Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God: Lecture Notes Chapter 11: The Incommunicable Attributes Of God

The Doctrine of God[1]

Lecture Notes[2] Chapter 11: The Incommunicable Attributes Of God


9 For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’(Isaiah 46:9-10)

How is God different from us?

Last week we plunged into the ocean of God and who He REALLY is; who HE says He is in His Word.  Today, I pray we sink MUCH deeper in.  We looked at categorizing the attributes of God into His Communicable and Incommunicable attributes.  We’re talking first about His Incommunicable attributes.  We very briefly covered His Independence and His Unchangeableness.  Today we will try to cover God’s attributes Eternity and Omnipresence.

3.  Eternity

Definition:  God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in His own being, and He sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time. 

In other words, God somehow exists completely outside of time, but can still be involved in the realm of time.  This is also known as God’s infinity.  TIME DOES NOT LIMIT GOD. Nothing is new to God.  Nothing has ever occurred to Him.

A.  God is Timeless in His Own Being

He has no beginning and no ending.

Psalm 90:2 (ESV)
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

When God created the universe, He also created time.  Yet God has always existed so therefore He cannot be influenced by time.

John 8:58 (ESV)
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

This is quoted from Ex. 3:14 and tells us that Jesus, and God, have a CONTINUAL-PRESENT-EXISTENCE.  To God, all of His existence is always in the present.

B.  God Sees All Time Equally-Vividly.

God sees all time EQUALLY and He sees it quite VIVIDLY.

Psalm 90:4 (ESV)
4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

We often joke about how hard it is for us to remember what happened when we were younger.  As we grow older, it gets harder and harder to remember what happened a couple of months, a couple of weeks, or even a couple of days ago.  When remember more recent events, but even those will fade over just a little more time.  But here God tells us that He remembers all the detailed events that happened a thousand years ago as if it were yesterday.  It’s as if it were a 3-4 hours period that men would take during their watches to protect the city.

This does not imply that God cannot remember 1100 or 1200 years ago.  It’s not talking about a specific 1000 year period, but an extended period of time as we could possibly imagine.  That means that all of time since creation is seen by God as clearly and as sharp as if it just happened.  And He will remember just as clearly a million years into eternity.

2 Peter 3:8 (ESV)
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Peter adds that a day is as a thousand years.  In other words, one day to God seems to last a thousand years.  It is as if that day never ends, but is continually being experienced by Him!!  Pick any one day over the last 6000 years and it is still vivid and clear in God’s consciousness forever.  So to God, every event is in the present.  He experiences all events past, present and future with equal vividness.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)
9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

C.  God Sees Events in Time and Acts in Time.

Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV)
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God knows exactly what’s going on—in detail—at EVERY point in time throughout history.

Acts 17:30-31 (ESV)
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

God’s entire Word is an account of how He predicted events at one point in time and then carried them out at another point in time.  God is able to act IN time because He is LORD OF time.  We will always exist in time, God does NOT exist in time, yet He works in time.

 

 

 

4.  Omnipresence

Definition:  God does not have size or spatial dimensions and is present at every point of space with His whole being, yet God acts differently in different places. 

Just as God is unlimited as it relates to time, He is unlimited as it relates to space.  God is LORD of space, so He cannot be limited by space.  He created space.

Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Before space was created, God already was.

A.  God is Present Everywhere.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 (ESV)
23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away?
24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.

It is not as if one part of God is in one place and another part of Him is in another.  ALL OF GOD; HIS ENTIRE BEING; is in every place.

B.  God Does Not Have Spatial Dimensions.

God’s entire being is in every place, but we must also say that God cannot be contained by any space. 

1 Kings 8:27 (ESV)
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

God does not occupy a space.  He is not some large being that can hold the solar system in His hand.  He is a being who exists without size or dimensions in space.  Before God created the universe, there was no matter or material so there was no space.  Yet God still existed!!!  He was not in a place that we could call a “where,” for there was no “where” or space!!!  It is beyond our comprehension.

C.  God is Present Everywhere Either to Punish, to Sustain, or to Bless.

God acts differently in different places in His creation.  He is present in Hell to punish.  He is present in the universe to sustain it and keep it functioning.  He is present in His Church to bless them.

 

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION

The greatest words and the grandest praise are so far below what God deserves it’s a wonder; it’s unfathomable; that He would even accept our worship—and yet He does.

The intent here is not JUST to fill your hearts and minds with the truths of who God really is to the point that we felt like we would bust.  That IS one of the purposes.

The other purpose is to call us to action.  The other purpose is to desire a response.  Because of the vast, glorious greatness of God, are we willing; are we ready; to abandon ourselves to Him?  Are we ready to allow Him to overwhelm us with His presence?  Or are you satisfied with staying safe and comfortable?

We always relate Romans 1 to the lost but we can apply some of it to us as believers as well.

 

Romans 1:20-21 (ESV)
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

They say that the soul is who we REALLY are.  It is the deepest part of us.  Well, in Psalm 103:1, we read, “Bless the LORD O my soul and ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME.  We can do that when we see Him as He truly is and when we allow Him to overwhelm us with Himself.

 

 

[1] Based on and various Quotes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan

[2] All Scripture from ESV Bible, Crossway

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