Wednesday, November 30, 2016



The OMNIPOTENCE of God is the third attribute in this series of three bearing a special relation to creation. Reason alone insists that God must possess all power. The pagan with no more than the revelation of God in nature is able to draw the inevitable conclusion that "the invisible things of from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things; that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20). God could not be God apart from the power to create, sustain, and control that which He has made. Since God is infinite, then His power must be without limits. He possesses all power.

   1. The Biblical testimony is clear and ample. It is clearly asserted that "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6). This is the only place in the King James Version where the original word is translated by the word "omni­potent." But the same word occurs nine other times in the New Testament and is uniformly rendered into English by the Anglo-Saxon word "almighty." The Old Testament employes a Hebrew word that is uniformly translated by the word "almighty." It appears no less than 48 times in the course of the Old Testament record (Gen. 17:1).

  However, the idea of God's omnipotence is written irrevocably into the Scriptures and is expressed in a variety of ways. The Lord Himself poses the question to Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14). Jeremiah breaks forth in a word of praise concerning God's power: "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (Jer. 32:17). Job was amazingly vocal concerning the power of God. In the closing chapter of that book, Job breaks forth with this expression: "I know that thou canst do everything"

(Job 42:2). In seeking to give assurance to Israel, God says through his prophet, Isaiah, "Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, faintest not, neither is weary?" (Isa. 40:28).

  It is asserted that Abraham was "fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform," and this in the face of a seemingly impos­sible situation (Rom. 4:21). The angel Gabriel pointed Mary to the omnipotence of God in a situation beyond human comprehension, "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). Getting rich men into the kingdom of God poses an absolutely human impossibility, but Christ asserted that even though "With men this is impossible: ...with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). The Bible asserts that it was the almighty power of God that caused light to shine out of darkness (Gen. 1:3), that stretched forth the heavens (Isa. 44:24), that upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), that was exhibited in Christ's resurrection (Eph. 1:19), that "giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were" (Rom. 4:17), so that it can be said that "He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Psa. 115:3), and that He "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11).

   2. By way of explanation, some things need to be said to put the doc­trine of God's omnipotence into Biblical perspective. In speaking of the omni­potence of God it is correct to say that it means that God is able to do all things that are consistent with His nature and character. Omnipotence does not mean that God has power to do that which is self-contradictory or out of harmony with His being. God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). God cannot be tempted with evil (Jas. 1:13). God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). These things would be out of harmony with His holy and perfect nature, for God is a God of truth (Isa. 65:16), the Amen (Rev. 3:14), the absolute and unchanging One (Mal. 3:6). Things that are self-contradictory are also excluded, such as "the making of a past event to have not occurred—drawing a shorter than a straight line between two given points; putting two separate mountains together without a valley between them... Even God cannot make wrong to be right, nor hatred of Himself to be blessed. "

The doctrine of God's omnipotence does not imply that God exercises all His power in the discharge of responsibility to the universe He has created. God is not exhausted by the exercise of His power. He "fainteth not, neither is weary" (Isa. 40:28). Being infinite in power, there is always an inexhaustible store of unused power. He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), and there is no danger that the universe will run down, for there is still an in­exhaustible store of unused power in reserve. Implicit in this is the fact that God has control over the exercise of His power. It is always according to His good pleasure (Eph. 1:11). "He doeth according to His will" (Dan. 4:35), and therefore God is not the slave of His own omnipotence.

  A clear inference from the omnipotence of God is that every manifesta­tion of power in the universe comes from God. "God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Psa. 62:11). God is the source of all power. That which is exercised by creatures is delegated to them. God does not relinquish anything of His perfections, including power, but He does provide power and permit its use. But all that He gives remains His own and must ultimately return to Him (Rom. 11:36). This fact explains why the Psalmist attributed the manifestations in nature to God (Psa. 29). Modern man has substituted the laws of nature as an explanation, thus removing from the thinking of men the clear source of that power. Consider the broad scope in the manifestation of God's power: in creation (Jer. 10:12), in nature (Jer. 10:13), in history (Dan. 4:17), in heaven (Dan. 4:35), in redemption (Eph. 1:18-22).

   3. Certain practical values issue from the truth concerning the omni­potence of God; in fact they are almost unlimited. As an encouragement to those who are striving for moral perfection, the omnipotence of God provides enablement (Gen. 17:1). How many there are who, struggling in the face of almost insurmountable odds and suffering defeat after defeat in the effort to accomplish good, grow weary with the conflict and finally give up. What comfort to know that there is an unfailing source of strength to accomplish blamelessness (Isa. 40:28-30).

