Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 4

Q. 4. What is God?

A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

This question can often put us ill at ease, it may seem more fitting to ask “Who is God?” The catechism will come to that question, revealing the mysteries of the Trinity and the incarnation, the glories and mercies of God’s work in creation, providence, and salvation, and yet it begins with the nature of God inherently. Though we often speak of God in human terms, yet as the scriptures make clear, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind,” (Num 23:19) and again, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” (John 4:24). God is fundamentally, not man, so it is fitting to ask what He is. 

He is a spirit, which means he does not inherently have a body. He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, meaning that He is fundamentally unlike anyone else in all creation. No one approaches him in power, majesty, might or glory. Even the most exalted of heavenly creatures cannot be said to be without beginning or end, without limit or boundary. They grow, develop, change, just like every created thing. God, in contrast, says, “I am who I am,” (Exo 3:14). He is above all things because He created all things. 

Thus when we say that He is in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth, we confess not only that God is wise, powerful, holy, just, good, and honest but that He is the source, original, and standard for all good things. Everything in creation that is good, is good because it reflects the character of God Himself. Yet, nothing in all creation compares to God in any of His essential attributes. They are reflections of Who He is, but as with all reflections, they are less than the original. Take for instance Truth. God is not merely honest, as a man who makes a habit of telling the truth would be said to be defined by his honesty. God is inherently, in His being, truth. Meaning that He cannot and would not lie under any conditions or circumstances. It would violate his very being and character to do so, for truth belongs to the essence of what God is.

Please read Psalm 103