Attributes of God: Lesson 12: Other Attributes

Attribute:                  Infinite

Definition:                 God is unlimited and unlimitable[1]


Scripture:                  1 Kgs 8:27, Job 11:7-9

Explanation:      God is not limited by time (He is eternal). God is not limited by space (He is omnipresent). God is unlimited in knowledge (He is omniscient). God is unlimited in power (He is omnipotent). God is unlimited in authority (He is sovereign). Only God is infinite; everything else is finite (limited). There is an infinite gap between God and everything else.[2]


 

Attribute:                  Incomprehensible

Definition:                 God cannot be fully comprehended

Scripture:                  Judg 13:18[3], Job 11:7-9, 37:5, Ps 139:6, 145:3, Isa 55:8-9, Rom 11:33-34

Explanation:      Though God cannot be fully known, He can be truly known.[4] Eternal existence in heaven will help us know God better, but never exhaustively, for the finite will never fully comprehend the infinite. “God is a subject of study that we will never master” (Grudem, p. 151). The only conduits of revelation we have about God, the world (Ps 19:1-6) and the Word (Ps 19:7-11), are finite and, therefore, incapable of comprehensively communicating the greatness of God.


 

Attribute:                  Immutable

Definition:                 God is unchanging and unchangeable

Scripture:                  Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8, Jas 1:17

Explanation:      God does not change, nor can He. He is perfect.[5] “He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse” (Pink, p. 37). God will always be what He has always been. God neither grows nor decays (McCune, p. 103). God’s person is unchanging, the claims of “process theology” notwithstanding.[6] God’s plans are unchanging.[7] God’s promises are unchanging (Josh 23:14, Heb 6:13-19). God is a Rock (Deut 32:4, Isa 26:4).


 

Attribute:                  Eternal

Definition:                 God has no beginning or end

Scripture:                  Deut 33:27, Ps 90:2, Isa 9:6, Rom 16:26, 1 Tim 1:17

Explanation:      What a “mind-boggling” attribute! God was never born and He will never die. There was never a time when He was not. God is (Exod 3:14). He exists in one indivisible present (McCune, p. 102). He is timeless/atemporal, transcending time. God neither has “age” (n.) nor does He “age” (v.).[8] God created time. Time is inconsequential to God (Ps 90:4, 2 Pet 3:8).


 

Attribute:                  Free

Defintion:                  God is independent of everyone and everything else

Scripture:                  Job 41:11, Isa 40:13-14, Acts 17:25

Explanation:      God is the only one who can do what He wants, when He wants, where He wants, how He wants, to whom He wants, for whom He wants, and for whatever reason(s) He wants (Job 23:13, 42:2, Ps 115:3, 135:5-6, Isa 46:9-11, Dan 4:35).[9] God doesn’t have to do anything,[10] including create (Rev 4:11) or save. God is not indebted to us; God doesn’t owe us anything. Only God is truly free. Finitude limits human freedom. Slavery to sin limits human freedom (John 8:34, Rom 6:16-22, Titus 3:3). God is self-existent[11] (John 5:26) and self-sufficient.[12]

[1]God does have some limitations, but they are self-imposed. He is limited by His nature and will.

[2]“The difference between God’s being and ours is more than the difference between the sun and a candle, more than the difference between the ocean and a raindrop, more than the difference between the arctic ice cap and a snowflake, more than the difference between the universe and the room we are sitting in: God’s being is qualitatively different” (Grudem, p. 162).

[3]“Wonderful” in this verse means incomprehensible (see NASB marginal note).

[4]“Agnosticism” erroneously contends that God is incapable of being known.

[5]Accordingly, His attributes are sometimes referred to as His “perfections.”

[6]Process theology is the belief that God is in the process of becoming. For refutations of this heresy, see pgs. 166-168 of Grudem, pgs. 172-179 of Feinberg, and Appendix B in Storms.

[7]Much has been made of passages such as Exodus 32:9-14 (verse 14 states: “So the LORD changed His mind”; cf. Isa 38:1-5 and Jonah 3:10), especially in light of such passages as 1 Samuel 15:29 (“the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”; cf. Num 23:19). This “tension” is satisfactorily resolved in Ryrie, p. 38; Erickson, p. 279; Grudem, pp. 164-165; Packer, p. 80; Storms, pp. 112-116; and Feinberg, pp. 274-276. McCune (p. 104) explains: “An unchangeable God must change in His dealings with changeable men in order to remain changeless in His character. Immutability does not mean immobility.” God is stable, not static (Erickson, p. 279).

[8]“The question, How old is God? is simply inappropriate. He is no older now than a year ago, for infinity plus one is no more than infinity. He simply is not restricted by the dimension of time” (Erickson, p. 274).

[9]“Can we imagine the Lord God of Hosts having to request permission of anyone or to apply for anything to a higher body? To whom would God go for permission? Who is higher than the Highest? Who is mightier than the Almighty? Whose position antedates that of the Eternal? At whose throne would God kneel? Where is the greater one to whom He must appeal” (Tozer, p. 109)?

[10]Technically-speaking, God does have to do that which is consistent with His nature, as well as that which He has chosen to do. Both of these “limitations,” however, are self-imposed.

[11]“some theologians use the word aseity to denote self-existence; i.e., God depends a se, on Himself” (Ryrie, p. 37).

[12]“People have sometimes thought that God created human beings because he was lonely and needed fellowship with other persons. If this were true, it would certainly mean that God is not completely independent of creation” (Grudem, p. 161).

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