Physical impossibilities to men pose no hindrance to God. He can put the camel through the eye of the needle, for there is nothing impossible with God (Matt. 19:25-26). The impending and certain conquest of Judea poses no problem to God, and therefore He instructs Jeremiah to buy a tract of land that humanly viewed is not only stupid but also reckless, for it will be lost. But there is nothing too hard for an omnipotent God, even though at the moment such may appear to be an impossible situation (Jer. 32:17, 27), for "houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land" (Jer. 32:15 cf.2:26).
  For those who have grown discouraged as they view the world scene, with its sin and wickedness on every hand, with not the slightest glimpse of hope on the human and natural horizon, what hope and encouragement it must bring to search the pages of Holy Writ and discover that an omnipotent God will one day take to Himself His great power and reign (Rev. 19:6 with 11:17).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016



The second attribute in this trilogy, and one vitally associated with omnipresence, is that of OMNISCIENCE. In the opinion of theologians there is some reason to believe that on the basis of logic it should come next in the order of study. Simply stated in the words of Scripture, "God…..knoweth all things" (1 John 3:20).

   1. In the presentation of this doctrine the stress in the Bible is laid upon its scope. It is universal. As described by the Scriptures, "His understanding is infinite" (Psa. 147:5).

  It involves the person of the Creator. God knows Himself perfectly and completely. "The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11). "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt. 11:25). Only the Infinite can know the infinite. He knows His own essence, that which is known by no other. This exceeds beyond any limits the knowledge He possesses of the creature which He has made. For it is the act of knowing that which was never made. The infiniteness of this knowledge is exhibited in the fact that He has perfect and comprehensive knowledge of His own infinite perfections. "The spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor.2:10).

  He searches out these things in the sense that He knows exactly and thoroughly understands. It therefore follows that only God can reveal Himself to men (1 Cor. 2:10).

  This knowledge covers the entire extent of creation. This includes material creation in its entirety (Job 28:24), even to the numbering and naming of the stars (Psa. 147:4), and the most secret and subtle processes of nature (Psa. 139:15). His knowledge extends to the animal world, including the diminutive sparrow (Matt. 10:29). The unseen spirit world also is known of God (Job 26:6). God is perfectly knowledgeable of the world of mankind (Psa.33:13-15), and this knowledge penetrates to the innermost recesses of each heart (Acts 1:24).

  The most minute details of personal life come within the scope of this knowledge (Psa. 139:1-4), reaching to life while yet in the womb (Jer. 1:5). All past future events come within God's comprehension (Isa. 46:9-11), and also future possible events under all possible combinations of circumstances (Matt. 11:21).

God's omniscience involves the sphere of moral purpose. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Prov. 15:3).

This is in keeping with the fact that the attribute of God's holiness is present in fullness in the attribute of omniscience. It follows therefore that God's knowledge is not an end in itself. The end is the glory of God, whose chief attribute is holiness (Rom. 11:33-36). God's knowledge will therefore be directed to an exposure of secret sins (Psa. 90:8), good and evil works (1 Cor. 3:13-17; 2 Cor. 5:10), and a discerning between the righteous and the wicked (Mal. 3:18).

Wisdom is an aspect of God's knowledge, that aspect which seeks the highest ends with the fittest means for the greatest good. It was by wisdom that God created the heavens and the earth (Prov. 3:19). The wisdom of God reached its highest point in Christ when He was "made unto us wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:30), yes, "the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10).

  The knowledge of God includes everything, and is therefore eternal, perfect, and complete. It is eternal in that it knows the end from the beginning (Acts 15:18). It is perfect in that it lacks nothing (Job 37:16). It is complete that "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13). The knowledge of God issues from His essence (Psa. 94:9-10), is intuitive and immediate and never successive (Heb. 4:13), is absolutely free (Isa. 40:13-14), possesses perfect precision (1 John 1:5), is infinitely infallible (Matt. 5:18), positively unchangeable (Prov. 19:21), and is perpetual in its effect (Psa. 90:4).

   2. There are problems associated with the doctrine of omniscience, but they are not insuperable. In most cases the problems arise due to the fact that the language of Scripture is adapted to the thinking of primitive men.

  Gen. 11:5; 18:20-21; and Deut. 8:2 suggest that it is necessary for God to investigate each situation before He has the facts of knowledge in hand for the action He must take. But, in the light of the clear teaching of the Bible, this could not be true. It would present an imperfect and finite God. On the other hand, God condescends to the limited thinking of man, and expresses in this man­ner His divine deliberation and the fact that He will not act hastily in judgment. This is a way of displaying the fact that God allows men time to demonstrate to themselves their own wicked character under certain circumstances.

One of the popular criticisms brought against the record of God's knowledge of minute details is that He is too great to be concerned with trivial events. But this attitude grows out of a false notion of greatness. The facts are that God is so great that He never grows weary or is in danger of fainting (Isa. 40:27-28). The glory of His greatness is exhibited in being occupied with the insignificant details of every child of God (Psa. 113), though He is high above the heaven and the earth, He does not hesitate to humble Himself to them (Psa. 113:5-6); He raises the poor from the dust, and the needy from the dunghill, and places them among princes (Psa. 113:7-8); He makes the barren woman able to keep a home, and gives her children so that she may be joyful (Psa. 113:9). He records the cup of cold water that is given in His name (Matt. 10:42). The tears of His own He treasures in a bottle (Psa. 56:8). And even the hairs of our head are numbered (Matt. 10:30).

