Summary: Learn about what the bible says about the attributes of God and how Jesus shares all of them.
At Jubilee we have been doing a series of talks this autumn, each one lasting about an hour, during which we attempt to instruct the hearer to a greater extent than is possible in our Sunday morning sermons.
Audio is available at
These talks have been inspired by the following verse:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
I do want to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Wayne Grudem, whose Systematic Theology was used as a major resource for this talk. When preparing to speak as a Christian, I believe that it is important to lean on the wisdom found in the work of others, and I certainly did that here.
I definitely did make this my own, however, so don’t blame Dr. Grudem for any errors! I will now share the full notes here. You can also download the PowerPoint file. As with all my material on this blog, you are welcome to use it in any way that does not involve making a profit, and you should, of course, attribute it if you copy the entire article.
THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD - WHAT IS GOD LIKE?
Do NOT expect to understand everything about God - He is infinite; we are finite and cannot understand Him fully. Almost all language used about God is a metaphor, and therefore it has the whisper “God is, but is not the same” as the concept used to describe Him.
This is not a mere intellectual exercise, but has two goals:
1. To know, worship, and follow God more.
2. For our beliefs about God to be clearly grounded in the Bible.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Arguments for God’s Existence
Intelligent design of the universe (teleological).
God as the ultimate cause - that which came first (cosmological).
The greatest being we can conceive (ontological).
The presence of a universal basic set of ethics (moral argument).
The spiritual nature of mankind – the mind/body problem.
The God-shaped hole in all cultures.
Christianity does people good (pragmatic argument).
But . . . we cannot use our reason to prove God’s existence, for that would make our reason above God.
The Bible Assumes God Exists and People Know
“In the beginning, God created ...” (Genesis 1:1)
“…his invisible attributes...have been clearly perceived...” (Romans 1:18-22)
“The fool says in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
God is unknowable and invisible, but chooses to reveal Himself.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways…” (Romans 11:33-34)
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
God Has Both Transcendence and Immanence
Christians often emphasise one or the other.
Jesus – the revelation of God.
“…the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power...” (Hebrews 1:1-4)
“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)
“Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” (John 12:41)
“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him … Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (John 14:7-10)
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)