the attributes of god

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 23, 2011.

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  1. Van

    Van
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    God’s Word, the Bible, reveals God by presenting various aspects of God. When we claim such and such is an “attribute” of God, we are claiming such and such is true about God.

    We can divide God’s attributes into two general categories, those that show God is different in nature to man, such as being everywhere at the same time, and those that show God is different in range or scope, i.e. bigger, greater, perfect rather than flawed, but man shares or can share to a limited degree in these “godly” attributes, such as long-suffering.

    God, as revealed in God’s Word, acts as a person, as the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God, the Trinity. This obviously is one of the attributes we do not share in. Each person of the Trinity is revealed to possess Intellect, Will, and Emotion. Lets look at some of the other attributes the Bible reveals about God that we do not share, that show God is different in nature compared with man.

    God is “spirit.” So if we seek to limit God to what makes sense in our physical realm, we are engaging in defining an elephant as a rope because we have briefly held the tail. Anytime we are dogmatic about God, He cannot do this or that, we may be denying that God supersedes what we can imagine about God.

    God is sovereign. There is no authority over God; He does as He pleases. But He does not do everything His sovereignty would allow, because some of His other attributes show God limits Himself to what is righteousness and holy and perfect.

    God is eternal. He always was, He had no beginning, and He has no end, He will always be. This attribute applies to each person of the Trinity; all three always were and always will be. God may create a manifestation of God to men, as say a burning bush, or a dove, or a man, but the person being revealed is eternal. God the Son was not created when Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb.

    God is Omnipresent. God is everywhere at the same time. Since God holds all of creation together, this characteristic might be seen as limited to a “thing” called “sustaining power” but that would miss the mark. His “eyes” are everywhere, so God knows what is going on everywhere. But, on the other hand, God can restrict the presence of one of His Persons, and confine that Person is one location, such as God incarnate. But on the other hand, God incarnate is fully God, and not part God, even though He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of man.

    God is Omnipotent. God is all-powerful, there is nothing that can prevent or obstruct His action. But as with God’s sovereignty, God can do as He pleases, and if it pleases God to allow others to act autonomously in a way He does not specifically desire, He can create such a capacity, because He is all-powerful.

    God is Omniscient. God is all-knowing about what He has chosen to know. He could have chosen to know everything about everything, but the bible reveals He chose not to do so.

    God is Immutable. This means God’s attributes are fixed, He is not all powerful today but not all-powerful tomorrow, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. But this attribute does not preclude God having mercy on whom He has mercy, and to provide justice for those He does not have mercy upon. He can say He will do this, if man does that, and will do something else, if man does something else. This is not repenting as going from some flawed direction, to a more perfect direction, as a man, but “repenting” as going from one perfect direction to another perfect direction in accordance with His promise.
     
    #1 Van, Apr 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2011
  2. jbh28

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    Then He isn't all knowing. You guys like to hide behind your fancy wording. You either know everything(omniscience) or not know everything. You don't believe he knows everything even thought the Bible CLEARLY says he does.
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    Is God all-knowing according to an unbiblical definition of all knowing, or is God all-knowing according to the biblical definition of all-knowing? An attribute is only an attribute when it is true. God remembers no more our sins forever. Did Jesus know the time of His returning? Did God know beforehand that Abraham would be willing to slay his son?
     
  4. Brother Jeremy Slone

    Brother Jeremy Slone
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    1) God remembers no more our sins forever. Does this mean God can't recall what we did in the past or that they shall not be brought up against us.

    2) Did Jesus know the time of His returning? Well he said he didn't but Jesus was also 100% man as He was 100% God and Jesus did claim that the Father knew the time.

    3)Did God know beforehand that Abraham would be willing to slay his son? Well I believed God did and that is why he gave him precious promises and called him to be the Father of Faith. I Also know Abraham believed him and the lad would return to his servants. I understand the Angel stopped Abraham when he raised the knife and said now I know that thou didn't with hold thy only son from me. Was this shown to reveal to us God was really uncertain what Abraham would do or was it done to show us that Faith is not confirmed in profession of mouth only but by our works. If one says he loves the Lord but doesn't keep his commandments then his works find him out. Like James said you say you have faith without works but by my works I will show you my faith.

    Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
    Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

    Abraham trusted God because God was with him. 1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    Yes I most certainly believe God Declared the end from the beginning and from ancient times called those things that are not as though they were.

    I look at it like knowing in general and knowing in a intimate way.
    Psalms 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off
    Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
    One is told from afar off and the other is to be by searching and trying.

    Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Now here were some claiming to do these things in the name of Christ, Now did he not know them at all in general as far as who they were. I believe God would know who they were in general but not in an intimate way as far as his Spirit leading them unto good works. Or as a way of knowing in remission of their sins.

