My God is Personal Part II
Friday, June 23, 2023 by Lynne Stevens

There are many benefits to having a personal God rather than a God who is a concept out there somewhere.

God as a concept

Believing in the God of the Greek philosophers and scholars fills the deep need for many who seek a transcendent reality or supreme being beyond themselves and their lives. Indeed, for many years I prayed to this God and believed that the goodness of many people and the wonder I found in the natural world came from this God. I believed that God was a concept somewhere “out there” beyond my imagination; I didn’t know it was possible to have a personal God nor did I think I needed one.

God as concept or God as Personal?

Professor Valentin, Professor of Systematic Theology at Andover Newton, taught us that there is this tension in Christian thought between “the Greek philosophical side - an impassive far removed unchanging God” and “the Hebrew side - the God who cares so much, does miracles, has even changed His mind in some circumstances; a personal God who responds”. He has also taught that the influence of Greek philosophical thought has tended to win out – that God is generally believed to be basically “unchanging and impassive”.[1]

Putting a face to God

There was a time in my own life when I needed to “put a face to God”. I cried out to God and was led to a church where I received salvation and then underwent God’s patient working in my consciousness and in my life. Then I could no longer perceive that God was “out there”, but instead very much present with me in my life. There had already been two times when I had been miraculously saved from automobile accidents; and I have been saved from automobile accidents since I became a believer. It is not possible to ignore having your car lifted up and moved out of the way of tragedy by some unseen presence without wondering about it.

I had been Unitarian (one God – the Father) until then and had little familiarity with Jesus other than as the central figure at Christmas and at Easter. I have since come to know Him as my constant companion, my best friend, the one who is always with me. I am aware of His presence in the Prayer Room at church and at times of worship at church or hone. This knowingness is not based on my imagination. I believe that God has been cultivating a relationship with me for a long time and that it has taken me most of a lifetime to recognize and respond. Now that I am conscious of the Presence and a believer, He is available to help anytime, and I am never alone.

I became aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit sometime after I became a believer. I am aware of His presence at times during prayer and worship and of His comfort at times of emotional distress. I have been part of an inner healing ministry at my church where the ministry session is guided by Holy Spirit through lay ministers. The goal of the ministry is to connect the person being ministered to with each person of the Trinity – God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit - where connection does not yet exist; from then on the person being ministered to can be guided through life by God. I know that many theologians and believers think that the Trinity is a symbolic concept that leads to the mystery of God. And maybe that is true for them. Yet for me these persons are real because I know each of them personally. They are much more than I know and perceive, yet their distinct personhood is not in question for me because I know them as individual people.

Why is it important for Christians to think of God as personal?

Because God is personal, we can have a relationship with Him. Many of my Christian friends and I do relate to God in a personal way and to each of God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Like any relationship, a relationship with God takes time to cultivate; but it is well worth the effort. A person wanting relationship can tell God of their desire to know Him, can read his Word, can live with awareness so as to know when He is communicating, and then can actually spend time being with Him. Being grateful for His presence in your life and for what you have, prayer, and praise and worship all contribute towards having a relationship with God.

Don’t miss having a relationship with God. It is the best thing that can ever happen to you!!!


[1] Prof. Benjamin Valentin, lectures.

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