What are “divine attributes”?
What are God’s attributes?
What does it mean that God is spirit (John 4:24)?
What does it mean that God is a person?
How does the Bible characterize God as a person?
What does it mean that God is one?
What does it mean that God is a tri-unity?
What are some false views of the Trinity?
What are some proposed illustrations to explain the Trinity?
What are the key Old Testament and New Testament passages referring to the Trinity?
What role did the Trinity play in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
What roles did the three persons in the Trinity play in salvation?
What does it mean that God is invisible? (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim 1:17; 6:16; 1 Jn 4:12)
What does it mean that God is self-existent?
What does it mean that God is self-sufficient?
How is God eternal?
What does it mean that God is infinite?
What does it mean that God is perfect?
What does it mean that God is omnipresent?
What two aspects should be kept in mind as one studies the omnipresence of God?
What are some of the implications involved in the omnipresence of God?
What does it mean that God is omnipotent?
What are some scriptural passages and illustrations about the omnipotence of God?
What does it mean that God is omniscient?
What does it mean that God is immutable?
What does the Bible mean when it says God repented?
What does it mean that God is sovereign?
If God is sovereign, how do we explain the presence of sin and evil?
If God is sovereign, how do we reconcile the responsibility and freedom of man?
What is the biblical testimony to God’s sovereignty?
What does it mean that God is incomprehensible?
What does it mean that God is inscrutable?
What does it mean that God is light?
What does it mean that God is unique?
What does it mean that God is glorious?
What does it mean that God is holy?
What does it mean that God is life?
How does the living God interact with idols, angels, nature, and man?
What does it mean that God is righteous and just?
What makes God righteous and not selfish?
What does it mean that God is truth?
What does it mean that God is wise?
What does it mean that God is good?
What does it mean that God is patient and long-suffering?
What does it mean that God is a God of wrath? (Rom 1:18).
What does it mean that God is a jealous God? (Exod 20:5; 34:14; Deut 4:24).
What does it mean that God is faithful?
What does it mean that God is merciful?
What does it mean that God is gracious?
What does it mean that God is love?
Is there a conflict between God’s love and God’s justice?

What are “divine attributes”?

Reduced to its simplest definition, a divine attribute is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of himself. Some theologians prefer the word perfection to that of attribute.
Theologian Millard Erickson distinguishes divine attributes from properties in the context of the Trinity:
When we speak of the attributes of God, we are referring to those qualities of God which constitute what he is. They are the very characteristics of his nature. We are not referring here to the acts which he performs, such as creating, guiding, and preserving, nor to the corresponding roles he plays—Creator, Guide, Preserver.
The attributes are qualities of the entire Godhead. They should not be confused with properties, which, technically speaking, are the distinctive characteristics of the various persons of the Trinity. Properties are functions (general), activities (more specific), or acts (most specific) of the individual members of the Godhead.
The attributes are permanent qualities. They cannot be gained or lost. They are intrinsic. Thus, holiness is not an attribute (a permanent, inseparable characteristic) of Adam, but it is of God. God’s attributes are essential and inherent dimensions of his very nature.
While our understandings of God are undoubtedly filtered through our own mental frameworks, his [p. 453] attributes are not our conceptions projected upon him. They are objective characteristics of his nature. In every biblical case where God’s attributes are described, it is evident they are part of his very nature. (Christian Theology, p. 265)
A. W. Tozer argues that there are hidden facts of God’s nature wholly unknown (and perhaps unknowable) by any created being, even angels. They are known only by Jehovah God himself.
In the awful abyss of the Divine being may be attributes of which we know nothing and which can have no meaning for us, just as the attributes of mercy and grace can have no personal meaning for seraphim or cherubim. These holy beings may know of these qualities of God but be unable to feel them sympathetically for the reason that they have not sinned and so do not call forth God’s mercy and grace. So there may be, and I believe there surely are, other aspects of God’s essential being which He has not revealed even to His ransomed and Spirit-illuminated children. (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 52)

What are God’s attributes?

Theologians see at least 33 distinct attributes of God revealed in Scripture. They place these in two categories: non-communicable and communicable. “Communicable” essentially means “transferable.” Some of God’s attributes are shared by his creation, but some are not. First, the attributes that are not shared by God’s creation.

