There are many different attributes, or traits, of God. He is big; He is mighty; He is loving. These are words we use to tell us who God is. We can further explore these attributes by looking in the Bible. In the Bible we see what God did, what he said, and how he acted. When we put these together we have a picture of who God is. Much of our understanding about God comes from the Old Testament. There we read about events such as Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, and the covenants God made with his people. There are further examples throughout the history of Israel in the Psalms and also the Prophets. By looking at how God acted in these situations and what he said, we can get a good sense of who God is. Nothing, however, is quite as clear as the events recorded in the Gospels, where we read about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The attributes of God can be divided into two types. Some of them are “communicable,” and others are “incommunicable.” God’s love and wisdom are considered “communicable” because they are characteristics shared with humanity. There are examples of love and wisdom in the people around us. As humans we can have some degree of wisdom or love, although God is the only perfect expression of these. God’s omnipresence and eternal nature are considered “incommunicable” because there are no examples of these in the world around us. For example, nothing around us exists eternally, and no one is always present with us. GOD’S INCOMPREHENSIBILITY Many of the attributes or characteristics of God are revealed through the Bible and his hand on our own lives, but we are limited in how much we can know about God. By virtue of our position as created beings, there is only so much we can comprehend about the Creator. GOD’S UNITY God is whole. He is not a collection of smaller gods. He is one person. Any other god is merely an idol or a figment of our imagination.
It may seem obvious to state, but God is not flesh and blood like us. He is invisible to us, but still personal, living, and active in our lives. GOD’S INDEPENDENCE God does not need anyone or anything. He is the One who created us and the world in which we live. He is completely self-sufficient. How wonderful it is, then, that he chose to have a relationship with us-and not just with a select few, but everyone.
God does not change, which is a good thing for us. He is the same God as the God who talked with Adam and Eve. He is the same God who led the people out of Egypt. He has never changed and never will. Not because he doesn’t have the power or ability to do so, but because there is no need. He is perfect, and unlike us, he does not need to improve or get better in any way. Likewise, he does not ever change his mind or act in a whimsical manner. He will not ever change the rules on us or retract his promises. He remains active and present in this world as a constant, unchanging force.
You may have often seen the letters “alpha” and “omega” associated with God. They are the Greek equivalents of A and Z and symbolize the fact that God is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. He was not born, and he was not created out of something else. There is no such thing as “before God.” Likewise, he will not die, nor can he be killed or defeated. There is no such thing as “after God.” These facts should be a great comfort to us in our daily life, since God is bigger than anything and everything we can imagine. No problem is too big for God nor too small. He will never grow old, never grow tired, never give up, and never fail. He will always be there, forever and ever. He is the only thing that we can be sure of across all time and space.
To say that God is big is an understatement. Even the word “immense” doesn’t quite capture the size and scope of God. The Milky Way we see at night may seem immense to us, but it is a drop in the ocean compared to God. He is omnipresent, which means that he is present everywhere, all the time. We don’t know how this happens, but we know from the Bible that it is true. He is here with you right now as you read these words and also with other people across the world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, God will always be there with us.
These are divided among intellectual attributes, moral attributes, and God’s will. Like us, God is a being with moral judgment, knowledge, and control.
INTELLECTUAL ATTRIBUTES GOD’S KNOWLEDGE
God doesn’t just know a lot of things, He knows everything-everything that ever was or ever will be. And not just facts and figures, he knows our hearts and minds as well. This is what is meant by the word “omniscient.” It means all-knowing. Since God is the only person who knows everything, we should turn to him for all the answers. In reading your Bible and in prayer, you will get to know God better. GOD’S WISDOM Knowledge is useless without the ability to apply it properly. Wisdom means that God uses his knowledge in the best possible manner to achieve his goals. God’s works are varied, but they are all done in his wisdom, and we should trust in him as a result. We should be seeking God’s wisdom in everything that we do, since it is God’s wisdom that enables us to make the best decisions and to live according to his will.
God is not just a truthful person; he is truth. The word “veracity” means devotion to the truth. It is not possible for God to lie, so we should have full confidence in everything that he has revealed to us. Although we might not fully comprehend or understand his actions or his Word, we should follow him anyway, trusting him fully in everything that he does.
MORAL ATTRIBUTES GOD’S GOODNESS
The most comprehensive description of God’s moral character is his goodness. God deals bountifully and kindly with all his creatures. He is “good to all” (Psalm 145:9). Jesus insisted that “no one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). The redeemed praise God for his goodness (1 Chronicles 16:34; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Psalms 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 136:1; Jeremiah 33:11) and are called upon to emulate this divine characteristic (Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:27–36). GOD’S LOVE God’s love is evident throughout the Bible. He cares deeply for his people and does not want to see any of us suffer. It pains him when we rebel and go against his word. We can get a human sense of this love when we think about how much we love our family members. But God’s love goes much deeper than that-it is without conditions and without end. In fact, he loved us so much that while we were still sinners, he offered his son Jesus Christ to die for us. God’s love for us is truly overwhelming
There are many people on this earth that we might consider “holy”-missionaries, the Pope, a pastor, or priest. Despite their many good deeds and solid relationship with God, they can not really be considered as holy in the same way that God is holy. God’s holiness refers to his absolute moral purity. To be holy means to be set apart, and God is indeed set apart from all impurity. He is the only holy one. And because God is holy, his people are also called to holiness. We should be striving to set ourselves apart from the sinful ways of the world.
VOLITIONAL ATTRIBUTES GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
God is Lord of everything. The word “sovereign” means king or ruler, and God is the ruler of all heaven and earth. This is where the term omnipotent comes from-God is all-powerful. He made the universe and everything in it, and he is in charge of this creation. There is nothing at all that is too hard for the Lord God Almighty. He alone has the power to heal broken lives and make people whole. He alone has the power to bring comfort in times of suffering. God is mighty, and his power is without bounds or limits.
GOD’S SOVEREIGN POWER
God’s sovereign power means that he is without bounds or limit in ability; he is omnipotent or almighty (Revelation 4:8). By his powerful word, he created all things, and upholds “the universe by his word of power” (Hebrews 1:3). There is nothing too hard for the Lord God Almighty (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 19:26); he keeps his gracious covenant and fulfills all his promises (Luke 1:37; 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 6:18). The gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), for Christ is “the power of God” to save (1 Corinthians 1:24). Hence, believers must come to know “the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19–20, RSV).
All the attributes of God can be summarized in Scripture’s references to the glory of God. The majesty, splendor, beauty, and brilliance of God are expressed by this indefinable term. Human beings were created for God’s glory, and we as Christians are instructed to do everything for the glory of God. When every tongue confesses Jesus as Lord, it will be for the glory of God the Father.
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