STUDY 2: GOD’S ATTRIBUTES OF BEING
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
LET us continue our study of God’s attributes of being by considering His invisibility. Invisibility means sight-proof – the quality by which it is impossible to be seen. This does not mean that God cannot be seen by any beings at all, for that would contradict the Scripture wherein Jesus’ says of the saints’ guardian angels, “In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father” (Matthew 18: 10). From this Scripture we infer that all spirit beings can see God. But He is invisible to animal beings, like man and the lower creation (1 Timothy 6: 16). Although this passage speaks of our Lord Jesus, the fact that our Lord’s glorified body is the very image of the Father’s person, surely the proves that the Father’s body must be invisible to all animal beings, and thus to man.
Some Scriptures proving God’s invisibility to man include the following literal statements: John 1: 18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 5: 37: “Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” John 6: 46: “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”
God is One Being
God’s next attribute of being is His unity. His unity is that quality whereby He is one being, one individual, and no more or less than one being. Though He has many qualities of being and character, though He has divers operations and manifestations, in each of them and in all of them He is but one being, one individual. The reason that God has so stressed His unity of being in the Scriptures is the wide prevalence of polytheism in the world during and since the days of the Bible. The religions of the heathen world have all taught a plurality of gods, emphasizing as supreme among these three individuals. Thus God overthrows the heathen doctrine that there are three co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial gods with a multitude of inferior gods.
A few Scriptures proving God’s unity include the following: Deuteronomy 6: 4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” 1 Kings 8: 60: “That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” Isaiah 42: 8: “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
The next attribute of God’s being is His omnipotence. Omnipotence has been defined as the ability to do anything, however, such a definition is too broad; for the Scriptures clearly teach that there are some things that God cannot do, for example, He cannot lie (Hebrews 6: 18); He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2: 13); He cannot commit, nor favor, nor be tempted to sin (Habakkuk 1: 13) (James 1: 13). In a word, God cannot do anything contrary to His character. It would also be untrue to say that God can unmake a past event; though He can prevent any event from occurring, or neutralize its effects after it has occurred.
The nearest definition of God’s omnipotence in the Bible is in Psalm 115: 3: “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” This passage teaches that God can do anything that He desires. The reason that He cannot commit, nor favor, nor be tempted to sin, cannot lie and cannot deny Himself, is that He does not desire to do these things. Also, knowing the end from the beginning, He would not wait until an undesired event had occurred; He would beforehand have prevented its occurrence, were it unwanted by Him. We therefore define God’s omnipotence as His ability to do anything that He desires to do. No power or combination of powers, be they ever so strong, can prevent His carrying out His determinations, even as He has said: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46: 10, 11).
God’s Main Works Express His Almighty Power
One of God’s greatest works is the creation and preservation of the universe. Modern astronomers estimate that there are over 100 billion galaxies in just the observable universe, with each galaxy containing from as few as tens of millions of stars to as many as a hundred trillion stars; and in all probability, there are many times more galaxies that are beyond the observable universe. Animate and inanimate nature tell the same story. God’s power is obvious in the creation and preservation of man as the king of the earth, as well as the lower animals as the subjects of this king. The heavenly hosts – cherubim, seraphim, principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, angels and the Archangel Himself – are greater expressions of God’s power than are the earthly creatures.
There are many expressions of God’s power in the history of His Plan, connected with the permission of evil among mankind in general and among His people in particular. Overruling the permission of evil for preparing His people in character development unto everlasting life and holy rulership, and for teaching the rest of mankind the hatefulness of sin and the desirability of hating and avoiding it. Preserving the watery canopy intact until the time of Noah and then letting it drop under circumstances destructive to the wicked and preservative to the righteous. Confusing the languages of mankind at Babel. Destroying the wicked and the cities of the plain, but preserving Lot and his family. Inflicting ten plagues upon Egypt, including the destruction of its firstborn of man and beast, overthrowing its army in the Red Sea and sparing Israel’s firstborn of man and beast, and then the whole nation in the Red Sea. Preserving Israel in the wilderness by miraculous manna and water, and His drying up the Jordan for the passage of Israel into Canaan. The overthrow of the hosts of Midian and Assyria. The carnation, resurrection and glorification of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The begettal, development and preservation of His Church, amid Satanic attacks throughout the Gospel Age. The above examples all testify to the omnipotence of God.
God’s Future Works will Demonstrate His Omnipotence
The future features of the Divine program, through the Christ, will also demonstrate God’s omnipotence. These include the destruction of Satan’s empire, the complete binding of Satan and his fallen angels, their removal from earth’s atmosphere and their imprisonment during the Millennium, the resurrection of the just, the awakening of the unjust, the establishment of God’s Kingdom throughout the earth, the destruction of all conditions conducive to evil, the construction of conditions conducive to righteousness, turning the earth into Paradise, lifting up Adam’s lost race through obedience to the original perfection, restitution, loosing Satan and the fallen angels for a final test of mankind, the preservation of the faithful in everlasting life on this earth, the destruction of Satan and the wicked angels and men at the end of the Little Season following the Millennium, and the filling of the earth with the glory of God.
God’s omnipotence will continue to be displayed in the Ages of glory following the Millennium. If the earth was not created in vain, but to be inhabited, we should expect the planets of the countless suns to also be inhabited. The Christ, as God’s heirs (Romans 8: 16, 17), will therefore inherit the whole universe. We may feel certain that they will proceed to the development of the rest of their inheritance – the universe – as their eternal work; for it is written: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9: 7). Such creative work is implied in St. Paul’s statement as a part of God’s great favor to the Church (Ephesians 2: 7). Future creations will be an impressive demonstration of God’s omnipotence, as well as other of His attributes. Surely in His power God is a most marvelous Being; and by it He certainly calls forth our admiration, appreciation, worship and praise!
(to be continued)
Return to Studies Main Page