Theology of God

The Attributes of God—A New Approach

The Doctrine of God is usually approached using a systematic theology model, i.e. what we know about God from the Bible is classified into a logical system.

What follows is an alternative approach.

  1. God’s Power
  2. God’s Faithful Love
  3. God’s Justice
  4. God’s Knowledge

Part 4. God’s Knowledge

Part four in the series on The Theology of God.

God begins to reveal this attribute very early:

  • when Adam and Eve try to hide in Genesis 3, God demonstrates that he knows where they are.
  • And then a few chapters later we have a story that tells of God’s exact knowledge of the future as well:
  • Abraham was old and had no children, but God foretells precisely what will happen:
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Part 2. God’s Faithful Love

Part two in the series on The Theology of God.

If Genesis 1:1 begins to reveal God’s power, then the second attribute that is revealed is that he is relational.

  • We get the first hint of this in 1:27 where mankind are created in God’s own image.
  • In 2:8–14 God lovingly creates Eden as a beautiful place for Adam to live.
  • In 2:18 his compassion for Adam leads to the creation of Eve
  • 3:8 implies that he had a daily relationship with them.
  • At the heart of Genesis 3 is a damaged relationship and a promise of future restoration
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Part 1. God’s Power

The first part of the series on The Theology of God introduces the concept of this way of approaching God’s character and attributes, and begins the series by looking at God’s self-revelation of his power.

In addition to Genesis 1 & 2, the main texts are:

  • Psalm 8: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…”
  • Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
  • Genesis 15 links this revelation to the covenant with Abraham: “Gaze into the sky and count the stars…”
  • In Exodus God’s power is revealed as being saving.
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The Attributes of God—A New Approach: Introduction

Traditional Approach

The Doctrine of God is usually approached using a systematic theology model, i.e. what we know about God from the Bible is classified into a logical system.

  • God’s attributes are classified into headings, sometimes under headings like:
    • God Communicable and Incommunicable attributes (Reformed model)
    • God’s Greatness and Goodness (Millard Erickson)
    • What God is (Attributes of God) and What God does (creation, salvation etc.)

Alternative Approach

  • While such an approach is very useful, it is not how God has chosen to reveal himself.
  • Instead, God has chosen, for the most part, to use stories—historical accounts of his interactions with the universe and especially with human beings.
    • God’s attributes rarely found in the abstract, but usually as part of events that were recorded.
      (The closest we have to systematic presentations would be some of the Epistles, such as Ephesians or Romans.)
    • He reveals himself primarily through relationships (e.g. Adam, Abraham, Moses, Nation of Israel, David, and through Jesus).
    • Particular attributes of God are often revealed in each story. e.g. his faithfulness to Abraham in keeping his promise.
  • If the traditional approach is known as Systematic Theology, then this alternative would be Biblical Theology.
Systematic Theology Biblical Theology
Organize truth into a logical system Ask how God has organized truth
Doctrine of God: divide his attributes into categories How has God decided to reveal his nature and character to us?
Good as an end-point The best place to start
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