Characteristics are acquired. Attributes are inherent essential qualities.
A divine attribute is an essential quality which is inherent in the divine essence. Our knowledge of God is the sum total of our knowledge of His attributes. Here are the natural attributes of God as defined by Scripture.
The Self-existence of God.
This is incomprehensible, impossible for us to understand, yet it is also inescapable. Exodus 3:14: "I am that I am" and Exodus 6:2-3.
The Unity of God
Eternally one in indivisible essence or substance. Deuteronomy 6:4: "Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" Isaiah 44:6: "I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me." Ephesians 4:5-6: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
The Eternality of God
God's existence of nature without beginning or end. He is not affected by time. Because we cannot fully understand the being of God, we must not presume to argue with God. God created time and seasons for the benefit of humankind, but He is not governed by or subject to them. Revelation 1:8: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God - the one who is, and who was, and who is still to come - the All-Powerful!" See also Psalm 102:12, 27: "But you, O Lord, rule forever, and your reputation endures." "But you remain; your years do not come to an end."
The Immutability of God
God never changes. He would do the same things in all similar circumstances. Malachi 3:6: "Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished." Perfection involves persistence in perfection. Hebrews 1:10-12: "You founded the earth in the beginning, Lord, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you continue. And they will all grow old like a garment, and like a robe you will fold them up and like a garment they will be changed, but you are the same and your years will never run out."
James 1:17: "All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change."
The Omnipresence of God
This describes the immensity of God; God is everywhere present; He fills all of the universe. Psalm 139:7: "Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence?...Even the darkness is not too dark for you to see, and the night is as bright as day; darkness and light are the same to you."
Jeremiah 23:23-24: "'Do you people think that I am some local deity and not the transcendent God?' the Lord asks. 'Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?' the Lord asks. 'Do you not know that I am everywhere?' the Lord asks." Hebrews 4:13: "No creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account."
The Omniscience of God
God is all-knowing and His knowledge is immediate; our knowledge is progressive. He knows everything, Himself included. Psalm 147:5: "Our Lord is great and has awesome power; there is no limit to his wisdom." 1 John 3:20: "God is greater than our conscience and knows all things."
Elements of Omniscience:
- God fully knows Himself
- God knows everything as related to Himself
- God knows everything in the universe (Matthew 10:29)
- God knows all about the human experience (John 2:25)
- God knows our imaginations (Psalm 139:2-3)
The Omnipotence of God
He is unlimited power. Psalm 115:3: "Our God is in heaven! He does whatever he pleases!" Matthew 19:26: "Jesus looked at them and replied, 'This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.'"
All of God's creation is subject unto Him:
- All nature is subject unto Him (Genesis 1:1-3; Psalm 33:6-9)
- All humans are subject unto Him (Luke 12:13-21; James 4:13-15)
- All angels are subject unto Him (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14)
- Satan is subject unto God (Job 1:6-12; 1 John 4:4; 5:18)
While God can do all He will, He will not do all He can. His omnipotence is under perfect control. He cannot do what violates His own nature.
- God cannot sin (James 1:13)
- God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2)
- God cannot change (Hebrews 1:11-12; Malachi 3:6)
- God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13)
- God cannot work in the presence of unbelief (Mark 6:5-6)