Chapter 2 - God is God

God is God Despite the Opinions of Man


God has created us the way we are for a very good reason, and He has given us no choice in the matter. He has done what He has done and He leaves us free to accept Him or reject Him.

One thing we must not do, however, is to pretend that He is something that He is not. It is foolhardy to ignore scripture in order to accommodate our own distaste for the way that He has fashioned us, because He is who He is despite any opinion to the contrary.

But who is He? The God of scripture is eternal.1 He existed before man and He created man,2 and He will exist for the rest of eternity.3 Therefore, He exists apart from man and is not dependent upon man for any aspect of His existence. God is God notwithstanding what we think of Him.

Whether we accept Him, agree with Him, love Him, reject Him, hate Him, follow Him or try to make Him into our own image, He is who He is. And all of our pretense, fabrications and rejections of scripture will not change Him. So, let us concern ourselves first with the God of the Bible and then, and only then, permit ourselves to depart if we find Him to be anything less that what He says He is: love.4

If we do not wish Him to be who He is or if we do not wish Him to do what He does, it does not matter because He simply is. Indeed, His name is “I AM THAT I AM5 meaning “The Self-existent One.” We cannot change Him, nor can He change Himself. He is immutable (unchangeable).6 If we examine Him and find Him not to be to our liking, it is of no moment, because He is still God.

To construct a different god and worship it is idolatry. There is only one God, and He is a jealous God.7 He will not receive the worship of those who worship other gods.

God is Sovereign.

God of is sovereign over all things.8 He is all-powerful9 and all-knowing,10 and as such, He foreknew each of us.11 He knows the number of the hairs on our head12 and is aware of every sparrow that falls.13 He creates man and all things14 and He executes His will.15 He heals,16 guides,17 directs,18 answers prayer,19 manifests himself (makes Himself known) to those who love and obey Him;20 He lives in each person who obeys Him and who loves Him,21 gives wisdom to everyone who asks for it,22 brings righteousness to each one who wants it,23 protects,24 provides,25 gives true freedom,26 removes sin27 and instills within each person who is willing an immense and profound internal peace, which, once discovered, is more marvelous than anything that this earth has to offer.28

This God who is constantly with us and is all powerful is fully capable of delivering each of us from all pain and tragedy and insulating us from harm and sin, either our own sin or the sin of others.

This God could place us in a world where no baby is born without arms, where no one dies, where no disease afflicts, no crime injures, no accident maims, no war kills, no greed steals and no tear is ever shed. But He did not. God who created each of us and who knows the hairs on our heads29 is more than capable of healing any disease that we may ever encounter or delivering us from persecution, hatred, crime, injury, debt and loss in an instant. And He, more than any force in the universe, is able to protect us and our loved ones from anything else. But He does not always do so. Why?

Let us not delude ourselves by creating a theology that teaches that God is not responsible for adversity. Because God certainly is responsible for adversity. He is responsible for all things, including every tragedy and every pain and loss that has ever occurred because He is all knowing30 and all powerful.31

God does not directly cause all tragedies, but He certainly permits them.32 He created forces of nature and fashioned every microbe and virus that is responsible for every disease and He created evil people who kill and injure others. He knows when people will be born with defects and He permits it anyway. Scripture tells us clearly that the God of the Bible created all things.33 He knows in advance of each tragedy that will happen.34 He who created Mother Theresa also created Adolph Hitler and effectively hammered His own son to a cross and left Him to die. He created every saint, every sinner, every taker and every giver, every disease and every recovery, every pain and every pleasure on this earth. He alone determines when men shall live and when men shall die and the pain that they will suffer before the end comes.

Although God is the Creator of those who commit sin, He is not the author of sin.35 Sin is a free choice made by man to ignore the will of God and to engage in acts that result in spiritual death.36 God neither sins, nor causes sin nor does He tempt anyone to sin.37 God creates the sinner but it is the sinner who independently creates the sin. But God is ultimately responsible for both because He created both the sinner and the sin.

