Christian Doctrines What We Believe and Why
Classifications of Attributes • Incommunicable = attributes God does not share or “communicate” with others • Communicable = attributes God does share with us • Classifications not absolute • Which attribute belongs in which category open for debate • Main objective: understand eachattribute
Incommunicable Attributes • Those God does not share with others • Basically: what’s unique to God
Independence • Definition: God does not need creation, but creation can glorify God and bring him joy • AKA, “self-existence” or “aseity” (from Latin a se, “from himself”) • God is absolutely independent, self-sufficient • His existence and character stem from himself only
Independence • We are created to glorify God, not to complete him Acts 17:24-25 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything,
Independence • We are created to glorify God, not to complete him Acts 17:24-25 since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
Independence Ephesians 1:11-12 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
Immutability • Definition: God’s being, character, will, and purposes are unchanging, yet he does feel emotions, and does respond accordingly to changing situations • In his person, plans, and nature God does not change
Immutability Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation. Malachi 3:6 “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Immutability James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Immutability • God does feel emotions • Westminster Confession of Faith claims God has no passions, emotions • Known as “impassibility” • Based on a misreading of KJV of Acts 14:15 • This interpretation does not correspond with larger context of Scripture
Immutability • Some emotions God experiences: • Rejoicing (Isa 62:5) • Grief (Ps 78:40; Eph 4:30) • Anger/wrath (Ex 32:10) • Pity/sorrow (Ps 103:13) • Love (Isa 54:8; Ps 103:17)
Immutability • God responds accordingly to changing situations • He responds to changing situations, but always within his unchanging character • Example: Nineveh
Immutability Jonah 3:4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Immutability • No explicit command to repent, only that God will judge them in forty days • The situation changed, and God responded accordingly
Immutability Jonah 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
Immutability • Original situation: sin • New situation: repentance • God showed mercy to Nineveh based on their repentance • This is within God’s nature