NATURAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
by Wayne S. Walker
In the previous several articles of this series, we have sought to learn more about the God who is revealed in the pages of the Bible and in whom we must believe to be saved, so that we can know what is involved in having a personal relationship with Him. The God who created all things is not just some impersonal force. He is a being, albeit totally spiritual, who exhibits the characteristics of personality. In Job 11:7, Zophar asked, "Canst thou by searching out find God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?"
While there are some things about God that we can conclude from the creation, no one, merely by searching, can find God by himself. We must turn to God’s revelation of Himself in scripture. And even then, with our finite minds, none of us can find out the Almighty to perfection. We must simply be satisfied with what God has revealed and the evidence that He has provided us to accept it. In this article, we want to delve a bit deeper into the nature of this God who created us as we study His natural attributes. There are six terms which are commonly used to describe God, three of which we shall notice in this article.
The first is infinity (no, not the car!). This means that God is unlimited. Even the name that He gave Himself in speaking to Moses indicates this. In Exodus 3:14, God called Himself, "I AM THAT I AM." This simply means, "I am because I am," and expresses absolute, unlimited being. Solomon gave us another expression of God’s infinity in 1 Kings 8:27 as he said, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have built?" The fact that God is unlimited implies complete self-sufficiency. Paul said of God in Acts 17:25, "Neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, breath, and all things." We depend on God for life, breath, and all things. He does not need us to sustain His existence.
The second term that we shall notice is eternity. This means that God is everlasting or has existed and will exist forever. Insofar as this physical universe is concerned, "in the beginning" there was already God (Genesis 1:1). What about before the beginning of creation? "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God" (Psalm 90:2). Even before this world came into existence, God had existed from time everlasting. We humans have a spirit that will always exist, but we had a beginning. God had none. Thus, time is no element with God. "…One day is with the Lord as a thousands years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). This is not intended as some kind of formula for figuring out prophecies, but as a statement that God is not bound by the limits of time as we know it.
The third term that we shall notice is omnipotence. This means that God is all powerful. Sarah was made to understand this after she laughed upon hearing that she would bear a child in her old age. In Genesis 18:14, the Lord asked her, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?…" Jesus made another statement about God’s omnipotence in Matthew 19:26 when He said, "…But with God all things are possible." This is why God is referred to throughout the scriptures as the Almighty. "…Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8). The word "almighty" means holding sway over all things or ruling everything. Thus we conclude that God can do anything that is consistent with His nature.
Several questions have been raised about God’s omnipotence. Some have asked if God could build two hills without making a valley between them, or make a rock so big that He Himself could not lift it. These are not "things" but absurdities, and God is not a God of absurdity. Another question that has been asked is, if God is omnipotent can He lie? The answer is no (Titus 1:2). The reason is that lying is completely inconsistent with His nature. Still another question that is worthy of consideration is this: is God God because He is omnipotent, or is He omnipotent because He is God? God could have raised up children to Abraham from stones but did not choose to do so (Matthew 3:9). The fact that God does not exercise omnipotence in some area does not impugn His deity. We shall continue our study of this topic in a succeeding article. (—taken from With All Boldness; April, 1994; Vol. 4, No. 4; p. 6)