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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
January 5, 2019
The Incomprehensible God
Before I get into another series of sermons on a particular book of the Bible, I am going to take a few months to examine at least 18 topics that I have been requested to address. I guess I could call this series, You Asked for It. We begin this morning by looking at a general theological topic that lays the foundation for anything else that could be studied. Who is God and what is He like? This will be only a very brief overview since even multiple volume writings on the subject only really begin to scratch the service. The overwhelming conclusion by any human seeking to know God is that the more you study, the more you realize how little you know about Him. God is incomprehensible. That is not to say that you cannot know some things about Him, but it is to say that you cannot completely know Him for that would require omniscience, and only God knows everything.
With that in mind, what I want to do this morning is to give you some very basic truths about God that we can understand while at the same time keep pointing out to you that God is beyond our full comprehension. I want to do this not just because it is true, but also because a wrong understanding of God results in a wrong understanding of life and how to live it. People err in life because they do not understand where they fit within the universe that God has created or what God desires from them.
Atheists, agnostics and the apathetic may disagree with that or not care now, but they will care when they stand before God and are judged by Him according to their deeds and condemned and thrown into the eternal lake of fire. Their ignorance of God and His laws will not be an excuse in His court. It is the fool that says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). To claim to not to know if there is a God is to deliberately suppress the truth of God’s revelation of Himself in His creation and His word (Romans 1:18-20; 2 Peter 3:4-6; Hebrews 1:1-2). The same is actually true for the apathetic, which make up the majority of the “no religion” in our society. They may not care, but the road signs were plainly visible to them as they drove merrily down the wide road leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13). (See: Why We Believe in God)
Those following false gods or caricatures of the true God will not fare any better in God’s courtroom. There are plenty of verses in which God declares that there is no God but Him often with specific reasons to demonstrate that fact such as creation itself (Isaiah 45). For example, in Isaiah 46 God mocks the false god Bel who is an idol that must be carried around before pointing out that “There is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” Isaiah 46:9-10). God is sovereign over the affairs of men throughout time. Those who have false ideas about the true God may also hear along with the false teachers who have tickled their ears (2 Timothy 4:3) the pronouncement of Christ in Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
While we cannot have a complete comprehension of God because of His very nature as an infinite being, we must gain an understanding of what God has revealed about Himself and make sure that is what we are believing instead of falling into the normal trap of attributing to God human characteristics. Whatever qualities that humans share in common with God, it is because God made man in His image (Genesis 1:26) to reflect certain attributes, but take careful note that sin has badly tarnished man’s reflection of those attributes.
How a person defines God lays the foundation for how they will think about Him and react to Him. Obviously there are many definitions given according to the particular religion or philosophy to which a person might subscribe. Idol worshipers attribute control of various things to pieces of stone, metal or wood or to the spirit which indwells or is represented by those physical objects. Philosophers present all sorts of musings to satisfy themselves. To educator John Dewey, God “denotes the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions.” To liberal theologian Paul Tillich, “God is the fundamental symbol for what concerns us ultimately.” Both of those definitions allow the individual to define their own god according to personal desires. The tragedy is that the majority of people follow such ideas because they fit with the devil’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden that she could be like God if she yielded to the temptation he presented for her to do as she desired.
It is common among philosophers to claim that the concept of God is something that was developed by man in order to fulfill either a need within him or as a means to control others. Well, to put it simply, such philosophers, including the ones that claim to be theologians, do not know the God of the Bible for He is not a God man would develop if he could nor could develop if he would. The God of the Bible is much too much something other than man for him to even imagine, and if could imagine such a being, he would reject it. A good working definition for the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is “God is a spirit who is infinite and eternal in His being, perfect and unchangeable in His attributes, and in Whom all things have their source, support and end.” God is something completely different from man.
That God is a spirit who is infinite and eternal means that God exists outside of and encompasses the time-space continuum in which man is entrapped. Man is a finite physical being with a spiritual nature that was created and brought into existence at a particular time and location. That God is perfect and unchangeable in His attributes is just another way of saying that God is holy, righteous and immutable. Man is the opposite as a sinful creature that changes over time toward good or evil and changes course in any direction. God is the creator in whom all things have their source, support and end. Man can be creative, but he can only use the materials God has already created, and since man is finite, he can only give limited support to what he makes and their end will always be something other than him.
