When I am asked, “What is God like?” I usually think of it in two ways. The first is His character–what qualities does He possess? The second is His nature–a trinity. I want to deal with His character in this post, and will deal with his nature in another.
There are a lot of descriptive words that have been used to describe God. When I think about His character I am immediately drawn back to a study I did on the attributes of God. Attributes are the characteristics that make something what it is. It’s all the little things that go into its being. So, the attributes of God are all the things that make up who He is.
Typically the attributes are grouped into 2 categories–communicable and incommunicable. Communicable attributes are the characteristics of God that we can imitate or possess. Incommunicable attributes are characteristics that are reserved only for God.
In reality a blog could be done on each of these attributes (and I may do one in the future). However, I generate a list with some basic explanations.
- Omniscient–God knows everything. He has perfect and complete knowledge. He does not learn or forget. He does not grow in knowledge, but knows all things that are and what could be.
- Omnipresent–God is in all places at all times. There is no place that exists outside of the presence of God.
- Omnipotent–God is all powerful. He is capable of doing anything that He desires to accomplish.
- Immutable–God does not change. His nature, or essence, has always been and will always be the same.
- Holiness–This is the perfection of God’s character. He is without flaw, sin, blemish; and is completely good, just, merciful, loving, etc.
- Infinite–God is immeasurable. He has no restrictions upon himself outside of Himself.
- Self Existent/ Eternal–God is not dependent on anything else for His existence. He is uncaused infinite being, who has always existed and will always exist.
- Self Sufficient–God does not need anything outside of Himself to continue to exist.
- Sovereign–God rules over everything and answers to no one. He alone has the right to do with His creation as He desires.
- Uniqueness–God is God alone. There are no others like Him, and He is not like anything or anyone else that exists.
We have to recognize that while God shares these attributes with us, we are no where near God in our ability to perform them. Also, many of these are self explanatory. So, I will only include a comment where it may be unclear.
- Mercy–not getting what you deserve (withholding punishment for a wrong)
- Grace–getting something that you don’t deserve (a gift for no reason).
- Wise–we can possess wisdom from God (though not as great as God’s wisdom).
- Holy–because of what Christ has done on the cross, we are able to possess His holiness.
- Personal–He is intelligent and expresses emotions, think, and make decisions–and has passed that ability on to us.
- Spirit–God is Spirit (John 4:24) and has given us a spirit.
- Patience–while God has infinite patience, we can be patient to a smaller degree.
What have I missed? Can you think of any other attributes? Do you have any questions about the attributes? Let me know in the comments below.