What is a Living God? (part 2: 8 Qualities)

How easy it is to forget that there is (exists) a Living God. Maybe this is so because we are surrounded by dead ones. Since the things we need and “serve” are not consistently life-giving, I think we lump everything to together and get along with that sort of paradigm. A “less-than Living” take on life.

The originator, Creator God, is never-ending, and a not relegated to some notion of goodness, or idea we get to keep in the back of our minds.

Here are 8 attributes to this Living God:

1. A Living God embodies Love not Apathy (the opposite of love).

2. A Living God makes a worshiper like him/her (God transcends gender).

It should be noted that dead gods, in their way, do the same thing. Nevertheless, a Living God refines and purifies, and dead gods foster forms of decay/destruction, and of course selfishness–which cannot lead to life. (Examples: the (dead) god of career, of drugs, of overeating, of anger, of popularity, and so on.)

3. A Living God has a personality (is a being), and relates to others (has the true quality for connecting in relationship) as a primary undertaking and desire.

4. A Living God is interactive in human history, and perpetually involved in common life with regards to people, events, and circumstances.

5. A Living God is wise and forbearing.

6. A Living God is everywhere, unconquered, and vigorous (spirited).

7. A Living God may display displeasure or delight.

8. A Living God has no pride, (because pride is delusional and also leads to deadened life).

In light of this, what is your response to God?

I’m asking for you to take a minute, and comment on your response, one (or more) of these 8 mentioned traits, or bring up something I didn’t mentioned.

Thank you very much.


17 responses to “What is a Living God? (part 2: 8 Qualities)

  1. love this – and i love connecting to a living God 🙂

  2. Karen Harrison

    Number 6 is my favorite and very important to me. I need a vigorous, spiritied, unconquered God because I tend to be a vigorous, spirited woman and I need a God who can surprise me, keep up with me (okay, if I’m being honest, outlast me), take my doubts and still love me, understand me because He KNIT ME TOGETHER!!! My name is written in the palm of His hand….that’s the Living God I need!

  3. Love them all, but if I should pick a favorite, it is #3.. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a god that wasn’t alive. My God delights in a relationship with me! Now that is amazing. That alone makes him worthy of praise and adoration. And knowing that he desires to have a relationship with each one he has created, not one more special than the other, is also amazing. The fact that we have free will to respond to him and accept his gift of love is awesome and scary at the same time. My desire is for others to know him, through the blood of Jesus, the sacrifice that opens the door for us to commune with God. What a gift!!!!!!

  4. undergroundchurch

    The opposite of Love is fear (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18). Yet, strangely enough, it is the path to wisdom (Psalm 111:10) and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) in God because we are called to “Fear the Lord”. God designed a strange balance between the “fear” and “Love” of God. They are opposites that only have their place in our relationship with God.
    Fear, outside of God, leads to darkness – like Yoda said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side”

    On this thought, a living God exposes himself to being hated by his Creation. Love demands a choice not to love. If God created Adam and Eve to love him without a choice to reject him (enter the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), then God would not have the opportunity to be hated, or loved, and we would never have the opportunity to see real love demonstrated by God through the death of his son.

    The best part of his love is the love that allowed him to create man with the choice to love him back, knowing full well what man’s choice would be and that God would have to be killed by his own creation to present the opportunity for his creation to be redeemed back to him.
    Would we love like that?

  5. Andrea Michener

    This is a very thought-provoking request! I need to choose #3 because it is so important to realize that the relationship you develop is with a Living God! Would a dead god direct you in decision making? I believe the Living God cares about all things, BIG or little, in your life. He wants to have you communicate with him at all times in your life. When you are angry, you can let Him know that…now we know He is “ALL Knowing” for he created us but He is still interested in how you feel and how you react to the events in your life. If you are sad, He wants to provide grace, peace and mercy to you. When you are joyful, He joins you in that joy. In all these circumstances, He will also provide a human friend or a special sign of his LOVE. God wants the best for his children.

  6. Laurie Mellinger

    I agree with the many who have said that #3, relationality, is an important quality of the living God. Yet I’m also very aware that someone can relate to me in ways that are loving or non-loving, so somehow we need to tie #3 together very strongly with #1–or, at least, the part of #1 which proclaims that God is loving. God relates with us because God loves us. God requires us to love one another because God loves others as well.

