I heard it in the hallway of my high school—God was dead! Until then, the possibility that God could die had never occurred to me. Apparently someone in my circle of friends had read some writings of Friedrich Nietzsche about the death of God. In 1882 Nietzsche had promoted the idea that the Enlightenment had eliminated the possibility of the existence of God. So, in his opinion, God was dead—apparently killed by the Enlightenment.
So, my first thought was: Why did it take 80 years for me to hear about His death? One of my friends, upon hearing the news of the possible passing of God, quipped, “He is not dead; I just spoke with Him this morning!”
Thankfully, about this time a Christian philosopher and theologian, Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), published a book entitled, “The God Who Is There.” I never bought into the idea that God could die, because, like my friend, I enjoyed a real relationship with a living Savior. But, Schaeffer’s book encouraged my faith in God.
In one place Schaeffer wrote: “If we are unexcited Christians, we should go back and see what is wrong. We are surrounded by a generation that can find ‘no one home’ in the universe…. In contrast to this, as a Christian, I know who I am; and I know the personal God who is there.”
With appreciation to Dr. Schaeffer, think with me about, “the God who is there.”
First—God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word
Paul wrote to Timothy: “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:15-16).
If God had not spoken, inspired people to write, revealing Himself and His plan to man in His Word, all of mankind would be in total spiritual and moral darkness. We would be left with no guide, no morals, nor standard for behavior. Without God’s Word, we would know nothing of our origin, purpose, or destiny. We would be alone in a dark place with no map or compass.
Second—God is Creator, Lord and King over this world
He created all things and rules over all things for His own glory. God constantly displays His perfections in all He does, so that all mankind and angelic beings may worship and adore Him. God is self-existent, infinite, eternal and unchangeable. Moses wrote: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
If God is Creator, Lord and King—that makes us creatures, servants, and subjects. This means, “We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12). God is Creator and Lord—we are creatures and accountable.
Third—God is Savior, rescuing believers from the guilt and power of sin
Since the entrance of sin and death in the Garden of Eden, God has been actively at work in love through the Lord Jesus Christ, saving and redeeming repentant sinners. All who come to faith in Him are adopted into His forever family as children of His own.
Because He is the God who is there, and we are not—only He could move to save, redeem and restore His fallen creatures. God loves His creation, despite the entrance of sin with its accompanying destruction. Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He goes on to state, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (verse 9).
Fourth—God is Triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
God is three persons in one—existing in perfect harmony. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each involved in the work of saving people for eternity. The Father purposes redemption, loving and providing for it; the Son secures redemption, sacrificing and dying for it; and the Holy Spirit applies redemption, convicting, drawing, securing and sealing it.
The person of God could not be better described than what is stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism that reads: “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
Fifth—God longs for people to respond to His revelation.
God makes believers godly through the revelation of His Word, as they receive, walk and obey His Word in life. Godliness comes when His people live in the light under the direction of His Word.
The Scriptures teach that God invites, convicts and longs for people to respond to His invitation to come to Him. But sadly, many reject Him. To some unbelievers of His day, Jesus said, “you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:40). They could have come to Him, He invited them to come, but God would not violate their right to choose. He didn’t then—and He doesn’t now.
However, Jesus said, “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). If you come to Him, repenting of your sins, calling on His name, He will save you. And, after all, He is the God who is there.