In Christian theology , a divine attribute is a quality or characteristic attributed to God . Given the special condition of God, in which "his attributes coincide with his being." [ 1 ] It is common that they are the attributes called divine perfections .
In order to facilitate the study, it is customary to classify divine attributes into two groups: communicable and incommunicable attributes, or also as "exclusive attributes of God" and "non-exclusive attributes of God".
- Communicable attributes are those in which similarities or analogies are found in the creature, especially not a human being (these attributes can be communicated to the creature).
- Incommunicable attributes are those that emphasize the absolute distinction between God or the creature (they cannot be communicated to the creature). They are generally spoken of negatively , affirming that which God is not - this description is known as negative or apophatic theology .
Examples of attributes
- Incomputable attributes
- Communicable attributes
About the attributes of God
We define the knowledge of God as that perfection by which He, in a singular way, knows Himself and all existing and possible things, those that are and those that could be.
We feel that the way is the extent of this knowledge are incomprehensible to us. The knowledge of God is different from ours, it is not successive, it is not acquired gradually but intuitively . This is not partial or imperfect, it is relative like ours, but immediate and perfect, corresponding to the truth of things.
The goal of God's omniscience
God knows the entire created universe - matter and spirit - in its inconceivable immensity, complexity, minuteness of its parts, subtlety of thought, volition. He knows both the possible and the real, existing, as if he were reading the Holy Bible, Isaiah 48.18; the future as the present is in his presence, Psalms 139. 2-4, Psalms 147.3 and 4.
This last aspect of God's omniscience, as foreknowledge, especially in what it says about the free actions of men , presents us with a very difficult problem, insoluble to man. How can God know with certainty the free actions of men before they are born, when they are determined solely by them? This difficulty has led many to deny the foreknowledge of God. But the Bible clearly says that He knows them, Isaiah 42.9, Isaiah 46.10. Some have that at the other extreme and deny man's free will . But the truth, though incomprehensible, is in the middle. It should be remembered that the presence of an act makes it true, but does not force it. Pharaohhe was free and responsible for the hardening of his heart. God knows them, that is, the laws, and therefore He knows in advance what we will do. However, this still does not solve the mystery.
Omnipotence of God
The omnipotence of God is that divine perfection by which God can, by the mere exercise of His will, accomplish all that He resolves to carry out, Psalm 115.3. The question is not what God can do, but what He wants to do.
There are two more things that should be noted:
- God does not use all of His power - He could do more than He wants to do, if He wants to. He has power over his own power.
- The omnipotence of God does not exclude, but takes as self-limitation of this power that allows. So we have the free will of man.
The biblical God presents himself to us as the living God. Dozens of incidences equivalent to the expression "God alive" or "as well as I live" appear in the Bible, as a direct message from God or indirect message from the prophets or apostles.
It is a consequence of liveliness.
It is the theology that denies the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of God. His supporters present another definition where they affirm a reassessment of the concept of the omniscience of God, and which affirms that God does not know the future completely, and can change his mind according to the circumstances.
Some defenders also say that the term "Almighty" cannot be extracted from the biblical context, since, according to them, the original translation of the word from which this expression is translated was lost with the passing of the centuries.
- Bavink apud Milne, The Attributes or Perfections of God .
- BERKHOF, L. Summary of Christian Doctrine. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1939.
- BERKHOF, L. Systematic Theology . Campinas: LPC, 1995.
- STICK, Wayne. Systematic Theology . São Paulo: New life, 2006.
- HODGE, Charles. Systematic Theology, vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2005.
- MILNE, Bruce. God's Attributes or Perfections . In MILNE, Bruce. Know the Truth . Inter-Varsity Press, England, 1982.
- STEVENSON, John. What is God Like?