The Attributes of God


 By Norman Manzon


The attributes of God are those qualities of God that, if it were possible to list them all, would define the totality of who He is. What follows is a poor attempt at listing and defining God's most prominent attributes as stated or implied in Scripture. To attempt to define God is humbling to anyone capable of being humbled; but here is the list, agreed upon by most, if not all, conservative theologians. Hopefully, it will help to give a proper overview of who God is.


I. Infinity


God is infinite. What is meant by infinity is that God is not excluded, bounded in or limited in any way as to the existence of His presence by any material thing, form of energy, soul, spirit, thought, emotion, place, or any other thing or phenomenon in the supernatural or natural realm.


1 Kings 8:27: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this house which I have built?

II. Perfection

God is perfect. There are various words in the Old and New Covenants that are translated perfect, and they generally have the meaning of being complete and without lack or defect. (What is meant by perfect when applied to believers is maturity.)


Matthew 5:48: Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

III. Eternity

He is eternally existing. By eternity is meant the quality of existing endlessly in regards to time without interruption or limitation in the past, present and future.


Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.


Deuteronomy 33:27: The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, And underneath are the everlasting arms.

IV. Personhood

God eternally exists in three equal persons. God is not a mere force though He exercises force; nor is He a pantheistic totality and unity of all that exists: He is, indeed, distinct from His creation and is a true Person: a triune Person; not a person of flesh and spirit as you and I, but a Spirit Person (John 4:24).


It is commonly held that there are three essential attributes to personhood, and God has them all:

A. Intellect

Intellect is the ability to think, reason and plan.


Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD.

B. Emotion

Emotion is the ability to feel affectively with one's spirit.


Exodus 4:14: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses.


Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.


Genesis 1:31: And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

Isaiah 53:10: 
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him . . . .


C. Will

Will is the ability to choose a course of action.


Genesis 1:3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

V. Omnipresence

God is omnipresent. Whereas infinity addresses the location of God's presence in terms of limitations, omnipresence addresses the location of God's presence in terms of extent. "God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times" (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology [Chicago: Moody Press, 1981], p. 41).


Psalm 139:7-10: Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I go up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the furthest parts of the sea; even there shall Your hand leads me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

VI. Omnipotence

He is omnipotent. By omnipotence is meant that God is infinitely powerful and able to do all things within the confines of His nature.


Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.


Act 5:30: The God of our fathers raised up [resurrected] Jesus . . . .


Although God is powerful enough to create out of nothing and to resurrect, He is impotent in regards to anything contrary to His nature. For example, He cannot cease to be God (Deuteronomy 33:27); He cannot deny Himself (go back on His word) (2 Timothy 2:13); He is impervious to sinful temptations (James 1:13); He cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

VII. Omniscience

God is omniscient. Omniscience means being fully aware of all knowledge of all things actual and possible from the infinitesimal to the infinite in every realm at all times.


Acts 15:18: All His works are known to God from eternity.


Psalm 139:16: Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.


Hebrews 4:13: Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

(VIII. Creator)

God is the Creator of all things. 'Creator' is not one of God's attributes, but one of His titles. His creation of all things is an activity made possible by His attributes. God is not identical with the creation, but is distinct from it. There is the Creator and the created. God is the Creator. God existed before all else, and then He created all else.


Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.


Colossians 1:16: For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him.


By no means should this list be considered exhaustive. 


Psalm 40:5: Many, O LORD, my God are the wonders which you have done, and your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.


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                              Scriptures used by the author are generally in the New King James or New American Standard translations.
                             Scriptures in quotations by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum are in the American Standard Version.
                                 Scriptures quoted by others may be in other translations.


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