Column: What Is God Like? The Communicable Attributes of God — Pt. 1

Published 2:36 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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By Hank Walker | Pastor at Peach City Fellowship

Last time, we explored God’s “Incommunicable” and “Communicable” attributes. Due to brevity, we limited our focus to the attributes found ONLY in God—the incommunicable ones: Aseity, Immutability, Infinity, and Simplicity. If you have not, you may want to read that article for background and context.

In the coming weeks, we will consider eight of God’s shared or communicable attributes—bearing in mind that they are “perfections” in God, but merely imperfect “reflections” in us.

First, we have KNOWLEDGE. In God, this attribute finds its logical conclusion in “omniscience.” God knows all things, actual and potential, real and not real, past, present, and future. God’s knowledge is “within” Himself—He has never learned anything new and has never been surprised to find something out. God’s knowledge is as eternal as He is. Conversely, man’s knowledge is lacking. People must learn through experience, trial, error, and study. Additionally, humans have limited inborn knowledge called “nature,” or “instinct.” For instance, babies know instinctively how to nurse. Because of our corrupt nature inherited from Adam, however, we tend to misinterpret, misbelieve, and even suppress true knowledge— “exchanging the truth for a lie” (Rom. 1:18-32).

The second communicable attribute is WISDOM. An extension of perfect knowledge and righteous character, God’s wisdom is both an attribute AND a virtue. Divine wisdom results in God using the best possible means to accomplish the best possible ends. God’s wisdom is objective and perfectly consistent. In contrast, human wisdom is mostly subjective and often fickle. At our best, we can only do our imperfect best. God’s best, however, is perfect. The ultimate goal of divine wisdom is that all things redound to the praise of God’s glory.

Our third attribute is GOODNESS—sometimes called “omnibenevolence.” Only God deems what is “good,” and ALL good originates in Him (Jas. 1:17). God is not good because His actions are good; His actions are good precisely because HE is good. God’s highest expression of goodness toward sinful man is GRACE— “unmerited favor.” God is patient, forbearing, longsuffering, and kind because He is goodness personified. Moreover, God “works ALL things together for good” for those who “love God” and “are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Conversely, man may do good things, but is not good in and of himself.

Grace and peace, y’all!

Soli Deo Gloria