Can God Be Complex and Simple At The Same Time?

We’ve looked at a lot of God’s attributes, so how do they all fit together?

What is God’s relations with His attributes?

He isn’t a being made up of parts but a whole. None of the attributes are more important than the rest. They’re intrinsic to God, not something He can take off and put on again.

1 John 1:5 says that God is light; however, 1 John says He is love with no indication He is part this or that. God is these attributes, not the other way around, as in love is God.

The characteristics from Exodus 34:6-7 describe God as a whole: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin, yet doesn’t leave the guilty unpunished. Sounds like a parent to me.

God’s whole being includes all of His attributes. Each one is a way to describe one aspect of God’s total character or being. It’s why some theologians say God is simple because He’s not made of parts.

This unity of God may be defined as follows: God isn’t divided into parts, yet we see different attributes of God empathized at different times.

Why does Scripture speak of these different attributes of God?

Because we’re unable to wrap our minds around all of God’s character at once. We need time to learn and process it over a period of time called progressive revelation. It’s like from the time you start dating a person to being married for 50 years. You know a lot about them at that point. Now multiply that by infinity.

Except, God doesn’t change over time.

Why does God seem so different compared in the Old and New Testaments?

Keep in mind that He’s not just a God of justice in the Old Testament and a God of love in the New. He’s infinitely loving and just at all times, and everything He does is consistent with His character. God’s justice in Revelation goes beyond anything in the Old Testament but ends in renewal. People are called to be saved because they’re under God’s wrath (Romans 1:17-19). He loves them and provides a way out. It’s the point of the cross.

What actions show different parts of God’s attributes?

Creation shows His power and wisdom. The cross shows His love and justice. Heaven’s radiance shows His glory and beauty.

All of these demonstrate His other attributes. God is a unity and everything He does is an act of the whole person of God.



Doctrine of the Bible Posts
How Did We Get The Bible?
Is The Bible The Word of God and Does It Matter?
Is The Bible Inerrant?
Is The Bible Necessary?
Is The Bible Sufficient?

Doctrine of God Posts
Is There A God? 
How Can We Know God?
What Is God Like?
Does God Depend On or Need Anything To Exist?
Does God Change?

How Can God Be Both Infinite and Personal?

How Does God Relate To Time? 

Is God Everywhere?

 

Sources
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Chapter 11: Incommunicable Attributes of God

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