Mister Richardson's
Bible Doctrine Class


Chapter 5: The Communicable Attributes of God


The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving inquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the inquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." - Exodus 34:6-7

A. Attributes Describing God's Being

  1. Spirituality - God's spirituality means that God exists as a being that is not made of any matter, has no parts or dimensions, is unable to be perceived by our bodily senses, and is more excellent than any other kind of existence. 1 Cor 14:14; Phil 3:3; 1 Cor 6:17; Rom 8:16.
  2. Invisibility - God's invisibility means that God's total essence, all of His spiritual being, will never be able to be seen by us, yet God still shows Himself to us through visible created things.

 

B. Mental Attributes

  1. Knowledge (Omniscience) - God fully knows Himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.
  2. Wisdom - God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. Rom 16:27; Job 9:4; Psalm 104:24; Rom 8:28; James 1:5.
  3. Truthfulness - God is the true God and all His knowledge and words are both true and the final standard of truth. Jeremiah 10:10-11; John 17:3; Job 37:16; Num 23:19; Psalm 141:6; Col 3:9-10; Ex 20:16.

C. Moral Attributes

  1. Goodness - God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval. God's mercy and grace are closely related to His goodness.- Luke 18:19; Psalm 100:5, 106:1; Genesis 1:31.
  2. Love - God eternally gives of Himself to others. 1 John 4:8, 5:3; John 3:16; Matthew 22:37-38.
  3. Holiness - God is separated from sin and devoted to seeking to His own honor. Exodus 19:4-6, 26:33; Psalm 71:22, 99:9; Leviticus 19:2; Hebrews 12:14.
  4. Righteousness (Justice) - God always acts inaccordance with what is right and is Himself the final standard of what is right. Deut 32:4; Isaiah 45:19; Romans 3:25-26.
  5. Jealousy - God continually seeks to protect His own honor. Ex 20:5; Deut 4:24; Isa 48:11.
  6. Wrath - God intensely hates all sin. Ex 32:9-10; Deut 9:7-8; Rom 1:18; Eph 2:3; Psalm 7:11.

D. Attributes of Purpose

  1. Will - God approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the existence and activity of Himself and all creation.
  2. Omnipotence (or Power, including Sovereignty) - God is able to do His holy will. - Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 3:20. Things God cannot do:

E. Summary Attributes

  1. Perfection - God completely possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no part of any qualities that would be desirable for Him. - Matthew 5:48; Psalm 18:30.
  2. Blessedness - God delights fully in Himself and in all that reflects His character. - 1 Tim 6:15.
  3. Beauty - God is the sum of all desirable qualities. - Psalm 27:4; 73:25.

REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Name and differentiate between the two attributes that describe God's being.
2. What does it mean that God knows all things "actual and possible"?
3. Differentiate between God's attributes of mercy, grace, and patience.
4. Why is it appropriate for God to be jealous for His own honor?
5. Is God's wrath consistent with His love? Explain.
6. What is the difference between God's secret will and His revealed will?
7. Is there anything God cannot do? Explain.

TERMS
Attributes of being, attributes of purpose, beauty, blessedness, communicable attributes, faithfulness, freedom, goodness, grace, holiness, invisibility, jealousy, justice, knowledge, love, mental attributes, mercy, moral attributes, omnipotence, omniscience, perfection, power, revealed will, righteousness, secret will, sovereignty, spirituality, summary attributes, theophany, truthfulness, will, wisdom, wrath.

CATECHISM
5Q: Are there more Gods than one?
5A: There is but One only, the living and true God.

AUDIO
Communicable Attributes 1
Communicable Attributes 2
Communicable Attributes 3
Communicable Attributes 4
Communicable Attributes 5
Communicable Attributes 6
Communicable Attributes 7
Communicable Attributes 8
Communicable Attributes 9

LINKS
The Nature and Attributes of God" - New Advent
Open Theism - CARM

RECOMMENDED READING
The Existence and Attributes of God - Stephen Charnock
The Attributes of God - A W Pink
Knowing God - J. I. Packer


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