What are the unique attributes of God that make him God?
He is the source of all life.
Gen 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Isaiah 45:18 (WEB) For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it…
WEB = World English Bible
God is not dependant on anyone for anything.
Acts 17:25a (NIV) And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.
Ps 5:9-12 (NIV) I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
God was not created.
John 5:26 (NASB) For just as the Father has life in Himself…
The providence of God refers to his care for the universe.
Acts 17:25b (NIV) Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Heb 1:3, ESV)
ETERNAL: no beginning or end
The Biblical concept of eternity and the eternal refers to the endless past, the unending future, or to God’s present experience of all time. God has no beginning as man can understand beginning and no ending either, but God exists now and knows both the beginning and the end as we perceive them. In the Scriptures, God is thus called “everlasting” and “eternal”.
Deut 33:27 (WEB) The eternal God is your dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting arms.
Gen 21:33 (WEB) Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.
1 Tim 1:17 (WEB) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Tim 6:16 (NASB) who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light…
Ps 102:26-27 (NKJV) They [the earth and heavens] will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.
God exists outside of time:
Ps 90:2 (WEB) Before the mountains were made, before you had given birth to the earth and the world, before time was, and for ever, you are God.
Being outside of time, God sees the future as clearly as the present.
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. (Isa 46:10)
God is immanent: within SPACE / TIME. God is present in nature, and history. He is near to us.
Acts 17:28 (NIV) God … is not far from any one of us.
He is a personal God, not a force – like the god of the Deists.
Ps 34:15 (NIV) The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry
IMMANENCE - NEARNESS
But God is also transcendent: outside of SPACE / TIME. He is distinct from his creation (unlike pantheism where God is identical to the entire material universe).
Jer 23:23 (NASB) “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?”
TRANSCENDENCE - DISTANCE
To hold to transcendence (distance) but not immanence (nearness) is deism, while to hold to immanence but not transcendence is pantheism.
Transcendence teaches us:
There is something higher than man. Secular humanism is not the answer to our problems.
Salvation is not our achievement. We cannot reach God without his help.
There will always be a gap between the Creator and created beings / things.
We have a sense of awe towards God – our natural response is to worship him.
The incomprehensibility of God means that he is not able to be fully known.
Isa 40:28 (NIV) …his understanding no one can fathom.
Isa 55:8-9 (NKJV) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
We cannot completely understand God. Louis Berkhof argues that, “in so far as God reveals Himself in His attributes, we also have some knowledge of His Divine Being, though even so our knowledge is subject to human limitations.” 1
1 Systematic Theology (London: Banner of Truth, 1949), 43.
OMNIPOTENT: all powerful
Omnipotence is the attribute of God, which describes His ability to do whatever he wills.
Rev 19:6 (NKJV) … “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!”
God is all-powerful which is why he is called the “Almighty.” There is nothing that he cannot do but his power is limited by his nature i.e. he cannot (or rather will not) do anything contrary to his nature as God, such as sinning. God is not controlled by his power, but has complete control over it; otherwise he would not be a free being. To a certain extent, he has voluntarily limited himself by the free will of his rational creatures.
Matt 19:26 (NIV) Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Job 42:1-2 (WEB) Then Job answered Yahweh, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be restrained.”
Jer 32:17 (WEB) Ah Lord Yahweh! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you.
The sovereignty of God is related to his omnipotence, providence, and kingship, yet it also encompasses his freedom, and is in keeping with his goodness, righteousness, holiness, and impeccability. It refers to God being in complete control as he directs all things — no person, organization, government or any other force can stop God from executing his purpose. 1
Isa 46:10 (NIV) … I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’
(ESV)… ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’
1 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Attributes_of_God_in_Christianity
OMNISCIENT: all knowledge
Omniscience is the attribute by which God, perfectly and eternally knows all things, which can be known, past, present and future.
Psalm 147:5 (NIV) Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.
Psalm 139:2-4 (WEB) You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether.
OMNIPRESENT: present everywhere at once
Omnipresence is the attribute of God, by virtue of which he fills the universe in all its parts, and is present everywhere at once.
Jer 23:23-24 (WEB) Am I a God at hand, says Yahweh, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Yahweh. Don’t I fill heaven and earth? says Yahweh.
Psalm 139:7-12 (WEB) Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there! If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me; the light around me will be night;” even the darkness doesn't hide from you, but the night shines as the day. The darkness is like light to you.
IMMUTABLE: never changes
Immutability is the perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change in essence, attributes, consciousness, will and promises. No change is possible in God, because all change must be to better or worse, and God is absolute perfection.
Malachi 3:6 (WEB) “For I, Yahweh, don’t change…”
James 1:17 (NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
The goodness of God means that “God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval.”
Rom 11:22 (NKJV) Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.
1 John 4:7-8 (NIV) Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
HOLY AND SINLESS
Hab 1:13a (NIV) Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing
Ex 15:11 (NIV) “Who among the gods is like you, o LORD? Who is like you – majestic in holiness…”
The veracity of God refers to his truth-telling. Titus 1:2 speaks of “God, who does not lie” and Hebrews 6:18 says that “it is impossible for God to lie.”
Num 23:19 (NIV) God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?
Only God is worthy and may be rightfully worshipped.
When Satan tempted Jesus to worship him, Jesus responded, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord
your God, and serve
him only’.” (Matt 4:10,
Yahweh makes it clear that
only he deserves worship:
Isaiah 42:8 (WEB) “I am
Yahweh. That is my name. I
will not give my glory to
another, nor my praise to
ATTRIBUTES OF CHRIST
We can now proceed to show that every one of these characteristics deemed peculiar to God are found in Jesus.
