I. The Trinity
There is one God who eternally exists in three persons. This is called the Trinity, and forever the three persons of the one God have existed in perfect and glorious harmony. Perhaps the best way of understanding this is to see God as a unified fellowship of three divine and equal persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each fulfilling their role in bringing about the kingdom and its citizens.
II. The Incommunicable Attributes of God
By incommunicable attributes, we are referring to those attributes which cannot be shared with mortal man.
The theological term for this is God’s asceity or holiness. He is completely other!
He is independent from his creation. It is faulty logic to say, “All things are created; God is a thing; therefore, God is created.” He is self-existent. There has been a time when the universe was not, but there has never been a time when God was not. He is the only “necessary cause” and everything else is an “unnecessary effect.” He is thoroughly distinct from his creation.
He is independent from any external standard of morality – except for the standard he sets. God is the fountainhead of morality. All attitudes and actions, considered good, righteous, holy, and godly, are only so because they flow from him.
He is independent from being affected, changed, or altered by his created world. He cannot be more or less fulfilled. He is never the effect of someone else’s cause. He has no mood swings. All of his emotions are one-way. This is the doctrine of God’s impassibility. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, he is “without passions.”
God is infinite in time. He is eternal and always living in the present. He is not subject to time. He is above time.
God is infinite in space. He is omnipresent and everywhere present.
God is infinite in wisdom. He is omniscient.
God is infinite in power. He is omnipotent. He is not limited in power, and he cannot be hindered by anything or anyone. He has complete control over the forces of nature. (E.g. Universe, planets, hurricanes, floods, rain.) He has complete control over the powers of darkness. He is sovereign, free, and has complete control over every facet of man.
Our God is perfect, and he never changes. He is the same – yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes in character. He never changes in his decrees.
God needs nothing from us, and that includes glory. He is eternally self-sufficient. Therefore, he can never be more or less fulfilled. The sovereign God cannot be affected, changed or altered by anything we do. We have no such power over the Divine One. However, God does present himself as one with emotions. Therefore, how do we put this together? God’s emotions, as portrayed in his Word, are one-way, intentional postures; they are not responsive reactions. This is what our Westminster Fathers sought to communicate when they wrote, “God is without passions.” In theological terms, this is the doctrine of God’s impassibility.
D. Intentionality – Sovereignty in purpose, plan, and performance
God plans and providentially oversees absolutely everything. There is nothing left to “chance.” He is sovereign and omnipotently governs over all the universe all the time. He is the only one who “upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all actions and things.”
God plans everything from eternity past.
God plans and performs independently. None of his plans are based upon anything foreseen. God is always the independent and uninfluenced mover and initiator. He determines what he determines and does what he does based upon his own desires.
God plans and providentially oversees absolutely everything for the purpose of declaring his glorious being and attributes.
God plans and providentially oversees absolutely everything with infinite wisdom. He is all-knowing. His ways are always best.
God plans and providentially oversees immutably.
God plans and providentially oversees both immediately and mediately.
God plans and providentially oversees the disastrous.
God plans and providentially oversees the decisions of human men. He does not destroy liberty; he uses it.
God plans and providentially oversees the devilish and sinful. God is not the author of sin. In addition,
God is not the approver of sin. However, God is the ordainer and user of sin.
III. The Communicable Attributes of God
These are the attributes which God has and shares with us – men and women created in his image and likeness. This is who he is. This is who we have been created – and recreated – to be.
He is a lover of righteousness. He is free from sin, and he abhors that which is unrighteous.
He is honest. He does what he promises and is willing to give men that which they have merited.
God is logical or reasonable.
God is imaginative and loves beautifying his world.
God communes within the Trinity and with those made in his image.
He is willing to affectionately sacrifice for the good of others.
He is compassionate and willing to forgive and not deliver the punitive justice deserved by men.
He is willing to give undeserved blessings to men and women.
He is righteously indignant towards Satan, sin, and those who harm his own.