Attributes of God

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  • 1. “God has infinite attention to spare foreach one of us. He does not deal with usin the mass. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had created.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • 2. God’s greatness and God’s goodness – Howshould we understand these as compatible??• Transcendence = “a quality of being superior in every way” • wholly other – this is the idea of holy.• Immanence = “closeness, nearness, involvement”
  • 3. All the attributes of God fall under one of these categories of understanding. Natural Attributes Moral AttributesHeresy/Error -- > Result of the amount of emphasis on one or the other.
  • 4. Errors that have sprung up surroundingGod’s greatness (transcendence) and God’sgoodness (immanence) • Deism = “a portrayal of God as Creator of the cosmos but uncaring for it” • Panentheism = “God is greater than the universe and the universe is contained within God; the whole is in God.” • Pantheism = “The substance of God and the substance of the physical universe are the same.” • Process theology = “God is in process, he is in process of becoming reality.”
  • 5. The Panentheistwould say Godcreated the tree andneeds the tree for Hiscontinued self-existence.The Pantheist wouldsay God is the treeand the tree is God.
  • 6. Accepted church tradition about transcendence andimmanence: • “hiddenness of God” = • immutability = “inability to change” strong immutability weak immutability
  • 7. SO???? • We want a God who is incomparably great and incomparably near! • Tensions exist even up to today; perhaps the best approach is just to live with the paradox.Coming to some sense of acceptable explanation: • We know only what God reveals to us; He has revealed only so much of Himself. • God may have chosen to self-limit Himself.
  • 8. GOD is1. A Transcendent Being --Prior to, distinct from, and not dependent on anything or anyone --not contained within time or space --personal yet absolute
  • 9. GOD is1. A Transcendent Being --the “omnis” --God “controlling” the limits of his transcendence but not at the expense of his sovereignty
  • 10. GOD is2. A Dynamic Being --Dynamic within himself --Dynamic in his activity
  • 11. GOD is3. Absolute Goodness **evidenced by his holiness --Holy by virtue of transcendence --Holy by virtue of actions and relations with his creation --Holy by being its restorer when goodness was lost
  • 12. “Since holiness embraces every distinctive attribute of the Godhead, it may be defined as the outshining of all that God is [an ontological attribute]. As the sun’s rays, combining all the colors of the spectrum, come together in the shining of the sun and blending into light, so in God’s self-manifestation all the attributes of God come together and blend into holiness. Holiness has, for that reason, been called ‘the attribute of attributes’ – that which lends unity to all the attributes of God.” R. `A. Finlayson
  • 13. GOD is3. Absolute Goodness **evidenced by his giving love --a love story evidenced by his servant love --God “resting” --God’s response to rebellion
  • 14. Review:GOD is 1. A Transcendent Being 2. A Dynamic Being 3. Absolute Goodness