Therefore by induction, we know that Jesus is divine (God).
He is omnipotent
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus coming up spoke to them, saying, All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth.
ALL POWER is bestowed in Jesus, an attribute peculiar to God.
Eph 1:21-22 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet...
Phil: 3:20-21: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you.”
Here Peter plainly acknowledges Jesus’ omniscience, stating that He knew “ALL THINGS”.
Why then did Jesus say only the Father knew the day of his second coming? Of course the answer is that the incarnation created a special circumstance, wherein God became flesh and allowed Himself to the limitations of a man. In the same way that as a man Jesus got tired, thirsty and hungry and was clearly not omnipresent, so too his knowledge was limited while on earth. This is clear from the Scripture:
Philippians 2:7 (Jesus) … emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men
Anti-Trinitarians will typically take Scriptures that apply to Jesus humanity and incarnation and then try using them to prove that Jesus wasn’t God. There were however self-imposed temporary limitations that Jesus accepted in his incarnation.
Omnipresence is the attribute of God, by virtue of which He fills the universe in all its parts, and is present everywhere at once.
Matthew 28:20 “And surely I (Jesus) am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Romans 8:34 Christ Jesus, who
died – more than that, who was
raised to life – is at the right
hand of God …
If Jesus has promised to be with his
disciples ALWAYS and yet is at the
right hand of the Father in heaven,
the only possible explanation is that
he is omnipresent.
Jesus tells his disciples:
John 13:34 (NASB) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Jesus too has the property of deity of never changing, though everyone and everything else does.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 1:8,11-12 But of the Son he says... “They all will grow old like a garment does. As a mantle, you will roll them up, and they will be changed; but you are the same...”
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The above prophecy concerning Jesus shows that He is EVERLASTING or ETERNAL.
Hebrews 1:8,11-12 But of the Son he says... “They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old like a garment does. ... Your years will not fail.”
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word…
Colossians 1:17 … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
John 8:57-59 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born I AM!”…
Isaiah 44:6 (WEB) This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says: “I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.”
When Jesus appeared to John on the island of Patmos, His words to him were:
Revelation 1:18 “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.”
Jesus makes the same statement as Yahweh in the Old Testament. It is impossible for there to be two “FIRSTS”. Either one must be FIRST and the other SECOND if they are two separate beings. But Jesus and Yahweh both state, “I AM THE FIRST.”
Yahweh created alone:
Isaiah 44:24 (WEB) …"I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who ALONE stretches out the heavens; who spreads out the earth BY MYSELF”
But Jesus created alone:
John 1:1-4 In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t
Col 1:15-16: “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
All members of the godhead were involved in creation. The Father wills, Jesus effected his will:
1 Cor 8:6 Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
2 Cor 5:21 God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us …
1 Peter 2:21-22 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’
Hebrews 7:26 For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens
Peter spoke of Jesus as being “A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH OR DEFECT” (1 Peter 1:19).
He alone could make the challenge to his enemies, “CAN ANY OF YOU PROVE ME GUILTY OF SIN?” (John 8:46).
When Peter went to the house of Cornelius he refused to accept worship:
Acts 10: 25-26: “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
John related how the mighty angel refused worship:
Revelation 22:8-9 … I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
We see from these passages that only God is rightfully entitled to receive worship. But Jesus accepted worship on numerous occasions during his ministry! When Jesus healed the blind man:
Then the man said (to Jesus), “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. (John 9:38)
Jesus is entitled to receive worship because HE IS GOD! Some more examples of Jesus accepting worship are:
From the wise men - Matt 2:11
From the leper - Matt 8:2
From the ruler - Matt 9:18
From his disciples in the boat - Matt 14:33
From the Canaanite woman - Matt 15:25
From the disciples following His ascension - Luke 24:52
Thomas - John 20:28
All creation worships both Father and Lamb: Rev 5:11-14
After Jesus’ resurrection the woman and the disciples worshipped him:
Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.
Matthew 28:16-17 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him…
Furthermore in Hebrews 1:6 we read that the Father commands the angels to worship Jesus:
And again, when God brings his first born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
GOD BY NATURE
We have selected characteristics unique and peculiar to God alone. We have gone on to show that Jesus has all characteristics; thus by induction we have proven that Jesus is God. You can make a god out of anything, but it will not be God by nature i.e. possess the characteristics of God. Heathen gods fall into this category of those you are worshiped as gods while not being God by nature.
Galatians 4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
Jesus, however, does not fall into this category as he is God by nature.
Philippians 2:5-6 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…
Concerning the term “nature” (morphē) or as the NASB and KJV translates, “form”, theologian, Charles Ryrie notes that the word nature (morphē) in the Greek connotes: “that which is intrinsic and essential to the thing”. Thus here it means that our Lord in His pre-incarnate state possessed essential deity.
Rev. Benjamin B. Warfield (former Professor of Theology at Princeton) commented on the word morphē, as used in Philippians 2:6:
Paul does not simply say, “He was God”. He says, “He was in the form of God”, employing a turn of speech which throws emphasis upon Our Lord’s possession of the specific quality of God. “Form” is a term which expresses the sum of those characterizing qualities which make a thing the precise thing that it is… And “the form of God” is the sum of the characteristics which make the being we call “God,” specifically God, rather than some other being-an angel, say, or a man. When Our Lord is said to be in “the form of God”, therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God.
To deny that Jesus was truly the morphē (nature) of God is to deny that Jesus was truly the morphē of man (same word used in verse 7: “taking the very ‘nature’ (morphē) of a servant”.
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