A problem which continually confronts the thinking mind concerns the certainty of future events. If God knows all future events, are they certain? The answer to that question is an absolute affirmative. The reason this is true lies in the fact that God has placed every one of them in His one eternal plan for the universe and has determined that they shall take place. This is called predestination. This does not mean that God causes them all. In some cases He permits them, such as the actions of evil men. In others, He does cause them. But in both cases they are included in this one plan, so that there will not be any slip or chance in the outworking of His one eternal purpose. In this sense God works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11), and He is therefore able to prophesy accurately the future (Isa. 46:9-11).

Many are confused by the words of 1 Cor. 13:2--"Then shall I know even as also I am known." This passage sounds very much to them as though when salvation is complete the saints shall know as much as God knows. But the answer is to be found in the fact that this does not involve the content or amount of knowledge, but rather the method or way of knowing. Whereas in this life we are compelled to follow the tedious steps of logic, then we shall know like God. He knows intuitively, immediately, without the successive steps of logic in or­der to the final conclusion. Then, face to face, we shall confront each situation and comprehend its meaning. But unlike God there will be a progressive build­ing up of the content of knowledge forever.

Monday, November 28, 2016


THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD, therefore, becomes the first of these attributes for consideration.

1. The expression in the Scripture of the doctrine of God's omnipresence in His creation is so clearly taught that any intelligent person can discover this truth for himself. But this does not mean that he will comprehend, even in any large way, its essential significance. The classic passage on this point is in the 139th Psalm:

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the dark­ness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" (Psa. 139:7-12).

Jacob was introduced to the omnipresence of God on his journey from his home­land to Haran. He slept on a stone one night and dreamed of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it. Then God spoke to him:

"And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:15-17).

Jonah had to learn the hard way that God is omnipresent and there is no possibility of fleeing from His presence (Jonah 1:3-4). Jeremiah cried out in warning to the people of Judah concerning the omnipresent God whom they were deliberately ignoring (Jer. 23:23-24). Our Lord taught His disciples to pray to the Father who is in the heavens (the word is plural), the aerial, stellar, and the heaven where God makes special manifestation of Himself (Matt. 6:9). Paul addressed the philosophers on Mars Hill, informing them of that unknown God whom they ignorantly worshipped, the God who is

"not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:23, 27-28).

2. The explanation of this attribute must be brief, but its importance is by no means measured by its brevity. Underlying and intimately associated with omnipresence is another attribute of God as cited by many theologians, namely that of immensity, that is, that God's nature is spiritual and is therefore without material extension and is not confined to the limits of space. He is vast, enormous, and gigantic. "Heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee"

(1 Kings 8:27). God is not contained in creation, but creation is contained in God. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). On the basis of God's immensity, by way of general explanation, it may be affirmed that omnipresence is the presence of the totality of the essence of God in the whole and in every part of the universe, without expansion, diffusion, multi­plication, or division. He fills all things. "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:24).

To be even more specific, God's omnipresence is not that of mere power, but that of nature and essence, which also includes power. One of the errors of human thinking has been to hold that God is present in His creation only in power, and that the person or essence of God is in heaven. But the facts are that men do not need to go up to heaven to call Him down, or into the abyss to call Him up (Rom. 10:6-7). God in person is everywhere present in His creation and it is this fact that makes it possible for His power to be operative in every place. Apart from person or essence there could be no power, for power is inherent and resident in person.

In further explanation it needs to be pointed out that God's omnipre­sence is not the presence of a portion of God, but the whole person of God in every place. God is spirit and therefore incorporeal and all materialistic con­ceptions must be abandoned. God is one, simple, un-composed, undivided, in­divisible. With God there can be no multiplication, diffusion, or separation of substance. So it follows that the whole of the essence of God is present at the same time in every part of His creation. As one poet put it, "Though God ex­tends beyond creation's rim; Each smallest atom holds the whole of Him."  "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?" (Jer. 23:23). "In mathematics the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. But we know of the Spirit that every part is equal to the whole."

One further note on omnipresence is important to full understanding. In no sense is God's omnipresence by compulsion, but rather proceeds from the freedom of His own will. This means that, contrary to the pantheistic notion, God is not bound to the universe, nor is the universe bound to God.  By the free act of God He brought creation into existence, so that it exists in Him (Col. 1:16), and by a free act He could also withdraw, so that it would cease to exist (Col. 1:17). This means that God's immanence in creation is qualified by His transcendence outside and above creation. He is therefore a God who can introduce a miracle at any point or time; He can answer the prayer of the most humble suppliant; He is free to introduce change into the present order and ar­rangement of things.

There are problems that arise from texts that seem to conflict with the doctrine of the omnipresence of God. These texts seem to localize God in heaven or present Him as moving from place to place within the universe. Christ taught His disciples to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). When it is known that the word heaven is in the plural, there seems to be clear recognition on the part of Christ that God is omnipresent. In other texts it is intimated that God dwells only in heaven (1 Kings 8:27, 30). Most likely these are to be understood in the sense that only an omnipresent God can manifest Himself in differ­ent places in a special way. In heaven God manifests Himself permanently and most gloriously to the spirits of heaven. At Babel and Sodom (Gen. 11:5; 18:20-21), God is described as going down to witness the activities in progress. While these accounts may be couched in anthropomorphic terms, it is still true that only an omnipresent God who is free from all limitations of matter could move from one place to another.

