STUDY: THE ELEMENTS OF GOD’S CHARACTER
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
THIS Study will consider the seven elements of God’s character: (1) a righteous attitude toward evil; (2) holy affections; (3) the graces; (4) strength in every element of character; (5) domination over His lower primary affections and graces, and His secondary and tertiary graces by His higher primary graces properly blended; (6) balance of character; and (7) crystallization of character.
(1.) A Righteous Attitude Toward Evil
God’s character sustains a righteous attitude toward evil. He abhors and hates evil as an abomination because He is righteous and it is evil – in itself and in its effects (Deuteronomy 32: 4). God additionally avoids evil (Job 34: 10, 12). Furthermore, God opposes sin by teaching and warning against it, by punishing those who play with it, and by setting up arrangements and movements against it.
(2.) Holy Affections
God’s affections are holy in their nature, in the objects to which they attach themselves, and in the manner in which they express themselves. These affections are partly intellectual, partly artistic, partly religious, partly selfish (not sinfully selfish) and partly social. His intellectual affections are His love for knowing, love for remembering and love for reasoning. His artistic affections are His love for the beautiful, His love for the sublime, His love for the eloquent, His love for the humorous, His love for the pleasant and His love for the creative. His religious affections are His love for believing in, and relying upon the things of faith, His love for hoping for the things of hope, His love for firmness of the will, His love for perseverance of the will, His love for just veneration toward good principles, His love for just love for His creatures and His disinterested veneration for good principles and for His creatures.
God’s selfish affections are holy. Thus He has love for a proper self-esteem, others’ esteem, ease, safety, life, self-defense, concealing, gaining and retaining, attacking and (spiritual) eating and drinking. God’s social affections are holy. God has a love for wife (the Sarah Covenant, Law Covenant and New Covenant are His symbolic wives), love for children, love for friends, love for home (His Paradise, Revelation 2: 7) and love for country (the universe).
(3.) The Graces
The main attributes of God’s character are wisdom, power, justice and love, but these can be divided into parts (2 Peter 1: 5-7). Wisdom is a combination of faith, hope and knowledge. Power is a combination of self-control and patience. Justice is a combination of piety (duty love to God; in God’s case this goes out to good principles) and brotherly love. St. Peter does not break down love into various parts, but simply mentions it as charity. These seven graces – faith, hope, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly love and love – are called the higher primary graces, and are the chief and dominating graces.
But God also has lower primary graces, secondary graces and tertiary graces. His lower primary graces are the qualities that act through His selfish and social affections, as their qualities. His secondary graces act from the higher primary graces’ suppressing the control of Himself by the selfish and social affections and their graces. Finally, God’s tertiary graces are the graces in which there is a combination of higher primary with lower primary and secondary graces, in which combination the higher primary graces control.
(4.) Strength in Every Element of Character
God’s character is strong in its righteous attitude toward evil. His character is strong in the exercise of His intellectual, artistic, religious, selfish and social affections. His character is strong in His exercise of the higher primary graces, the lower primary graces, the secondary graces and the tertiary graces. Never does He exercise the slightest weakness in abhorring, avoiding and opposing evil; in the exercise of His intellectual, artistic, religious, selfish and social affections; and in the exercise of His higher and lower primary graces or of His secondary and tertiary graces.
(5.) Domination over His lower primary affections and graces, and His secondary and tertiary graces by His higher primary graces properly blended
This domination is exercised in two ways: (1) Suppressing the control and activity of the lower primary graces and affections and the secondary and tertiary graces. This prevents sin and keeps right doing in activity: and (2) using the lower primary affections and graces and the secondary and tertiary graces as servants of righteousness and holiness.
(6.) Balance of character
Balance in God’s character means the adjustment of His affections and graces in harmony with one another in such coordination, subordination and superordination as the principles of Divine wisdom, power, justice and love in their ordered relations to one another require.
(7.) Crystallization of Character
Crystallization in God’s character means that His character in unbreakable in the six preceding elements. No matter what the pressure on God may be, it cannot impair this crystallization in the slightest degree. When God invites us to be perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5: 48), He means that we, after His example, are to have all seven of these character elements in our characters. But the difference is that God has not had to develop any of these features of His character; for He has always had them, while we have to cultivate them as the chief thing in life.
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