We really need to do our best to understand God on his own terms. Many Americans view God as some impersonal power behind the universe. They see him as the “Force” in Star Wars, or “Karma” in the eastern religions, or “Fate” in the Roman world.
God has not revealed himself as an impersonal background force or power. He is a “personality.” That word isn’t quite right. He’s not a man (Numbers 23:19), but man is made in his image (Genesis 1:27). A person and God share many things in common. Scripture frequently uses emotional words to describe God.
Check out this list of God’s emotions from GotQuestions.org:
- Anger (Psalm 7:11, Deuteronomy 9:22, Romans 1:18)
- Laughter (Psalm 37:13, Psalm 2:4, Proverbs 1:26)
- Compassion (Psalm 135:14, Judges 2:18, Deuteronomy 32:36)
- Grief (Genesis 6:6, Psalm 78:40, Isaiah 68:10)
- Love (1 John 4:8, John 3:16, Jeremiah 31:3)
- Hate (Proverbs 6:16, Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5)
- Jealousy (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:14, Joshua 24:19)
- Joy (Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 62:5, Jeremiah 32:41)
Impersonal forces are unintelligent, simple actions. They make no choices. Gravity doesn’t sit around and decide whether or not it will cause you to fall out of your chair. Gravity always does what gravity does. It is the same with all of the impersonal forces (magnetism, electricity, atomic forces, etc.)
Personal forces, however, make choices and decisions. My dogs aren’t the same as I am, but they do have “personalities.” They make choices and exert power over their environments.
An impersonal God is the same as no God at all. He doesn’t choose to act. He would just act! A personal God decides to intervene on behalf of his people, to reveal himself, and to make himself known.