Let me emphasize here that God is the creator. That is one of if not the most attacked truth about God either directly in ideas like atheistic evolution or in any of the other ideas that blow around that claim that God did not create everything in the way in which He declared that He did. Those that do this discount Genesis 1-11 and every other claim by every other person in the Scriptures that refer to the Genesis record. They present the Biblical record as imaginary tales that give a religious or moral lesson but not the truth. Those that do this have an inferior god that is not God for He either A) is not the Creator, B) is incapable of clear communication to man, or C) purposely misleads man about who He is and what He has done – in short, such a god is a liar.
God is not like Man
That philosophers, including science philosophy which is claimed to be science but is not based in what is observable, testable and repeatable such as cosmogony, evolution, and areas of astronomy and advanced physics, may be comfortable with rejecting that there is a Creator God because they view themselves and their own limited powers of reasoning to be the supreme basis of determining what is true. The rest of us mere morals innately know that every effect is the result of a cause, that matter comes from something, that design requires a designer, that morality requires a moral law giver, and that man’s unique characteristics of intelligence, morality and having a religious nature among all animals demonstrates an origin in something greater than ourselves. If you have even a little training in physics or chemistry, you also know that entropy is real and that things naturally go from high energy and complexity to states of lower energy and complexity unless there is an outside source of energy that can be applied intelligently to reverse entropy for that system at the expense of itself. That is against evolution. The evidence that there is a Creator God is all around us and within us for God has placed it in us. You do not have to teach a child to believe there is a God, but you do have to work very hard to convince people there is not a creator, and even then, extreme distress will cause them to cry out to whatever they perceive to be or hope is God.
The idea that a Creator God cannot communicate clearly to what He creates is a non-starter position because it is simply ludicrous. The One that created man and his ability to communicate can certainly use the abilities He created to communicate to His creatures. That leaves only two other possibilities. God is as He describes Himself and created everything just as He has said, or He has purposefully lied about it all. That has greater ramifications that most people are willing to admit. If God has lied about how He started everything, then on what basis can it be believed that He has done any of the other things that He claims or that the future will be what He proclaims. A lying God cannot be trusted to keep any of His promises including the possibility of a eternal future in heaven.
The idea that there is no God, that God cannot communicate to His creatures, and that God is a liar are all projections of human attributes upon God. Man rejects God as the Creator because man wants to limit God to what man can understand for himself. Man claims God cannot communicate clearly because A) what God has said either does not make sense to man or is contrary to what man desires, or B) Since man has difficulty communicating clearly then God must too. Man will claim God is a liar because man himself so easily lies in order to achieve whatever goals he may have.
As has been said before, God created man in His image and man wants to return the favor. When man projects upon God human attributes, he falls to a false understanding of the true God in favor of a god who is like man. Such a god would therefore be more understandable to man and also either able to satisfy or manipulate to get what is desired. In order to help you avoid the pitfall of attributing human characteristics to God, I want to point out a few Scripture passages that directly state that God is not a man nor like man.
Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” 1 Samuel 15:29 makes a similar statement, “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” Unlike man, God is always: 1) Truthful. 2) Consistent / Unchanging. 3) Faithful to His promises. Jesus put it plainly in Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” That is why Paul can declare in Romans 11:29, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” This is a great blessing for man with Malachi 3:6 pointing out this was the reason Jacob was not consumed. God was keeping His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is because it is impossible for God to lie that we can have absolute hope in the promises of the gospel (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
While men can tell the truth in reflection of God, all men also fail at times to do so which demonstrates their sinfulness. In addition, when a man makes a promise, he may not be able to keep that promise regardless of how much he desires to do so because man cannot control everything necessary to make it happen. Even simple things such as promising to meet someone at a particular time can be thwarted by traffic, your car breaking down, or an accident that puts you into a hospital or the grave. God is not like man.
God is also not like man for He is a different kind of being existing in a different dimension with different purposes. In a context of offering salvation to people, God says in Isaiah 55:6–11, 6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Look again at verses 8 & 9. God’s thoughts and God’s ways are not like ours. In this context, God has mercy and grace far beyond anything man would even think of much less do, and God’s plan to accomplish it is in a way that man struggles to comprehend much less to have planned and carried out. God is neither a man nor like a man. Be very, very careful of projecting human attributes upon God, for whenever you do that you fall into blasphemy of making false statements or holding false beliefs about Him.
