[Photo Courtesy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists]

General Conference

Who is God?

President of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Ted N.C. Wilson talks about Fundamental Belief number 2- The Godhead.

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on January 20, 2022, from President of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. You can see past messages here

Hello, friends. Today we are going to consider a profound question—"Who is God?"

To those who rely on human wisdom alone, God is a mystery—simply an idea they argue against. However, God, in His love and compassion, graciously reveals Himself to those who, through the eyes of faith, are willing to see.

There are two primary ways in which God reveals Himself. The first is through Creation. In Psalm 19:1-3, David declares: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard."

For those who are willing to see, the Creator's hand is visible throughout nature--from the stars in the heavens, to the creatures of the deepest sea, His amazing design can be clearly seen.

The second way He reveals Himself is through Scripture, and it is through Scripture where God's supreme revelation is seen through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we can know the Father. We read in 1 John 5:20—"The Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true." And Jesus Himself said, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3).

When we seek to know God from the Bible, we can't place ourselves above God and treat Him as an object to be studied, analyzed, and quantified. We must submit to the authority of His self-revelation—the Bible. And the Bible is its own interpreter, as we compare Scripture with Scripture.

It's important to keep in mind that the Bible does not prove God's existence—it assumes it, as indicated in its opening: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

One of the ways the Bible reveals God is through His names recorded there. "Holy and awesome is His name," we read in Psalm 111:9. In the Old Testament, written in Hebrew, we read many names that help us understand who He is. El and Elohim, mean "God" and reveal His divine power. El Elyon means "God Most High, and Adonai means "Lord," or "Master." The name El Shaddai means "God Almighty" and the name Yahweh stresses God's self-existent nature and His faithfulness. In the New Testament, Jesus uses the name Father to bring us into a closer, personal relationship with God.

The activities of God also give us a glimpse into who He is. In Hebrews 1:3, we see Him "upholding all things by the word of His power," and in many passages we see Him as our Redeemer. Isaiah 46:11 and Jeremiah 29:11 remind us that God makes plans, and according to Isaiah 46:10, He declares "the end from the beginning." He blesses His people, as revealed in Deuteronomy 15:6, and is faithful and just to forgive sins when we confess them to Him, as promised in 1 John 1:9.

Perhaps one of the most revealing texts in Scripture is found in Exodus 34:6-7—"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sins, by no means clearing the guilty . . ." Our God is a God of mercy and ultimate justice.

God is self-existent, for He has "life in Himself," as we read in John 5:26. He is all powerful and omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning as the "Alpha and Omega," recorded in Revelation 1:8.

God is omnipresent, transcending space and time, and yet He is fully present everywhere and at all times—as indicated in Psalm 139:7 and Hebrews 4:13.

God is all-powerful, and nothing is impossible with Him. He is unchangeable and perfect. "I am the Lord, I do not change," He says in Malachi 3:6.

Scripture reveals while there is only one God, there is a plurality within the Godhead. In fact, our second Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief states:

"There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation" (adventist.org/beliefs).

Let's take a brief look at what Scripture says about the Godhead. In the book of Genesis, we hear God referring to Himself in the plural several times. In Genesis 1:26 God declares: "Let Us make man in Our image." In Genesis 3:22 He says, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. . ." And in Genesis 11:7 we hear God saying, "Come, let Us go down."

Some references refer specifically to the Holy Spirit, such as in the Creation story where we read in Genesis 1:2, "the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." And in Isaiah 48:16 we see the three persons of the Godhead where we read, "And now the Lord God [the Father], and His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] have sent Me [the Son of God]."

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a beautiful example of how the three members of the Godhead work closely together--The Father gave His Son (John 3:16); Christ gave Himself (Gal. 1:4), and the Spirit gave Jesus birth (Matthew 1:18, 20).

Each member of the Godhead was present at the baptism of Jesus, with the Father stating, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17); Christ giving Himself to be baptized as our example (Matt. 3:13-15); and the Spirit empowering Jesus as He descended upon Him in the form of a dove (Luke 3:21, 22).

Shortly before His death, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as a helper (John 14:16), and He commanded His Church to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28.19).

Today the Father and the Son reach out to us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, He will testify of Me" (John 15:26). And in 2 Corinthians 13:14 we have the beautiful blessing—"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen."


You know, friends, water is an interesting substance--it can cascade down thundering waterfalls, filling lakes and rivers that flow into the mighty sea. It can be frozen solid, turning into ice that covers the poles of the earth, and it can rise as a vapor—icy cold or steaming hot. Three forms—liquid, solid, and vapor—and yet all are one substance, water.

Perhaps God is a bit like that—one God, yet three distinct Persons with unique characteristics and roles—all working together to save as many as possible for eternity.

Ellen White tells us, "There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ" (Evangelism, p. 615).

What a beautiful promise this is!

If you would like to learn more about who God is, you will find many helpful resources at adventist.org/beliefs.

What a comfort it is to know that there truly is a God in heaven who loves us, who died for us, who comforts and guides us, and who is one day very soon coming again to take us to live forever with Him.

Let's thank Him just now. Father in Heaven, thank you for the marvelous way in which you work so closely with Jesus, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as the Godhead, three in one. We can't understand that. It's beyond our comprehension. But we accept it by faith and we thank you for this marvelous opportunity of allowing you to live in our hearts and to help us to share with others the magnificent news that you made a way of escape for each of us, and that this wonderful plan of salvation, was provided by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, even before the creation of this world. Thank you for being our God. We ask all of this in the powerful and wonderful name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.