3. The practical values growing out of the attribute of God's omnipresence are numerous. Almost every detail of life and experience may be re­lated to the omnipresence of God. How encouraging to know that wherever the believer may be, God is there exercising intimate and loving concern for him (Matt. 28:20; John 14:23; Gen. 16:13; 28:16; Psa. 73:23-25). There is no hin­drance to immediate access to the omnipresent God (Rom. 10:6-8). No creation can separate from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:39). If there is need to lift the heart in prayer,         this can be done anywhere (Matt. 6:9). If there is need for healing, God does need to make a journey to the sick, for He is already there (John 4:46-54). Worship and communion is not restricted to place, for where two or three are gathered together in His name, He is in the midst (Matt. 18:20; John 4:21).
This attribute of God comes as a warning to the wicked. It is characteristic of them to pursue their way as though there were no God (Psa. 10:4, 11). God is not in all his thoughts. He imagines that God does not know or see, or take cognizance of what goes on. But if the wicked were to consider carefully the truth of His omnipresence, it would deter or turn him aside from his course of sin (Amos 9:1-4). There is no way to escape from God, no matter to what portion of the universe one might flee (Psa. 139:7-12). Jonah thought to escape from the task to which God had appointed him (Jonah 1:1-3), only to discover that God was also present in the sea (Jonah 1:4). To the unbeliever this great truth should turn him aside from his wickedness, but even more, it should turn him aside from any false worship, for only a God who is omnipresent is a real God. How tragic that Hindu worshipper should be tapping on trees and stones whispering "Are you there? Are you there?"

Sunday, November 27, 2016




In presenting the various attributes that constitute the greatness of God, most theologians feel that SELF-EXISTENCE, ETERNITY, and UNCHANGEABLENESS are fundamental and foundational to the absolute being of God, and they are therefore incommunicable. From this point they move to another series of three attributes of greatness known as OMNIPRESENCE, OMNISCIENCE, and OMNIPOTENCE. These are regarded as relative and communicable: relative in that they are measured by creation and communicable in that they are transmitted to creation.

These three attributes of greatness bear a special relation to creation and are, therefore, in some limited sense communicable. They are related to creation in the sense that omnipresence means that God is everywhere present in His creation at the same time; He is omniscient in the sense that He is fully cognizant of every part of His creation at every moment; and He is omnipotent in the sense that His power is continuously operative in every part of His creation.

These characteristics of God bear a vital relationship to each other. Of the three, omnipresence is fundamental in that it means the presence of the whole essence of God in every part of creation at every moment. Along with the presence of the essence of God there must also be the effects of the essence. This means that there must also be simultaneous with the presence the exercise of the attribute of omniscience. God is not only present in His creation, but He also knows every­thing about His creation. Moreover, along with the omnipresence and omniscience of God in relation to the entire creation, God is also omnipotent in that His power is continuously operative in every part.

The Psalmist was moved to join all three of these in one statement as setting forth the greatness of God. "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite" (Psa. 147:5). These three will now be briefly set forth in the order in which most theologians treat them: omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence.

Saturday, November 26, 2016



A third attribute of God's greatness is that of being UNCHANGEABLE. This is true of God in His entirety and this quality extends to each attribute.

1. The testimony of the Scriptures to this characteristic of God is quite extensive. The immutability of God underlies the entire message of the Bible. In explicit statement, God identifies Himself to Moses, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exod. 3:14). This statement means that God is always the same. He is not, "I was" or "I will be," but always the "I AM." It is therefore in agreement with this fact that He declares, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. 3:6). In con­trast with creation in its variation the Psalmist declares, "But thou art the same" (Psa. 102:27).

What is true of the being of God is also true of every aspect of His being. In moral character God remains unchanged, for He is "the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning" (James 1:17 ASV). His mind does not change (Num. 23:19; Job 23:13), nor His thoughts (Psa. 33:11), nor His purpose (Ezek. 24:14), nor His word (Isa. 40:6-8), nor His promise (Heb. 6:17), nor His oath (Heb. 6:18), nor His wrath (Psa. 7:11), nor His activity (John 5:17).

2. The explanation of this attribute is quite simple, but its comprehen­sion is quite difficult because we tend to think of God in terms of created things in which there is change. God is immutable in the sense that He never differs from Himself. In His greatness He never develops or diminishes. In His good­ness He never advances or retreats. He never gets better or worse. He never changes within Himself. He never becomes something other than what He already is. It is affirmed of the second person of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is therefore true of the entire Godhead, "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8).