The Infinite God
The attributes or characteristics of God are usually divided into two categories. Those that belong to God and God alone are called either non-communicable or non-moral. Those characteristics of God that can be reflected in man even if in a tarnished manner are called communicable or moral attributes.
All of God’s non-communicable attributes are related to His qualities as an infinite being who is a spirit. These include eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability. We can define these but we cannot fully understand them because even the idea of infinity is beyond our full comprehension much less its application to various concepts.
Self-existent. The name that God gave for Himself to Moses is Yahweh, which is a form of the Hebrew word for “to be” and is translated as “I am” meaning He is the self-existent one. Jesus said in John 5:26 that the Father has life in Himself. All of creation is absolutely dependent upon Him, (Romans 11:36; Acts 17:28), but He has no need for anything from creation (Acts 17:24-25).
Eternal. God is infinite with reference to time. God has no beginning for Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 state He was already present at the beginning. God has no end for He declares of Himself in Isaiah 57:15 that He lives forever. The angel Gabriel declared in Luke 1:33 that the Lord’s kingdom will have no end. Moses described God in Psalm 90:2 as being from everlasting to everlasting. The apostle John recorded in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” While man can have some inkling about eternity future since we believe that we also are spirit beings who will continue to exist after physical death, we really do not comprehend the idea of having no end, and we certainly cannot conceive of existing before time and having no beginning.
God’s eternity is a comfort to the believer and a warning to the unbeliever, for Jesus said in Matthew 25:46 that eternal punishment in Hell is as real as eternal life in Heaven. What is your response to God being eternal – infinite with respect to time?
Omnipresent. God is infinite with respect to space. This means that God’s divine essence is everywhere present at the same time. The Lord declares in Jeremiah 23:24 that He “fills the heavens and the earth.” Psalm 139:7-12 describes this attribute, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike [to Thee.]
God’s omnipresence is a comfort to the believer, for He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but it is a warning to the unbeliever, for there is no place to hide from God. What is your response to God being omnipresent – infinite with respect to space?
Omniscient. God is infinite with respect to knowledge. This means that God knows all things perfectly for He is without limit in knowing the breadth and depth of everything, past, present and future. Or to put it another way, God knows everything about everything throughout all time at the same time. Psalm 147:5 states it simply that “His understanding is infinite.” Paul marvels at it in Romans 11:33 declaring, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”
God’s omniscience is a comfort to the believer because it means He knows us perfectly, yet still loves us (Romans 5:8). It also means that He knows our needs even before we ask and will provide for us as Jesus states in Matthew 6:8. However, unbelievers take warning, for it also means that the Lord whom Revelation 2:23 declares searches the minds and the hearts also knows what you think in the hidden recesses of your heart. What is your response to God being omniscient – infinite with respect to knowledge?
Omnipotent. God is infinite with respect to power, or as it is more commonly stated, God is all powerful. God is not confined by the laws of thermodynamics which He has imposed upon His creation. It is out of God’s omnipotence that He both created and sustains everything by the word of His power (Isaiah 40:26; Hebrews 1:3). He created ex nihlo – out of nothing, and He continues to sustain it without any loss of power to Himself.
In Matthew 19:26 Jesus told His disciples that “with God all things are possible.” He can do anything that is in harmony with His other attributes. Some do not understand this and propose absurd questions such as “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?” The answer is no for two reasons. First, God is an infinite being and the question presupposes a limit of some sort. Second, God would not do it because this absurdity would not be in harmony with all His other attributes.
God’s omnipotence is a comfort to the believer because it means that there is nothing too difficult for the Lord to do on our behalf (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17f). We can trust that He is able to carry out His promises to us, such as providing for our needs as we seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33), even when such would seem impossible to us. We can trust God to work out our impossible problems. God’s omnipotence is a warning to the unbeliever because it means nothing can thwart God from carrying out His judgment on those who do not know and obey Him (2 Thess. 1:8-9). What is your response to God being omnipotent – infinite with respect to power? Are you willing to follow Him and entrust your impossible problems to Him today?
