Some ideas are too big for my mind to get around. One is the immensity of the universe. Its radius, by some estimates, is 78 billion light years. The radius! Double that for the diameter. A light year is the distance that light travels in a year, and the radius of the universe is 78 billion light years! Not only that, this universe is filled with millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets!
I can read those numbers, but the universe is too vast for me to understand it.
God is another of those ideas that are too big for me to get my mind around. The Bible says God created the universe. “By him,” Paul said, “all things were created: things in
heaven and on earth” (Colossians 1:16). The vastness of the universe, it’s mind boggling to think that God made all that. How could anyone possibly understand a God like
Fortunately, there’s help, because God has told us a lot about Himself in the Bible. While it would be impossible for the Bible to tell us everything about God, what it does tell us is true. And it’s very important that we understand the truth about God, because it gets scary if we don’t.
Allow me to explain.
God is all powerful
God is omnipotent—a word that means “all powerful.” The Greek word pantokrátõr means “all powerful” or “almighty,” and it’s used of God 10 times in the New Testament.
For example, God says in Revelation, “ ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty’ ” (Revelation
1:8, emphasis added). And the Hebrew word El-Shaddai, which means “God Almighty,” is used 17 times in the Old Testament. One occurrence is in Genesis, where God
appeared to Abraham and said, “ ‘I am God Almighty’ ” (Genesis 17:1, emphasis added).
God is so powerful that He created a vast universe, and our planet is only a tiny speck off on the edge of one of the smaller galaxies. To get a good comparison, pick up a single grain of sand on the beach and hold it up against our world.
That’s how our world stacks up against the universe.
And God made the universe!
Now think of this: If God made it, He can destroy it.
At the time I’m writing this article, my granddaughter, Mia, who’s a little over two years old, loves playing with blocks. If I can brag a bit, she can even stack up half a dozen blocks all by herself, and they stay upright. But then she likes to swing her arms and tumble them down.
“Well, that’s a two-year-old,” you say. “God is much more grown up than that.”
To be sure. So were Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.
The truth is that if God were of a mind to, He could zap our world out of existence in a second. Or He could zap you and me and any other human being. Boom! Gone! He’s that powerful.
God is all knowing
And I’ve just started giving you the bad news. God is also omniscient, which means that He knows everything there is to know. Pick up your newspaper and read about the latest astounding scientific discovery. God knew that eons ago.
God knows where every human being is at every moment. Psalm 139 says, “You know when I sit and when I rise” (Psalm 139:2). That’s actually a bit of good news. On July 4 last year someone shot a man in Caldwell, Idaho, where I live, but as I write this sometime later, the cops have no idea who did it. God knows, and He knows where that person is. God knows where Osama bin Laden is. He knows where every fugitive from the law is. The FBI and the CIA would love to have God on their team!
God even knows your thoughts! The same psalm also says, “You perceive my thoughts from afar,” and, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely” (Psalm 139:2, 4). God knows what you’re going to say before you say it!
Talk about “Big Brother”! I have news for the civil libertarians who are so concerned about the American government finding out too much about us. God already knows!
God is everywhere present
Finally, according to the Bible, God is also omnipresent, which, as the word itself suggests, means that He’s everywhere at once. Throughout the vast universe! Solomon said, speaking of God, that “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8:27). And, again, speaking of God, Isaiah said, “ ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool’ ” (Isaiah 66:1).
Within a few months after September 11, 2001, American and Pakistani soldiers were hunting Osama bin Laden in the wild mountains of eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, and they’re still looking. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the American and
Pakistani military could not only know where Osama is but could go to where he is and catch him? God knows where Osama is, and He’s there with him. If the United States government could put God on the payroll, they could shut down the FBI and the CIA!
But now think of this: Not only does God know everything about you, He’s there with you. The apostle Paul says that God “is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). And the psalmist asked, “Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:7, 8).
Wherever you are, there God is. You can’t get away from Him. He’s the divine stalker!
Why it’s scary
My wife, Lois, and I have a cat that loves to hunt birds and mice, and every now and then he’ll drag one of the poor creatures into the house through the cat door. One day as I was searching for something in the refrigerator in our kitchen, I heard a noise. I looked to my right, and I saw a bird fluttering on the counter. Our cat had caught it and brought it inside, but it had escaped and flown away.
I managed to catch the bird. It struggled for a few seconds, and then it quieted down. My fingers easily surrounded it. It cocked its head, and I held it up and looked it in the eye. I could easily have squeezed the life from the bird, but I went outside, opened my hand,
and let it fly away.
Now here’s my point: God is your divine stalker. He knows what you do and even what you think. He knows where you are—He’s even there Himself. And He has the power to squeeze the life out of you in a flash. Zap! You’re history! It’s no wonder that some religions in the world teach people to be afraid of God!
What God is really like
Do you understand now why it’s so important that you understand the truth about God—what He’s really like? Yes, He’s all powerful. Yes, He knows everything. And yes, He’s everywhere present.
But He isn’t vengeful. He doesn’t hate you. The God you read about in the Bible loves you! The Bible says it outright: “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in Eden, He didn’t zap them. He came to them that evening, talked to them, and offered them a way of escape from the death sentence He’d warned them about. John 3:16 says that “ ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ ”
Come to think about it, God’s great power, His infinite knowledge, and His ability to follow wherever you go really is good news, because when you combine that with His love, it means He understands you, cares about you, and is beside you every moment to help you. He’s on your side. Even when bad things happen to you, you can trust that He had a reason for allowing it to happen.
God wants to be your Friend. However, He won’t force Himself on you. He’s much too much of a Gentleman for that. He’s waiting for you to say, Yes. And, with a God like that, why wait?