What’s in a name? Is it just a label? Or does it somehow capture the essence of who we are and who we’re meant to be? God doesn’t have just one name—he’s too big for that. And still, he invites us to use our words, in whatever language we speak, to call out to him with a variety of terms and metaphors for how he meets us where we are.

Think of all the times the Bible describes God as a rock (Psalm 62:6) or a bird (Deut 32:10-13). He isn’t literally granite or an eagle—these are human words trying to describe God as a foundation or someone who protects us. 

There’s also the way people used their everyday vocabulary, like the words King or Lord. Sometimes they’d put extra weight behind using these words for God, like describing him as the King of Kings or Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15). 

None of the names we use capture his entire essence, but all of them hint at who he is. Here are four names for God we find particularly meaningful. 

1. Creator

God took dirt and handcrafted us humans into his image and likeness. He then breathed his breath of life into us, animating dust into creatures that he loves and with whom he wants to have a relationship. But he didn’t stop there. He also created a place for us to live that was full of abundance and beauty (Genesis 1-2). And he called us very good! 

2. Father

God created us, but not as slaves, or objects, or angels. He created us for relationship! We’re his kids. He loves us. He wants what’s best for us. He gives us good gifts. Jesus really emphasizes this in a story about a super generous father, who is lavishingly forgiving and pursues his kids, even when they don’t treat him very well (Luke 15:11-32).

3. Immanuel

God isn’t an absentee Father. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is the God who goes before us, walks next to us, and follows behind us. So when God came to earth, and was born to a woman named Mary, he asked that he be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). 

4. Savior

When we mess things up. When we run away. When we break things. He’s the one who comes to rescue us. Jesus did this once and for all in the past (through his death on the cross and his resurrection)—rescuing us from sin and death—and he continues to do this today by working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).