The Attributes of God

Casual Attributes

Omnipresent:

God is present everywhere at the same time, “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:7-12).

Omniscient:
God knows everything, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:1-6).

Omnipotent:
God is all-powerful and has complete authority, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

Transcendent:

God is different to and independent of and from creation, He is self-existent, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Eternal:
He has existed from eternity past to eternity future – there never was or will be a time that God did not exist, “LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:1-2).

Immutable:
God never changes, “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

Perfect and Holy:
“For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44-45).

Triune:
This speaks of the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Wise:
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
 

Moral Attributes

Good:

“Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will He teach sinners in the way” (Psalm 25:8).

Love:
“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Gracious and Merciful:

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-7). “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 103:8).

Compassionate:
“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).

Patient and Longsuffering:
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

Truth:
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Faithful:
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23).

Just:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

OMNIPRESENCE
God is present everywhere at the same time. This does not mean that He has many bodies, but that He is unrestricted by space and time as we are. The same God, in the same body, can be in every location in Heaven or on earth at exactly the same instance. It must be added that although God is everywhere at the same time, He is not to be found in tree, flowers, or in natural phenomena. That idea of the omnipresence of God is paganistic and pantheistic.

Omnipresence must be applied to each member of the Trinity. Jesus Himself is a good example of what omnipresence is. He said to His disciples in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. The same can be seen in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”, and John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”. Here we see Jesus claiming to be in more than one place at the same time, and the ability so to be in the future. Such omnipresence is vital if we are to believe that Christ is present in the hearts and lives of every believers. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”. This is also true concerning the Spirit of God, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). John 3:3-8 teaches us that the Holy Spirit draws sinners to Christ, yet simultaneously He is dwelling in every believer.

We must accept then that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) can be present with every gathering of believers on earth and yet be in Heaven at the same time. This means that God’s attribute of presence is infinite. Wherever we go, God will always be there first. This is what the Psalmist was referring to when he wrote, “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:7-12).

There are those who believe that, though God’s presence can be felt everywhere through the manifestation of His Holy Spirit, He cannot be bodily omnipresent. This idea actually puts limitations on God. God said to the false teachers of Jeremiah’s day, “Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Blaise Pascal when speaking about the omnipresence of God said, “His centre is everywhere; His circumference is nowhere”. As stated earlier, though God is everywhere, He is not in everything. It would be better to say that God is everywhere He chooses to be.

The apostle Paul, when speaking to the Athenians (Greek philosophers – Epicureans and Stoics), who worshipped many gods, spoke of the One God and expressed the truth about His omnipresence: “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:27-28).

OMNIPOTENT

This means that God is all-powerful and has supreme authority over all things that He has created. His power transcends time, space, natural and supernatural forces, and all authority both in Heaven and on earth, and under the earth.

Psalm 147:13-18 teach that God has “strengthened the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth: His word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold? He sendeth out His word, and melteth them: He causeth His wind to blow, and the waters flow.” We see that God is in complete control of the weather and the harvest, and even national security. There is a sense in these verses of God’s ability to manipulate and change the forces of nature to either make them a blessing or a curse.

Omnipotence rightly suggests that there is nothing that God cannot do. He is not limited in power, strength, ability, or authority. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (32:17). The God who created the universe, causing it to reveal His glory and power, cannot be thought of as powerless. If He can do all of this, what is it that He cannot do? Such power is beyond estimation. Jesus spoke of the power of God when He told His followers, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

It is man’s unbelief that puts limitations on what God can and cannot do, but since man cannot create a physical universe, he is being blasphemous if he suggest that God cannot do certain things. God is not limited in any way “for with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). When we say that cannot do a certain thing we are actually declaring that the God we serve is not omnipotent. God Himself asks, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14).

Such power to do the impossible is in evidence in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was able to change water into wine (John 2:1-11); heal a nobleman’s son at a distance (John 4:46-54); feed five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes (John 6:1-14); walk on water (John 6:16-21); raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44). The ultimate expression of Jesus’ omnipresence is His ability to forgive sin – which belongs only to God (Mark 2:5-10).

God has the power to do anything that He chooses to do. Therefore, we could say that God cannot do that which He does not will to do or that which does not fit into His eternal plans and purposes. For instance, God has the power to destroy sin and Satan right now, but He has chosen to work to a plan that will be completed at the end of time. According to God’s predetermined will the “whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19) and will be under demonic influences until the day He finally deals with Satan, sin, and man’s rebellion.

God has at times chosen to channel His power through those who trust and obey Him. Because of this we understand that He is also able to limit Himself, not through His own weakness, but because of the weakness of our flesh. This is something that the apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Despite human weakness God is still able to work miracles and do wonderful things through those who trust Him. This is all part of His omnipotence since He is able to work regardless of our huge limitations – “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

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