    Now I know where you are at and have come across others that hold it just like you do. But I for one am not able to be in that camp. I just don't see it that way as you will probably not see it my way. I believe God knows all but God also deals with Man. When He went talking with Adam in the Garden after he ate of the fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil, I believed God already knew all about it but would be like me addressing one of my children to see what I could get them to confess when I already knew of the matter.
     
  5. jbh28

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    :thumbsup: Well stated. The Bible teaches that God knows everything, so I believe it. I don't make up definitions to try to pretend that I believe that God is ALL knowing. Well stated!
     
  6. Robert Snow

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    This really humorous. A Calvinist accusing someone else of hiding behind fancy wording! :laugh:
     
  7. mandym

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    I saw some posts referencing your inability to believe God knows everything. Wasn't exactly sure what that meant because I had not seen any of your posts till now.

    You contradict yourself here with this "all knowing" doesn't really mean all knowing.
     
  8. quantumfaith

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    I commend you for demonstrating how you disagree with another brother in a reasonable way. Unlike some, you don't refer to those who hold different views using adjectives like "bull", "baloney" or ridiculous. Thank You.
     
  9. DHK

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    In many verses the Bible declares that God is all knowing; that God knows the end from the beginning. This is declared over and over again throughout the Scriptures. He is all-knowing. Omniscient means omni + science or all + knowledge = all-knowledge. That is the meaning of the word. How can you say that we have an "unbiblical" meaning of the word. The meaning of the word itself, when broken down, means "all-knowledge," and that is what God has: "all-knowledge" about all things everywhere throughout all time for all ages.

    You accuse us of having an unbiblical definition of omniscience. Can you please provide a Biblical definition of omniscience from an authoritative source.

    If you cannot, saying that God is less than all-knowing is making God less than divine; less than deity. For example Muslims, define Allah as all-knowing. Is our God less than Allah?? If he is not all-knowing he is not deity, and he is less than the other gods of this world--as they see it.
     
  10. convicted1

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    Bro. Jeremy,

    I am one who believes that when God forgives us of our sins, He also forgets them. This doesn't make Him not all-knowing, for He is just that. But, if He chooses to forget our sins when He saves us, would that make Him less than all-knowing? BTW, I really like that last sentence, and you, very well, may be right.

    Jesus did state that only the Father knows the exact end of time. Jesus is God, but He stated that His Father was the only One who knows. But the ways of God our sooooo much higher than ours, that none of us can comprehend most of what He does, and why He does it.

    I agree with all of this!!! Well stated, Brother Jeremy!!


    I preached on God and Adam and Eve before, and this is what I said once. When God came to them, He knew what they did, but He wanted them to say it. When God asked Adam where he was at, Adam stated he was naked and ashamed and hid himself. God then asked him,"who told you, you was naked?" God knows that if given enough rope, we'll hang ourself everytime.

    i am I AM's!!

    Willis
     
  11. JesusFan

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    Have to remember that the Bible describes the Lord in ways 'down to our levels"

    Jesus did not know the time of His return while upon the earth, as He decided NOT to use His divine attributes while upont he earth. limiting hHimself to being fully man...
    He did all things thru relying on his father, in power of the Holy spirit, so he gave Himself like "amnesia" on things, experiencing things as man does...

    Now back to the Father, in glory, once again "took up" again use and functioning in ALL of his Divine attributes

    God does know All things possibly can be known, as He exists apart/outside of Time, and everything is "present/right now" to Him, so all things already happened per Him, sees "beginning and end"
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Jesus did veil his divinity while on earth. As a human he was bound by the limitations of time and space; he got tired and slept; he needed food; he was not faster than a speeding bullet.

    But he didn't veil his divinity completely. He controlled the elements; he raised the dead; he healed the sick; he restored the ear Peter cut off.

    He also discerned the thoughts of men.

    I frankly do not know why Jesus said the Son did not know the time of his return. But saying he purposely refused to know (but later took back his knowing)it doesn't quite do the trick for me. Self-imposed amnesia is a real stretch, I think
     
  13. DHK

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    I wouldn't call it self-imposed amnesia. As a man he chose not to use his divine attributes. We see the exercise of those attributes only some of the time; for example when he was approaching Nathanael.

    He did not exercise his omnipotence when he went to the cross. He rebuked Peter, telling him to put up his sword, and then told him that he could have called 12 legions (72,000) angels from heaven to protect him. Just one angel in the OT destroyed 186,000 Assyrians. What would 12 legions do to that petty Roman army? He held back. He did not exercise his omnipotence. Neither was it his Father's will to disclose at that time the time of his coming. Thus he did not exercise him omniscience. He chose not to. He chose not to exercise his omnipresence as well.
     
  14. JesusFan

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    I think that I was speaking to his kenosis, self imposed limitation of becoming a Man, Jesus chose to limit Himself to same conditions physically as we all experience...