But the immutability of God does not mean immovability. God does change in His dealings with men and things in order that He may remain unchangeable in His being. In God's dealings and attitude toward one man, God did change (1 Sam. 15:10-11), in order that He might not change in His attitude toward evil (1 Sam. 15:29). God did change in His response to Nineveh because the Ninevites changed in their attitude toward God (Jonah 3:4, 5, 9, 10), and thus God remained unchangeable in His grace and mercy and kindness (Jonah 4:2). Changing circumstances and moral conditions make it necessary for God to change in His manifestation and application of Himself. So "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth" (Gen. 6:6), "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord...And God remembered Noah" (Gen. 6:8; 8:1). Like mer­cury that responds to changes in temperature, God also changes toward the varying responses of men and remains the same.

Many theologians refer to the simplicity of God. The purpose is to differentiate from multiplicity of parts and relations. In this sense the divine essence can experience no change such as is true where there are many parts? It is the shift of these parts in their relationships that constitutes change within. And it is the addition of elements to these parts that produces change from without. But with God neither of these things are true. God is self-existent, so there can be no addition from without, and He is self-composed, so there can be no change within. In His self-sufficiency He is God now, He was always God in the same way, and He will ever be God into eternity.

3. The practical value of this great truth comes to full fruition when viewed on the changing background of creation. In a changing world, which is constantly being depleted of power and substance, it is encouragement to the prophet to know that with the Lord, the Creator, there is no fainting or weariness. Power and strength flow from a constant source and it is always avail­able to those who wait upon the Lord (Isa. 40:28-31). The heavens and earth shall perish. They shall wax old as does a garment and they shall be changed. But the Lord will endure; His years shall have no end. Through all the changes in creation, He will remain the same. In this fact there is the guarantee for continued existence and life for those who belong to the Lord (Psa.102:24-28).

The eternal counsels of the Lord never change, so it is determined that eventually all these will be realized in the course of the centuries. Blessed indeed is that nation that makes such a God its Lord (Psa. 33:11-12).

The everlasting covenants of God to His people are the guarantee that all His promises to His people will be kept. Even though Israel has sinned, the reason they are not consumed rests in the fact that God does not change (Mal. 3:6).

The character of God is that of a perfect and unchanging holiness. This is the basis of all true morality. Moreover, this unchanging holiness guarantees that moral distinctions will persist through all the changing patterns of human kind. Many may make ever so great an attempt to initiate a new morality, but it will be in vain, for that One who is the ground of true morality does not change (James 1:13-17).

This changeless character of God stands as a warning to unbelievers. The unbelief of men does not negate or change God, who must ever be true to Himself, and therefore will eventually punish unbelievers (2 Tim. 2:13).

Friday, November 25, 2016


A second attribute, which follows logically from that of self-existence, is that of ETERNITY. In the name Jehovah and in the assertion “I AM,” there is the implicit fact of eternity. A God who has the ground of existence within Himself is without cause and without origin. He has neither beginning of days nor end of being.

1. The Scriptural testimony to this fact is of considerable breadth and various. The simplest testimony is in the words eternal and everlasting applied to God (Gen. 21:33; Deut. 33:27; Heb. 9:14). Five times the word eternal is applied to God, and 16 times the word everlasting. These words represent three terms in the original Hebrew and three terms in the original Greek. For all practical purposes the translation into English is sufficient to establish this point. But the terms in the original languages suggest a relationship to the created order and the succession of events associated with it, whereas the eter­nity of God transcends that of the created order.

Other expressions also appear in the Biblical record to express the eternity of God. He is said to "endure forever" in contrast with the created order (Psa. 102:12, 26), whose "years shall have no end" (vs. 27). To God is as­cribed glory "throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). As a part of the praise given to Him, it is said that He "liveth forever and ever" (Rev. 4:10). But there are also other combinations of words and ideas which convey the same truth concerning God.

Certain descriptions of God in His relation to the created order make it clear that His eternity is distinctly different from the general impressions of men. For one thing, God is declared to be the one who created the ages

(Heb. 1:2 Grk.). He is called the Father of eternity (Isa. 9:6 ASV marg.). He is referred to as the king of the ages (1 Tim. 1:17 ASV marg.). As such He is one who inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15), and whose schedule cannot be measured over the succession of time that characterizes the created order (2 Pet. 3:8). Measured over against the ages with their beginning and end, God extends into the past to the vanishing point, and also into the future in the same respect (Psa. 90:1-2).

2. The explanation of this attribute of God is not in any sense to be regarded as simple to any mind, let alone the ordinary mind. And yet there is sufficient that lies within the grasp of the average person to derive benefit from the truth.

Inasmuch as the eternity of God is differentiated from time, it is logical to give a definition of time. Time is the relation of events and things in a finite and changing order. Time came into existence with the created order, and time will continue as long as this created order exists. So far as we are able to see from the Scriptures, there will be no interruption of time in the future. A misunderstanding of the meaning of the text in Rev. 10:6, "there should be time no longer," is corrected by a reading of the same passage in the American Standard Version.

