STUDY 3: GOD’S ATTRIBUTES OF BEING
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
CONTINUING our study of God’s attributes of being, let us consider His omniscience, which means that God knows all things. This implies: (1) He perceives all things; (2) remembers all things; and (3) reasons out all things. God’s mentality also contains imaginative powers, which result from the co-operation of the above three powers. God’s imaginative powers enable Him to invent ideas that result in plans and creations.
Man has gained knowledge in some intellectual departments, such as science, invention, philosophy, history, art, religion, philology, sociology, mathematics, etc. Each of these departments of knowledge in turn has many subdivisions, for example, science has, among others, the following branches: cosmology, astronomy, geology, chemistry, medicine, physics, geography, botany, zoology, anthropology, etc. But even the most learned of men, or all of them combined, do not know all that is knowable in any one of the subdivisions of the above general departments of knowledge. As time goes on, especially in the ages following the Millennium, man’s knowledge will continue greatly to increase in all departments of learning, but he never will learn all the knowledge in any of them. But God knows everything in every department of knowledge. “All things are naked [manifest, clear] and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4: 13).
God’s Omniscience in Creation, Preservation and Operation
God’s omniscience enabled Him to plan the universe and all its creatures. His perfect knowledge of spiritual and material substances and spiritual and material laws have been, are being and will be used in creation, and in the preservation and operation of His creations. His knowledge of sin, evil, human and spiritual beings, moral and religious laws, diagnosis of, and remedy for fallen man and angels, are further remarkable displays of God’s knowledge. God’s omniscience means that He knows everything that He desires to know.
The thought of God’s omniscience should teach us humility, in contrast to how little we know. It should teach us confidence in, and submission to His thoughts and works as infallible, as against ours which are fallible. It should teach us hope for Truth from Him who gives us liberally of His knowledge as we will accept it. It should teach us appreciation of Him as knowing all things. And it should teach us adoration of Him as being so great in His knowledge.
Let us now consider God’s omnipresence, an attribute that has been much misunderstood. Some have considered that God, as a mind, or in His body, is spread out throughout all space and substance, but this contradicts the many Scriptures that teach that God’s abode is in heaven (1 Kings 8: 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45). All the Scriptures that treat of God’s omnipresence refer to the operation of His qualities throughout the universe, and not to a bodily presence of Himself pervading everything.
We speak of everything that we see as being in our presence. Thus God’s sight of all things brings them into His presence. Hence the boundless universe everywhere is in His presence, because it is embraced within the compass of His sight. Further, His power laying hold on everything in the universe, through operating toward it any law and force of nature that He desires, makes Him work everywhere. Again, God has such powers of hearing that every sound in the universe can be heard by Him as made in His presence. The same principle may be said regarding His sense of smelling, feeling and tasting. Some of man’s inventions help us to see the probability and reasonableness of these things. A powerful telescope brings into the range of our sight much of the universe, a powerful microscope enables us to see atoms and telephones enable us to carry on conversations around the world. The omnipresence of God is beautifully brought out in the following Scriptures: (Psalm 139: 3, 5, 7-10). Please see also: (Jeremiah 23: 23, 24) (Acts 17: 24, 27, 28).
Another attribute of God’s being is His supremacy. By His supremacy we understand the following to be meant: (1) in person, character, plan and works He is incomparably superior to all other beings, not even excepting our Lord Jesus; and (2) all beings and things are, or ought to be, and finally will be, subject to Him, and whosoever finally refuses such subjection will ultimately be annihilated. Number (1) above implies that in existence He is the greatest. In fact, He is the only being not created – having always been. Again, in attributes of being He is the greatest. Additionally, in all attributes of good character, especially in wisdom, power, justice and love, He is the greatest. Furthermore, His plans, embracing as they do the entire universe and its creatures, past, present and future, are the greatest. Finally, His works – creative, providential, redemptive, instructional, justifying, sanctifying and delivering, are the greatest.
Number (2) above indicates that He is supreme in the sense of having had or having or being about to have authority and power over all other beings. His supremacy was acknowledged by every creature in heaven, until Lucifer rebelled and later led off some of the angels from subjection to God. But even these must submit to the metes and bounds that God has appointed to them. So, too, mankind is also in rebellion against God, yet is subject to the metes and bounds placed by God upon it under the curse. Some of mankind and some of the fallen angels are now subjecting themselves willingly to God, thus in their lives acknowledging God’s supremacy. Later those people who did not in this life have the opportunity of making God supreme in their lives will be given an opportunity to do so. Many will avail themselves of that opportunity, and will in the Ages to come eternally make God supreme in their lives. All others – human and angelic – who refuse to do so will be annihilated, and as a result God’s supremacy will be acknowledged by every living being.
The final attribute of God’s being that we will consider is His unfathomableness, which is that quality of God’s being that makes Him impossible of being fully comprehended in all the details of His being, attributes, thoughts and works by any of His creatures. Of course, God fully comprehends Himself in every detail. And those of His intelligent creatures who are in harmony with Him comprehend some of the things of His being, attributes, thoughts and works. But other features of these we cannot fully grasp. One example is the fact of His being without a beginning. While reasoning from second causes to the First Cause we saw that God has to be without beginning, because of His being uncaused; yet we cannot grasp how it can be so. We find this same unfathomableness in almost all of His other attributes of being. While we see the reasonableness of His having a body, we cannot fully comprehend the kind of body that He has. Nor can we fully comprehend His spirituality, self-existence, self-sufficiency, immortality, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, invisibility, etc., though we understand the fact of these qualities and comprehend some features of them. Our being images of God gives us the power partially to comprehend Him in His being, attributes, thoughts and works; but our being finite – limited – and His being infinite – unlimited – prevents us from fully comprehending God in all the details of His being, attributes, thoughts and works (Romans 11: 33, 34).
Our consideration of the fourteen chief attributes of God’s being should enhance Him in our appreciation and should prompt us to trust, reverence, love, adore and worship Him as altogether worthy.
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