Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases — Psalm 115:3
On the first cast, I find this a little disturbing. There is the suggestion of a quake in the solid ground of an orderly, law-abiding universe. We have become too accustomed to republics and democracies, to presidents and prime ministers. Monarchs are old-fashioned, and dictators are accursed. But when we think about it, why shouldn't God do "whatever He pleases"? Doesn't He allow man to do that which is in humanity's power to do? Don't we kill, steal, and destroy when we are big enough and bad enough? Would we deny the same power to God?
In fact, if I understand it correctly, one of the favored arguments of atheists is that God cannot be good — though more likely, He cannot be God, and all powerful, since He does not do what He pleases. I think, rather, God does not do what pleases Mr. Dawkins. And I can assure Mr. Dawkins that if God were to change to please him, He would cease to please me. There is that.
Really, I am quite content with God as He is.
If I were shopping for a deity, I would look for one who knows more than I know. I can see where this is neglected by those who know everything.
One who is compassionate and forgiving is definitely high on the list for me. The perfected among us can skip this one.
I would also look for a divinity that demands the best from me, that challenges me, that calls me to self-sacrifice and to exert myself in righteousness. Otherwise it would be akin to an out-of-shape man hiring a personal trainer to tell him he could relax, have a cookie, and put his feet up for a bit.
I will add that I would prefer a deity who allows me to exercise free will. A deterministic existence doesn't sound like much fun. Naturally, that immediately allows for the existence of evil and suffering which also aren't much fun, but having a choice doesn't make much sense when Baskin-Robbins only has one flavor.
Neither do I find a "god of forces" very appealing. I prefer a Person to the force.
While omnipotence is one of my requirements — and here we are getting back to the opening text — I seriously doubt that I can understand all the implications of a Being who is all-powerful. Though a God with the power to create a material universe can unquestionably do as He pleases, allowing His creatures to operate with free will necessarily creates some boundaries. Yet, apparently, that pleases Him.
I would like a god who is unrivaled. As with an impersonal force, god-by-committee lacks appeal. I have no problem with the Trinity in this regard as there is complete agreement within the godhead.
I would like a deity I could speak to, boldly on occasion, even desperately at times. I would like it a lot if my god were to speak to me as well in some way.
How about one who was tempted in all points as we are and can understand what we go through? That cuts way down on the possible candidates, but it seems quite crucial. And if he can understand me, I'd like to be able to understand him.
Speaking of 'him', I would like my god to be a Father rather than a Mother. This goes back to my point about needing a god to challenge me. Certainly the fatherhood of an omnipotent, omniscient, infinite being can be only an aspect. There has to be feminine aspect as well (how else could he know it all?), but to be acceptable in all circumstances, the masculine has to be — there's no way to say it without it sounding sexist — dominant. That's right. I'm all for strong women, but I don't want Mother to have to be a pushy bitch.
I am tempted to say I want to see my god-by-design. Some would say that they want to see god directly. I suspect that would be the utter end of the material universe. In order to come into His creation, God had to lay aside the "god state" and become a Man. Even so, His people rejected and crucified Him. When, at an earlier time, He allowed them to hear His voice in their natural ears, they begged Him to stop talking. God neat, so to speak, is too strong a potion. His entrance into the world shatters its hold on us.
I am sure, though, the list could be longer. Feel free to add to it. Or take away from it. I am glad the Bible says, 'Without faith it is impossible to please God'.