Omnipotence derives from two Latin words, omni, “all,” and potens, “powerful,” and means “all-powerful.” Numerous passages speak to God’s omnipotence: However, there are some things that God cannot do. 1: 3—" granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness " ; Rom. From free-will in man we rise to freedom in God—"That living Will that shall endure, When all that seems shall suffer shock." God’s mercy, patience, and grace may be seen as three separate attributes, or as specific aspects of God’s goodness. Bnt iu eternity past there is nothing existing outside or apart from God. In contemplating the words and acts of God, as in contemplating the words and acts of individual men, we are compelled to assign uniform and permanent effects to uniform and permanent causes. Learn more in Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology online course. (a) In virtue of his veracity, all his revelations to creatures consist with his esseutial being and with each other. God is everything that is beautiful, sin is everything that is ugly. In 1 Corinthians 14:33 Paul says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” Although “peace” and “order” have not traditionally been classified as attributes of God, Paul here indicates another quality that we could think of as a distinct attribute of God. In combining paselbleness with blessedness, then, we must allow blessedness to be the controlling element, for our fundamental idea of God is thatof absolute perfection. God is active within His Creation. The Mosaic sacrifice prefigured the sacrifice of Christ; but the sacrifice of Christ was but the temporal disclosure of an eternal fact in the nature of God. So Job 26 :14 "Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways: and how small a whisper do we hear of him; but the thunder of his power who can understand?" The greatest recent work on the general subject is that of James Martineau, Types of Ethical Theory. We proceed therefore to consider the attributes therein involved. It is presupposed in all human thinking, and is more or less consciously recognized by all men. 1: 25—" the truth of God "; John 1* : 17—" the Spirit of truth "; 1 John 5 : 6—" the Spirit is the truth "; 1 Cor. Pictures of the Almighty over the chancels of Homanist cathedrals confine the mind and degrade the conceptions of the worshipper. Knowing is distinguishing; what we cannot distinguish from other things we cannot know. The passages of Scripture which seem at first sight to ascribe change to God are to be explained in one of two ways: (a) As anthropomorphic representations of the revelation of God's unchanging attributes in the changing circumstances and varying moral conditions of creatures. Justice and righteousness are simply holiness exercised toward creatures. Deal. Dante, Paradise 19: 40-63- God "Could not upon the universe so write The impress of his power, but that his word Must still be left In distance infinite." 2 Timothy 2:13 says of Christ, “He cannot deny himself.”, When the angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds (Luke 2:9), The heavenly city in Revelation (Revelation 21:23). The atonement, then. Martensen holds this view, and Itothe, Theologische Ethik, 1: 212-234, who declares that the free choices of men are continually Increasing the knowledge of God. When God declared his name to Moses, he proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. 113:5, 6—, >' Who is like unto the Lord our God that humbleih himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the. The Biblical method. Ps. (6) Mere correspondence with outward condition and environment; for this would render impossible a life of God before the existence of the universe. of Primary Beliefs, 144-161. 8: 39—" nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature.'. 1: 6—"Judgment is 'a righteous thing with God.' It is not to be confounded with the predetermining will of God. The doctrine of God's unity should teach men to give up hope of any other God, to reveal himself to them or to save them. 18 (quoted In Porter, Moral Science, 125): Descartes (referred to in Hickok, Moral Science, 27, 28). God is infinite. Human freedom is not rendered impossible by the divine omnipotence, but exists by virtue of it. On the other hand, the notion of holiness is, both in Scripture and in Christian experience, perfectly simple, and perfectly distinct from that of other attributes. 11:152: Kahnis, Dogmntfk, 2 : 272, 279; 3: 193—" Distinguish in God the peitsonal self-consciousness [spirituality, personality—see page 121,122] from the unfolding of this in the divine knowledge,which can have no other object but God himself. In virtue of his wisdom God chooses the highest ends, and uses the fittest means to accomplish them. Repos., 2: 84,246, 441, and Max MUller, Science of Religion, 124. For further discussion of the subject, see section on the Law of God. Much less is it true that God is dependent upon the material universe as his sensorium. 11:25-27) 14. These passages are often sorted into “attributes of God,” a biblical framework we can use to talk about what God is like and how we know that. You shall love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matthew 22:37–38). 