ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
To set the stage for this section, please read the following texts:
Heb. 10:30, 31, I Tim. 6:17, I Tim. 4:10, Ro. 9:26, Acts 14:15, Mt. 16:16,
Da. 6:26, Ps. 42:1-3, Ps. 84:2, Jos. 3:10.
An attribute is some characteristic that is permanent and distinguishes
a thing or person from other things or persons. A rose has the attribute
of a certain fragrance. I have some very distinct and permanent attributes
which make me Mr. Derickson. I may also have a certain fragrance, but that
does not make me a rose.
In the case of God we find a large number of attributes which distinguish
Him from all other things, persons and gods.
PERSONALITY: What is personality? It is the most important fact of the
world in which we live and yet hard to identify. It is the name given to
a group of functions or characteristics belonging to one person. Some characteristics
of personality: life, intelligence, purpose, activity, freedom, self-consciousness,
Another aspect of the personality of God might well be lost in the discussion
in a theology book. God is personable - He is a personal God. He is a God
that we can get to know on a one to one basis. We both, God and ourselves,
have personality, thus we should have a number of things in common.
It boggles my mind to think of God as a personal God, when I relate
the creation to Him. How can a God that created all these things be Someone
that I can have free access to, Someone that I can communicate with, and
Someone that cares for me? I can't have free access to the president of
the USA, yet I can go talk to God any time that I want!
Consider the following information and relate it to the fact that you
are on a first name basis with this same God.
Consider the fact there are clusters of galaxies some of which contain
11,000 galaxies, then the fact that the galaxy is made up of many suns.
There are possibly as many as 200 billion suns and their associated systems
of planets and moons in our own Milky Way.
Then on the other hand we have the minute world. 1/(25 zeros) is "...the
fraction of a square centimeter that a nucleon occupies in space.' That
is one tenseptillionth of a square centimeter. "'That isn't the very smallest
thing that we look in on by any means,'" (Phillips, McCandlish, "WHAT EVERY
CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SUPERNATURAL"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1980,
Nucleons are protons or neutrons. Phillips goes on to state that nucleons
are not the smallest part of matter, but that they are made up of quarks.
Quarks to Quasars and my God created them all! That God I talked to this
morning, the same God to whom we have free access.
Think on these things. He isn't a being out there somewhere that has
the following fifteen and one half characteristics. He is the God that
we can know and the God with whom we can fellowship. He is the God that
can hurt with us. He is the God that has all the answers, and what's more
He loves to give those answers to his sons and daughters. He is the God
that loves you and me. He is the God that acts on our behalf. He is the
God that has a purpose for our lives.
GOD IS LIVING
Bancroft's statement on this subject is good. "By the sharp distinctions
drawn in the Scriptures between the gods of the heathen and the true God,
the fact of life as a divine attribute is clearly shown. Israel's God,
unlike the gods of the nations, hears, sees, feels, acts, and therefore
is a living Being." (Taken from the book, ELEMENTAL THEOLOGY by Emery H.
Bancroft. Copyright 1977 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission of
Zondervan Publishing House. p 48. I might mention that Bancroft's Elemental
Theology has a good section on God's personality.)
God is living so we know that He automatically has certain characteristics.
God has intellect, sensibility and volition. Let us look at these characteristics.
God has Intellect: He is intelligent and capable of rational thought.
He is not the insensitive nothing that some say we are absorbed into in
the end of it all.
He is Someone that we can relate to no matter how intelligent we are,
or how little education we have. No matter what level we are on, He can
relate to us.
God has Sensibility: We have a Father/son relationship with God and
he feels all that we feel. We need to thank Him at times for understanding
how we feel when we are in a spiritual or emotional slump. HE DOES UNDERSTAND
HOW WE FEEL! He is also sensible to our disobedience. He hurts when we
are seemingly enjoying our sin.
God has Volition: He is not locked into a set of man's rules and ideas
of how He should be. HE MADE THE RULES AND LAWS!
