5 Things You Should Know about God's Attributes
by Mark Jones
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” –James 1:17
1. God is simple.
What that means is this: God is free from all composition; He is not the sum of his parts. There is not one thing and another in God. Rather, whatever is in God, God is. He is absolute, which means that there are no distinctions within his being.
2. When we speak of his attributes, we must keep in mind that because his essence remains undivided, his goodness is his power.
Or, God’s love is his power is his eternity is his immutability is his omniscience is his goodness, and so forth. In other words, there is technically no such thing as attributes (plural) but only God’s simple, undivided essence. Why is this important? The simplicity of God helps us to understand that perfect consistency exists in God’s attributes.
3. God is infinite.
The infinity of God is sort of like a “meta-attribute,” such as simplicity, in the sense that it qualifies all the other attributes. Infinity means that there is no limit to God’s perfections. When we consider God’s attributes, we must always consider them as infinite. His infinity is a positive concept, so that we must say that his attributes are intensively and qualitatively infinite. God’s infinity is the highest sense of perfection. “Not yet finished” (or “indefinite”) is an improper way to understand infinity with regard to God. Rather, without bounds or limits or degrees, God knows infinitely and is a sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. He is as present in our midst as he is farthest from us in the universe. Yet while he is present in one place, he is never confined to any place.
4. God is eternal.
First, his eternality is unlike the eternal state experienced by humans or angels, all of whom were created in time. Time has a beginning with succession of moments, but God has no beginning, succession of moments, or ending. God’s eternality speaks of his timeless and unchangeable (yet not static) nature. As theologians of the past have argued, the statement “Time began with the creature” rings truer than “The creature began with time.”
5. God is unchangeable.
God is what he always was and will be (James 1:17). Because of his simplicity, his eternality demands his immutability. Eternity speaks about the duration of a state, whereas immutability is the state itself. Immutability in God means not only that he does not change but also that he cannot change (Ps. 102:26).
Editor’s Note: Portions taken from the article “10 Things to Know about God’s Attributes” written by Mark Jones. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
This post is adapted from God Is by Mark Jones. It originally appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.
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