139:6—"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;" Rom. Holla/, (quoted in Thomasius, Christi Person und Wcrk, 1: 137 > says that " truth is the conformity of the divine essence with the divine intellect." And therefore to holiness all creatures, voluntarily or involuntarily, are constrained to bow. So, too, we may speak of attribute, quality, characteristic, principle, proclivity, disposition, as practically one. Emerson: "Your goodness must have some edge to it; else it Is none." If God cannot foreknow free human acts, then " the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world" n»>j*, the veracious (compare John 6 : 32— "the true bread "; Heb. Man rises above nature by virtue of his reserves of power. While we must say that God has made all creation so that each part of it reflects something of his own character, we must also affirm that to picture God as existing or being like anything else in creation is misleading and dishonors who he is. Luke 17: 7-10—" when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded yon. 1 Cor. This love is not regard for abstract right or for the happiness of being, much less for one's own interest, but it is regard for God as the fountain and standard of moral excellence, or, in other words, love for God as holy. We shall see, when we consider the doctrine of the Trinity, that that doctrine has close relations to the doctrine of the immanent attributes. Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ says the Lord. 6and 13; part ii,chap. In representing God as a compound of attributes, realism endangers the living unity of the Godhead. Vers. It is an act of omnipotence when God humbles himself to the taking of human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (a) That the infinity of God is not a negative but a positive idea. But lest this should be misconstrued, we add. God is reliable and faithful in his words. We reply that behind the divine will is the divine nature, and that in the moral perfection of that nature lies the only ground of moral obligation. The notion that space and the divine immensity arc identical leads to a materialistic conception of God. God has feeling, and in an infinite degree. The signillcance of this will appear more fully in the discussion of the separate attributes. He not only foreknows the motives which will occasion men's acts, but he directly foreknows the acts themselves. Learn more in Wayne Grudems’s Systematic Theology online course. We teach, with realism, that the attributes of Ood are objective determinations in his revelation, and as such are rooted in his inmost essence.". Scripture attests to God’s righteousness and justice: Paul says that when God sent Christ as a sacrifice to bear the punishment for sin, it “was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25–26). Human rulers can’t oppose God’s will, for “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). Eternity. But omnipotence is not instinctive; it is a power used according to God's pleasure. in God's Infinity that there should be no barriers to bis self-limitation in creation and redemption (see page 6, F). Theology, 661; Janet, Final Causes, 416. (6) God is truth, not only in the sense that he is the being who truly knows, but also in the sense that he is the truth that is known. tin; mystic abyss in which every form of determination wore extinguished, there would be nothing in the Unity to be known." In Is. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. It is not a still and moveless purity, like the whiteness of the new-fallen snow, or the stainless blue of the summer sky. This complexity In God is the ground of blessedness for bim and of progress for us: 1 Tim. For several decades in the twentieth century, the answer seemed to be overwhelmingly: “Too much!” The influence of Greek philosophy upon Christian faith... Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales. And yet even among the moral attributes one stands as supreme. Does this throw light upon the nature of prophecy? When we use our will and our freedom to make choices that are pleasing to God, we reflect his character and bring glory to him. We reject the materialistic representation that God is composed of material elements which can be divided or sundered. If God's essence, moreover, were his act, it would be in the power of God to annihilate himself. 6:3—"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts '; Rot. 6 : 3—" Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts "—notice the contrast with the unclean lips, that must be purged with a coal from the altar (verses 5-7); 2 Cor. This is simply the inductive method, applied to the facts with regard to God revealed in the Scriptures. 10: 29—sparrows—"not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father." God is not in time. Truth is not arbitrary—it is matter of being —the being of God. But, for our knowledge of God's mercy, we are dependent upon special revelation. Dogmatik, 203. The God revealed in Scripture is real, and all other gods are idols. 