God, however, does not belong to a finite and changing order. God is infinite and unchanging, and He is antecedent to and the originator of creation. Therefore, eternity with God may be defined as "that perfection of God whereby He is elevated above all temporal limits and all succession of moments, and possesses the whole of His existence in one indivisible present."  God is the great I AM, with whom there is no past, present, or future. He is without be­ginning and without end. Time is in God, but God is not in time, for time is the creation of God, and therefore He is in no sense limited by or subject to time. With God time is one eternal now. He knows the end from the beginning. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).

God is the author of time in the sense that He created a finite world of changing things. Though it had a beginning, it will never have an end, for the world will never be annihilated. Since the very essence of time is measure­ment, there would be no such thing if there were not events that could be meas­ured in relation to one another. If this changing order were to be annihilated, then time would cease to be. But even with time now existing, God is completely above time. Men in some limited sense are able to live above time. In memory they can live in the past as well as the present; by prediction of the future as based on past observation; by communication in books and other ways preserve a segment of time; science says nothing is lost: words, deeds, ideas, all are etched in the universe; from this store God will produce books at the judgment (Rev. 20:12-13); and by regeneration in which man is inducted into the eternal One (Gal. 1:4; 1 John 5:11-12). But in a perfect and incomprehensible fashion the eternal One can rise above time.

3. An evaluation of this doctrine for all practical purposes may at first thought seem to be without point. It is amazing, however, to discover instances in the Scriptures when this doctrine has ministered great encouragement to the saints. At that moment of greatest disappointment to Moses, when he realized that he was to die without the privilege of entering the promised land, in his final address to Israel he said, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27). At that moment, when the race of life is run and he is confronted with an unknown future, Moses took refuge in the fact that God had been his dwelling place in all generations, a dwelling that reaches into the vanishing point of the past and the future. In all that, this dwelling is God (Psa. 90:1-2). In the midst of affliction (Psa. 102:1-2), the Psalmist found comfort in the fact that he was completely in the hands of an eternal God, who unlike the created universe, would never perish (Psa. 102:11-12,24-27). Habak­kuk saw the hordes of wicked Chaldeans descending in judgment upon his own precious land. His only hope in this fateful hour was in the eternal God. "Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment: and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction" (Hab. 1:12).

Thursday, November 24, 2016


The first and most important attribute of God setting forth His greatness is that of SELF-EXISTENCE. Though some recognition of the importance of this attribute is indicated by theologians, yet it is remarkable how little atten­tion is given to the development of this particular idea.

1. The declarations of the Scriptures concerning the existence of God are clear. Certainly, no thinking person can read the Scriptures without con­cluding that the existence of God is assumed throughout. In one passage, at least, it is clearly asserted that God exists, and on this basis alone men seek after God (Heb. 11:6). God has not left His existence without witness (Acts 14:17), and this witness leaves men without excuse in turning away from God (Rom. 1:19-20). Indulging themselves in a philosophic atheism, some men have demonstrated themselves as fools (Psa. 14:1; 53:1), while others have dared to display a practical atheism by living as though there were no God (Tit. 1:16).

But the Scriptures declare that God exists in a certain sense that distinguishes Him from all other persons and things. There is no other who is like Him or equal to Him (Isa. 40:25). "I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images" (Isa. 42:8). The Lord insists: "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9). As God, the Lord is separate and apart from the universe of which He is the creator and sustainer (Isa. 48:12-13).

In a more limited and particular sense, God is asserted to be self-existent. In identifying Himself to Moses, so that he would in turn be equipped to face the Hebrew people, he was informed by the Lord, "I AM THAT I AM," and instructed to say to the children of Israel, "I AM hath sent me unto you" (Exod. 3:14). The Hebrew original in this verse not only describes God as self-conscious and self-determining, but also as self-existing. This is the un-created God. He is un-caused. He "hath life in himself" (John 5:26).

In this sense God stands in contradistinction from all other persons and things. He is the uncaused cause of everything else. He is life and therefore He is the source of all life. He is the "fountain of life" and in His "Light we shall see light" (Psa. 36:9). He is "the fountain of living waters" from whose inexhaustible store there is an everlasting source to support and sustain every living thing (Jer. 2:13).

2. Further explanation is in order, so that no false impression may be formed concerning this important and fundamental attribute, and to the end that its truth may be conceived insofar as this is possible. The self-existence of God means that the ground of His being is in Himself. Some state that God is His own cause. But this method of expression may be slightly inaccurate. It is true, though, that God is the uncaused being, and in this sense He differs from all other beings; this means that God falls outside the pale of cause and effect which is true of all other beings.

The source of God's existence is wholly within Himself, and never at any moment does His existence depend upon anything external to Himself. There­fore it is correct to say that God does not belong to that unending series of cause and effect which is true of all other beings and things apart from God. God has no origin, and it is precisely this distinction that differentiates that which is God from that which is not God. Origin and beginning are words which apply to things that are created. And whenever we are thinking of things that have origin and beginning, we are not thinking of God. God alone is self-existent, while created things of necessity originated somewhere at some time.