    I was outside with my daughter’s dog just now, and the song with the lyrics “God is watching us . . . from a distance” was playing across the street. I was reminded that here is an area where I struggle. I grew up with that picture of God–watching from a distance, somehow pleased by watching me struggle–and have battled mightily to get my “head” knowledge that God loves me to become deep “heart” knowledge. So yes, we must affirm that God is a being, one who relates to/with us . . . but in love, not distance.

    Alfred Lord Tennyson said it so beautifully: “Speak to Him thou for He hears, and spirit with Spirit can meet/Closer is he than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”

  7. Sharon Herbster

    NUMBER TWO! 2Corin. 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” God is in the “transforming” business. . . In Eph. 4:21-25: Paul tells us to “put off concerning the former. . .” and “put on the new man. . .created in righteousness and true holiness”. In other words: CHANGE. Everyone is looking for something to fill a God-void in their life. All those other things you mentioned in #2 can be used to attempt to fill that void. But, only the one true and living God can fill that void. When we allow him to fill it, He will transform us into his image.

  8. Gene Stevenson

    My response isn’t targeted toward any one specific characteristic listed above, thought it involves most of them in one way or another.

    I think the most important detail to remember is that the God of Christianity isn’t “a living God” but rather THE Living God. The reason other gods are ineffective in giving us (new) life, answering prayer, and literally inspiring us is because they’re not gods at all. We may place them in God’s place, but that doesn’t make them gods; it makes them idols. The awesomness of the biblical story is that it’s the story of The Living God – the Creator – introducing Godself to humanity, the pinnacle of Creation. Moreover, the biblical story continues through history to the present day, to us and it involves us.

    Because God is The Living God and is the Creator, the Originator of Life, God doesn’t simply exist or have personality or love, God came up with these things. Existence is God’s idea. Personality is God’s idea. Love is. . .well, you know. The reason why God is to be consulted, continually, reagarding how we are to live is not just because God is perfect; in fact, God wrote the blueprints for all that we consider good. Jesus Christ – Creator God in the Flesh – is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

    • Karen Harrison

      “God doesn’t simply exist or have personality or love, God came up with these things. ”

      Love this thought!

  9. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 have resonated with me.
    The fact that God has created us all in his image, each one of us with a “different” personality is a testament to the beautiful complexity of God’s personality. As an English major, I often take note of a feminine or masculine voice within a text, and perhaps in the same way, extending this to personalities, God has the best of male and female (this connects with point number 2). I say that God’s personality is complex, and I like the word transcendent, in that God is the manifestation of seemingly “opposing” emotions or character traits. For instance, God is Love and Anger, Mighty and Humble, Mercy and Wrath, Gracious though Just. These binaries drive much of the narrative structures by which we live our lives, as humans, ever striving for the realization of a resolution– this is a testament to the difficulty of us truly “understanding” God. The beauty of the personality of the Living God is found, for me, in this moment of reflection, in the beauty of his complexity; all of us reflect the facets of God’s personality…
    That was all loosely responding to 3 and 7. Now onto 6!
    The Spirit of the Living God is something that I encounter each and every day, without conscious effort. I think “vigorous” is an appropriate word for the Spirit, our Counselor, our God living within his children. However, the sense of the Spirit that I have in the day to day is what I would say to be subtly permeating and highlighting. God’s Spirit, is our way of feeling his presence not just on a high of the flesh in an intense moment of musical worship or experience of truth, but a more subtle infiltrating experience of beauty. The beauty of Creation prompts us to create, to imitate what the Creator has placed on earth for our eyes to feast on. In this way the Spirit of the Living God manifests itself in the works of Art and Music and Literature that strive for beauty and elegance as modeled by the Creator. Just walking around a college campus, with whimsical old trees, a pair of Swans on the pond, the architecture of crumbling bricks sand ivy, and even the hue of the sky, somehow always points me to God’s ever-present state of being, even in moments when I am busy or wrestling with God a bit.
    Even more so, God’s Spirit of beauty is present in others, believers who may feel insecure about their salvation at times, as we all do, but who ooze out the Spirit of God that dwells within them. This especially gives a beautiful manifestation of truth and God’s personality LIVING within his people. Amen.
    There seems to be a heavy focus on Beauty in my own encounters with the living God, and it is more in a holistic rather than analytic sense, balancing the binaries that drive me towards uncovering truth, and encountering God on an everyday spiritual level.