5: 48—'' To therefore shall be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect"; Rom. He is the Father who truly knows best, as Paul explains in Romans 11:33: “Oh, how great are God… So with God, justice must be done always; mercy is optional with him. Hence God's Immutability itself renders it certain that his love will adapt itself to every varying mood and condition of his children, so as to guide their steps, sympathize with their sorrows, answer their prayers. Paul says that God’s actions are characterized by “peace” and not by “disorder” (akatastasia, a Greek word meaning “disorder, confusion, unrest”). 32 : 23—"B« sure your sin will find you out"; Heb. Thus God's word of redemption, as well as his word of creation, is forever "settled in heaTen" (Ps. Veracity and Faithfulness, or Transitive Truth. There are several different methods for categorizing God’s attributes. Our first thought of God is that of mere spirit, mysterious and undefined, over agninst our own spirits. Since righteousness and Justice are only legislative and retributive holiness, God can cease to demand purity and to punish sin only when he ceases to be holy, that is, only when he ceases to be God. 1 John 4 : 8—"God is love"; 3 :16—"hereby know we love, because be laid down bis life for us"; John 17 : 24 —" thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world "; Rom. (b) God's omnipresence is not the presence of a part but of the whole of God in every place.—This follows from the conception of God as incorporeal. Hopkins, Law of Love, 77—" Right and wrong have nothing to do with things, but only with actions; nothing to do with any nature of things existing necessarily, but only with the nature of persons." Sin, 2: 13S—" God has In himself the eternal and wholly adequate object of his love, independently of his relation to the world.". (b) Transitive holiness, as righteousness, imposes law in conscience and Scripture, and may be called legislative holiness. . All prophecy is therefore a protest against this view. (o) Omnipotence in God does not exclude, but implies, the power of selflimitation. See Thomaslus. space began to be, and since God sees according to truth, he recognizes relations of space in his creation. Buddcus, Theol. Uowne, Metaphysics, 136- " If finite things are modes of the Infinite, each thing must be a mode of the entire infinite; and the infinite must be present in its unity and completeness In every finite thing, just as the entire soul is present in nil Its acts.". Each is felt, at the time, as supreme and absolute, notwithstanding the limitations which to our minds must arise from his power being conditioned by the power of all t he gods.". Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar learns that God, “does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Daniel 4:35). The only way to truly know what God is like and to know His attributes is through His revelation of Himself in the Bible, God's Word to mankind. Ps. Many passages speak of God’s invisibility: These passages were all written after events where people saw some outward manifestation of God. Of the least things: Mat. Lillle, Com. Psalm 145:17; Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name. Christ's coming and work were no sudden makeshift, to remedy unforeseen defects in the Old Testament scheme: Christ came rather in "the fulness of the time" (Gal. 2:7—npo rmv aiJtvav—"before the worlds" or "ages"= n-pb KaTaSoAijf Koo^ov —"before the foundation of the world (Eph. 41: 21, 22, God makes his foreknowledge the tost of his Godhead in the controversy with idols. There Is no self-seeking in God. It continues at the present time, for we read, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). Our ability to exercise will and make choices is one of the most significant marks of God-likeness in our existence. The one essence of God is present at the same moment in all. They arc in the hands of the one and only God, and therefore there is but one law, and one salvation. Is God passible, capable of suffering? . Scripture shows us that God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises (Psalm 102:27, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17). In John’s apocalyptic vision, the 24 elders proclaim, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). The cause is the will, or the man himself. 12 : 29- "Our God is a consuming Are —to all iniquity. (c) Neither justice nor righteousness, therefore, are matters of arbitrary will. We come now to consider the positive import of the term Spirit. of 8 : 4—" no God but one"; 1 Tim. They are to be distinguished from those other powers or relations which do not appertain to the divine essence universally. The abolition of the Mosaic dispensation indicates no change in God's plan; it is rather the execution of his plan. Porter, Human Intellect, 826— "Distinct subsistence, either actually or latently self-conscious and self-determining." We will love God, not the world (1 John 2:15), and we will do all this because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). He does all for his own glory. Even polytheism cannot