God IS

in a way that we're not.

Exodus 3:13–14 (NKJV)

 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

I AM” is in all caps because the Hebrew construct implies that He IS in a special way—a greater way than we are. Consider the image of God in William Shakespeare, as he acts to create a universe.

What’s the main difference between Shakespeare and his created character—Romeo?

Shakespeare is real and Romeo is fictitious. The difference is a level of reality. Shakespeare exists in a way that Romeo doesn’t.

So it is with us and our creator. There’s something different about the way He IS.

That said, we mustn’t overapply the Shakespeare analogy. Scripture says that God IS in a way that we aren’t. The point of the Shakespeare analogy is to give us a sense of the meaning of IS—of the concept of levels of reality—but it’s not an exact analogy.

Like we saw with the computer program analogy, we’re incapable of understanding how God IS.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. — 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)

So then, what is eternal life? Is it just an infinite amount of this life? Or is it something else? Scripture makes it clear, over and over, that it’s something else.

“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” — Mark 12:25 (ESV)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” — John 5:24 (ESV)

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. — 1 Corinthians 15:51–53 (ESV)

To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. — 2 Peter 3:18b (ESV)

Be careful here. These passages do not say that we will BE the way God IS.

But they do say something awesome.

All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.