For this same reason, one cannot argue that the omnipotent God is not responsible for adversity because it is somehow part of his “permissive” will rather than His “sovereign” will. This distinction makes no difference whatever because God is omnipotent38 and omniscient,39 all powerful and all knowing40 and He alone determines what will occur. This means that nothing happens of which He is not aware; nothing happens that He does not permit; and nothing happens that He does not ultimately cause. Exculpating God by saying that a tragedy occurred because of different parts of His will-or because His back was turned-is saying that God is not omnipotent and not in control of all things. This argument is unscriptural and unnecessary. God is ultimately responsible for everything and He has no need to be exculpated from anything.

Many simply do not accept that God is the author of tragedy because they do not wish the God whom they worship to have any part in adversity. But God Himself announces that He directly creates evil:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil;41 I the Lord do all these things.42

Therefore, when scripture says that we should fear God,43 it means exactly that. He did not promise that life would a bed of rose petals; He promised that it would be garden of roses-with thorns. And this is not just an Old Testament concept; it is a New Testament concept as well. Jesus warns us to fear God because God not only kills but casts some into hell after He has finished killing:

And I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.44

So Jesus tells us that God kills and casts into hell. Of course He does! He is God. He alone determines when each of our bodies will die. The term “kill” refers to those who die suddenly or violently, so the verse clearly refers to God killing the body and casting the soul into hell. And, indeed, not only does He kill, but He destines some to be disobedient and to stumble:

Behold, I lay in Zion a Chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed...45

And God chooses:

Therefore hath he mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. You will say then unto me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? Nay but, O man, who are you to reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus?46

God chooses some and does not choose others and ultimately casts some into hell. However, to address a prevalent scriptural error, God does not punish anyone with eternal torment. He does not burn anyone alive forever. The doctrine of eternal torment for all unbelievers is a Catholic myth and it is gross theological error and is nowhere in scripture.47 The eternal fate of unbelevers is death, not eteral torment. The Bible contains approximately 49 scriptures that teach death as the ultimate fate of those who reject Christ, the chief of which are Ezekiel 18:4 ("The soul that sins shall die") and Romans 6:23 ("The wages of sin is death"). The Bible spcifically teaches that the unredeemed will be cast into the lake of fire and for them the lake of fire will be the "second death" and never mentions eternal torment.48 On the other hand, there is only one scripture that actually mentions eternal torment and that is in reference to the eternal punishment of Satan;49 and there is no scripture that teaches that all unbelievers will receive the same end as Satan. The argument for eternal torment arises from the fact that some scriptures are simply broad enough to support either eternal death or eternal torment. But there is no scripture that actually teaches eternal torment for unbelievers; every single scripture that addresses the eternal fate of the unredeemed either says directly or points to death, not eternal torment. This includes passages that allude to eternal punishment50 because the unredeemed will be punished eternally, to be sure, but that eternal punishment is death, not eternal torment.

Prior to their final demise which follows the final judgment, the unredeemed souls will face the consequence of their sins in hell. But in the end, hell and death will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death for both of them.51 Death is wholly eradicated and God creates a new heavens and a new earth where there is no more pain and no more sorrow52 and no more hell. Thus, many of the lost souls who die will receive exactly what they expect and God will not resurrect them for the purpose of burning them alive forever, nor does He predestine anyone to that fate. In the end men die because they have sinned53 and all have been thorougly warned: the wage of sin is death.54

The only escape of eternal death is to appropriate the work of Jesus Christ who paid the wage of sin for us by dying for us (not suffering eternal torment for us)55 on the cross.56 That is what Jesus Christ was referring to when He said that those who trust in Him will never die.57 He did not mean that we would not die the first death because all men will die the first death. He meant that we would not die the second death. Christians do not die the second death because through Jesus Christ we have eternal life.58 So scripture teaches that there are two deaths, but those who have sincerely trusted in Christ, will die only one of them.59 After that He will resurrect us.

