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.

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