What We Believe

Who is God?

Is God an old man with a beard sitting in the clouds surrounded by choirs of harp-playing angels? Or is he a stern figure looking down from on high, waiting angrily for us to slip up? Many people think that he is like that, or something similar. It is hardly surprising then, that there’s a lot of confusion out there about God’s identity. It is easy to form our own ideas about him without basing those thoughts on what is actually reasonable. We can get a little bit suspicious, especially if we have come from a Catholic background where, for example, we feel that we were forced to go to Mass as a child. The chances are that our idea of God will be through the lens of a childhood duty to please our parents, or to do as we are told. We may well look a little bit suspiciously at God and everything to do with him.

So just what, or who, is God?

To start with, God is not just ‘there’, as a kind of impassive mover, like a watchmaker winding everything up and letting it run. Above all, God is a person. And people relate to one another. Therefore, God relates to me.

It is perhaps this fact about God that causes so much difficulty today: we cannot see him, so how can anyone relate to him, especially if he is so stern?

God is love

Christians believe that God is love. That means that he has an interest beyond himself. We see that above all in the doctrine (teaching) about the Trinity. The Trinity is the central Christian doctrine. It teaches us that God, as love, is Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three Divine Persons, distinct from one another, yet one God.

God, since he made us, knows what it is like to be human. And he loves us. And he loves us so much that he has decided to “get involved”, as it were, to get us all back to live with him forever.

He does that by coming as Man. And so the Son comes as one of us, a divine person with a human nature – fully God, fully man – as Jesus Christ. So when we are talking about Christ, we are talking about God. His task was to free us from our sins and give us the possibility of inheriting everlasting life. He did that by dying on the Cross and rising again.

Building a relationship with God

We get to know Christ in many ways: in the sacraments, in the Bible, in each other. The more we make use of the sacraments, familiarise ourselves with the Bible, and work for the good of other people, the more we know and love Christ.

Much of the above takes faith and hard work. We are dealing with a mystery, but not irrationality.

We begin our journeys back to God by becoming his children through baptism into the Church, his body on earth. In the Church we are given the best possible chance of getting to know and deepening our love for him who so wants us with him.

So our faith tells us that God was made visible in the Person of Christ Jesus. That is to say, God is most definitely not an old man in the clouds, but someone who bridges the gap between eternity and time and becoming one with us, one of us.