Augustine of Hippo once said “So anyone who thinks that he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbor, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.” I believe this quote to be true when discussing the doctrine of God. There are four basic ways we talk about God. We talk about him equivocally, analogically, and metaphorically. All four views speak of God in different, but understandable ways and, likewise, how you view God effects your theology and overall view of God. For me personally I tend to view God in more analogical and metaphorical ways. I see him as the good Shepard (John 10) who desires to love and protect me, and as the potter (Jeremiah 18) who, in loving kindness molds me and shapes me into someone who better reflects his character.
It is important to understand the nature of God. That being said, God is both “person” and “personal”. God’s personhood can partly be explained by the phrase “independent reality” meaning that God’s personhood is not contingent on anything. His personhood is infinite (it has no limitations), his personhood is incomparable (no other could come close to matching God). Like the first attribute I discussed, God’s personhood can also be explained by the phrase “necessity of being”, meaning that God could not, not be. God’s personhood is immaterial and it is Eternally self-Existing. Understanding God’s character is a complex and deep subject. God’s metaphysical attributes refer to the greatness of being of God. These attributes include his Aseity (John 5:26), (Acts 17:24-25), Psalm 115:), infinity (Job 11:7-9), Psalm 145:3, 147:5) omnipresence (Psalm 15:11, 16:11, 95:2, 139:7), eternity (Psalm 9:7, 93:1-2, 103:15-18), immutability (Psalm 19:21, 102:26-27),omnipotence (Job 26:12, 42:2, 1
Corinthians 1:18), unity (Deuteronomy 6:4) and his omniscience (Job 36:4),When speaking of God’s omniscience there are many different faucets that are considered. God’s omniscience is comprehensive and unlimited, penetrating and intrusive, particular and specific, actual and counter-factual, and past, present, and future. God’s omniscience is amazing to me. That fact that God has infinite knowledge of me and still loves me as his own blows me away. Other attributes God has are referred to as his “Intrinsic Moral Attributes”. These include his holiness (Exodus 15:11), truth (John 14:6), righteousness (Isaiah 45:19-24), and justice (Deuteronomy 32:4). Yet another category of God’s attributes exists. These attributes are called his Beneficent Moral Attributes. These include his goodness (Exodus 34:6), love (Deuteronomy 10:15), grace (Psalm 145:8), mercy (Psalm 103:13), and Patience (Romans 2:4).
There are different views in which people view God. They view him intellectually, ethically, emotionally, volcanically, and relationally. I tend to view God emotionally. I see him as a good, patient, and compassionate God. Alister E. McGrath in “The Christian Theology Reader” comments on Anselm of Canterbury view on the compassion of God. McGrath comments, “Anselm clearly wishes to affirm that God knows that humanity suffers, and that God has compassion on humanity in its plight. Yet Anselm does not feel he can move on to affirm that God suffers with us, or that God in some sense “experiences” suffering” (McGrath, 177). I tend to agree with Anselm’s view on God’s compassion. While I know that God is compassionate and loving, I don’t believe that God “experiences” suffering along with us. He understands and knows our suffering and has compassion on us and that is a beautiful thing. Another topic I would like to comment on is God’s sovereignty. John Owen explains God’s sovereignty as every aspect of creation being ordered by God (McGrath, 185). This view point leans highly towards Calvinism and has been something I have been struggling with lately. While the idea of God’s sovereignty is comforting to me, if it is only for “God’s elect” I have a very hard time accepting it to be true. Reading this particular section (3.29) has caused me to “dig deeper” and truly question what I really believe about the sovereignty of God. For me, even though I view God very emotionally, I sometimes struggle to believe whether or not he truly loves me. Through last week’s reading and lecture I have come to better understand that God’s attributes are not contingent with my circumstances. He is who He says he is and I must rely on that truth, not on what is going on around