Explanation And Scriptural Basis

In this chapter we consider the attributes of God that are "communicable," or more shared with us than those mentioned in the previous chapter. It must be remembered that this division into "incommunicable" and "communicable" is not an absolute division and there is some room for difference of opinion concerning which attributes should fit into which categories.1 The list of attributes here put in the category "communicable" is a common one, but understanding the definition of each attribute is more important than being able to categorize them in exactly the way presented in this book.

Furthermore, any list of God's attributes must be based on some understanding of how finely one wishes to make distinctions between various aspects of God's character. Are God's goodness and love two attributes or one? What about knowledge and wisdom, or spirituality and invisibility? In this chapter, each of these attributes is treated separately, and the result is a rather long list of various attributes. Yet in several cases it would not make much difference if someone were to treat these pairs as various aspects of the same attribute. If we remember that it is the entire and wholly integrated person of God about whom we are talking, it will be apparent that the division into various attributes is not a matter of great doctrinal significance but is something that must be based on one's judgment concerning the most effective way to present the biblical material.

This chapter divides God's "communicable" attributes into five major categories, with individual attributes listed under each category as follows:

A. Attributes Describing God's Being

1. Spirituality

2. Invisibility

B. Mental Attributes

3. Knowledge (or Omniscience)

4. Wisdom

5. Truthfulness (and Faithfulness)

C. Moral Attributes

6. Goodness

7. Love

8. Mercy (Grace, Patience)

9. Holiness

10. Peace (or Order)

11. Righteousness (or Justice)

12. Jealousy

13. Wrath

D. Attributes of Purpose

1 1. See discussion of communicable and incommunicable attributes in chapter 11, pp. 156-57.

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