as his Father. The apostles, too, echoed this truth in their writings.

Paul referred to Christ as the God of all comfort. He was seen as the God of hope, joy and peace.

It is the genius of the New Testament that Jesus is identified as God in the flesh. According to both Paul and Peter, Jesus is both God and Saviour, one and the same person. Moreover, Paul wrote that Jesus is supreme over all.

Just as the Scripture is full of references to God, so are other literatures.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946), novelist and historian, said, “Until a man has found God and been found by Him, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end.

“He may have his friendships, his partial party loyalties, his scraps of honour. But all these things fall into place, and life falls into place, only with God.”

Oxford don and Cambridge professor C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) wrote: “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'”

Another writer with a keen consciousness of God was G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Concerning the power of God, he said: “The sun does not rise because of the rotation of the earth. The sun rises because God says to it, ‘Get up.'”

God is a spiritual being. The classical definition of Him is found in the Westminister Shorter Catechism: “God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

Will Durant has done more to popularize history than any other American writer. Writing long before perestroika, he said: “The great question of our time is not communism versus individualism, not Europe versus America, not east versus west; it is whether man can live without God.”

Sadly, many still do, and for no sound reason but a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God’s general and particular personal revelations.

We’ll give the last word, therefore, to Wendell Baxter: “An atheist does not find God for the same reason a thief does not find a policeman. He is not looking for him.”

Narayan Mitra is the pastor of Merritt Baptist Church

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