1. SELF-EXISTENT: God has no cause; He does not depend on anything for his continued existence.
- I AM WHO I AM (Ex. 3:14; see John 8:58)
- Life in Himself (John 5:26)
- First and Last, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End; as the Beginning, God has no cause (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13)
- No God before or after Yahweh (Isa. 43:10)
2. TRANSCENDENT: God is entirely distinct from the universe, as the carpenter is distinct from the bench; excluding pantheism (God in all) and animism (everything is a god).
- Separate from the world (Isa. 66:1-2; Acts 17:24)
- Contrasted with the world (Psa. 102:25-27; I John 2:15-17)
- Implied by doctrine of creation (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 42:5)
3. IMMANENT: Though transcendent, God is present with and in the world; excluding deism (God is out there but not here).
- God is near, so He can be known (Deut. 4:7; Jer. 23:23; Acts 17:27)
- Bound up with God’s omnipresence (Psa. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:28)
4. IMMUTABLE: God is perfect in that He never changes nor can He change with respect to His being, attributes, purpose, or promises; excluding process theology, Mormon doctrine of eternal progression.
- Unchangeable (Psa. 102:26-27; Isa. 51:6; Mal. 3:6; Rom. 1:23; Heb. 1:11-12; James 1:17; Heb. 13:8)
- God’s relations with changing men spoken of as God changing (Ex. 32:9-14; Psa. 18:25-27)
5. ETERNAL: God is perfect in that He transcends all time and temporal limitations, and is thus infinite with respect to time.
- Duration through endless ages (Ps. 90:2; 93:2; 102:12; Eph. 3:21)
- Unlimited by time (Psa. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8)
- Creator of the ages ( i.e., of time itself; Heb. 1:2; 11:3)
- Implied by doctrines of transcendence, self-existence, and immutability
6. OMNIPRESENT: God is perfect in that He transcends all space and spatial limitations, and is thus infinite with respect to space, with His whole Being filling every part of the universe and being present everywhere (not diffused through the universe, but present at each point in His fullness).
- The universe cannot contain God (1 Kings 8:27; Isa. 66:1; Acts 7:48-49)
- Present everywhere (Psa. 139:7-10; Acts 17:28; of Christ, Matt. 18:20; 28:20)
- Fills all things (Jer. 23:23-24; of Christ, Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11)
- Implied by doctrine of transcendence
7. OMNIPOTENT: God is perfect in that He can do all things consistent with the perfection of His being. God cannot do the self-contradictory (e.g., make a rock He cannot lift), nor can He do that which is contrary to His perfect nature (e.g., He cannot change, He cannot lie, etc.).
- Nothing too difficult (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17, 27; Zech. 8:6; Matt. 3:9)
- All things possible (Job 42:2; Psa. 115:3; Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; 18:27; Eph. 1:11)
- God cannot lie, be tempted, deny Himself, etc. (2 Tim. 2:13; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18; James 1:13)
8. OMNISCIENT: God is perfect in that He knows all things, including events before they happen.
- Perfect in knowledge, Job 37:16
- Knows the heart (1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Chr. 28:9, 17; Psa. 139:1-4; Jer. 17:10a)
- Knows all events to come (Isa. 41:22-23; 42:9; 44:7)
9. INCORPOREAL: God has no body or parts, and is immaterial, being a simple and infinite being of spirit; excluding the Mormon doctrine of God as an exalted man.
- God is spirit (John 4:24)
- God is not a man (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29)
- Implied by doctrines of self-existence, transcendence, omnipresence, and creation.
10. ONE: God is a perfectly unique and simple being, existing as one infinite Being called God. There is therefore only one God, who is called Yahweh in the Old Testament, and who reveals Himself in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the New Testament; thus excluding polytheism, tritheism (belief in three gods), and subordinationism (in which Christ is a lesser god subordinate to the Almighty God).
- Only one God (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5-7, 21-22; Zech. 14:9; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:5-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; James 2:19)
- All other “gods” are only “so-called,” (1 Cor. 8:4-6; 2 Thess. 2:4)
- Moses was “as God,” not God or divine (Ex. 4:16; 7:1)
- Satan, idols, and the belly are all false gods (Psa. 96:4-5; 1 Cor. 10:20; 2 Cor. 4:4; Phil. 3:19)
- Wicked judges called “gods” in irony, not to describe nature (Psa. 82:1, 6; John 10:34-36)
- Yahweh is Elohim (Gen. 2:4; Deut. 4:35, 39; Psa. 100:3 [thus excluding the view of Mormonism that Jehovah and Elohim are distinct beings])
- Implied by the doctrines of self-existence, transcendence, and omnipotence
11. CREATOR: God is the One through whom all things have come into existence; by His unbounded power and knowledge He created finite existence ex nihilo and formed the universe as it now is.