A. The non-communicable attributes.
These are qualities unique to God’s being and nature. They are independent of his connection with the universe.

God is spirit:

He is the ultimate pure and perfect being, incorporeal, without material substance or physical parts, not having size or dimensions.

God is one:

He is the only and ultimate unified being, with each divine attribute perfectly united with all other attributes, yet each maintaining its own uniqueness, identity and function.

God is a tri-unity:

There is only one God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and co-equal persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the same in substance (who each person is), but distinct in subsistence (what each person does).

God is invisible:

This means the true nature and intrinsic essence of the divine Creator can never be fully seen by the eyes of his creation.

God is self-existent:

He is because he is, being the only source of his own eternal existence, independent of any and all outside influences.

God is self-sufficient:

He has never had in eternity past, nor can ever have in the ages to come, a single need for which his own divine nature has not already provided.

God is eternal:

He is absolutely free from the tyranny of time. In him there is no past or future, but one always and never-ending present. He is neither conditioned nor confined by time. He is indeed the timeless one who both created and controls time. He always was, is, and ever shall be.

God is infinite:

He has no time or space limitations and is bound only by his own nature and will.

God is perfect:

He possesses in both quantitative and qualitative fashion the ultimate in excellence, without the slightest flaw or imperfection.

God is omnipotent:

He is able to accomplish anything and everything if it can be done, and if it does not contradict his own nature.

God is omnipresent:

The Creator, in the totality of his essence, without diffusion or expansion, multiplication or division, having neither size nor spatial dimensions, penetrates and fills the universe in all its parts. Stated more simply, God is everywhere at the same time.

God is omniscient:

He possesses without prior discovery of facts complete and universal knowledge of all things past, present, and future. This includes not only the actual, but also the possible.

God is immutable:

He never changes from himself, his divine character remaining constant. While his program in dealing with many may change, his person does not. He is indeed the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God is incomprehensible:

By this is meant that no one can ever fully understand and comprehend God, in regards to who he is and what he does, except God himself.

God is inscrutable:

This attribute refers to the inexplicable and mysterious ways of God.

God is light:

He is the essence, source, strength, standard, and sustainer of physical, mental, and spiritual illumination.

God is unique:

He is utterly unlike anyone or anything we have known or indeed can know, being totally separated from all his creation.

God is glorious:

He is weighted down with brilliant and dazzling riches, beauty, honor, and fame. He is that splendid and shining One.

B. The communicable attributes.

These attributes revealed by God are at least partially understood and experienced in human existence.

God is life:

This is a reference to that eternal, unlimited, personal, self-conscious, self-determining, and vibrant inner energy found only in the very essence of God.

God is a person:

He exists and is aware of his existence, having the power of self-determination and possessing all the attributes of personality.

God is righteous and just:

His actions are in perfect accord with the divine law that he himself has established. Thus, as he is the standard of what is right, he will always do the right thing.

God is sovereign:

He is the absolute and sole ruler in the universe, having total freedom, power, knowledge, wisdom, and determination to successfully accomplish all his divine will.

God is true:

This means his being and knowledge eternally conform to each other. Thus, God is true for he alone represents things as they actually are, for truth is reality revealed.

God is wise:

This refers to his ability to rightly apply all his knowledge in regards to the good of his creatures.

God is good:

Divine goodness is that eternal principle of God’s nature that leads him to communicate of his own life and blessedness to all his creation.

God is holy:

In the positive sense of the word, God’s holiness assures the abundance of every clean and pure element within the divine person, while from a negative perspective, it guarantees the absolute absence of any unclean or evil element.

God is patient and long-suffering:

This is a reference to his controlled restraint in regards to his righteous wrath in the face of rebellion and sin.

God is a God of wrath:

This speaks of his immediate and continuous response to man’s wickedness, that is, a settled opposition to anything contrary to his holiness.

God is jealous:

He is deeply committed to seeking the highest honor of his own name and his own people.

God is faithful:

He is loyal both to himself and to his people in that he always does what he has promised to do.

God is merciful:

This speaks of God’s compassion and pity upon those in great distress, even when the person involved has caused his own problems through sinful activities.

