God’s Attributes

God is the infinite and perfect spirit,
in whom all things have their source, support, and end.

The word attribute when used of God refers to His essential qualities. Other words used are characteristics, qualities, perfections, and excellencies.

God’s attributes are essential and fundamental to who He is, so that we can say God is what His attributes are (1 John 5:16, “God is love”).

These are not qualities that humans attribute to God; they are characteristics that God attributes to Himself in the Bible.

God’s attributes reveal who He is and what He is like. Through His attributes God makes Himself known to us and is distinguished from all creation.

These are not different “parts” that are added to God; they are essential to who He is.

We are not able to “see” God in His fullness and completeness because we are finite/limited, and so we divide up that which is infinite so we can have some knowledge of Him.

Theologians usually classify God’s attributes into two main divisions to help understand them. Here are some examples—

  • Incommunicable, communicable
  • Absolute, relative
  • Natural, moral
  • Greatness, goodness

We will follow the last example, which arranges God’s attributes in this way:

Greatness—self-existence, infinity, perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, wisdom, eternity, immutability, incomprehensibility

Goodness—holiness, truth, love, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy, grace