The attributes of God tell us what He is and who He is.
Because God is spirit … I will seek intimate fellowship with Him.
Because God is all-powerful … He can help me with anything.
Because God is ever-present … He is always with me.
Because God knows everything … I will go to Him with all my questions and concerns.
Because God is sovereign … I will joyfully submit to His will.
Because God is holy … I will devote myself to Him in purity, worship and service.
Because God is absolute truth … I will believe what He says and live accordingly.
Because God is righteous … I will live by His standards.
Because God is just … He will treat me fairly.
Because God is love … He is unconditionally committed to my well-being.
Because God is merciful … He forgives me of my sins when I sincerely confess them.
Because God is faithful … I will trust Him to always keep His promises.
Because God never changes … my future is secure and eternal.
—Dr. William R. Bright
Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice.
—Miguel de Cervantes
“What are the attributes of God?”
The Bible, God’s Word, tells us what God is like and what He is not like. Without the authority of the Bible, any attempt to explain God’s attributes would be no better than an opinion, which by itself is often incorrect, especially in understanding God (Job 42:7). To say that it is important for us to try to understand what God is like is a huge understatement. Failure to do so can cause us to set up, chase after, and worship false gods contrary to His will (Exodus 20:3–5).
Only what God has chosen to reveal of Himself can be known. One of God’s attributes or qualities is “light,” meaning that He is self-revealing in information of Himself (Isaiah 60:19; James 1:17). The fact that God has revealed knowledge of Himself should not be neglected (Hebrews 4:1). Creation, the Bible, and the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ) will help us to know what God is like.
Let’s start by understanding that God is our Creator and that we are a part of His creation (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1) and are created in His image. Man is above the rest of creation and was given dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28). Creation is marred by the fall but still offers a glimpse of God’s works (Genesis 3:17-18; Romans 1:19-20). By considering creation’s vastness, complexity, beauty, and order, we can have a sense of the awesomeness of God.
Reading through some of the names of God can be helpful in our search of what God is like. They are as follows:
Elohim – strong One, divine (Genesis 1:1)
Adonai – Lord, indicating a Master-to-servant relationship (Exodus 4:10,13)
El Elyon – Most High, the strongest One (Genesis 14:20)
El Roi – the strong One who sees (Genesis 16:13)
El Shaddai – Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
El Olam – Everlasting God (Isaiah 40:28)
Yahweh – LORD “I Am,” meaning the eternal self-existent God (Exodus 3:13,14).
God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning and His existence will never end. He is immortal and infinite (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). God is immutable, meaning He is unchanging; this in turn means that God is absolutely reliable and trustworthy (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:26,27). God is incomparable; there is no one like Him in works or being. He is unequaled and perfect (2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25; Matthew 5:48). God is inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable, and past finding out as far as understanding Him completely (Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33,34).
God is just; He is no respecter of persons in the sense of showing favoritism (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:30). God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful and can do anything that pleases Him, but His actions will always be in accord with the rest of His character (Revelation 19:6; Jeremiah 32:17,27). God is omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere, but this does not mean that God is everything (Psalm 139:7-13; Jeremiah 23:23). God is omniscient, meaning He knows the past, present, and future, including what we are thinking at any given moment. Since He knows everything, His justice will always be administered fairly (Psalm 139:1-5; Proverbs 5:21).
God is one; not only is there no other, but He is alone in being able to meet the deepest needs and longings of our hearts. God alone is worthy of our worship and devotion (Deuteronomy 6:4). God is righteous, meaning that God cannot and will not pass over wrongdoing. It is because of God’s righteousness and justice that, in order for our sins to be forgiven, Jesus had to experience God’s wrath when our sins were placed upon Him (Exodus 9:27; Matthew 27:45-46; Romans 3:21-26).
God is sovereign, meaning He is supreme. All of His creation put together cannot thwart His purposes (Psalm 93:1; 95:3; Jeremiah 23:20). God is spirit, meaning He is invisible (John 1:18; 4:24). God is a Trinity. He is three in one, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. God is truth, He will remain incorruptible and cannot lie (Psalm 117:2; 1 Samuel 15:29).
God is holy, separated from all moral defilement and hostile toward it. God sees all evil and it angers Him. God is referred to as a consuming fire (Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 1:13; Exodus 3:2, 4-5; Hebrews 12:29). God is gracious, and His grace includes His goodness, kindness, mercy, and love. If it were not for God’s grace, His holiness would exclude us from His presence. Thankfully, this is not the case, for He desires to know each of us personally (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 31:19; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:16, 17:3).
Since God is an infinite Being, no human can fully answer this God-sized question [of what are His attributes], but through God’s Word, we can understand much about who God is and what He is like. May we all wholeheartedly continue to seek after Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
—Got questions website
Never did the love of God reveal itself so clearly as when he laid down his life for his sheep, nor did the justice of God ever flame forth so conspicuously as when he would suffer in himself the curse for sin rather than sin should go unpunished, and the law should be dishonored. Every attribute of God was focused at the cross, and he that hath eyes to look through his tears, and see the wounds of Jesus, shall behold more of God there than a whole eternity of providence or an infinity of creation shall ever be able to reveal to him.
—C. H. Spurgeon
In learning about God’s nature, essence, character, and attributes, we should understand from the beginning that we can never know all there is to know about God. We are finite beings, and we are limited in knowledge. God is an infinite being, He is unlimited in knowledge, and the gap between the two can never be bridged. Christian doctrine teaches that God is incomprehensible, meaning that He is “unable to be fully understood.” (Wayne Grudem) This doesn’t mean that God can’t be understood at all; it simply means that He can’t be fully or exhaustively understood.
Even though we won’t ever be able to comprehend all there is to know about God, we can know things about Him that He has revealed to us. Some we know in general terms, through the world around us—His creation. Others we learn more specifically, through the primary vehicle by which He has revealed Himself to humankind—the Bible. Within its pages are things which God has told humanity about Himself, and what He has said about Himself is true. He hasn’t told us everything about Himself, though, so no one can fully understand all there is to know about Him. But what He has said through His creation and through His Word are in any case the things that He has revealed about Himself to humanity. These revelations tell us a great deal about Him, and what we learn through these causes us to love, praise, and trust Him.
Copyright © The Family International