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The Attributes of God 


           God's attributes fill the Bible with its two testaments. These can be thought of as belonging to two groups: absolute attributes pertaining to God alone, and relative attributes which are absolute and infinite in God and relative in man. The relative attributes differ in kind and magnitude in God and man. They are extremely holy, pure and perfect, and infinitely great and deep in God, but are partial, temporary or imperfect in man. Man can only share them because God created us in His own image and likeness.

I. Absolute Attributes

  • Unity

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:4)
"That all  the people of the earth  may know that the Lord is God and
   that there is none else." (Kings 8:50)
"And Jesus answered him,  The first  of all commandments is,  Hear,  O
   Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29)
"And this is life eternal,  that they may know thee the only true God,
   and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)

  • Eternity

"And at the end of the days, I  Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto
   heaven,  and mine  understanding  returned unto me, and I blessed the
   Most High, and I praised  and honored him that liveth for ever, whose
   dominion  is  an  everlasting  dominion,  and  his  kingdom  is  from
   generation to generation." (Daniel 4:34)
"I am Alpha and Omega,  the beginning and the ending,  saith the Lord,
   which  is,  and  which  was,  and  which  is to come  the  Almighty."
   (Revelation 1:8)


"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit
   and in truth." (John 4:24)


"God that  made the world  and all  things therein,  seeing that he is
   Lord of heaven  and earth,  dwelleth not in temples  made with hands;
   neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything,
   seeing  he giveth  to all life and breath and all things."  (Acts
"For of him,  and through him,  and to him,  are all things."  (Romans


"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?  or whither shall I flee from thy
   presence?" (Psalm 139:7)
"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith
   the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord."  (Jeremiah
"That they  should seek the Lord if haply they might feel after him,
   and find him,  though  he is not far  from every  one of us."  (Acts


Omnipotence   (Almighty of unlimited authority)
"But Jesus  beheld  them,  and  said  unto  them,  With  men  this  is
   impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
"And I heard  as it were  the voice of  a great multitude,  and as the
   voice of many waters,  and as the voice of many thunderings,  saying,
   Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." (Revelation 19:6)


Immutability and unchangeability
"Behold,  the Lord's  hand  is not  shortened,  that it  cannot  save;
   neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." (Isaiah 59:1)
"For I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachi 3:6)
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."  (Hebrews
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down
   from  the Father of lights,  with whom  is no  variableness,  neither
   shadow of turning." (James 1:17)


Omniscience   (having infinite awareness, understanding, and science)

"Great  is  our  Lord,  and  of  great  power:  his  understanding  is
   infinite." (Psalm 147:5)
"The eyes of the Lord are  in every place,  beholding the evil and the
   good." (Proverbs 15:3)
"Known unto God  are all his works  from the beginning  of the world."
   (Acts 15:18)


"Behold, the old things are come to pass, and new things do I declare:
   before they spring forth I tell you of them." (Isaiah 42:9)
"I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to
   pass I showed it thee:  lest thou shouldest say,  Mine idol hath done
   them; and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them."
   (Isaiah 48:5)


"To whom will ye liken me,  and make me equal, and compare me, that we
   may be like?" (Isaiah 46:5)
"Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass when the Lord commandeth
   it not?" (Lamentations 3:37)

II. Relative Attributes
God is Love
"He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." (I John 4:8)
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in
   him." (I John 4:16)


"With him is wisdom and strength,  he hath counsel and understanding."
   (Job 12:13)
"To the only wise God our Saviour,  be glory and majesty, dominion and
   power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 25)
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,
   declares the Lord.  As the heavens  are higher than the earth, so are
   my ways higher  than your ways  and my thoughts  than your thoughts."
   (Isaiah 55:8,9)


Knowledge of actions
"For now  thou numberest my steps:  dost thou  not watch over my sin?"
  (Job 14:16)
"For his eyes are upon the ways of man,  and he seeth all his goings."
   (Job 34:21)
"And  they  consider  not  in their  hearts  that I remember all their
   wickedness:  now their  own doings  have beset  them about;  they are
   before my face." (Hosea 7:2)


