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3. The Attributes of God


God revealed to us concerning Himself that He is a bodiless and invisible spirit (John 4:24).

What does it mean that God has neither a body, nor bones, as we have, and does not have in Himself anything that makes up our visible world, and therefore we cannot see Him?

In order to explain this, let us take an example from our earthly world. We do not see the air, but we see its actions and results; the movement of the air has great power which can move huge ships and complex machines. We feel and we know that we cannot live without the air that we breathe. So also we do not see God, but we see His activity and its results, His wisdom and power are everywhere in the world, and we feel them in ourselves.

The invisible God, out of love for us, at various times appeared to righteous people in a visible form ó in images, or, reflections of Himself, that is to say, in such a form that they could behold Him. Otherwise they would have perished from directly beholding His majesty and glory.

God said to Moses, There shall no man see Me, and live (Ex. 33:20). If the sun blinds us with its brilliance, and we cannot look upon this creation of God lest we be blinded, then how much more so, on God Who created it. For God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), and He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16).

God is Eternal

(Ps. 89:3, Ex. 40:28).

All that we see in the world began at one time or another. It was born, and at some time it will also come to an end, it will die, it will be destroyed. All that is in the world is temporal; everything has its beginning and its end.

Once there was no Heaven, there was no earth, no time, but there was God, because He has no beginning. Having no beginning, He has no end. God always was and always shall be. God is outside time. God always is.

Therefore, He is called eternal.

God is unchanging

(James 1:17, Mal. 3:6).

There is nothing in the world constant or unchanging; everything constantly changes, grows, ages and disintegrates. One thing is replaced by another.

Only God is constant; there is no change in Him. He does not grow, does not age. He in no way, and on no account and at no time ever changes. Just as He always was, so He is now, and so He shall remain forever. God is always the same.

Therefore He is called unchanging.

God is omnipotent

(Gen. 17:1, Luke 1:37).

If a man wants to make something, he needs material; without material he cannot make anything. With paint and canvas man can paint a beautiful picture; from metal he can make a complex and useful machine. But he can never make, for instance, the earth on which we live, or the sun which gives light and warmth, and many other things.

Only for God is everything possible; there is nothing that He cannot do. He wished to create the world and He created it out of nothing by His word alone. God can do all that He wishes. Therefore He is called omnipotent.

God is omnipresent

(Ps. 138:7-12).

God always, throughout all time, is present everywhere. There is no place in the world where He is not present. No one can hide from Him anywhere. God is everywhere. Therefore, He is called omnipresent.

God is omniscient

(I John 3:20, Heb. 4:13).

Man can learn many things, know a great deal, but no man can know everything. Moreover, man cannot know the future, and cannot hear everything and see everything. Only God alone knows everything, what was, what is, and what will be. For God there is no difference between day and night. He sees and hears everything at all times. He knows each of us, and not only what we do and say, but also what we think and what we want. God always hears everything, sees everything, and knows everything.

Therefore, He is called omniscient (knowing all things).

God is all-good

(Matt. 19:17).

People are not always good. It often happens that a person does not love someone else.

Only God loves all of us and loves us perfectly, not as man loves. He gives all that we need for life. All that we see in the heavens and on the earth was created by the Lord for the good and benefit of man.

This is how one bishop teaches about Godís love for us: "Who gave us life? The Lord! From Him we received a rational soul that can think and learn. From Him we received a heart that is able to love. Around us is the air, without which we cannot live.

"We are always supplied with water which is as necessary for us as the air. We live on the earth which supplies us all the food that is necessary for the maintenance and preservation of our life. We are supplied with light without which we could not do anything for ourselves. We have fire with which we can keep ourselves warm when it is cold and with which we can prepare the food we eat. All this is the gift of God. We have a father, mother, brothers, sisters, and friends. How much joy, help, and consolation they provide for us! But we would not have any of these were it not pleasing to the Lord to give them to us."

God is always prepared to give us everything that is beneficial to us, everything good, and He takes more care for us than the best father does for his children.

Therefore God is called all-good, or Most-merciful.

We call God our Heavenly Father.

God is all-righteous

(Ps. 7:12, Ps. 10:7).

Men often tell lies and are unjust. But God is perfectly just. He always preserves righteousness, and He judges people justly. He does not punish a righteous man without a reason, and He does not leave a man unpunished for any evil deed, unless the man himself corrects his life by repentance and good deeds. Therefore, God is called all-righteous and all-just.

God is all-sufficient

(Acts 17:25).

Man is always in need of something, therefore he is often dissatisfied.

God alone has everything and is not in need of anything for Himself; on the contrary, He gives everything to all. Therefore, He is called all-sufficient.

God is all-blessed

(1 Tim. 6:15).

God is not only all-sufficient, but He always has within Himself the very highest joy ó complete blessedness, the very greatest happiness.

Therefore, God is called all-blessed. We can never find true joy in life, except in God alone.

We call God creator, or maker, because He created all things, visible and invisible.

We likewise call God almighty, master, and king, because He, by His almighty will, rules and reigns and directs all that was created by Him, holding them in His power and authority.

We call God Divine provider, because He provides for all things and takes care of all things.

Questions: What are the attributes of God? Why do we call God a spirit, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, all-good, all-righteous, all-sufficient and all-blessed? Why do we call Him creator and maker? Why do we call Him almighty, master, king, and provider?

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