Sovereign. The consequence of God being infinite with respect to time, space, knowledge and power means that God is sovereign. He is the supreme authority. There is nothing greater than God. There is nothing that can thwart His will for nothing can outlast Him, nothing can avoid Him, nothing can out smart Him, nothing can over power Him. Paul describes God in 1 Timothy 6:15-16 as, “. . . He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way and concluded in Daniel 4:34-35, “. . . I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” Psalm 115:3 puts it succinctly, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
God points to His sovereignty in Isaiah 46 to ridicule the false gods and distinguish Himself as the only God. His purpose will be established and He will accomplish all of His good pleasure. This is a comfort for believers for it means that God is able to keep all of His promises. We have assurance for Jesus loses none of those the Father gives to Him (John 6:37-39), and no one can snatch those that belong to Jesus out of the Father’s hand (John 10:29). This is a warning to unbelievers because it also means that there is no escape from God’s wrath that abides upon them unless they repent to believe and follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:25). What is your response to God’s sovereignty?
Immutable. God is unchanging in His essence and attributes. He states this directly in Malachi 3:6 stating, “I, the Lord, do not change.” Hebrews 13:8 expresses it this way, “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” James 1:17 adds that in Him there is “no variation or shifting shadow.”
To say that God is immutable does not mean that His response to us will not change as we change in our response to Him. God does not change in His being and nature, but He does respond in keeping with His other attributes to changes that occur in men. That is what occurs in such passages as Genesis 6:6 when God becomes sorry that He made man, or Exodus 32:14 when God “changed His mind about the harm He said He would do to His people” in response to Moses’ prayer. The same thing occurred in Jonah 3:10 as a response to the repentance of the people of Ninevah.
Unlike false gods which are fickle, God’s immutability coupled with His sovereignty means that He always keeps His promises. Again, that is a blessing to believers to rejoice! But it is a warning to the unrighteous, so repent before it is too late!
All of these attributes that are unique to God. Any time you think you understand God, then think about any of these attributes and your humility should quickly return so that you stand in awe of Him. God’s thoughts and ways are beyond our own so our understanding of Him will be limited, but within those limitations there is much for us to learn and know.
God’s Communicable Attributes
In addition, since God has made man in His image, there are certain attributes of God that He wants to be reflected in us. We call these God’s communicable attributes.
Spirit. Jesus declared in John 4:24 that “God is Spirit” and then continued on to say “those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” Spirit is the first characteristic of God that He has given to us in a limited form. We are spiritual beings though we are also physical beings. That means that there is a part of us that is immaterial and incorporeal. God is not made of matter so it impossible to make a graven image of Him for there is no form to copy (Deut. 4:15f). Though the Bible uses terms such as eyes, ears, a hand or arm to describe God, those are all anthropomorphisms using an analogy to the human body so that we might gain some comprehension to the spiritual truth being communicated. God Himself is invisible and dwells in unapproachable light which no man has seen or can see (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). In Exodus 33-34 when God showed Moses His glory, God put him in the cleft of a rock and covered him with His hand so that Moses heard God declare His attributes but only saw the afterglow of God after He had already passed by. Obviously, that is not the aspect of being a spirit that God has given to man. What then does it mean that man also has a spirit.
First, it means that we are living for it is the spirit that gives life both physical (Genesis 2:7) and spiritual (John 6:63). Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the physical body. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God.
Second it means that we also posses the three characteristics of personhood which are cognition, emotion and volition, or stated another way, the ability to think, the ability to feel psychically, and the ability to make choices. God calls man to “reason together” with Him in Isaiah 1:18. He calls on man to express emotions such as compassion as did Jesus (Matthew 15:32 cf. Colossians 3:12). God exercises His choices according to His own will and He calls on man to make choices about what he will do such as serving the Lord or not (Joshua 9:27; 1 Kings 18:21).
We are nearly out of time this morning, so I am only going to list out and give a brief description of some of the major communicable attributes.
Holy. The word itself means to be separate. In regards to God, it means He is: 1) Absolutely separated from all moral evil, 2) that He is distinct as the infinite Creator from His finite creation, and 3) exalted over everything else that exists. Holiness is a characteristics of all of God’s other attributes and actions (Isaiah 6:3). (See: Our Holy God) In regards to man, God calls on us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16) meaning we are to be separated from the world and unto Him.
