The Nonmoral Attributes of God
In this message we will be discussing the attributes of God. An attribute is “an inherent characteristic; an object closely associated with or belonging to a specific person, thing, or office” (Merriam – Webster). So the attributes of God are his inherent characteristics closely associated with or belonging to Him. In our previous study we studied the Attributes of God: Essence and Subtance of God. Here we will be dealing specifically with God’s nonmoral attributes.
Omnipresence of God. Omni means all, and when combined with presence means “He is all present” or present everywhere at once. This does not mean God’s form is spread out so that parts of him are in every location. God is spirit (John 4:24); he has no physical form. His presence is everywhere in that everything is immediately in his presence. God is not like a thin substance spread out over all the earth — all of him is everywhere at once.
The Psalmist said, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there your hand will lead me, Andyour right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night’, even the darkness is not dark to you, and the night is as bright as the day Darkness and light are alike to you” (Psalms 139:7-12 NASB).
Jeremiah wrote, “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” (Jeremiah 23:24 KJV).
So, no one can hide from God or escape his presence. Wow! What a chilling thought. He is there no matter where we are or what we are doing. That can be very comforting or scary according to our situation. If you are trying to hide or run from God, give up. Jonah tried it, and in his quest to run away from God, ended up running right into Him.
This is also comforting. His presence is always with us. He promises he will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is always present, but his presence is manifest in special ways when we:
- Worship him (Psalms 100; 22:3; Acts 13:1-3).
- Gather in his name (Matthew 28:19-20).
- Submit to him and his authority (James 4:7-8).
- Draw near to him in prayer and his Word (James 4:8a).
- Practice or acknowledge his presence (Hebrews 13:5 & Matthew 28:20).
- Proclam his Word and the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).
Omniscience of God. This simply means God is all knowing — he knows everything. He knows the past as well as the future. He knows all that we have done, and all that we will do. He knows the very thought and intent of our heart. The wise man wrote, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3 KJV).
- He knows man’s works (Psalms 33:13-15).
- He knows our thoughts and motives (Psalms 139:1-4).
- He knows our wants and desires (Matthew 6:8 and 32-33)
We stand naked before Him. The writer of Hebrews says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NKJV). Jeremiah said, “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him? says the LORD; Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV). Absolutely nothing is hidden from his site. All the things we have done in secret he is is aware of. Therefore, as Hebrews says, we will give an account of all.
Omnipotence of God. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6 KJV). Our God is omnipotent. He is all powerful. There are five times in the scripture when it is says nothing is too hard or difficult for God.
- In relation to God’s purposes being fulfilled (Job 42:2).
- In comparing God’s ability to his creative power. (Jeremiah 32:17).
- In confronting Abraham with Sarah’s laughter and unbelief (Genesis 18:14).
- When dealing with the impossibility of man to save himself (Matthew 19:26).
- When dealing with Mary’s astonishment that she would give birth to the Son of God having never known a man (Luke 1:34-38). Notice her response: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38 KJV). This should be our response to the promises of God, no matter how impossible or improbable they may seem. Mary’s response was one of faith in the promise of God and His Word.
Seeing that God is all powerful, is there anything he cannot do? Yes, there are some things God cannot do. He cannot do anything contrary to his will, character, or nature. Here are five things God cannot do:
- Look on iniquity or sin (Habakkuk 1:13). This is why no one will be able to stand in God’s presence apart from Christ.
- Deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I like that verse. Even when we are faithless, God remains faithful. Not to remain faithful would be to actually deny himself, which God cannot do. He does all that he promises (2 Corinthians 1:20 and Lamentations 3:23-24).
- Lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). This mean we can always depend on what God says. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20 KJV). “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good” (Numbers 23:19 KJV)?
- Tempt to sin (James 1:13). God may test our faith and obedience, as he did Abraham (Genesis 22:1), but he can never tempt us to sin. That would be against His nature and character.
- Do what is absurd or self contradictory. We have all heard absurd questions from unbelievers. One of which goes like this, “If God is all powerful (omnipotent), can He make a circle square or a rock so large that He cannot move it?” C.S. Lewis answered this ever so perfectly. He responded, “Nonsense is still nonsense, if talking of God or something else” (Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little).
Immutability of God (Hebrews 1:12; James 1:17). God is unchangeable. “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6 KJV). This totally refutes Joseph Smith’s (the Mormon’s) doctrine of eternal progression. God simply does not or cannot change. All change of necessity must go from worse to better or better to worse. Seeing God is perfect, He cannot be more perfect, more truthful, or more holy. For example:
- His plans and purposes do not change (Psalms 33;11; Isaiah 46:10; Romans 11:29).
- His righteousness or justice – God is always perfectly just in all he does (Genesis 18:25; Isaiah 28:17).
- His goodness and light (James 1:17).
- His Love and mercy (Psalm 103:17).
- His promises ( 1 Kings 8:56; Hebrews 6:17-18).
- His Son (Hebrews 13:8). Immutability being attributed to Jesus declares his deity. Jesus bares the same attributes as the Father.
Omnisapience (Psalms 147:5; Romans 11:33; 16:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; Ephesians 1:8 and 3:10-11; James 1:5-8). God is all wise. This also includes his discernment and judgment.
Sovereignty of God (Daniel 2:21; 4:35; 5:21; Matthew 20:15; Romans 9:16-18 and 21). God does as He pleases. This is encouraging. If you had the choice, would you choose to be ruled by blind fate, chance, irrevocable natural law, short sighted and perverted self (man), or an infinite, wise, holy, powerful, all knowing God who loves us and knows what’s best for us? To quote D.S. Clark, “He who rejects God’s sovereignty may take his choice of what is left” (Pearlman, “Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible”, page 63).
See our next study on the Attributes of God: Moral Attributes