Thinking of adjectives starting with E to describe God was easy. God is eternal, exalted, and excellent, just for starters. Coming up with nouns was more difficult, as usual. I could call God an educator, but I prefer the word teacher (my choice for the letter T). I could say that He is an engineer, making the entire physical universe work as it does, but the word barely hints at the greatness of what God does.
I thought of emperor, but I found that while God is many times called a King in the Bible, the word emperor is used only of the Roman emperor. I think this must be because the word empire implies multiple kingdoms (each governed by someone appointed by the emperor) under the emperor’s reign. That image of multiple kingdoms does not apply to God’s rule.
I thought of expert, which God certainly is. Albert Einstein’s knowledge of physics was barely a sliver of what God knows on the subject. He is the expert on subjects as diverse as interpersonal relationships, molecular biology, and music theory. He understands every human language ever spoken. I don’t know how much interest He takes in who is going to win the World Series, but He certainly knows the batting averages and every other stat on every player on both the Phillies and the Yankees.
I was initially not going to use the phrase Evil’s Enemy, because it put the focus on what God is against instead of God’s own nature. But much of what we believe God to be – as evidenced by some of the adjectives I mentioned in yesterday’s post – is defined by what He is not. He is not limited by time or space, nor is there any limit to His power or knowledge. He is without sin or errors in judgment.
Besides, it is an essential element of goodness to oppose evil. We consider no person good who is indifferent to evil. We often disagree on the best means to oppose evil, but we agree that it is necessary to do so. So it is also necessary that God, being perfectly good, oppose evil. I’m sure there are many Scriptures I could reference, but one I found as an example is Ezekiel 13:8
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD.
Perhaps I was reluctant to use this phrase because it is not a comfortable image. It is an image intended to comfort those who are oppressed by God’s enemies, but for many of us in this society, raised on concepts of tolerance and making peace instead of war, it is a more difficult one to think of as part of God’s moral excellence. But while God is comforting, we should not expect to find Him comfortable. Any mental image of God that makes Him comfortable to us, and leaves out the discomforting aspects, is an idol as much as those sculpted from wood, marble, or gold.