rest in the doctrine of many gods, as an exclusive and all-comprehending explanation of the universe. So 1 John 5:7—" the Spint is the truth." When Scripture speaks about God’s attributes it never singles out one attribute as more important than the rest. With creation time began, and since the successions of history are veritable successions, he who sees according to truth must recognize them. 6:16—" whom no man hath seen, nor nan m "; Mat. 15 i 3). Even upon this view there still remains the difficulty of perceiving how there can be in God's mind a subjective certitude with regard to acts in respect to which there Is no assignable objective ground of certainty Yet, in spite of this difficulty,wc feel bound both by Scripture and by our fundamental idea of God's perfection to maintain God's perfect knowledge of the future free acts of his creatures. All arbitrariness is excluded here. The repudiation of images among the ancient Persians (Herod. The moral indignation of a whole universe of holy beings against moral evil, added to the agonizing self-condemnations of awakened conscience in all the unholy, is only a faint and small reflection of the awful revulsion of God's infinite Justice from the impurity and selfishness of his creatures, and of the intense, organic, necessary, and eternal reaction of his moral being in self-vindication and the punishment of sin: see Jer. There is no utilitarian element in holiness. Com., in loco. Tlie essential holiness of God affords no basis for certainty. This attribute of infinity, or of transcendence, Qualifies all the other attributes, and so is the foundation for the representations of majesty and glory as belonging to God (see fa. which are not inseparable from man's nature, hut rather from intellect and will in man, without which lie would cease to be man altogether. His sacrifice assuages the thirst of conscience in man, as well as the demand of holiness in God: John 6 : 55—"For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." The two ideas of holiness and of love are as distinct as the idea of integrity on the one hand and of generosity on the other. For truth is the knowledge which answers to the being, and the being which answers to the knowledge.". He is not confined to the dimension of space. Not the seeking: of God's interests, but love for God, will which expresses nature, instead of causing nature. That this knowledge is partial does not prevent its corresponding, so far as it goes, to objective reality in the nature of God. While we change, God does not. The Westminster Shorter Catechism's definition of God is merely an enumeration of his attributes: "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." 1:11—"the blessed God ": Jer. An attribute, as we can know it, is a mental concept, an intellectual response to God’s self-revelation. Theol., 42-135. The attributes of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are important to each of us. 30. God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise . 4 :19—" a faithful Creator "; 2 Cor. Gf. With MUller's view Thomasius and Delitzsch are agreed. Qaneodl, Opera, 6 :120. Dogmat., 2: 1: 36, defines holiness as God's self-love. Man is distinguished from the brute by his power to objectify self. As between power or utility on the one hand, and right on the other hand, we must regard right as the more fundamental. Both in providence and in redemption the whole heart of God is busy with plans for the interest and happiness of the single Christian. All God's revelations are, therefore, revelations of himself in and through his attributes. Its execution on the cross was "according to the pattern" on high. It is more correct to say that time is in God. 8: 32—" freely give us all things "; 1 John 4:10—" Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. God knows what would have taken place under circumstances not now present; knows what the universe would have been, had he chosen a different plan of creiitron: knows what our lives would have been, had we made different decisions in the past I Is. To "limit the Holj One of Israel" (Ps. Each of the attributes is qualified by all the others. See Wayland. On the whole subject of Holiness, see Baudissin, Begriff der Heiligkeit im A. T.; synopsis In Studien und Kritiken, 1880:16(1; Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, 224-234. From this it follows that the whole Logos can be united to and be present in the man Christ Jesus, while at the same time he fills and governs the whole universe; and that the whole Christ can be united to, and can be present in, the single believer, as fully ns if that believer were the only one to receive of his fulness. Perfect faculties, with perfect objects for their exercise, ensure God's blessedness. With this Soclnian doctrine some Armiuians agree, as McCabe, in his Foreknowledge of God, and in his Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity. Christian Ethics, 2 : 80-107; Talbot, Ethical Prolegomena, in Bap.Quar., July, 1877,257-274: "The ground of all moral law is the nature of God, or the ethical nature of God in relation to the like nature in man, or the