One of the most profound transformations in my understanding of Christianity and theology has been understanding that when we see Jesus, we see God. If we want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus and you will know. That is how I see God. Now for those who are already Christians, you are probably thinking, well, of course! So let me start off this way. There is the doctrine of the incarnation that says that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. However, I think that we all too easily take it for granted, at least I think I did. Jesus said to Thomas, “If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father.” He says elsewhere, “I and the Father are One.” Paul tells us that in Jesus the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily. Logically, then, if the above is true, then if we want to know what God is like, then we must look at Jesus.
What is God like then? God is compassionate. God loves the outcasts, the sinners, those who the rest of society hates, and he wants to heal their wounds. He feels helpless and weeps over Jerusalem when the people refuse to come to him, even though he longed for them to gather together as chicks or gathered together by the hen. God hates hypocricy and empty religiousity that doesn’t engage in loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly with God. God wants peace between people. God longs for new creation, to make everthing new, and establish his loving kingdom over everything. God loves us to the point of death. God is more powerful than death. God loves life. God blesses the merciful, the meek, the lowly, and the poor (not just the poor in spirit – see Luke 6). God doesn’t just ask us to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, he does it himself. God parties with sinners and takes them in as they are, but does not leave them as they are. God cares about us. God loves children. God is our loving Father. God came to bring peace. God loves immigrants and aliens. God is excited by reconciliation. God wants to forgive us. God does not force himself upon us. God wants not just right actions, but a right heart. God wants us to bless our persecutors, just as he did. God wants to be our shepherd, and not just a shepherd. God is King, but his kingdom is opposite of how this world works, which is by lording it over others. His kingdom is one of self-sacrificial service. God’s kingdom is not from this world, but it is for this world. God is love.
- God is also not a liberal, or a conservative, or a libertarian, or a communist, or a socialist. I’m pretty sure God believes in theocracy.