Righteous. God is absolutely fair and equitable (Isaiah 5:16; 45:21). God’s righteousness is revealed through both His moral law and through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26). God calls on man to become righteous by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 4:5) and to live in righteousness by obedience to His will (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Truth. That which conforms to actual reality. God is both true and is truth for He is the final, ultimately reality (John 14:6). He is absolutely consistent with all that He Himself is, and He calls on men to know the truth and live according to it (John 8:32).
Love. God is love (1 John 4:16). This is not fond feelings of affection, but rather seeking the greatest good for another at self sacrifice. God proved His love for mankind in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8). All people are commanded to love God and their neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39), and He calls Christians to love one another as Christ has loved them (John 13:24).
Good. This moral virtue is defined by God’s character because “There is no one good, except God alone” (Mark 10:18). Goodness is the expression of God’s love and righteousness in His care and provision for His creation and especially His people (Acts 14:17; Psalm 84:11). God calls on us to do good to all people and especially to those that belong to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), and our good works should bring praise to God (Matthew 5:16).
Longsuffering. This encompasses patience and forbearing. In God this is seen in His delay of judgment while giving the sinner time to repent (2 Peter 3:9). For us it is a characteristic of love (1 Corinthians 13:4) that we are to extend to all men (1 Thessalonians 5:14) even when personally wronged (2 Timothy 2:24).
Merciful. This more than just the mercy of being longsuffering in withholding the just punishment deserved by also extending compassionate care for those who are in misery and distress. God’s greatest mercy is the offer of salvation to sinners (Titus 3:5). We are commanded to follow God’s example in being merciful to others (Matthew 5:7; Col. 3:12).
Gracious. This is granting undeserved blessings to others. It describes God’s disposition and action of love for people in spite of their sinful and undeserving condition which is most fully expressed in salvation (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8). It is because God is gracious that we can be confident in seeking Him out in prayer (Hebrews 4:16). Grace is to characterize our lives as well so that even our speech is gracious and extends grace to others (Colossians 4:6 Ephesians 4:29).
Forgiving. This means to “bear away,” “pardon,” “remove the guilt resulting from wrongdoing.” It is the action taken by mercy and grace to remove the barrier that sin has caused between God and man. God describes Himself as forgiving (Exod. 34:7) and it arises out of His compassion (Ps. 78:38) and goodness (Ps. 86:5). We are to be forgiving of others just as God in Christ has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32).
In many ways this has been a very brief and very incomplete overview of God’s attributes. Much, much more could be said about these and additional attributes of God including those we might tend to view as negative such as jealousy, anger and wrath, but because all of God’s attributes are always in perfect harmony with one another and always holy, even those we think of negatively result in God’s perfect judgment and justice. Even that is an additional reminder that God is very much something different from us, and even where we do share attributes, we are a very poor reflection of Him, for He is marked by Holiness and we are marked by sin.
God is an infinite being that is incomprehensible to His finite creatures. We can only know Him to the extent He has chosen to reveal Himself and enlighten our minds to understand. You must be in awe of Him and humble yourself before Him to conform your understanding, will and life to Him. He will never conform to yours. If you try to conform God to your own thinking, then you create for yourself a false caricature of Him which is blasphemy and for which you are subject to His judgment. Remember, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble, and when you consider all that God is, it should be easy to be humble before Him.
(See: The Nature and Attributes of God)
Sermon Notes – January 5, 2020
The Incomprehensible God – Selected Scriptures
God is incomprehensible to anything that is not __________- we can only know what He has revealed to us
A wrong understanding of God results in a wrong understanding of _______ and how to live it
Atheists, agnostics and the apathetic cannot claim ____________when they stand before God to be judged
Those following false gods or ______________of the true God will not fare any better in God’s courtroom
God will hold you responsible to ____________ and believe what He has reveled about Himself
How a person defines God lays the foundation for how they will __________about Him and react to Him
The majority of people fall to devil’s lies about God because they allow pursuit of their own _______desires
God is a spirit who is infinite and eternal in His being, perfect and unchangeable in His attributes, and in Whom all things have their source, support and end
God exists outside of and encompasses the _______________continuum in which man is entrapped
God is holy, righteous and immutable – man is the ___________
God is the ____________ – one of the most attacked truths about God.
