Mister Richardson's
Bible Doctrine Class


Chapter 4: The Character of God (Incommunicable Attributes)


Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the Heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.
But You are the same and Your years will have no end. - Psalm 102:25-27

A. The Existence of God

  1. Humanity's inner sense of God - All persons everywhere have an inner that God exists. Romans 1:19; Psalm 14:1.
  2. The evidence in Scripture and nature - Acts 14:17; Psalm 19:1-2.

B. The Knowability of God

  1. He is incomprehensible - unable to be fully understood - Psalm 145:3; 147:5; Romans 11:33.
  2. Yet we can know God truly - John 17:3, Hebrews 8:11, 1 John 2:13.

God's Attributes

  1. Incommunicable attributes - Attributes God does not share, or communicate, with others. Examples - eternity, unchangeableness, omnipresence.
  2. Communicable attributes - Attributes God shares, or communicates, with others. Examples - love, knowledge, justice.

D. Incommunicable Attributes

  1. Independence - God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation glorify Him and bring Him joy. Also known as self-existence or asiety (from Himself). Acts 17:24-25; Psalm 90:2. God did not create us because He was lonely.
  2. Unchangeableness - God is unchanging in His being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet He does act and feel emotions, and He acts and feels differently in response to different situations. Also known as immutability.
  3. Eternity - God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in His own being, and He sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time.
  4. Omnipresence - God does not have size or spatial dimensions, and is present at every point of space with His whole being, yet God acts differently in different places.
  5. Unity - God is not divided into parts, yet we see different attributes of God emphasized at different times.


TERMS
Asiety, communicable attributes, eternity, immutability, incommunicable attributes, incomprehensible, independence, infinite, infinite with respect to space, infinite with respect to time, inner sense of God, knowable, omnipresence, self-existence, unchangeableness, unity.

REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can we truly know a God that is incomprehensible?
2. What is the difference between incommunicable and communicable attributes of God?
3. What does Scripture mean when it speaks of God changing His mind?
4. Does time have any effect on God? Explain.
5. If God is present everywhere, how can He be in hell?
6. Is God's love more important than any other attribute? Explain.

ARTICLES
The Nature and Attributes of God - New Advent
God Without Parts - Paul Helm
What is Hell? - R C Sproul

RECOMMENDED READING
The Existence and Attributes of God - Stephen Charnock
The Attributes of God - A. W. Pink
All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism - James Dolezal
Knowing God - J. I. Packer

CATECHISM
Q4: What is God?
A4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.


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