God's self-existence is implied if not stated in the name Jehovah (Exod.6:3), and in the assertion, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exod. 3:14). Both of these expressions mean that it is God's nature to be. Obviously, the idea of self-existence is in­comprehensible to the human mind. But it is not more so than a self-existent universe, an idea proposed by many secular philosophers, and one which intro­duces inconceivable mystery. God is the living spring of all energy and all being. He exists by the necessity of His own being, since it is His own nature to be. This existence is not a contingent, but a necessary existence because it is grounded in His nature.

3. There are necessary implications that grow out of the fact that God is self-existent. For one thing, God is self-sufficient (Acts 17:25). He is inde­pendent of all created things (Psa. 94:8-10; Isa. 40:18ff; Acts 17:25). This is true in His thoughts (Rom. 11:33-34), His will (Dan. 4:35; Rom. 9:19; Eph. 1:5; Rev. 4:11), His power (Psa. 115:3), and His counsel (Psa. 33:11). Any need in God would be admission that there is imperfection and incompleteness in God.

Moreover, self-existence and self-sufficiency lead inevitably to sovereignty. Sovereignty does not mean mere height or supremacy of position. It is that position which grows out of what God is in Himself. There is no rule of measure above or next to God. There is no law to which He is subject, no tribunal to which He must answer, no pattern to which He must conform. He alone is the absolute standard for all law and righteousness and justice. This explains the name given to Him, Adonai, which comes from a root meaning to make low, to subject to one's self, hence to be Lord and sovereign (Psa. 110:1, 5).

Furthermore, it will be seen by careful analysis of the Scriptures re­lating to the self-existence of God that it leads to implications involving the simplicity, the eternity, the infinity, and the immutability of God. In fact, since every attribute embraces the whole of God, and the entire essence is in each attribute, then it follows that every attribute has some necessary impli­cation growing out of self-existence.

4. An evaluation of this attribute in relation to its practical value in human life reveals a number of things. Only as men catch a glimpse of the self-existence of God are they capable of measuring themselves. Ever since Adam turned his back on God, men have imagined that "The proper study of mankind" is man.

              5. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Job tried this and failed. But once he caught a vision of God, he abhorred himself and repented (Job 42:1-6). He learned that God is everything, and that he was nothing.

It is also true that a vision of the self-existent God with its implications leads men to the realization of sin. Sin is essentially the dethronement of God as the sole source of everything, and the enthronement of self as the all-suffi­cient one. Isaiah did not hesitate to confess, "Woe is me! For I am undone... for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isa. 6:5). No more bitter and better analysis of sin was ever made than the pointed confession of Isa. 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way."

At this point it becomes increasingly clear why the Bible lays such emphasis on faith as the one and only condition for effecting salvation. It is because the self-existence of God teaches that sin is essentially the persuasion of the human will to the end that the self is sufficient and God is not the only all-sufficient One. Faith is essentially the persuasion of the human will. When that is changed to recognize God as the all-sufficient One, then God can com­municate His life. Consider the fact that Christ said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself" (Matt. 16:24). Paul struck at the same point, "I have been crucified with Christ...and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith" (Gal. 2:20 ASV).

Once a man has caught the vision of the self-existence of God as revealed in Christ, he has the guarantee that he has reached the ultimate source of life, and he is no longer dependent upon a stream that may be cut off. "The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself" (John 5:25-26).

Perhaps most important of all, a vision of the self-existence of God teaches men that the supreme and all-consuming purpose of God in creating is to bring glory to Himself. God is everything. He exists by Himself and all creation comes out of Him. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Col. 1:16). In the consummation of the age, this purpose will be achieved and all intelligences will acknowledge that, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016



Up to this point in the discussion of the attributes of God, two classes of attributes have been presented: the class that deals with the personality of God, and the one that deals with the unity of God. Now it is time to present the class of attributes that constitutes the greatness of God.

The word greatness as used in relation to God appears 21 times in the King James Version. It renders in translation no less than six different Hebrew words in the Old Testament, derived essentially from two roots, and one Greek word in the New Testament. But the same Hebrew words are translated variously by the words great, greater, greatest, and greatly, when used in relation to God.

These words mean great in any sense required by the context where they appear, such as high, long, loud, mighty, more, much, noble, proud; also, great in body, mind, estate, honor; great in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality.

In general, as used in the text of the King James Version, God is said to be characterized by greatness (Deut. 3:24; 5:24; 9:26; 11:2; 32:3; 1 Kings 29:11; Psa. 145:6). Jehovah is a great God (Deut. 10:17). His greatness places Him above all gods (2 Chron. 2:5; Psa. 77:13). His greatness is excellent (Psa. 150:2), in fact, it is so excellent that it is unsearchable (Psa. 145:3). Who, then, is not responsible to publish this abroad and ascribe greatness to our God (Deut.32:3-4)?

