Qualities of God
“The Universe is centred on neither the Earth nor the sun. It is centred on God.”
Just as society has discovered it valuable to have a profile of a person and their background in order more fully to appreciate their actions, for example a musician and his music, or an artist and his emotive paintings, so it is with God—our comprehension of his Creation and who we really are will both be enhanced if we probe who he is—his physical presence, intellect, nature and past involvement.
At some period in our lives we look around us and wonder why the Creation happened at all, why humankind exists, and why the world is as we find it.
So, let’s profile God the Creator, and hope that who God actually is emerges, and thereby who we are by association.
The Light of God During Biblical Encounters
What will you see first when you come into the physical presence of God the Father, or of his son Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered about this?
Most likely, you will first experience a glorious light. Several scripture verses specify that God lives in light. We know God “wraps himself in light as with a garment”? (Psalm 104:2). God himself, we are told in 1Timothy 6:16, “lives in unapproachable light”, in Heaven.
Thousands of NDErs in their spirit bodies have met with God, many face to face, without suffering any personal damage. Despite its intensity, his light does not hurt the eyes in the afterlife; such a bright light on Earth would have damaged the retina. That is because the light is not sensed with eyes in the afterlife, but it appears to be “seen” directly by the soul in the spirit body. Most discover very quickly that although God might shine like 2“a hundred thousand suns” in the afterlife, there is no danger in looking directly at him.
Even on Earth, light is still fundamentally a mystery to Physics. We know much about it, its composition and its behaviour, but what it is fundamentally remains problematic. This is partly because of its dual nature, as both wave and particle, but more fundamentally because it is an energy, and we still don’t know exactly what that means. We know lots about what energies do, but little about what they are and whence they originally came.
Manifestations of a glorious light before God speaks are recorded in the Bible: Isaiah, Moses, Ezekiel and others had such experiences. Moses was hidden in the cleft of a rock, in the shadows, such that the glorious light of God did not harm him as God passed by (Exodus 33:22-23).
God has produced some mysterious effects with light and its opposite, darkness, on our planet. When Christ died at noon, a deep darkness fell; this was not explicable as an eclipse because its coverage was far wider, longer (3 hours), and occurred at the new moon (Passover Time), and a solar eclipse occurs only when the moon is full. Ancient historians Phegon, Thallus and Africanus mentioned the event, but outside of scripture (Mark 15:33), these historical accounts lack detail. Earlier in history, during the plagues in Egypt, God made selected areas dark and others light—independent of the sun (Exodus 10:21-23).
Let’s go back to God’s designing the Cosmos. God determined that light was to be a part of our Universe; it became a feature of himself for us to live in, preparing us for a future life spent with him, because God is Light (1John 1:5). He not only lives in light, and shines with light: he is light, yet is too vast and mysterious for us to grasp comprehensively who he is—consequently, it is no wonder that we in our limited Cosmos cannot grasp fully what light really is.
The Light of God During Earthly Encounters
Most people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and the great work they do, but fewer know how it started. So… how and why did it start? Bill Wilson, the co-founder, explains its origins in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.
Bill Wilson describes how he lay dying in hospital from alcoholism and called out “If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!”
Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy which there are no words to describe. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man!
Slowly the ecstasy subsided.
I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself, “So this is the God of the preachers!”
Bill got out of bed determined never to touch another drop of alcohol. This involved a tremendous struggle that was assisted by the support of a Doctor he met, who was also an alcoholic. Between them they devised a twelve-step program to sobriety that is still used by AA worldwide. The first steps on this are to admit you cannot help yourself and that you need the help of God, the same God whose presence had filled Bill’s hospital room with light.
Both Bill and the Doctor remained sober, and AA has helped millions to escape from alcohol dependence.
It is interesting that hundreds of other desperate alcoholics have also reported sublime experiences of meeting with God personally, as Bill Wilson did. Nevertheless, the greater majority of alcoholics do not experience God’s light and presence in this miraculous way, though many will testify to the help and intervention of God as they seek freedom from their addiction.
Dexter Froude29 had been a despairing alcoholic before God rescued him. He provided his account to me in the late 1980s—wanting me to describe it in articles or a book for the benefit of others, which I have done previously.
Dexter describes a similar experience to Bill Wilson’s, and how the bright light was accompanied by “electricity running through my body”. At first, he sank back on the bed, terrified, eyes wide open, expecting to be destroyed. All his past sins began to parade through his mind and he believed that he was heading towards that Hell he had heard about as a child. Furthermore, he understood that this was no less than he deserved.
Just as suddenly as it began for Dexter, the experience stopped and the light faded.
Where was he? In Hell already? Tentatively, he stretched out a hand towards the bedroom wall and felt a flood of relief when he touched it. He was alive! But his new perception of his sin had him calling out in anguish, “God, why am I alive? Why didn’t you destroy me?”
A deep, authoritative voice replied, “Dexter, I want you to tell others of my grace. Preach the gospel and heal the sick.”
Overcome with emotion, tears streaming down his face, Dexter managed to respond, “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord.” He leapt out of bed and poured his remaining whiskey down the hotel washbasin. His desire for alcohol left him that night.
What happened next illustrates how God deals with us personally as individuals. At that time, Dexter was illiterate. However, a great and inexplicable desire arose in him to read the Bible. He bought a Bible, opened it and gazed in frustration at the meaningless jumble of letters on the pages. A picture arose in his mind of what the Bible was saying. As his eyes travelled over the pages, the vision changed. He describes what he saw like being at the movies.
God taught Dexter over many weeks to read by supplying dynamic pictorial visions like this of what the Bible was portraying!
Once he could read adequately, Dexter’s visions stopped.
From that time and until I met him some years later, Dexter had been a faithful and effective servant of God.
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