MORE NATURAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
by Wayne S. Walker
In our previous article of this series, we looked at some of the natural attributes of God — things that God is because He is God. We noticed His infinity, His eternity, and His omnipotence. In Acts 17:28, the apostle Paul said of this God, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring." In this article we want to examine some more natural attributes of God.
Consider His omniscience. This means that God is all-seeing and all-knowing. The Psalmist wrote, "The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men….He considereth all their works" (Psalm 33:13-15). God is able to see all men and thus knows everything that we do. He even knows our hearts. The early disciples prayed, "…Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men…" (Acts 1:24). Thus we cannot hide from God or escape His sight. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13). God has the ability to know everything that there is to know because of His omniscience.
Next, consider His omnipresence. This means that the presence of God is everywhere. We read in Job 34:22, "There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves." This does not mean that the person of God is everywhere. God’s person is in heaven (Matthew 6:9). But His spiritual presence is everywhere. Because God is everywhere, we cannot flee from His presence. He is always near. "…The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5). This has nothing to do with the second coming of Christ but with the nearness of the Lord. To the Christian, such a thought is one of comfort to know that there is nowhere that we can go where our Lord will not be present with us. But to the sinner, it must be scary to realize that there is no place that he can go to escape the Lord. God’s presence is such that it can "fill heaven and earth" (Jeremiah 23:24). So we need to recognize the omnipresence of God.
Finally, consider His immutability. This means that God is unchanging. "For I am the LORD. I change not…" (Malachi 3:6). This does not mean that God’s law has not changed, because the Bible says that it has (Hebrews 7:12). Nor does it mean that His ways of revealing Himself have not changed, because the Bible says that miracles would cease when that which is perfect had come (1 Corinthians 13:10). Rather, it means that His nature does not change. He remains the same forever. The writer of Hebrews 1:10-12 draws a contrast between the created things and God, saying, "And as a vesture thou shalt fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail." Whatever is true of the character and qualities of God now will remain so as it has throughout all times in the past. Of God it is said, "…With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). We humans often change our minds capriciously in a second, but we never have to worry about God’s being fickle. If He promises to do something, we can be sure that He will do it based upon His immutability.
Again, we might ask, is God divine because He has these attributes, or does He have these attributes because He is divine? This is not an idle question. For example, we have seen that God is omniscient. But if God chooses not to be omniscient in any particular area, such as in the case of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, does that make Him any less divine (see Genesis 22:12)? Of course not. God is divine not just because of His attributes but because of who and what He is. "O LORD, thou has searched me, and known me….Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?….For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb" (Psalm 139). Indeed, God is great! May we ever praise Him and serve Him according to His will. (—taken from With All Boldness; May, 1994; Vol. 4, No. 5; p. 18)