imperativeness of the divine nature." There is in God no sense, symbol, memory, abstraction, growth, reflection, reasoning'—his knowledge is all direct and without intermediaries. They are revelations of the inmost nature of God, the one in the form of moral requirement, the other in the form of judicial sanction. It forgets that in eternity past "love for being In general " = simply God's self-love, or God's regard for his own happiness. God's faithfulness also ensures a supply for all the real wants of our being, both here and hereafter, since these wants are implicit promises of him who made us: (Ps. So although God’s total essence will never be able to be seen by us, God still reveals himself to us through visible, created things. If it should be said that on this supposition the effects take place not till long after the acts by which they are produced, I auswer that they do so in our view, but not in the view of God. In the New Testament, and especially in Paul’s letters, the entire Christian life can be seen as a result of God’s continuous offering of grace.As with most of the God’s attributes that we are to imitate, patience requires a moment-by-moment trust in God to fulfill his promises and purposes in our lives at his chosen time. but his determination is the result of influences from without; there is no inner spontaneity. The poet says: "AGodall mercy is a God unjust." 1. Some havo held that the prevention of sin in a moral system is not an object of power, and therefore that Gjod cannot prevent sin in a moral system. 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. As, in cognizing matter, we pass from its effects in sensation to the qualities which produce the sensations, and then to the material substance to which the qualities belong; and as, in cognizing mind, we pass from Its phenomena in thought and action to the faculties and dispositions which give rise to these phenomena, and then to the mental substance to which these faculties and dispositions belong; so. The holineHS of God the ground of moral obligation. The calm indignation of the Judge, who pronounces sentence with tears, is the true image of the holy anger of God against sin. He is subject to no law but the law of his own nature. (b) From our own moral constitution,—in which conscience asserts its supremacy over every other impulse and affection of our nature. 2: 4—" goodness of God ": Mat. 10 : 6—" there skill be time no longer" can be relied upon to prove the affirmative: for the Rev. Because this same holiness is in Jesus, He is called “the Holy One of God” (John 6:69). Divine justice requires it for its own satisfaction.". Selfexistence is certainly incomprehensible to us, yet a self-existent person is no greater mystery than a self-existent thing, such as Herbert Spencer supposes the universe to be; Indeed it is not so great a mystery, for it is easier to derive matter from mind than to derive mind from matter. 10 :10—" he is the bring God "; 1 Thess. Cicero well said that they who confounded the honcstum with the utile deserved to be banished from society. Sac, 1879: 28-59, 209-223. (6) That God exists by necessity of his own being. The brute shows determination, but his determination is the result of influences from without; there is no inner spontaneity. This is also the doctrine of Monnonism; see Spencer, Catechism of the Church of Latter Day Saints. VTL Rank And Relations Op The Several Attributes. There isn’t a visible light that surrounds us, but there is a brightness, splendor, or beauty about the life of a person who deeply loves God, and it’s often evident to those around them. God can apply the salvation, after he has wrought it out, to whomsoever he will: Rom. Yet God told Moses, “You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). It Is to be remembered that omniscience, as the designation of a relative and transitive attribute, does not include God's self-knowledge. Hal. Space is not a substance nor an attribute, but a relation. The essence is revealed only through the attributes. “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). See Thomasius, Ohristi Person und Work, 141; and on the Holiness of Christ, see Godet, Defense of the Christian Faith, 203-241. Jesus says to his Father, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Notice the analogous necessity of attributing the properties of matter to an underlying substance, and the phenomena of thought to an underlying spiritual essence; else matter is reduced to mere force, and mind to mere sensation—in short, all things are swallowed up in a vast idealism. ! ” exclaims the psalmist ( Psalm 104:24 ) the same as to future events we! His goodness and faithfulness are examples things are possible only between persons, and the! Constitute his absolute perfection God that seeth. '' ) and Uranos ( ). Order in which every form of a worthy object for each of the ages '' ( Ps Corinthians, I. Painful sacrifice in the earth do right? gracious in all his other qualities unlimited! The latter there are deliver thee up '' ( Ps infinite perfection for him to God... 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