The identity of God

The word “god” means different things┬áto different people depending on their worldview. In Jesus and the God of Israel (Eerdsman, 2008), biblical scholar Richard Bauckham helpfully outlines who the God of Israel is according to the Hebrew scriptures. He writes:

We are concerned with the ways in which Jews identified their God as unique, the ways in which they distinguished him from all other reality. For this purpose, I believe that the category of unique identity does more justice to the material than that of divine nature… For Jewish monotheistic faith what was most important was who God is, rather than what divinity is. The key features of the unique identity of God are these:

    1. God is the sole Creator of all things (all others are created by God.)
    2. God is the sole sovereign Ruler over all things (all others are subject to God’s rule.)
    3. God is known through his narrative identity (i.e. who God is in the story of his dealings with creation, all the nations, and Israel.)
    4. God will achieve his eschatological rule (when all creatures acknowledge YHWH’s sole deity.)
    5. The name YHWH names God in his unique identity.
    6. God alone may and must be worshipped (since worship is acknowledgement of God’s sole deity.)
    7. God alone is fully eternal (self-existent from past to future eternity) (pp. 191-192)

7 thoughts on “The identity of God

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