By Elizabeth Prata
Sundays are a good time to ponder who God is. He is worthy of service and worship. We have been taking a look at God’s attributes each Sunday. Links to previous weeks are below. Most definitions are taken from Tim Challies’ visual theology chart of the attributes of God.
Remember, God’s attributes are not parts that make up a whole. Everything good that there is, is 100% contained in God. He is 100% beauty, 100% aseity, 100% omniscient, etc. He is complete in Himself.
Tim Challies explained: “To study God’s attributes is to study his character, to answer questions like, Who is God? and What is God like? A typical classification of God’s attributes divides them into those that are incommunicable (those that he does not share or “communicate” to anyone or anything else) and communicable (those that he shares with other beings). Like most theological classifications, this one is imperfect but still helpful as we seek to understand what is so far beyond ourselves. God’s communicable attributes can be further categorized into: attributes of God’s being, mental attributes, moral attributes, attributes of purpose, and “summary” attributes (attributes that, in a more particular way, modify each of the others).”
This is the final week in the series.
WILL: Attribute of purpose. God approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the existence and activity of all that exists.
WISDOM: Mental Attribute. God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals.
WRATH. Moral Attribute. God intensely hates all sin.
Free ebook, Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God. THE standard bearer for discussion on God’s attributes. The hard copy of the book is big, over 1600 pages. It’s heavy. It’s expensive. It’s 2 volumes. FYI, Reformation Heritage Books is having a huge sale now. Charnock’s book in hard cover leather is only $70 down from $120.
Monergism, where you can read Charnock’s work on the Attributes of God online for free, or download a free ebook, said,
“The Existence and Attributes of God has become a classic text on the doctrine of God, and examines in meticulous detail God’s foreknowledge and sovereignty, and discusses the possibility of free will and natural law. No Reformed theologian prior to Charnock treated God’s existence and attributes with such clarity and depth—in fact, his was one of the first works solely devoted to the subject to appear in the Reformed theological tradition, and has become a standard work on the subject. His positions have been echoed and refined by generations of theologians, and most recently have contributed to contemporary debates over free will, foreknowledge, and the openness of God.”
“No doubt the sheer size of the volume has caused not a few persons to direct their reading efforts elsewhere. This is regrettable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Charnock’s ability to combine rigorous theological discourse on the doctrine of God with the typical Puritan emphasis on “uses” of the doctrine (relating doctrine and life). His work has much value on a practical level, which should be the goal of all theology.”
The 2-volume set at Reformation Heritage Books includes:
- Modernized Language: Archaic punctuation, words, and phrases have been updated for the modern reader
- Updated Bibliographic Information: In the footnotes, Charnock’s sources have been located and updated with fuller bibliographic information, showing how widely read he was
- Chapter Summaries: Each discourse begins with a summary of the chapter to follow
- Extensive: Covers Charnock’s defense of God’s existence and 11 attributes of God
- Includes In-Depth Chapter on the Life of Stephen Charnock by William Symington
Listen to an 8-minute podcast with Stephen Nichols of Ligonier (or read the transcript) discuss Charnock’s book with John MacArthur and how the Puritan volume was crucial for MacArthur in his twenties, how “it just totally altered how I viewed God, with a kind of vastness that put me in awe of Him.”
Learning about God through His attributes is worship. We can’t properly love and obey that which we do not know. I hope this series has been beneficial to you. All glory to God!
1. Aseity, Beauty, Blessedness
2. Eternity, Freedom, Glory
3. Goodness, Holiness, Immutability
4. Invisibility, Jealousy, Knowledge
6. Mercy, Omnipotence, Omnipresence
7. Peace, Righteousness, Perfection
8. Will, Wisdom, Wrath