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How big is God?

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Question: "How big is God?"

The question “how big is God?” pops up in two divergent contexts: serious philosophical discussions and children’s Sunday school. In the latter, the answer usually given is “bigger than you can imagine!”—setting up the follow-up question: “bigger than my house?!” In philosophy, particularly metaphysics, the question of God’s size is likely to take the form of discussions of the nature of reality, the existence of the supernatural, etc. Intellectuals may chuckle at the child who asks, “How big is God?” but the child could just as easily laugh at the philosopher’s confusion about reality.

In dealing with the issue of how big God is, we should first state that God is not made of “stuff”; therefore, He has no dimensions, and spatial descriptions do not apply to Him. God is not “made” at all but is preexistent, eternal, with no beginning and no end (Revelation 22:13). He is existence, and without Him nothing else can exist. God exists outside of and independent of His creation.

God is “spirit” (John 4:24) and as such has no physical or material form. This characteristic of God is difficult for us to understand. We have a spirit linked to a physical body and are closely tied to the material world. We naturally think in terms of length, depth, and height. We feel that, if we can measure something accurately, we can understand it better. So we invent measuring devices; we speak in terms of angstroms, inches, meters, miles, and light-years. But we run into a problem when we try to measure God; we find He is immaterial and therefore immeasurable. He is infinite in every way. God resists quantification and will not submit to our attempts to scrutinize Him, classify Him, and decipher Him.

How big is God? Very big. More than that, God is transcendent; He is so “other” that we can never fully understand Him. At the same time, we are made in His image, and He loves us (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16). He has communicated to us through His Word and His Son, Jesus. Whether the question of God’s bigness comes from a child in Sunday school or from a metaphysicist, the answer comes down to this: He is “big” enough to make the universe and “small” enough to know and love us.

Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

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