Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 10, 1966
NUMBER 27, PAGE 9c-11a

God, The Eternal, Infinite, And Perfect Spirit

Morris Robinson

No intelligent human being can honestly deny the orderly creation of our universe. All Bible believers rightly assign the creation to Jehovah God. Many moralists and naturalists affirm this and furthermore state that they please and seek God through their communication with nature and its revelations, Christians realize this to be false, but it does provide some material for thought. What does the creation tell us about the characteristics of God? First of all we must be impressed with the fact that he still would have been the living God if he had never created. But to answer our question let us briefly examine some of Jehovah's immanent and some of his relative attributes. By immanent we mean those attributes which respect God in relation to himself independent of his association with creation. By relative we mean attributes which respect his outward revelations in consequence of the dependence of his creation upon him.

We may absolutely affirm that God is a self-sufficient being. In addressing Moses, God states "I AM THAT I AM", Ex.13:14. John 5:26 says that the Father and Son have life within themselves. These scriptures imply not only a self sufficiency, but Life and Personality.

Immutability is an attribute peculiar to deity- "with whom can be no variation neither shadow that is cast with turning," James 1:17. Webster defines immutability as unchangeable, invariable, unalterable, permanent. Some have ascribed the abolishment of the Mosiac dispensation as a change. It was rather an execution of a preconceived plan. See Gal. 4:4, Heb. 9:15.

Varying circumstances presented by man's free moral agency have caused God to change his mind in relation thereto. For example: Being a just God when a Christian forsakes his first love, God's unchanging holiness and righteousness requires him to regard that person differently than before. Such, however, does not void his immutability.

God is Love is a truth that has been voiced by Christians as well as religionists of all types. The basis for such exposition is I John 4:8. This inherent attribute should not be confused with goodness and mercy shown towards his creation. These are simply, but beautifully, manifestations of such characteristic. Many people try to make God's love for those created in his image more inclusive that the attribute signifies. For instance love does not include truth or holiness. Multitudes have loved, in the proper sense of the word, without having attained truth and holiness. What then is God's love? It is a voluntary desire, based upon deliberate counsel and sound reasoning, to impart freely of his own nature to his creation.

Pilate asked in a derisive way "What is truth?", Truth is the conformity between God's being and his revelations to his creation. It is something that can be explained and learned, yet no personage, apart from deity, can say "I am truth". Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth and the life": Why could he so declare? Simply because Christ came as the expression of the truth of God. The whole realm of truth is composed of realities concerning God and Christ disclosed these realities. "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily", Col. 2:9. Truth flows from the throne of God and whatsoever revelation is thus expressed is not arbitrary.

Holiness is a manifestation of God's infinite moral excellence exhibited by his astonishing purity. It is the last immanent attribute we shall consider. It can best be understood by relating to our own life. When we as Christians reach the plateau, on the road to spiritual maturity, whereby we conceive of Christianity as not merely a negative attitude toward sin, but a harmonizing of our mind to divine righteousness, we are manifesting holiness. We must remember that we have been cleansed and sanctified to offer up spiritual sacrifices to our Creator. II Cor. 7:1 teaches us that holiness is something that has to be perfected by us, but is an inherent attribute of God.

It is pertinent to observe that God is holy because he is the source of what is right and pure. Everything that he has related to man has conformed to his perfect or holy nature.

We come now to examine some of God's relative attributes, "For I lift up my hand and say, I live forever", Deut.32:40. This teaches the eternal existence of God. Time can be defined as durations as measured by finite succession. It is something that relates to our every project. We sleep, eat and work with time limitations. God, since he is eternal, is not subject to time. We may further conclude that this eternal nature of God is a relative attribute as opposed to absolute, Eternity can only be related to time and without the creation there is no time.

We should be cognizant that we, being formed in the image of God can measure and appreciate time in contrast to the brute, to which every day is the same. Why then do so many have an apathetic attitude when warned of eternal punishment? Possibly, because of our relation to time. We cannot conceive of anything that has no termination point. In eternity there is no beginning or end; only infinity.

Often I have heard preachers mention the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God without really defining their terms. These attributes are also relative and should precipitate sobering contemplation to any thinking man.

The prefix omni' actually means all or entire. Thus when used as above we have the all present, all knowing and all powerful God.

Jeremiah 23:25 tells of God's omnipresence. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." The obvious is the answer. We cannot escape his presence. His omnipresence consists not in division of his nature, but he is all present in truth, love, holiness etc. This feature also gives us assurance in prayer. Of a surety we know he is present and we can be instant and constant in prayer. Every time we have an assembly of the saints, God is present in all forms of deity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4:13 declares God's omniscience, "and there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

Jehovah has perfect knowledge of our every thought and deed: Thus, we can deceive men including brethren, but God cannot be deceived.

It is the attribute which permitted the Holy Spirit to inspire the prophets of old to prophecy of the future, Omniscience not only knows everything now but knows the future motives and acts of creatures yet unborn, This is the reason we have Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ's life, rejection and betrayal. Eph. 3:10-11 teaches that it was the eternal purpose of God to make known his manifold wisdom by the church. Such was in his mind from creation but it took successive events transpiring over the centuries to be accomplished, We may conclude our remarks on omniscience by reflecting on the thought that our God knows our every weakness, tribulation and trial, He stands only a prayer away from giving consideration to our dilemma.

The omnipotence of God is related in Gen. 1:1. He is all powerful. Jesus said in Matt.19:26 that "With God all things are possible."

Many have scoffed at the power of God by remarks directed at the virgin birth and resurrection. If God is powerful enough to create such an orderly universe and such a complex machine as the human body, who can deny his power to resurrect the dead or effect a virgin birth?

God has limited his omnipotence as relates to man's reconciliation to the gospel of Christ. See Rom. 1:16. Yes, God is omnipotence in being and can give us eternal life or eternal destruction. Think about it.

The last three attributes we shall consider are faithfulness, mercy and justice. 1 John 1:9 assures us that if we confess our sins he is faithful and righteous to forgive. Since it is impossible for God to lie, let us take comfort in such assurance. Faithfulness might also be termed truthfulness. No matter how advanced a Christian is in his knowledge of God's word he will always be impressed with its consistency.

We should consider God's dealings with people of old; such as Ananias and Sapphira and Nadab and Abihu. Their fate bears solemn testimony to the faithfulness of God to his word. If he so dealt with them, his veracity will cause the same condemnation on any who alter or pervert his precepts.

Mercy is the eternal virtue of God which prompts him to effect our salvation. "God commendeth his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," Rom. 5:8. This is an act of mercy manifested by God's love. For further evidence please consider John 3:16 and II Cor. 8:9. This mercy, however, cannot violate his justice.

Justice is that attribute which deals with God's treatment of his creation, being connected with his absolute holiness. In justice we have the execution for disobedience to God's law and a rewarding for compliance. It is an attribute that is not arbitrary, Since justice is a form of holiness and purity, it is without passion, either sympathy or anger. Such will be the case when in judgment we stand before his bar of justice.

In conclusion I must say that I have not exhausted the catalog of attributes nor have I dealt with them as extensively as possibly I could. More than this, I am aware that I can not skillfully expound upon them. I would, however, that some student more studious would deal with them at length. I have written concerning them only to provoke thought and above all appreciation for such a wonderful God.

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