"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us..." [1] The attributes of God are generally a collection of descriptions from Scripture of who God is. An "attribute" can be defined as something God has revealed himself to be. Colin Gunton correctly guides our thinking here, reminding us that "it is not a matter of what we attribute, but of what he reveals himself to be." [2] Thus, God's attributes are revealed truths of who he is and are revealed in scripture through his words and actions in the divine economy.

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Preliminary discussion

Before describing which attributes God has revealed, it is important to understand how these attributes correspond to God's being. That is, the "attributes of God should not be considered parts of him, but rather are perspectives on his whole being, that is, his essence." [3] The love of God is not a part of him different from his righteousness. "Our standard of love is not something in God, alongside other things, but God himself." [4] This line of thinking helps protect against thinking of God as an abstract being made up of various components. Rather, he is a personal God in which his attributes reveal his character and identity.

Furthermore, it is essential to understand that each attribute has all the attributes. In other words, they cannot be separated. God's love is qualified by the other attributes. It is perfect, righteous, holy, eternal, and so forth. His power is just, wise, and loving. 

Classifying the attributes of God

The attributes of God are generally classified into two groups: those that are unique to God, and those that are shared with His creatures. Although this has been a helpful classification, the distinction does not always perfectly work.

See main page: Classification of the attributes of God

God's attributes

Depending on how you look at God's attributes, they can comprise a list of varying lengths. Some suggest that because God is infinite, his attributes are infinite, while others believe there are a set amount. Nonetheless, it remains important to go over the ways in which God has revealed himself to humanity.

See main page: List of God's known attributes

See also

Resources

  • A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life (HarperSanFrancisco, 1978)
  • J. I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP, 1993)
  • Colin Gunton, Act and Being: Towards a Theology of the Divine Attributes (Eerdmans, 2003) 
  • Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Baker, 1991)
  • Stephen Charnock & William Symington, The Existence And Attributes Of God (Baker, 1996) 

References

  1. A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, p.1
  2. Colin Gunton, Act and Being (Eerdmans, 2003), p. 9
  3. John Frame, Doctrine of God, p. 388
  4. ibid.

External links