Indeed, Strong mentions that life is mental energy that shows up as
these three items. (Strong, Augustus H.. "SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Valley
Forge, PA: The Judson Press, 1907, p 252)
Scripture is clear on the fact that God is a living God. Deut. 5:26,
Jer. 10:10, I Tim. 4:10.
What do we mean by living? Yes, when we think of living we mean the
quality of having life. Yes, that's what we are. Yes, many other things
that might relate, but how do you really define "living?"
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary mentions, ".....having life.....the
condition of being alive." (By permission. From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate
Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster
Consider this definition. That energy or force which causes activity.
It is that which enables God to do things. More importantly living is that
which allows Him to do things for us! Salvation, Preservation, Provision,
APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE:
This doctrine should be the antidote for all forms of idolatry. Why
in the world would people worship a piece of wood when they can worship
a LIVING God that can assuredly do, and be for them?
The human heart has a very real need and only a living God can satisfy
that need (Ps. 84:2). Yet today even in our own country we have people
serving other gods. They serve idols. Not in the literal sense of cutting
a tree limb and carving something a god. They are carving something out
of life and making it the object of most importance. They make career,
wealth, material possession, fame or other items which they seem to view
as very important into their god.
Most of us know that idolatry is putting anything before God while making
it our priority. We would agree that career, money, home, etc. can be idols,
but let us consider some other things we might put before God. Studies
- I have to much to do to have a quiet time. Socializing - I'm going on
a date - let the studies go. Rebelling - spending time being a grump about
the dumb rules of life. Being a grump takes time and great concentration.
Looks - How I look is important. Self Importance - I'm going to let them
know I'm upset. I'm going to let them know how much I know.
He is a living God and this fact is manifest to us in many ways:
The Living God is a God that speaks to His people (Deut. 5:6). He listens
to us in our prayers and speaks with us in our private lives with Him.
The Living God is a God that will help His people (Jos. 3:10). Multitudes
of testimonies have been given relating to how God has helped believers.
The Living God is a God that produces a strong love and desire in His people (Ps. 42:1-3, Ps. 84:2). Why else, would the martyrs of yesteryear have given their lives for Him. Why else, would many people give their lives to the ministry of His Word.
The Living God is a God that is true and everlasting (Jer. 10:10). He
will always be as He is and will always do as He has said.
The Living God is a God described as a God to be feared, even by non-believing
Gentiles (Da. 6:26). He is a God of judgment as well as a God of love.
The intelligent person that knows of Him should fear Him.
The Living God is a God that sent His Son to earth to die (Mt. 16:16).
Even though He is a God to be feared, He is a God that is to be loved.
He is a God that loved us so much that He gave His Son for us.
The Living God is a God that created the heavens and the earth (Acts
14:15). We don't worship a primordial muck that evolved into life, but
we worship a God that is living and a God that created all there is.
The Living God is a God that has many children (Ro. 9:26). By our belief
in His Son, He accepts us into His family as sons and daughters. He becomes
our heavenly Father.
The Living God is a God that is our Savior (I Tim. 4:10). Not only did
He give His Son, but His Son is God as well. We have a God that died for
our wrong that we might have eternal life.
The Living God is a God that we should trust in, instead of riches (I
Tim. 6:17). He gives all we are and have, and He can take it away as well.
Those that trust in riches should not trust in what they have accumulated,
but trust in what God has allowed them to have. The God is the better to
place one's trust in.
The Living God is a God that will judge (Heb. 10:30, 31). Not only will
God judge the lost, but He will hold the saved accountable for their works
and their actions.
The Living God is a God that indwells His people (II Cor. 6:16). He
was not satisfied to create us, He was not satisfied to save us, but He
also came to live within us. He is ever present within us.
Based on all this, why - ever set money, things or mental ideas up to
take our time when we can talk to a God like that? He is interested in
our needs, hurts, joys, trials, learning, provision, and everything. He,
indeed, because He lives, does all He promises.
In the area of hurt and troubles: Worry doesn't work. Stewing is for
food. Leaning is for "against God." When you hurt and have a burden don't
worry or stew - LEAN.
