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God Is

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“In him we live and move and have our being.”

-Acts 17:28-


To say that “God is” represents a far more foundational category of expression than to say that “God is love.” [1]  Were it not for the profound truth of those simple words spoken to Moses from a burning bush: “I AM WHO I AM,” [2] the Judaeo-Christian movement would never have gotten off the ground.  Indeed it would not have made it across the Red Sea. [3]  This was God’s Self-identifying response to Moses when Moses asked what he should say if the Israelites demanded to know the name of the God of their fathers who sent him. [4]  In the burning bush, and in no uncertain terms, the God of Israel informed Moses that the One speaking was the cause of all that is and was accountable to none but Himself.  “I AM WHO I AM”–this was His specific identity.  Not only that, but the Israelites would soon learn that the proof of the pudding was the miraculous act of Israel’s deliverance coupled with the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea crossing.  The Red Sea event established Israel as God’s covenant nation. [5]  Unless, in the first order of things, “God is,” the expression “God is love” is nothing but a confection–mere conversational syrup.  It might make people “feel good” for the moment but, in and of itself, it would carry no ultimate weight nor everlasting benefit.

If Jesus of Nazareth had not clearly stated, “Before Abraham was, ‘I AM,’” [6] or had not demonstrated that fact throughout His ministry, and ultimately by way of His resurrection from the dead, the mere statement:  “God is love” would have a hollow ring.  Taken in isolation, these words would amount to nothing but a confectionery expression designed perhaps to make people feel better about life.  And the very fact that the God described in the Bible seeks his own glory above all else would appear a profound mockery, indeed an affront, to the human race. [7]  But, as Jonathan Edwards, so astutely observed,

. . . the moral rectitude of the disposition, inclination, or affection of God CHIEFLY consists in regard to HIMSELF, infinitely above his regard to all other beings; or, in other words, his holiness consists in this.[8]


About the Author

David C. Brand, Contributing Editor, is a retired pastor and Christian educator.  He and his wife Marilyn have four grown children and eight grandchildren.  In addition to books Dave has self-published, his Th.M. thesis at Westminster Seminary was published by the American Academy of Religion in 1991 via Scholars Press under the title: Profile of the Last Puritan: Jonathan Edwards, Self-Love, and the Dawn of the Beatific via Scholars Press.  He enjoys ice-skating and canoeing.



[1]. 1 John 4:8

[2]. Exod. 3:14

[3]. 1 Cor. 10:1-2

[4]. Exod. 3:13-14

[5]. 1 Cor. 10:1-2

[6]. John 8:58

[7]. Ephesians 1:12

[8]. Jonathan Edwards, Dissertation Concerning the End for which God Created the World, Chapter I, Section I,  The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Edward Hickman, Vol. I.



The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973 [1978] International Bible Society.  Center Column Cross Reference System. 1984.  Zondervan Bible Publishers: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Edwards, Jonathan, A.M.  The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M., Revised and Corrected by Edward Hickman.  In two volumes.  Twelfth Edition.  London: William Tegg & Co., Pancras Lane, Cheapside. 1879.


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