    • Karen Harrison

      “even the hue of the sky, somehow always points me to God’s ever-present state of being, even in moments when I am busy or wrestling with God a bit.”

      I’m wrestling with God a bit right now but just this morning as I was taking my son to school, it was very foggy. On my way back home, I topped a hill and the sun had shot so beautifullly through the fog and I thought “Oh, there You are.”

  10. GREAT post. Thought provoking!

    What do you mean when you say that God is not relegated to some notion of goodness, or idea we get to keep in the back of our heads?

    How do I explain to someone painfully dying away, that their unanswered prayers, and the deafening silence comes from an interactive God?

    I do believe in the Creator God, but I struggle with God being relegated to the idea of a locatable/interactive being(Or at least I think God is purposefully focusing on his characteristics, and us BEING God is his “absence”). What I can sink my teeth into is the God that escapes location. The verb God. The God that is the pinnacle of all that we define as goodness. Love. Divine like Love. The God that is the most powerful idea that may begin in the back of our heads, but may just take it over, and change everything. The God that is invisibly everywhere, and made manifest inside of us in our reflection of these divine ideas, principles, and values(i.e Love). For that is the only sort of interaction, or creative being that seems to really bring comfort to our neighbors in the face of silence(#4)

    Am I way off here? Open for feedback.

    p.s I can relate to #1, #5, & #6, but struggle a bit w/ #3 & #4. AGAIN great post…got me thinking. :->

    • Veron, thanks for responding.
      I agree that I see God as the things you have mentioned as well (being a verb, inside and flowing out toward others, etc).

      I have to tell you, that this is a theme or a refrain I’ve heard from you before: relating to God more as unfathomable, or at a distance, and not so much as relational. However, the narrative of the Bible is expressly on this sort of thing.

      If God seems silent, one may be encountering “Dark Night of the Soul”. (you can search at the blog, or elsewhere for more on that). In a “dark (meaning obscure) night” one experiences a felt silence of God, but this is actually a fairly active spiritual time of being draw to faith beyond sight. It’s a painful time, (lasting weeks or even years as was the case for Mother Teresa, it lasted decades) to say the least, but a dawn does come. And yes, I think, as you do, that others do well to function as Jesus’ hands and feet for us.

      Our relationship with God IS complicated, much more complicated than it is with people…who can’t ever quite figure out either. Right?

      When we feel wronged by God, or superbly confused by his seeming inattention (I HAVE!) it gets easy to slip into a deist view of God, which does not jive with Biblical accounts of God, the life and work of Jesus, the Holy Spirit work within ‘the Church’ (people) or the function of the Trinity as a whole. I have to keep myself in check that I “forgive God” (harbor nothing toward him, or confessing my bitterness), because I’ve experienced things I can’t believe God would allow. Nevertheless, through this pain, and silence, and distance I’ve experienced (whether it can be true or not) I have, to my surprise, (eventually) been shocked by his faithfulness. That’s about the best way I can describe it, but I realize it probably doesn’t sound like it makes much sense.

      We may be crushed, but we will not be destroyed.

      Thank you to everyone who has helped with these responses. It’s a HUGE blessing to hear from you!

  11. Gene Stevenson

    I heard somewhere (I think from a guy named Jean-Luc Marion) that in those moments when God seems to be silent and distant, we are actually experiencing the overwhelmingly close presence of the Creator – an Infinite, Loving Being. I liken this to the difference between a conversation and a hug. Many conversations – even those that cross the boundaries of personal space – involve distance. This is natural, since we like to look at the one to whom we’re talking. But a hug. . .well, one doesn’t usually carry on a prolonged conversation while in someone’s embrace. A hug enfolds you; it cloaks you. It’s something you experience, rather than rationally capture. In this case, life might be the conversation; the “silence” and “distance,” the hug of God.

  12. that’s a comforting thought, Gene. 🙂

  13. Hi Lisa, Just discovered your wonderful website! I think #1 though I agree that the opposite of love is fear (in many ways apathy is a result of fear). My Living God forgives – 7×70 – plus. I live with him in gratitude and thanksgiving for being the Living God of second, third, fourth,etc chances. He is in deed (in fact) the creator still creating right within my heart. I know his love for me and for all those who are lost. I have been doing chaplaincy at a male Federal prison since moving to TX and this is my continuous message, and it is also my personal testimony. It seems to resound, I believe, because the Living God in me lives also in the hearts my congregation. This is how I think of God being both personal and universal. Love you, Val