GOD IS INTELLIGENT
One of the first questions that may come to your mind when we mention
Intelligence, is, "What is the difference between Intelligence and knowledge
Intelligence is the ability to learn, understand and manipulate information
and then use that information. Knowledge is the awareness of information
retained within your on board computer. It is information and facts and
the ability to use them. Omniscience is that aspect of God that tells us
that He knows all there is to be known. He is total, complete, and correct
knowledge in and of Himself. (I Sam. 2:3, Isa. 11:2, Isa. 29:16, Prov.
3:19-20, Rom. 11:33.
God's intelligence is of the highest type - Perfect.
Knowledge is perception of facts as they are. Understanding is insight
into the facts perceived. Wisdom is the ability to place known facts into
proper relationship to all other facts and to use those facts and relationships
for a good end.
I know what a chair is. I understand that the chair before me is very
weak and it wobbles. I have enough wisdom not to sit in it. (Don't forget
James 1:5 in this area.)
Ideal intelligence can be viewed in four manifestations:
Intuitive intelligence: The ability to see things as they really are.
"Oh, Lord I have given all to you!" God knows about the 99% that you haven't
turned over to Him.
Reflective intelligence: The ability to bring facts forth from memory
and relate them to other facts. I can remember when I had lot's of hair.
I can remember when I had a nice car. I don't have that car anymore so
that must be why I don't have any hair. NO. That is not a true assessment.
That is not correct reflective intelligence.
Creative intelligence: The ability to take facts and merge them together
and derive new and useful information or ideas. I illustrated this concept
to a theology class once. Fact: You haven't had a test lately in theology.
Fact: You look like you are tired of this lecture. New fact: I think I
will give a test.
This is where the young inventive businessmen of our day do well. They
take facts everyone has, and runs a new direction with them to the extent
that they make a million or two before anyone knows what they have done.
Ethical intelligence: The ability to look at the proper facts and use
those that will result in ultimate good.
I followed up my illustration with the following: Fact: I know that
you are very overworked at this point. Fact: I feel sorry for you that
are heavily loaded with homework. Ethical fact: I do what is right and
proper - I do not give the test.
God alone can see things as they really are. God has perfect reflective
intelligence. God can create endless variety of forms (He is limitless).
God alone can use all to His good ends. Job asks a question that is answered
just a bit later in his book.
His question was: Job. 28:12, "But where shall wisdom be found? And
where is the place of understanding? The answer: Job. 28:28, "And unto
man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart
from evil is understanding."
What value is there in our knowing of God's intelligence? For the saved:
Job 23:10,11 "But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tested me,
I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I
kept, and not declined." For the unsaved: I Sam. 2:10 "The adversaries
of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon
them. The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength
unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed."
A term that you may run across in some writings is "Omni-sapience" of
God. This is related to our study on intelligence because it has to do
with, "...the "All-Wisdom of God"; that is, God has all wisdom. There is
a vast difference in wisdom and knowledge." (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; "BIBLE
DOCTRINES"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 37)
Jehovah knows our transgressions and rebellion, He knows our arrogance
and wickedness, He knows the way of the righteous and the days of the upright,
He knows the secrets of the heart and the thoughts of man. Best of all
He knows all that are His. (Jos. 22:22; I Sam. 2:3; Job 11:11; Ps. 1:6;
Ps. 37:18; Ps. 44:21; Ps. 94:11; II Tim. 2:19.)
Guess what? No matter how hard you try, no matter how sneaky you get,
YOU CAN'T THROW A SURPRISE PARTY FOR GOD! SO WHY DO SO MANY BELIEVERS TRY
Job knew his God as we should, "But he knoweth the way that I take:...."
We say we believe He knows all, we say we believe He is all wise, we
say we believe He is interested in our well being, and we say we believe
He will do for us, yet we control our own lives. We direct our lives. We
do our own thing. We seldom go to Him in prayer. We deny, it would seem
by our action, those things that we believe He is. INTELLIGENCE, WISDOM,
KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, ETC.