Currently, these word of the week posts are addressing the doctrine of God. Today’s post will explore some of the greatness attributes of God.
God’s attributes have been given different classifications, but for these posts, we’re going to follow Millard Erickson’s division of greatness attributes and goodness attributes (see Introducing Christian Doctrine, 85). These attributes below follow Erickson’s list.
God’s greatness is another way of describing God’s nature. But the term nature for God is misleading, because it brings God to the level of nature when these attributes are in reality what makes him distinct from nature. It is important to remember, that these posts are overviews. When discussing the attributes of God, we will leave things out. We can be grateful to know God truly as he has revealed himself in Scripture, but we cannot hope to know God exhaustively. God is far greater than we can imagine.
Following are several greatness attributes of God that reflect God as unique and distinct from his creation.
God is. In a recent post on the Name of God, we reflected that Yahweh is literally translated “I AM WHO I AM.” God’s name is a clear affirmation that God is not contingent on anything else and that if nothing else existed, he alone is and he alone exists. Each of the attributes that follows begins with the essential definition that “God is.”
God is Spirit. God does not have a body, like humans. While God the Son took on human flesh in the incarnation, the Father is Spirit and must be worshiped in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
God is life. Commonly used in the Old Testament, God is the “Living God” (Jeremiah 10:10) and highlighted in the New Testament as the “living and true God,” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), God is great in that he is uniquely living. No other god really exists. God has no rivals and no equals. He is the living God.
God is personal. God introduced himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 as, “I AM.” This means God is knowable. Humans get their personality by being made in God’s image (Get. 1:27), and because God is personal, we can relate to him. As great and distinct as God is, that he is personal gives us the privilege of knowing him.
God is eternal. There has never been a time when God was not and there never will be a time when God is not. He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). Our forever in eternity is only possible because God is eternal.
God is omnipresent. God is not limited in scope or space. Erickson states, “God is the one who brought space (and time) into being. He was there before space. He cannot be localized at a particular point” (Introducing Christian Doctrine, 91). See Acts 17:24-25. God as omnipresent is different than him being impersonal force or God being one with all things. God existed before creation and is outside of creation, not one with creation.
God is omniscient. God is all-knowing, immeasurable (Psalms 147:5), and all wise (Romans 11:33). God’s knowledge of all things is a glorious affirmation made in Scripture and the subject of debate when explored in light of election, foreknowledge, and the free-will of man. Nevertheless, God knows all things which is why we can bring our lack of understanding to him seeking for wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).
God is omnipotent. Omnipotence means that God is all-powerful. God does not have limits with regard to his power and ability. Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:17). While God can do anything, he will not be inconsistent with his character. God cannot sin. Nor can God do something that is logically inconsistent such as make a rock so big that he cannot lift. God’s omnipotence is one reason we pray. There is not a burden or need we have that is beyond the scope of God’s ability to accomplish.
God is the same. He does not shift and move with the winds of situations or time (James 1:17). He is the same today as he was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Our situations do not make God afraid or cause him to change his opinion. He is not like man to be swayed by events and circumstances. God, the same, or God constant, means that we can always at all times and in all situations trust him.
These greatness attributes of the Lord remind us to be humble and lead us to worship. They also inspire us to pray and trust in the Lord.