Column: What Is God Like? The Incommunicable Attributes of God

Published 11:55 am Monday, February 12, 2024

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By Hank Walker| Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church

One can hardly imagine a more pressing question than, “What is God like?” To truly know God, however, we must first know ABOUT Him. In part, we do this by knowing His “attributes.”

Theologically speaking, God’s attributes are divided into two main divisions: (1) Incommunicable Attributes, and (2) Communicable Attributes. Today, we will address the former, and next time will dig into the latter. Eventually, we will deal with a very important subcategory of incommunicable attributes called “omni” attributes—such as omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

By definition, incommunicable attributes are those that apply specifically and exclusively to God. Man possesses no hint of these. The four attributes we will examine today are:

“Aseity”—the self-existence of God. God’s covenant name is Yahweh. Meaning, “I Am the One Who IS,” it describes this attribute well (Is. 40:18-31; Jn. 8:58-59). Having no beginning, God has always been. He depends upon nothing outside himself for His existence. He is totally independent, while we are dependent on Him for EVERYTHING (Acts 17:25).

“Immutability”—God and His plans, purposes, and promises are irrevocably set and unchangeable (Num. 23:19; Ps. 33:11; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17; 13:8; Jas. 1:17). Nothing outside of God affects Him or effects change within Him.

“Infinity”—God is not subject to limitations except those He imposes upon Himself; that is, He cannot sin or act incongruently with His own Word or nature. His infinity applies to His holiness, wisdom, knowledge, goodness, love, justice, etc. Concerning time, divine infinity refers to God’s eternality. God’s existence transcends time—is “outside” of it—existing in what theologians call the “eternal now.” God’s infinity—which is immeasurable and uncategorizable—results in His incomprehensibility to mankind.

“Simplicity”—God is not the sum of His parts. He is not a mixture of attributes like man is; His attributes are indivisible. In contrast to God, man is said to be “complex”—products of nature and nurture, spirit and flesh, and collective experiences. The Godhead, for instance, is not “composed” of three persons; the Godhead is equally and inseparably GOD.

Our God is a BIG God! He may be known to us, but He is beyond our understanding. His perfections fill the pages of Scripture, so EVERY Christian must know Him and ABOUT Him through the self-revelation He has given us!

Grace and Peace, y’all! Soli Deo Gloria.