Most definitions of God speak of “a supreme being” and “creator of the universe.” They do not tell us about the nature of God.
We can list “attributes” or characteristics used to describe God. God is all powerful or omnipotent. God is all knowing or omniscient. God is all just and all merciful. We tend to include the idea of “all” to denote there is no limit to God’s attributes. God is the absolute, infinite, eternal reality.
My understanding of God is formed by my Catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
“Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.”
We speak of God by means of analogy from what we know. Our human words will always fall short of the reality of God. How can you express the infinite in finite language?
We cannot observe God directly. We can see his handiwork. Jesus told us we can not see the wind but we can see what the wind does.
Revelation is God’s self-communication of himself. We experience it in creation and in his Word.
From creation we deduce that God must be infinite in power to have created a universe so vast; God must be wonderful in creating an infinite variety of life and beauty; God must be all wise in creating a universe that follows a complex set of natural laws and order. We can know about God through his creation, but God is above his creation.
The source of revelation that we turn to most is the Word of God. The Word of God is more than scripture. The definitive Word of God is Jesus Christ who shows us the Father. Sacred Scripture is the inspired reflections of the sacred writers committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the sake of our salvation.
Scripture does not tell us all about God that we would like to know. We still have the problem of the limited, finite word not being able to contain the infinite mystery of God.
Different Christian denominations will place the emphasis on different attributes of God. Some stress the justice of an all-just God. We will all stand before him on the Day of Judgment.
For some, that will be a day of fear and trembling. Others stress the mercy of God who is all-merciful. Standing before such a merciful God will be less stressful and frightening. If we extend that to a point where it excludes God’s justice, then it would seem you can do anything and still get to heaven.
In whatever we say about God, we must remember that God is more than our definitions. God is a mystery that has chosen to reveal himself and his love for us. Our lives will be an ongoing quest to learn more and more about God and his plan for us.