    Think when He needed to "know/do" things Supernaturally, was not exercising His own Divine attributes, but that the Holy Spirit was "giving HIM" those things...
     
  15. Skandelon

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    I agree. We even see the heavenly father "limit" himself in other instances. For example, could God have just made Jonah want to go to Nineveh by supernaturally changing his will? Did He need to use the storm and a big fish? God most often chooses "normative" or "outward" means to accomplish his purposes, though I don't think anyone here would doubt that God could have "violated" Jonah's will by simply making him willing. Clearly, he wanted it to be Jonah's choice, so using circumstances to convince Jonah was God's chosen method. I think that reveals a lot about God's MO...
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    Hi Jesusfan, you are right on in post #11. Jesus did not know everything while incarnate! So take a look at John 21:17, where Peter says of Jesus, "you know all things." Clearly not meaning everything imaginable, but clearly meaning all things about Peter or more broadly all things about those Jesus encountered. The point is "all things" means what the author intended, and this can be derived from context. All things never means all things imagainable, as the unbibilical doctrine of Omniscience asserts.

    The unbiblical view of Omniscience falls into the catigory of the logical fallacy of the "hasty generalization." Based on a subset of the revelation provided in God's word, a generalization was formulated that is inconsistent with many other passages. It belongs on the dust bin of history.
     
  17. DHK

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    I asked you before, what is the Biblical view and how do you arrive at it, and never got an answer. Here is my previous post:
     
  18. Van

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    reply to Brother Slone

    (1) It means God does not remember them forever. The Bible means what it says, unless such a view would create a conflict with another passage or passages. This view only creates a conflict with passages that say God is all knowing, if one defines all-knowing as referring to everything imaginable, rather than what can be derived from context.

    (2) It means Jesus did not know the time of His returning. He had limited His knowledge. This demonstrates God can choose not to know future things, but can also know future things, because the Father knew.

    (3) This means God did not know beforehand that Abraham would be willing to slay his son. So God can limit his knowledge and not know our future choices.

    (4) Acts 15:18 says God knows the future things He declares. This is consistent with God knowing future things He has chosen to know. This verse in no way supports the unbiblical definition. It does not say God knows the future exhaustively.

    (5) Ephesians 1:19 says God has surpassing power, i.e He is Omnipotent, and again says nothing about God having or not having the surpassing power to limit His knowledge according to His purpose and plan.

    (6) 1 Peter 1:21 says Jesus revealed God to us, and that revelation was enhanced because God raised Jesus from the dead, and gave Him glory. Amen. But this verse seems non-germane to the topic.

    (7) Yes God can choose to search our hearts and know our attributes and attitudes, and how we would react to a given situation. God certainly knew David's heart. But again, this is consistent with the biblical view of Omniscience. And the verses do not support the umbilical view. So they again are non-germane to the topic.

    (8) Matthew 7:22-23 again demonstrates that Jesus knew the hearts of those He encountered, who called Him, Lord, Lord. But He never knew them, i.e had an intimate saving relationship with them. This passage, too, is consistent with the biblical view, God knows what He chooses to know.

    (9) Last point, God does not lie, if He say something, we should accept it as truth, and not try and say God was misstating the fact because it does not fit with our man-made doctrine.
     
  19. Van

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    Hi DHK, Please provide the verse or passage that provides your definition of Omniscience? There is none. Is your "authoritative source" some man-made doctrine? I say my authoritative source is the Bible. The definition I have provided has been derived from all the passages that seem to me to address the doctrine, but I certainly am no expert. Here is what I said in the OP:

    God is Omniscient. God is all-knowing about what He has chosen to know. He could have chosen to know everything about everything, but the bible reveals He chose not to do so.

    Why try to shift discussion to secondary sources, rather than biblical text. I will certainly concede that more people accept your view, than accept mine. But truth is what is important. Lets stick with scripture.
     
    #19 Van, Apr 25, 2011
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  20. DHK

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    Van, I believe that your definition is "your own," that is, man-made, one that you have arrived at without the Bible. I have demonstrated that the word omniscient in and of itself means "all-knowing."

    "omni" + "science" = all + knowledge = all-knowledge or all-knowing.
    We serve a God who has all knowledge and/or is all-knowing. There are many verses to back this up. Does the Bible contradict itself? If we stick by your definition then it does.

    God cannot be less than all-knowing. If he is then he isn't God. In fact he is less than the other gods of this world.

    Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men; ) (1 Kings 8:39)

    For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; (Job 28:24)

    Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. (Psalms 139:12)

    He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psalms 147:4)

    The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

    Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? (Proverbs 15:11)

    Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (Isaiah 40:26)

    And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, (Acts 1:24)

    Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:13)

    Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. (Acts 15:18)

    The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. (Psalms 14:2)

    Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:8)

    --He is eternal, and his knowledge is infinite, beyond comprehension. He has not limited himself in any way.
     
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