The popular worship phrase “God is an awesome God” powerfully captures a key theological truth about the Christian faith—the greatness and glory of God. This simple yet profound statement has become deeply embedded in Christian culture and worship over the past few decades. Where did it come from, and what does it really mean?
The phrase “God is an awesome God” burst onto the Christian music scene in the 1980s with the release of the worship song “Awesome God” by singer-songwriter Rich Mullins. The opening line, “Our God is an awesome God”, immediately resonated with churchgoers and became a signature phrase of the growing Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) movement.
The Origins and History of “God is an Awesome God”
Rich Mullins wrote “Awesome God” in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from the Biblical psalms that praised the greatness of God. The song uses the word “awesome” to describe God’s power, majesty and redemptive acts in history.
When it was released in 1988 on Mullins’ album “Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth”, “Awesome God” quickly became a popular modern hymn sung in churches across America. The phrase “Our God is an awesome God” perfectly captured a renewed sense of awe, wonder and praise towards God sweeping through the church at the time.
Over the next decades, “God is an awesome God” became a common refrain in many contemporary worship songs by artists like Michael W. Smith, Hillsong United and Chris Tomlin. By the 2000s, it was rare to attend an evangelical church service without hearing the phrase proclaimed joyfully in song.
The infectious, easy-to-remember phrase also spread beyond just church services through Christian pop culture. “Awesome God” and catchphrases like it were included in Christian slogan t-shirts, bumper stickers, movies like “A Week Away”, books like “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson, and more.
The Theological Meaning Behind “God is an Awesome God”
The immense popularity of the phrase “God is an awesome God” stems from how succinctly it captures a key idea about who God is. But what exactly does it mean theologically to call God “awesome”?
Firstly, it is a statement of God’s supreme greatness and power. In the Bible, the word “awesome” is used to describe things that produce a sense of awe and amazement in people—often the miraculous works of God (Exodus 15:11, Psalm 66:3). To call God “awesome” is to recognize his might, glory and ability to do anything.
Secondly, it is an expression of reverence. In the Bible, people who experienced God’s awesome presence were struck with a sense of wonder, fear, and their own smallness before his greatness (Exodus 3:6, Isaiah 6:5). To call God “awesome” admits our human inability to completely comprehend his majesty.
Thirdly, it reminds us of the right response: worship. The awesome might of God should inspire reverent worship, as the ancient psalms repeatedly express. Modern songs like “Awesome God” invite us to stand in awe of God and respond appropriately with worship.
The Use of “God is an Awesome God” in Contemporary Christian Culture
By the 1990s and 2000s, “God is an awesome God” had become a ubiquitous catchphrase in evangelical Christian culture. The phrase appeared in:
Worship music lyrics - not just in “Awesome God” but many other contemporary praise songs.
Sermons - preachers would quote it as a reminder of God’s greatness.
Books - Christian authors would use it as a touchpoint familiar to their readers.
Movies - like the 2021 Christian film “A Week Away”, which featured the phrase.
Youth culture - it was printed on t-shirts, hats, wristbands, and other Christian youth accessories.
For many Christians today, “God is an awesome God” is a meaningful cultural touchstone that resonates on a deep spiritual level. It is a concise way to express their awe and praise of God within a community that understands the phrase’s history and significance.
The Significance and Impact of the Phrase “God is an Awesome God”
So why has this simple modern worship phrase become so widespread and enduring in Christian practice? “God is an awesome God” perfectly distills an essential theological truth into an accessible, memorable statement that powerfully shapes Christian thought and worship.
Its significance and impact include:
Affirming a core truth about God - His supreme greatness and awe-inspiring majesty.
Shaping how Christians think about God - Prompting reverence, wonder, and worship.
Influencing Christian worship culture - As a common lyrical refrain in modern praise music.
Creating a sense of community - By giving Christians a well-known, meaningful phrase to unite around.
Evangelizing non-Christians - By summarizing a key aspect of who God is according to Christian theology.
This simple phrase manages to convey so much about the Christian theological perspective on the awesomeness of God. Its rise to popularity reveals the hunger many believers feel to recapture a sense of wonder towards God in an increasingly secular, disenchanted age.
Conclusion: The Awesomeness of God
The phrase “God is an awesome God” powerfully expresses a core truth about the Christian perspective on who God is – the supremely great and awe-inspiring ruler of the universe. This modern worship phrase, popularized in the 1980s through songs like “Awesome God”, has become deeply meaningful for many Christians over the past few decades.
The simplicity yet profundity of boldly stating “God is awesome” points to the tremendousness of His glory, might, and majesty. It reminds believers to respond to God with reverent wonder, fear, praise, and worship. The widespread use of this phrase in Christian culture reveals an emphasis on recapturing awe for the greatness of God in an age of skepticism and distraction from what is transcendent.
Whether shouted joyfully in a church service, printed on a T-shirt, or uttered in quiet prayer, the declaration “God is an awesome God” has impacted how Christians conceptualize and worship the Almighty. The phrase succinctly crystallizes an important theological truth, shapes the culture of the contemporary church, and touches the hearts and minds of believers. For all these reasons, “God is an awesome God” remains a profoundly meaningful statement of praise to God for His eternal awesomeness.