- Created all things (Gen. 1:1; Psa. 33:6; 102:25; John 1:3; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 1:2; 11:3)
- Made all things by Himself (Isa. 44:24)
- Implied by doctrine of self-existence
12. PERSONAL: God, as the author of personhood in the created universe, cannot be less than personal Himself; thus He experiences relationships with other persons, or self-conscious beings. Note that God may be more than personal, indeed, His infinite nature suggests that He must be.
- Scripture everywhere assumes the personhood of God in the use of personal pronouns, in recording Him speaking and acting willfully, etc. (e.g., Gen. 1:3, 26; Heb. 1:1-2; etc.)
- God gives Himself a name (Yahweh), and says “I am” (Exod. 3:14)
- Implied by doctrine of creation
13. INCOMPREHENSIBLE: God is incomprehensible, not in the sense that the concept of God is unintelligible, but in the sense that God cannot be fully and directly known by finite creatures, because of His uniqueness and His infinitude.
- None like God (Ex. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Chr. 17:20; Psa. 86:8; 1 Kgs. 8:23; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 56:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Micah 7:18)
- Analogical language necessary to describe God (Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 1:13-16)
- God cannot be comprehended as He really is (1 Cor. 8:2-3)
- God can only be known as the Son reveals Him (John 1:18; Matt. 11:25-27)
14. MORALLY PERFECT: The following are the moral attributes of God; they are listed here together because God’s moral nature is perfectly unified, with no tension between His wrath and His love, for example.
- GOOD: God is morally excellent, and does only good (Gen. 1:31; Deut. 8:16; Psa. 107:8; 118:1; Nahum 1:7; Mark 10:18; Rom. 8:28)
- HOLY: God is morally transcendent, utterly separated from all evil, and perfectly pure (Ex. 3:5; Lev. 19:2; Psa. 5:4-6; 99:5; Isa. 6:3; 8:13; Hab. 1:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:14-19)
- RIGHTEOUS: God is perfectly moral in all that He does, doing everything right ( Isa. 45:21; Zeph. 3:5; Rom. 3:26)
- TRUE: God is perfectly truthful, and cannot lie (John 17:17; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18)
- LOVING: God’s moral character is pure love, sacrificial giving for the true benefit of another (Deut. 7:7-8; Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; Heb. 12:6)
- WRATHFUL: God’s moral perfection requires Him to show displeasure against anything which seeks to act contrary to its moral purpose, to judge that which rebels against His authority as Creator and Lord (Psa. 103:8-9; Rom. 2:5; 11:22; Heb. 10:31)
THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD: APPLICATION
On the left are listed various attributes of God. On the right are listed various lessons which can be learned from those attributes. In the space provided in the left column, place the letter of the lesson which applies to that attribute.
|God’s Attributes||Lessons Learned|
|_____1. self-existent||a. God can be depended on to be consistent|
|_____2. transcendent||b. God is able to do whatever is needed|
|_____3. immanent||c. We owe our very existence to God|
|_____4. immutable||d. We must separate ourselves from the practice of evil|
|_____5. eternal benefit||e. We must not try to force God into something we can picture|
|_____6. omnipresent||f. We cannot do anything for God’s benefit|
|_____7. omnipotent||g. God knows our future|
|_____8. omniscient||h. We can never accuse God of being unfair|
|_____9. incorporeal||i. We can have a personal relationship with God|
|_____10. one||j. God is involved in our world|
|_____11. creator||k. Our loyalty and fear is to be toward God alone|
|_____12. personal||l. No matter how bad things look, God is working them out for good|
|_____13. incomprehensible||m. We must relate to God through our spiritual inner person|
|_____14.good||n. God is not a part of this world, so He is not “stuck” along with us in our problems with us|
|_____15. holy||o. Whatever God tells us, we should believe|
|_____16. righteous||p. God sees everything we do|
|_____17. true||q. God will certainly punish sin|
|_____18. loving||r. We never have to ask God to be with us|
|_____19. wrathful||s. We cannot out-give God|
1.f 2.n 3.j 4.a 5.g 6.r 7.b 8.p 9.m 10.k 11.c 12.i 13.e 14.l 15.d 16.h 17.o 18.s 19.q