By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
When answering the question “Is God a Person”, it is important that we define our terms. What is a “person?” And what differentiates between something that is personal and impersonal? When speaking of God, we need to clarify that unlike many philosophical and religious views of eastern thought, God is personal, he is relational. On Christianity, God is not an impersonal force but an active being who engages in relationship with his creation. When we speak of “personhood” we are pointing to things like “will, emotions, the ability to speak, rationalize, self-awareness, etc.” These are qualities of “persons”. These qualities are not possessed by rocks, pencils, motorcycles, or laptops. These items are impersonal; they lack personhood. However, this is not the case with the God of the Bible.
To answer the question “Is God a Person”, actually God is “3” Persons. On the Christian conception of God, God is a triune being in terms of which the being of God is shared by “3” simultaneous, coeternal, co-powerful Persons denominated the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is mysteriously a unity and plurality. On the Christian view, there is only One God in all of existence. This is explicitly taught all throughout the bible. For instance, in Isaiah 44:6 we are told, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God.” Yet, throughout scripture we find that there are “3” Persons who are called God. The Father is called God (Philippians 1:2), the Son is called God (Colossians 2:9), and the Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3-4). While there are “3” Persons called God, the bible is replete with explicit affirmations of monotheism. This is in no way a contradiction since there is a sense in which God is one and a sense in which God is three. Understanding the unity and plurality of the triune God is important so as to not affirm something contradictory about the nature of God.
With regards to the question of God’s personhood, God is “3” Persons. Since God is triune in nature and personal, God can and has related to his creation, and calls individuals who are made in his image into relationship with him. The personhood of God is very important in that because God is personal, we can engage in a true and meaningful relationship with our maker. God calls us to such relationship if we come to him on his own terms, namely through his Son Jesus Christ whom he sent to die for sinners so as to reconcile to himself a people washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Because God is personal, we can be sure that he cares for us, and because he is good, we can be sure that his plans for us are indeed wonderful and good intentioned.