Knowledge of thoughts
"Thou knowest my downsitting  and mine uprising; thou understandest my
   thought afar off." (Psalm 139:2)
"All  the  ways  of a man  are  clean  in his  own eyes, but the Lord
   weigheth the spirits." (Proverbs 16:2)


"Behold,  I have received  a commandment to bless and he hath blessed;
   and I cannot reverse it." (Numbers 23:20)
"And all the inhabitants  of the earth are reputed as nothing:  and he
   doeth  according  to his will  in the army  of heaven,  and among the
   inhabitants  of the earth:  and none  can stay his hand,  or say unto
   him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35)


"Honour  and  majesty are  before  him:  strength and power are in his
   sanctuary." (Psalm 96:6)
"All nations  before him are as nothing; they are  counted to him
   less than nothing, and vanity." (Isaiah 40:17)



"He sendeth  forth his commandments  upon the earth:  his word runneth
   very swiftly." (Psalm 147:15)
"Saying,  We give  thee thanks,  O Lord  God Almighty,  which art, and
   wast,  and art to come;  because  thou  hast taken  to thee thy great
   power, and hast reigned." (Revelation 11:17)


"Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:45)
"And one cried unto another,  and said,  Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord
   of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 5:16)


"He is the Rock, his work is perfect:  for all his ways are judgment:
   a God  of  truth  and  without  iniquity,  just  and  right  is  he."
   (Deuteronomy 32:4)
"And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty,
   true and righteous are thy judgments." (Revelation 16:7)


"For thou,  Lord,  art good,  and ready  to forgive;  and plenteous in
   mercy unto all them that call upon thee." (Psalm 86:5)
"Why callest thou me good?  there is none good but one, that is, God."
   (Mark 10:18)

Mercy and compassion
"Let Israel  hope in the Lord:  for with  the Lord there is mercy and
   with Him plenteous redemption." (Psalm 130:7)
"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion;  slow to anger, and of
   great mercy." (Psalm 145:8)


"He hath not dealt  with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according
   to our iniquities." (Psalm 103:10)
"Or despisest  thou the riches  of his  goodness  and  forbearance and
   longsuffering;  not knowing that the goodness  of God leadeth thee to
   repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

We cannot consider  God's attributes individually:  His mercy is mingled
with  His  Justice,  His  power is  as infinite  as  His knowledge,  His
irresistibility is only equal to His longsuffering.  This  is why King
David took refuge in God's justice  asking for forgiveness, saying "What
is man but dust and ashes."

The Lord knows the weakness of our human nature and the strength of our
enemy.  We can take refuge in  His justice,  and call upon His mercy and
goodness,  as weak beings faced with a strong enemy, moving like a lion
roaring for a victim.  This is why,  O Lord, we seek Your protection. We
say to Your justice:  "If You,  O Lord,  are a counter of sins, then who
shall stand? Do not enter in judgment with Your servant, for before You
no one shall be justified. The price of sin has been paid in full on the
Cross of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We appeal to Your justice and
ask You to fulfill Your promises."

Saint Gregory the theologian sums it up in his liturgy:

      "We worship Thee, and glorify Thee, the One, Only, True God,
      the  Lover  of  mankind;  the  Unutterable,  the  Invisible,
      the  Infinite;  without  beginning,  Everlasting,  Timeless,
      Limitless,  Immeasurable,   Unchangeable,  Creator  of  all,
      Savior of everyone;  Who forgives our sins,  Who redeems our
      life  from  corruption,  Who  crowns  us  with  mercies  and

      Thou art  He Whom the angels praise,  and the archangels
      worship. Thou art He Whom the Principalities bless, and unto
      Whom the  Dominions cry.  Thou  art  He  Whose  glory  the
      Authorities declare.  Thou art He unto Whom the Thrones send
      up the honor.

      Thousands of thousands stand before Thee, and ten thousand
      times ten thousand offer Thee service. Thou art He Whom the
      invisible bless,  and the visible worship.  They  all do
      according to Thy word, O our Master."

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