There are two kinds of attributes that apply to God. First are his unique attributes: those traits that only God possesses. Second are God’s relative attributes, which human beings can mirror to some extent in our lives. Let’s focus on the many wonderful attributes of God that human beings can never share in any way.
God is Self-Existent
God existed before anything, as seen in the very first verse of the Bible.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God is the only uncreated being in the universe. He is not dependent on anything or anyone else for his existence. That is what makes him God. Rationally, there must be something out of which the rest of reality came into existence. It makes more sense to recognize that uncaused cause as God rather than believing that everything came out of nothing.
God Is Eternal
When God called Moses to serve him, Moses asked how to identify him. In response, God revealed his character through a unique name.
Exodus 3:13-14 But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.”
God’s name is “I am who I am.” The shorter version is simply “I am.” This points to the fact that God always was and always will be. God continually lives in the present tense. He is not limited by time. He never began and he will never end.
God Is Infinite
As an infinite being, God is without bounds or limits. King Solomon understood this.
1 Kings 8:27 But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!
Nothing can contain God because he is infinite. As hard as it is to understand infinitude, God’s nature makes some sense when contrasted to our own human limitations. There is so much that we cannot ever be or do. This is not true of God. God’s only “limitation” is the perfection of his own nature, so God cannot ever be evil.
God Is All-Knowing
God is infinite with respect to knowledge. His knowledge, wisdom, and perception have no limits. He knows everything factually and abstractly, but he also knows by his own experience of his creation.
Psalm 147:4-5 He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!
God’s infinite knowledge is both comforting and sobering, because he knows us, our hearts, and our circumstances, perfectly.
God Is All-Present
God is infinite with respect to space. As a being of spirit, he has no physical or geographical limitations. (A spirit if not an impersonal force like gravity or electricity. A spirit is a personal being who is not limited by a physical body.)
Psalm 139:7-8 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
There is nowhere we can go to be away from God’s presence. This fact is both comforting and sobering as well.
God Is All-Powerful
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon became boastful about his own power. In response, God humbled him by causing a period of insanity. When Nebuchadnezzar came into his right mind, he realized just how powerful God is.
Daniel 4:34 After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.
We should all be humbled, as he was, by the great power of God. God’s power is so great that it has no limits. God can do anything he chooses to do, and no one can thwart him.
God Is Sovereign
Because he is all-powerful, God is in charge. God is powerful enough to rule the universe. He can even direct the evil choices people make to bring about his good purposes. This is why the Bible consistently refers to God as King or Lord.
Considering God’s unique attributes, we realize that it’s a good thing that God is not evil in any way. If his infinite power, knowledge, and presence were used for the cause of evil, no one could survive. Thankfully we know that God is good. Thus all of his attributes are employed by not only for his own glory but also for our benefit. This is the God who wants us to know him intimately.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- How would you answer a child’s questions: “Who made God?” and “What came before God?”
- Read Exodus 3:13-14. Why did God choose to identify himself to Moses as “I am who I am?”
- Would it be possible for God to not be infinite, and still be God? Explain.
- How is it a comfort to you that God is all-knowing? How is it a challenge to you?
- Read Psalm 139:7-11. If you were to write this Psalm today, what word-pictures would you use to express God’s infinite presence?
- How is it a comfort to you that God is all-powerful? How is it a challenge to you?
- As you consider the unique attributes of God, how does this study help you to know God more deeply? How does it help you to worship him more fully?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.