Some Ask “What is God?”and some, “Who is God?” Does it Matter?

A couple of years ago I started using a new Catechism by Tim Keller. The purpose was to grow deeper in my relationship with God, as well as to help a friend do the same. When we got to question 2, which asked, “What is God?”, it struck me that most people do not ask, “What is God”, but rather, “Who is God?”

Both, though similar, solicit a different responses.

It got me thinking, and now, I wholeheartedly agree with the way the Catechism posed the question.

Here are my thoughts.


God should be defined by what He is, as well as by who He is.

Trust me, there is an important difference between the two, especially when speaking to your friends and neighbors who do not believe.

The question, “Who is God?” is kind of like a fill in the blank.

It’s nice and easy.

It’s open the door for opinion.

Any one can say that any thing is God, and feel as though they got the right answer.

“Who is God?” “My god is ___________.” Or,  “That religion’s god is ___________.”

But the God of Scripture is unique. There’s no one like Him. He is the only transcendent God. He is the only omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God.  He alone sees all things, hears our cries and by His own will came to rescue sinful man by giving His the life of His only Son on the cross.

The Bible speaks of Him this way.

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” Hebrews 1:3

New City Catechism gives this answer:

“God is the Creator and Sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in His power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through Him and by His will.”


There is only one Who that fits this what. Only one Who ever made these claims and then did everything to prove it. His name is Jesus. He is eternal. He came. He lived perfection on behalf of imperfect people. He died in the place of sinners. He rose in victory and is now seated in the Heavens as King of kings, Lord of lords and God over all gods.

As Joshua said long ago, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14

And as the prophet Elijah spoke in his day, “How much longer will you waiver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal is god, then follow him!” 1 Kings 18:21

Perhaps the next time you share with your neighbor the good news, or speak to a doubter or a skeptic about God, instead of asking them if they know who God is, ask them first if they know what God is. Listen to their answer. Unless they speak of the God of the Bible, their answer will fall terribly short. Take the time to humbly speak forth the unique and glorious attributes that make Yahweh who He is. Let them ponder in their hearts if anyone but Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world, fits that description.

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