It is essential for us to understand that the doctrine of eternal torment of the unbeliever is error because the doctrine is an assault on the character of God. God is not only a God of love, He is love.60 And being love, He will ultimately end all suffering and all death and create a new heavens and a new earth. And he is not going to burn people alive forever just because they didn't trust in Jesus or because they committed a sin. But He is God. He is in control and He is just.

Some Christian denominations re-define God to become less fearsome, less responsible and not really in control. They create a god who neither interferes nor creates nor does anything unpleasant. In this way they lead their congregations away from the Creator, away from scripture, away from salvation by faith in Christ and into lives that will eventually end in eternal death.

One does not have to look far in scripture to see that God is far from the neutered god described by apostate churches. The God of the Bible is fearsome indeed. Love and acceptance are not His only attributes. The God of scripture directly causes tragedies because He is in control of all things.

For instance, He drowned every human on the face of the earth except for one family because of the wickedness of mankind - this obviously included infants.61 He predestinated His own people, the Israelites, to be enslaved and mistreated in Egypt for 400 years;62 He turned the hearts of the Egyptians against them63 and hardened Pharaoh’s heart64 and strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve not to respond to the signs of Moses. He then proceeded to visit a series of miraculous tragedies upon the people of Egypt and when Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go He killed all of the first born of Egypt, including innocent babies (this is the Passover);65 In order to protect the Israelites, whom He had predestinated to be slaves in Egypt, He drowned an army of Egyptians who were required to follow the orders of Pharaoh;66 He caused the Chaldeans to attack Jerusalem to punish Israel for idolatry and sent all of Israel into captivity;67 He killed 50,070 men just because certain members of their tribe looked into the Ark of the Covenant;68 and when He was angered He directly killed some of His own people69 and sent a plague among them.70 He destroyed every inhabitant of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them alive, except for the family of Lot.71 He sent His own Son to be crucified and die a horribly painful death to pay for the sins of others.72 And He states with absolute clarity that in the end of days, when mankind returns to legitimized sin and debauchery as in of the days of Noah,73 the world will suffer unprecedented destruction and pain.74 It the eyes of God, death (the first death) is certainly not the ultimate tragedy.

Make no mistake about it. The God of scripture is not only love and acceptance.75 He is fearsome and we had best see Him as God indeed and obey Him to the letter.

But, at the same time, He is the cause of every moment of every love, every act of kindness, every self-sacrifice, every help, every touch, every faithful friend and supportive and loving spouse, every caring mother and father, every honest word, every birth, and every beautiful and wonderful thing on this earth.

Let us simply admit that He is who He is, but in our admitting let us admit all that He is. Let us presume that these scriptures are true, as is all of scripture, and have the courage see where it leads us. Let us look at this God, who is at once the author of tragedy and ecstasy, the giver of comfort and pain, the author of eternal life and eternal death, and let us ask the most difficult of questions:


1. Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge …”

2. Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

3. Psalms 104:31 “The glory of the Lord shall endure forever…”

4. First John 4:8 "God is love."

5. Exodus 3:2 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM … thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel …”

6. Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord. I change not…”

7. Exodus 20:5 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image … thou shalt not bow down thyself to them … for I, the LORD thy God am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation … “ (the First Commandment); Exodus. 34:14; De 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; Jos 24:19; Na 1:2; 1 Corinthians 10:22.

8. Psalms 103:19 “The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.”

9. Revelation 19:6 “… the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Job 42:2; Genesis 18:14; Matthew 19:26. God, however, cannot or will not deny Himself. For instance, He cannot sin.

10. 1 John 3:19 “… For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Job 37:16; Psalms 147:5 “…His understanding is infinite.”

11. Romans 9:29 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son …”; 1 Peter 1:2 “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father …”;see also Acts 2:23 and Romans 11:2.

12. Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

13. Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

14. Genesis 1. (Entire chapter)

15. Isaiah 14:24 “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand...”

16. Deuteronomy 32:39 “I am He and there is no god with me…I heal.”

17. Psalms 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.”

18. Psalms 23:3 “…He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”

19. John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

20. John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

21. John 14:23 “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

22. James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith…”

23. Romans 5:17 “…they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness … “; Romans 4:11 “… that righteousness may be imputed unto them…”

24. Psalms 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee…”

25. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

26. John 8:36 “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed”; John 8:32 “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

27. Psalms 107:3 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”

28. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

29. Luke 12:7 “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

30. Hebrews 4:13 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.”

31. Revelation 19:6 “for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

32. Job 1:12 “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he [Job] hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand..”

33. Colossians 1:16 "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him."

34. Hebrews 4:13 “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him

35. Deuteronomy 32:4 “All His ways are right.” Job 34:12 “Surely God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.”

36. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

37. James 1:13 “…God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust…”

38. Revelation 19:6 “… the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Job 42:2; Genesis 18:14; Matthew 19:26.

39. 1 John 3:19 “… For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Job 37:16; Psalms 147:5 “…His understanding is infinite.”

40. 1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Matthew 10:29 “

41. The Hebrew word that is translated “evil” in this passage can mean 1) evil as in a malicious, immoral act, or 2) evil as in a disaster (as translated in the NIV) or “harm” (as translated in Jeremiah 39:12 (KJV)) or 3) it can mean a consequence which is the result of an evil act of men, as in, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zionye that put far away the evil dayand drink wine in bowlsbut they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” (Amos 6:1,3,6). When Isaiah 45:7 is read with Deuteronomy 32:4, Job 34:12 and James 1:13, it is clear that its meaning cannot be 1, but is instead either 2 or 3. See Harris, L., Archer, G., Waltke, B. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press. 1980. Print. s.v. 2191 at page 854 vol. 2. See also Keil, C.F., Delitzsch, F. Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 1975. Print. Vol. VII, p. 221 (Isaiah 45:7).

42. Isaiah 45:7; the Hebrew translated “evil” is better rendered “tragedy”, as it is in the New American Standard Version.

43. Deuteronomy 6:13 “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him...”

44. Luke 12:4-5 (emphasis supplied).

45. 1 Peter 2:6-8

46. Romans 9:18-20

47. See the author’s work on this subject at Fate of Unbelievers.

48. Revelation 21:8 “unbelievingand all liarsshall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

49. Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

50. Matthew 25:46; Second Thessalonians 1:9; Jude 1:7.

51. Revelation 20:14 "... Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

52. Revelation 21:1 "And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain; the first things have passed away

53. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

54. Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death."

55. Romans 5:8 " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

56. See Believe in God which may be downloaded from

57. John 8:51 " Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." It is noteable that He said that those who trusted in Him would never die. He does not mention eternal torment either here or anywhere else.

58. First John 5:11 " And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."

59. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the doctrine of eternal torment is that it obscures the doctrine of the second death, which for the believer who is reaching the end of his days, is most comforting.

60. First John 4:8 "God is love"

61. Genesis 6:5 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

62. Genesis 15:13 “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.”

63. Psalm 105:24, 25 "He caused His people to be very fruitful, and made them stronger than their adversaries. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants"

64. Exodus 7:3 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not harken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments”

65. Exodus 11:1, 4-5 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go …About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt. And all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die…”

66. Exodus 14:27 “And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained no so much as one of them.”

67. Jeremiah 32:26 “Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it.”

68. 1 Samuel. 6:19 “He smote the men of Bethshemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord…”

69. Numbers 11:1 “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and His anger was kindled: and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”

70. Numbers 11:33 “…the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.”

71. Genesis 19:24 “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire” For many, this teaching is beyond the scope of rational belief. That is His intent. He wants us to make a free choice, just like the people of Sodom made a free choice.

72. Romans 5:8 “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

73. Matthew 24:37 “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

74. See Revelation chapters 6 - 13..

75. First John 4:8 "God is love."