God is gracious:

This is a reference to his unmerited favor. Grace and mercy are different sides of the same coin. Mercy is that act of withholding merited punishment, while grace is that act of bestowing unmerited favor. Thus, mercy assures the sinner of not getting what he deserves, namely hell, while grace assures him of getting what he does not deserve, namely heaven.

God is love:

This refers to his unselfish, unlimited, unconditional, undeserved and undying concern in regards to our welfare, whereby he always seeks our highest good.

In addition to these 33 identified attributes there may be:

1. attributes that God reveals in heaven throughout eternity.
2. attributes that God chooses to never reveal.

What does it mean that God is spirit (John 4:24)?

A. What this attribute means.
It means that God exists as a pure and perfect spirit being, not having size or dimensions. Thus, the very nature of his existence is the ultimate existence, far superior to and totally different from anything he has created.
Emery Bancroft defines God’s Spirit nature more precisely: God as Spirit is incorporeal, invisible, without material substance, without physical parts or passions and therefore free from all temporal limitations. (Elemental Theology, p. 23) Some have been disturbed as they compare these statements with certain Old Testament expressions that speak of God’s arms (Deut 33:27), his eyes (Ps 33:18), his ears (2 Kgs 19:16), and his mouth (Isa 58:14). However, these terms are simply anthropomorphic expressions, terms used to explain some function or characteristic of God by using words descriptive of human elements. Robert Lightner connects God’s Spirit nature to these Old Testament descriptions:
Such expressions do not mean that God possesses these physical parts. He is Spirit (John 4:24). Rather, they mean since God is Spirit and eternal, He is capable of doing precisely the functions which are performed by these physical properties in man. (The God of the Bible, p. 67)

B. What this attribute does not mean.
It does not imply God is made of pure thought or energy, or of vapor, steam, space or air. It does not imply God consists of some exotic and unknown refined or radically altered form of either matter or antimatter.

What does it mean that God is a person?

Dr. Robert Lightner sees human personality as having two dimensions: Personality involves existence with the power of self-consciousness and self-determination. To be self-conscious means to be able to be aware of one’s own self among others. It is more than mere consciousness. Even animals possess something which makes them aware of things around them. The brute, however, is not able to objectify himself. Man, in contrast to the brute, possesses both consciousness and self-consciousness. Self-determination has to do with the ability to look to the future and prepare an intelligent course of action. It also involves the power of choice. The brute also has determination, but he does not have self-determination—the power to act from his own free will and to thus determine his acts. (The God of the Bible, p. 65) Dr. A. W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God, says it is essential that we understand that God is a person: We Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can. It is inherent in personality to be able to know other personalities, but full knowledge of one personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter. It is only after long and loving mental intercourse that the full possibilities of both can be explored. (The Pursuit of God, p. 13)
Thus, as a person, God exhibits all those elements involved in personality.

How does the Bible characterize God as a person?

A. He creates (Gen 1:1).
B. He destroys (Gen 18:20; 19:24–25).
C. He provides (Ps 104:27–30; Luke 12:24).
D. He promotes (Ps 75:6–7).
E. He cares (Heb 10:35; 1 Pet 5:6–7).

No principle can care. Only a person can care for another person or another object.
He Cares
Hebrews 10:35; 1 Peter 5:6–7
Poet Thomas Baird was inspired by these verses in 1 Peter and Hebrews when he wrote:
It is His will that I should cast my cares on Him each day.
He also bids me not to cast my confidence away;
But oh! How foolishly I act when taken unaware,
I cast away my confidence and carry all my care.

  F. He hears (Ps 94:9–10).
The fact that God hears is mentioned nearly 70 times in the Psalms alone. In almost all cases this fact is connected to hearing our prayers. God hears in times of sorrow (Ps 6:8). God hears in time of trouble (Ps 34:6). God hears anytime we pray (Ps 55:17).
G. He hates.
There are certain things that God hates, and this can only describe a person (Prov 6:16–19).
H. He grieves (Gen 6:6).
As humans are grieved, God grieves. In the New Testament we are commanded not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Eph 4:30).
I. He loves (John 3:16).