Walking Closer with God

The Attributes of God - Session 1 Highlights

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Here are some highlights and quotations from our Attributes of God study:

“ A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God” (A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy p. 10)


The Danger of idolatry

“Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is--in itself a monstrous sin—and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him, It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.” (Ibid., pp. 11-12)

Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him. We want a God we can in some measure control. We need the feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like, and what He is like is of course a composite of all the religious pictures we have seen, all the best people we have known or heard about, and all the sublime ideas we have entertained.

If all this sounds strange to modern ears, it is only because we have for a full half-century taken God for granted. The glory of God has not been revealed to this generation of men. The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the gods of Greece and Rome, if indeed He is not actually inferior to them in that He is weak and helpless while they at least had power." (Ibid., pp. 15-16)


Definition of an Attribute

“…an attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.” (Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy p. 20)


1. Transcendence 

Definition: God is far “above” the creation in the sense that he is greater than the creation and he is independent of it. (Psalm 113:5; Isaiah 55:8-9)     


2. Immanence

Definition: God is active in this world and in our daily lives. God cares about every aspect of our existence and invites us to welcome His guidance, grace and love. (Psalm 34:14-15, 104:14-15; Jeremiah 23:24; Acts 17:27-28; Colossians 1:17)


3. Independence

Definition: God is Self-existent and self-sufficient and has no need of human beings or the rest of creation. (Isaiah 40:15-17, 18, 22-23; Romans 11:34-35; 1 Timothy 6:16)


 4. Unity

Definition: God’s whole being includes all of His attributes at all times. He is free from division into parts, thus His attributes are never in opposition (1 John 1:5, 4:8; Exodus 34:6-7)

Practical Application:

This means that we should never think that God is

  • a loving God at one point in history and

  • a just or wrathful God at another point in history

  • He is the same God always, and everything he says or does is fully consistent with all his attributes.

  • It is not accurate to say, as some have said, that God is a God of justice in the Old Testament and a God of love in the New Testament.

  • God is and always has been infinitely just and infinitely loving as well, and everything he does in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament is completely consistent with both of those attributes. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)


5. Omnipresence

Definition: God does not have size or spatial dimensions and is present at every point of space with his whole being. (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7-12; Isaiah 66:1; Acts 17:27-28)

Note: yet God acts differently in different places.

"The immensity of God is the phrase used to express the fact that God is infinite in his relation to space, i.e., that the entire indivisible essence of God is at every moment of time cotemporaneously present to every point of infinite space.

This is not in virtue of the infinite multiplication of his Spirit, since he is eternally one and individual; nor does it result from the infinite diffusion of his essence through infinite space, as air is diffused over the surface of the earth, since, being a Spirit he is not composed of parts, nor is he capable of extension, but the whole Godhead in the one indivisible essence is equally present in every moment of eternal duration to the whole of infinite space, and to every part of it."         (A. A. Hodge Out Theo., pp. 141-42)

With God, however, the question of whereness or location is not applicable. God is the one who brought space (and time) into being. He was before there was space. He cannot be localized at a particular point. There can be no plotting of his location on a set of coordinates. (Erikson, Chr. Theo., p. 273)




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