In particular, God is declared to be great in anger (Deut. 29:24), in arm (Exod. 15:16), in counsel (Jer. 32:19), in delight (1 Sam. 15:22), in Excellency (Exod. 15:7), in faithfulness (Lam. 3:23), in glory (Psa. 21:5), in goodness

(Neh. 9:25,35), in holiness (Isa. 12:6), in indignation (Deut. 29:28), in jealousy (Zech. 1:14), in kindness (1 Kings 3:6; Psa. 117:2), in love (Eph. 2:4), in mercy (Num. 14:19; Neh. 13:22; Psa. 119:159), in might (Isa. 40:26), in name (Josh.7:9; 17:7; 1 Chr. 17:21), in power (Psa. 66:3; 79:11; Eph. 1:19), in strength (Isa.63:1), in thoughts (Psa. 139:17), and in wrath (2 Kings 22:13).

Any careful examination of this list of qualities reveals the fact that greatness is ascribed to attributes that belong to the personality of God, the unity of God, the dimensions of God, and the goodness of God. This means that in the effort to describe God, human language is exhausted and attempts at sharp lines of demarcation in constructing a system must and do fail. Such efforts are somewhat arbitrary and limited in perspective. Therefore, it needs to be re­peated again, that each attribute embraces the whole of God, and each attribute is coextensive with every other attribute.

However, in an effort to maintain some semblance of system for the sake of ordered thinking on the part of each one who will be reading this account, the discussion at this point will deal with what, for want of better terminology, is the metaphysical greatness of God. At a later point the moral goodness of God will be treated. Nine aspects of greatness now come before us: self-existence, eternity, unchangeableness, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, perfection, infinity, and incomprehensibleness. For immediate attention, the first three will be considered.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Some important implications grow out of the fact of the unity of God, implications that in the very nature of the case are self-evident.

1 . In the area of logic, it is absolutely self-contradictory to entertain the notion of two or more gods. The existence of more than one God poses a situation in which each limits the other and thus destroys godhood. Infinity and absolute perfection cannot be possessed by more than one. It follows then that dualism is a clear impossibility, tri-theism increases the impossibility, and polytheism becomes a logical monstrosity. "Henotheism [that is, one god among many---explanation mine] conceives of each individual god as unlimited by the power of other gods. Each is felt, at the time, as supreme and abso­lute, notwithstanding the limitations which to our minds must arise from his power being conditioned by the power of all the gods!"

2.     In the area of philosophy, the attempt to articulate the idea of many gods into the whole of reality, when one God will satisfactorily explain everything, is ludicrous. Tennyson intuited this fact in his poem, In Memoriam:

"That God who ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far off divine event
To which the whole creation moves."

But the unity of God, from the philosophical standpoint, is in no way inconsistent with the doctrine of the Trinity. While the doctrine of the Trinity holds to the existence of three distinct persons in the Godhead, these distinctions are not to be confused with the doctrine of unity which holds that the divine nature is numerically and eternally one.

3.     In the area of science, the very constitution of the universe depends upon the existence of one God. The unity of God has given order to creation, so that there is a universe and not a multiverse. It is this Fact that has furnished the impulse for research in every area of the created order. Whether looking through the telescope into the far reaches of the universe, or through the micro­scope into the area of the infinitesimal, a sublime and majestic order has been discovered, and this order moves over one pattern directed by a God who is one. It is this metaphysical basis out of which scientific exploration has grown. And it was upon the basis of this fact that in the beginning God issued the com­mand to men to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28).

4.     In the area of religion, the unity of God alone provides the dynamic for exclusive devotion to one God. The doctrine of the unity of God should make it perfectly clear that there is no hope of finding any other deity to whom men owe responsibility and devotion. Since there is just one God, then He is the God of all men, Jews and Gentiles, and there is just one way or salvation (Rom. 3:29-30). To this one God men are responsible to give glory to (1 Pet. 4:11), whatever their activities may be (1 Cor. 10:31), understanding that God will not give His glory to another (Isa. 48:11). Men are in the hands of one God, so there is only one law, one gospel, one salvation, one doctrine, one duty, one destiny.

5.     In the area of the practical, the unity of God provides the only basis for undivided allegiance and an inflexible morality. It will be seen by a close examination of Deut. 6:4-5 that there is a connection between the unity of God and love for God. "Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." This undivided, undiminished, unabated energy of the human heart can be directed to one God, whereas it would be impossible if there were more than one God. Polytheism was an attempt on the part of man to escape the notion of moral responsibility to one moral Lawgiver and Judge by dividing his allegiance to separate wills. The result was the tragic retreat into dark­ness and the awful descent into immorality and the lowest forms of sensuality (Rom. 1:19-31).

The only way of salvation centers in the unity of God. Isaiah insists that a carved image of wood cannot save (Isa. 45:20). He strengthens his argu­ment by reference to the unity of God. "And there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Savior: there is none beside me" (Isa. 45:21). Upon this basis the invitation goes forth. "Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:22).

On the basis of the unity of God, James argues for the unity of the law (James 2:9-11). It was the one and same God who gave it all. Therefore, no one who claims to be a worshipper of God can observe some of it and ignore other parts. If a man breaks one law, he has become guilty of all, because he has defied the one God who gave it all. Any portion he keeps will be for some other reason than obedience to the one God.