Those that reject or discount Genesis 1-11 have an ___________ god
God is not like Man
Philosophers (including science philosophers) rest on their ________powers of reasoning to determine truth
Every effect has a _____; Design requires a designer; Morality requires a law giver; Man’s origin is ______
You do not have to teach a child to believe in God, but you have to work _____to teach people to disbelieve
God created _____________, so He can communicate – so either what He said is true, or He is a liar
Man rejects the truth about God because he _____________his own limitations and qualities upon Him
Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29
Unlike man, God is always: 1) _________. 2) Consistent / Unchanging. 3) __________to His promises.
Even when man wants to keep his promises, he is _________ and therefore not always capable of doing so
God exists in a different dimension with a different __________- Isaiah 55:6-11
God is neither a man nor like a man, so do not project human attributes upon Him for that is ____________
The Infinite God
Self-existent. The great “I AM” has life in Himself & has no need for ___________ from creation (Jn. 5:26)
Eternal. God is infinite with reference to ________. Isaiah 57:15; Luke 1:33; Psalm 90:2; Rev. 1:8
Omnipresent. God is infinite with respect to _________. Jeremiah 23:24; Psalm 139:7-12
Omniscient. God is infinite with respect to ____________. Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33
Omnipotent. God is infinite with respect to _________. Isaiah 40:26; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 19:26
Sovereign. __________is greater than God or can thwart His will. 1 Tim. 6:15-16; Dan. 4:34-35; Ps. 115:3
Isaiah 46 – God uses His sovereignty to mock the false gods for He fulfills ______His promises (John 6; 10)
Immutable. God is unchanging in His __________and attributes. Malachi 3:6 Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17
God does not change in His being & nature, but He __________to changes in men in harmony with Himself
These incommunicable attributes are ________to God making Him beyond the comprehension of finite man
God’s Communicable Attributes – Characteristics that are __________in man being made in God’s image
Spirit – John 4:24. God is ____________& incorporeal so any graven image would be false & blasphemous
Anthropomorphic analogies communicate spiritual truth about God, but are ________descriptive of Him
God breathed a spirit into man imparting to him physical (Gen. 2:7) & spiritual ________ (Jn. 6:63)
Made in God’s image with a spirit, man has the qualities of ____________: cognition, emotion & volition
Holy. God is 1) __________from all moral evil. 2) Distinct from His creation. 3) Exalted over everything
Truth is that which conforms to actual __________and God is the ultimate reality (John 14:6).
Love. God is love (1 Jn 4:16) demonstrated in Jesus _________Himself for mankind’s salvation – Rom. 5:8
Good. A virtue is defined by God’s character (Mk 10:18) & expressed in His _____& provision for Creation
Longsuffering – encompasses patience & forbearing as seen in His _______ of judgment (2 Peter 3:9)
Mercy extends beyond longsuffering to include compassionate ____of those suffering (Titus 3:5; Matt. 5:7)
Gracious – granting _________blessing – describes God’s disposition to save sinners (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8)
Christians are to reflect God’s grace to others even in our __________ (Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29)
Forgiving – Arising from God’s compassion & goodness, He removes the _____resulting from wrongdoing
We are to be forgiving of others just as God in Christ has _________ us (Eph. 4:32).
All of God’s attributes, even those we might consider negative, are in perfect __________with one another
The infinite God is __________the comprehension of finite creatures – we only know Him by His revelation
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, to know God then, ___________ yourself before Him
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times God is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about the characteristics of God and which ones only belong to Him and which ones are to be in humans too.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What does it mean that man is made in God’s image? What characteristics of God should be reflected in man? What effect has sin had on the image of God in man? Why is it wrong to attribute human characteristics to God? When then do men do that? How would you define God to someone else? What does it mean that something is infinite? In what ways is God infinite? Why do those infinite characteristics make God sovereign? How do those characteristics make God incomprehensible to humans? How then can we know God? List out and describe some of God’s attributes that are to be reflected in man? How is each of those attributes defined in God and how are they to be expressed in man? What is your reaction to God as you considered His attributes?
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