Put on the spot; most Christians could list several differences between God and man. God certainly made the distinction throughout Scripture. If you haven’t considered the topic of man versus God, reflecting on it could help you grow in your view of God. It might help you see how much you need Him. So, here are some distinctions between man and God that are worth considering.
God is the Creator and man is the creation
In the very beginning verses of the Bible, we see a clear distinction is made between God, the creator, and man, a created being.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)
The heavens and the earth encompass everything visible and invisible that God has made. His absolute power is without question. God is the master of it all. In Hebrew, the word used for God here in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. This is the plural form of Eloha, showing the Trinity, God the three-in-one. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all participate in the creation of the world and everything in it. Later in Genesis 1, we learn how the triune God created man and woman.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)
Remembering that God, our Creator assures us of His power and ability to care for us. As our Creator, He knows everything about us.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. (Psalm 139:1-4 ESV)
These truths give us peace and a sense of belonging. We know that God can help us in every aspect of our lives.
God is sinless and man is sinful
Although the Old Testament never specifically says God is sinless, it does say God is holy. In Hebrew, the word used for holy means “set apart” or” separate.” So, when we read verses about God being holy, it’s saying He is set apart from other creatures. Some of God’s attributes that show He is sinless are God’s holiness, goodness, and righteousness.
God is holy
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory!( Isaiah 6:3 ESV)
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11 ESV)
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15 ESV)
God is good and man is not
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1 ESV)
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:68 ESV)
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7 ESV)
God is righteous
Throughout scripture, we read of God’s righteousness. Words that the writers of the Bible use to describe God’s righteousness include
- Just in his ways
- Upright in his judgments
- Full of righteousness
- Righteousness never ends
For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? (Psalm 71:19 ESV)
Also, see Psalm 145L17; Job 8:3; Psalm 50: 6.
Jesus is without sin
Scripture also tells us that God’s Son, Jesus, was sinless. Mary, Jesus’ mother is visited by an angel who calls Him holy and the Son of God.
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. (Luke 1:35 ESV)
Paul emphasizes’ Jesus’ sinlessness when he writes his letters to the church in Corinth. He describes Him as
- He knew no sin
- He became righteous
- He was the word
- The Word was God
- He was in the beginning
See verses 2 Corinthians, 5:21; John 1:1
God is eternal
Scripture depicts God as an eternal being. Over and over again, we read where God describes Himself using phrases like
- Your years have no end
- As I live forever
- The everlasting God
- Our God forever and ever
Before the mountains were brought forth, ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:2 ESV)
They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. (Psalm 102:26-27 ESV)
….that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. (Psalm 48:14 ESV)
For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever, There is only one God. (Deuteronomy 32:40 ESV)
God knows all things, but man doesn’t
When you were little, you probably thought adults knew everything. But when you were a little older, you realized adults aren’t as all-knowing as you originally thought. Unlike humans, God does know all things. Theologians say God is omniscient with perfect knowledge of all things. God doesn’t need to learn new things. He’s never forgotten anything and knows everything that has happened and will happen. It’s hard to get your head around this kind of knowledge. No man or woman or earth has ever had this ability. It’s especially fascinating to consider modern-day technology and scientific discoveries that man has made and realize God understands all these things perfectly.
As followers of Christ, it’s comforting to know Jesus is fully God, so He knows all things, and as fully man understands the limitations of knowledge as a human. This truth brings comfort because we know God knows everything about our past, present, and future lives.
God is omnipotent
Probably the best way to describe God’s omnipotence is His ability to control everything. Whether it’s who is the president of our nation or the number of hairs on your head, God is in control. In His omnipotent power, God sent his son, Jesus, to come to earth to die of the sins of all people.
….this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:23-24 ESV)
God is omnipresent
Omnipresent means God can be everywhere at any time. He isn’t limited by space or time. God is spirit. He doesn’t have a body. He promised believers throughout the centuries that He would be with them.
..he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.“(Hebrews 13:5 ESV)
Psalm 139: 7-10 perfectly describes God’s omnipresence. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Because as humans, we’re limited by space and time, our minds have difficulty understanding God’s omnipresence. We have material bodies with boundaries we can’t overcome. God has no limits!
God is omniscient
Omniscience is one of God’s attributes. Nothing is outside His knowledge. A new gadget or weapon for war doesn’t catch God off guard. He never asks for help or for our opinions about how things are going on earth. It’s a humbling thing to consider the limitations we possess in comparison to God’s lack of limitations. What’s even humbling is how often we think of ourselves as knowing better than God in how we live our lives.
God’s attributes overlap
All of God’s attributes overlap. You can have one without the other. Since He is omniscient, He must be omnipresent. And because He is omnipresent, he must be omnipotent. God’s attributes are universal,
- God’s love is unconditional
Unlike humans, God is love. His decisions are rooted in love, mercy, kindness, and forbearance. We repeatedly read about God’s unconditional love in both the Old and New Testaments.
I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. (Hosea 11:9 ESV)
and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5 ESV)
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 ESV)
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.(Exodus 34:6-8 ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)
The bridge between God and man
The bridge between God and man isn’t a physical bridge but a person, Jesus Christ. Other phrases that describe how Jesus bridges the gap between God and man include
- Ransom for all
- The way
- The truth
- The life
- Standing at the door knocking
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2: 5-6 ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:19-20 ESV)
Scripture clearly and consistently emphasizes the differences between God and man. God being our Creator, has attributes we humans could never possess. His overarching power and ability to know all and be everywhere at once are far above man’s abilities. Studying God’s attributes gives us peace, knowing God is in control of all things.