Questions and Answers on God and His Attributes

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These questions and answers are from the Student Catechism.

40.  Who is God?

God is the one, infinite, self-existent, Supreme Being who in personal holy love creates, sustains, and governs all things.

41.  If God is infinite, then how can we know anything about Him?

Because we are finite, we will never know everything about God; but we can know some things about God because He has revealed Himself to us. God wants us to continue to pursue knowledge about him, so that we can deepen our relationship with Him.

42.  How do we know God exists?

The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19). Because of what creation teaches us about God, we are without excuse (Romans 1). The cosmological argument states that we should be able to tell that there is a God by looking at the world around us. The only explanation for the universe and all of its complexities is a self-existent independent Creator. All the design in the world points to a highly intelligent Designer. The universally-recognized morality (sense of ought-ness) in the world points to a Supreme Lawgiver.

43.  How can we categorize His attributes?

We could categorize God’s attributes as primary, relative, personal, and moral.

44.  What are primary attributes?

Primary attributes are God’s intrinsic non-transferable attributes which are not relative to creation. God’s glory, infinity, eternity, self-existence, simplicity, and independence are all God’s primary attributes.

45.  What are relative attributes?

Relative attributes are those non-transferable attributes which are true of God in relation to the created order. He is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, transcendent, immanent, and sovereign in relation to the universe.

46.  What are personal attributes?

Personal attributes are those that are essential for personhood. God has shared with us to an extent his aliveness, and his personality, freedom, and spirituality.

47.  What are moral attributes?

Moral attributes are those attributes which have to do with God’s will and with the rightness of God’s character and actions. We know we can share in these attributes to a degree since God commands us to be holy and loving like He is (Lev.11:44,451 Thess. 4:7).

48.  What does it mean for God to be infinite?

God’s infinity means that God is not limited by anything, whether space, time, or anything else. God is immeasurable and eternal (Ps. 41:13Rev. 1:8). Though consistent with each other, all of God’s attributes are unlimited.

49.  What does it mean for God to be self-existent?

God’s self-existence means that He is underived, independent; the uncaused cause. We cannot explain our existence without speaking of someone or something else; but God can (Gen 1:1Ex. 3:14).

50.  What does it mean for God to be omnipotent?

God’s omnipotence means that He is all-powerful; He can do anything He desires to do–everything consistent with His rational, moral nature.

51.  What does it mean for God to be omnipresent?

God’s omnipresence means that He is present in all his creation. He is present in all His works. Remaining distinct from His creation, He is actively involved in sustaining it (Col. 1:16).

52.  Does God have more than one way that He is present?

God can be present in several ways. Not only is God present in the natural order, but He is also present in special ways in the human soul (applying grace), in Heaven, and in the Incarnation. There are times and places in which God may display His presence in other extraordinary ways as well.

53.  What does it mean for God to be omniscient?

For God to be omniscient means that God knows everything.

54.  Does God know the future?

God knows everything, including future events and all contingencies. He knows what will happen and what would have happened had people made different choices. He knows the consequences of all possible choices or events.

55.  If God knows the future, does that mean He causes it?

For God to know the future does not mean that He causes it. Knowledge does not imply causation. Just because we know the sun will rise tomorrow doesn’t mean that we will make it rise.

56.  What does it mean for God to be transcendent?

For God to be transcendent means that He is exalted far above the created universe. This has to do with quality of life. He is wholly Other. He is infinite; we are finite. He is Creator; we are simply the creature.

57.  What does it mean for God to be immanent?

For God to be immanent means that He is very near to us. Though He is transcendent, He has chosen to manifest Himself to us, to become incarnate in the Son, and to dwell with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14Matt. 1:27).

58.  What does it mean for God to be sovereign?

God is in control of His universe. Nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. God will accomplish His ultimate purposes for His creation.

59.  Does God’s sovereignty mean that every action has been predetermined?

For God to be sovereign does not mean that every action in the universe has been predetermined. God has given His creatures limited freedom so that they can determine their own character and destiny, and freely influence the world around them. God is so sovereign that He is not afraid to give His creatures freedom. He is still able to control His universe and accomplish His ultimate purpose for creation (Genesis 18:22-33).

60.  What does it mean for God to have personality?

God having personality means He has rationality, volition, and feeling.

61.  What does it mean for God to have freedom?

God freely chooses to do whatever He does. “He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 135:6). He freely bestows grace on His creatures. Part of the image of God in us is our ability to make choices.

62.  What does it mean for God to be spiritual?

God is Spirit (non-material). This Spirit is eternal. We also have a spirit which will never die, though it is not eternal in exactly the same sense that God is.

63.  How could one summarize God’s moral nature?

One could summarize God’s moral nature by speaking of God’s unfailing holiness and love.

64.  What does it mean for God to be holy?

God’s holiness is the perfection of all God’s attributes. God’s holiness speaks of the purity of all of God’s intentions and actions. There is no sin in God.

65.  What does it mean for God to be loving?

For God to be loving means that He gives Himself to others in self-sacrifice, looking out for the best interest of others. Even before creation, God was loving because each member of the Trinity participated in self-giving love for one another.

66.  If God exists in Trinity, how is that consistent with God’s oneness?

God is one in essence but three in person. God is simple, indivisible in his essential nature, yet within that one nature, He consists of 3 distinct Persons.

67.  How can we demonstrate through Scripture that God is Trinity?

The following scriptural argument can be used to demonstrate the doctrine of the Trinity:

  • God is One. Deuteronomy 6:4 — “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is One Lord.
  • The Father is God. Galatians 1:1 — “from God our Father.”
  • The Son is God. John 1:114 — “The Word was God . . . the Word became flesh.
  • The Holy Spirit is God. Acts 5:3-4 — “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart lie against the Holy Ghost. . . You have not lied against men; you have lied against God.”
  • These are distinct Persons. Mark 1:9-11. Jesus is baptized; the Father speaks from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove.
  • Conclusion: If there is One God, and He has revealed himself in three distinct persons, then the doctrine of the Trinity must be true.

68.  How does creation support our belief in the Trinity?

It makes sense that God’s creation would in some way reflect the nature of God. It seems that God would leave His “fingerprints” on what He had made. The Trinity is reflected in the fact that the one Universe consists of space, time, and matter; these three and no more. Space consists of length, width, and height. Time consists of Past, Present, and Future. And matter consists of energy in motion producing phenomena. There is a threeness in oneness which matches what the Bible teaches about the Trinitarian nature of God.

69.  What are the roles of God?

God is King, Judge, Master, Shepherd, Priest, Light, and Father. These are some of the roles of God. These designations help us to understand how God relates to humanity.

Mark Bird
Mark Bird
Mark Bird is Professor of Theology and Apologetics at God's Bible School and College.
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