Photo Credit: Cody Board, https://unsplash.com/@codypboard
The Attributes of God
9.What is God’s omniscience and why is it significant?
10.What is God’s omnipotence and why is it significant?
11.What is God’s transcendence and immanence and why are they significant?
13.What is God’s sovereignty and why is it significant?
16.What is God’s immutability and why is it significant?
In these next paragraphs, you will find a deep and expansive exploration of the five questions listed above. As you begin to prepare to create content on the character and attributes of God, I want to stop and remind you of the beauty and solemnness of this topic and how exciting and fantastic it is that you get to explore the inner workings of who God is!
My goal for this content is to help you break it down to find enough individual issues within each question to create entertaining content while also combining and overlapping the potential content for each of the cards. Remember, your goal is to find a balance between making the content of each card specific to the topic it addresses while also reducing your workload as much as possible through reusing content.
The first section will simply be an in depth journey into specific content for each of the cards that fall under that category of the attributes of God. The second part will look at different strategies to organize and make sense of all of the content.
What does each question mean?
“The state of having total knowledge, the quality of knowing everything.” (1)
If you are looking for a definition that relates more specifically to God, try reading Don Stewert’s article that he wrote for the question, “Does God Know Everything?” (2)
Summary: So all things considered, the omniscience of God refers to the extent of God’s knowledge. God is completely informed on everything that is happening right now, in this moment. He is also entirely aware of everything that has happened in the past and that will happen in the future.
1 Peter 1:1-2, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…”
In regards to the introduction to 1 Peter, Chuck Smith, who was a renowned American pastor, made an incredibly interesting comment on how Peter’s introduction connects to the omniscience of God, “There is the doctrine of election; God having elected those who would be the heirs of salvation. The election of God is based upon his foreknowledge (which essentially is the omniscience of God). You do not read of election apart from the foreknowledge of God. Now if you believe that God does know all things (God’s omniscience), you should have no problem with the doctrine of election. If you have a limited God that has only a limited knowledge, then you could have problems with the doctrine of election.”
This is a lot to read but Smith brings up an incredibly interesting point of the depth and beauty to the Omniscience of God, that God’s omniscience is how we reconcile the doctrine of election and God’s sovereign choice for who will and will not go to heaven.
“The word omnipotent comes from omni- meaning “all” and potent meaning “power.” As with the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, it follows that, if God is infinite, and if He is sovereign, which we know He is, then He must also be omnipotent. He has all power over all things at all times and in all ways.” (3)
This is a slightly random resource but it is a wonderfully organized article on the different verses on the omnipotence of God split into their different applications. The article is titled God is Omnipotent. (7)
If you are looking for some incredibly in depth content on God’s Omnipotence (and also how it relates to his omniscience), try Dr. William Lane Craig’s lesson titled, Practical Application of Divine Omniscience / God’s Omnipotence (5)
John Piper also has a captivating article titled An Olympic Lesson in God’s Omnipotence that also might make for a good intro/story idea. (6)
Got Questions: “When we speak of the sovereignty of God, we mean He rules the universe”
*this article by GQ that asks, What does it mean that God is sovereign, marvelously analyzes the debate and opinions on this question in addition to defining it.
If you want to continue a route that discusses salvation… Here is a great article by John Piper that lists many verses about God’s sovereignty and salvation. (4)
Before I give you a specific article, I have to admit to what a Piper junkie I am… Here is a link to all of the different content that John Piper’s Desiring God ministries have published. I would encourage you not to underestimate this because depending on what route you want to take your speech, you can just scroll through his content to find the right resource. (8)
Chuck Swindoll published an article that analyzes the personal implications of the sovereignty of God titled, Surprising Sovereignty. (10)
Is it really surprising that this quote is from Got Questions… no. no it is not.
What does it mean that God is transcendent? “To transcend means “to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed. By this definition, God is the only truly transcendent Being.” (11)
What is the immanence of God? “A belief in God’s immanence holds that God is present in all of creation, while remaining distinct from it. In other words, there is no place where God is not. His sovereign control extends everywhere simultaneously.” (12)
Acts 17:27-28, “Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘‘In him we live and move and have our being’…”
Jeremiah 23:23-24, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”
Wayne Grudem in his book Systematic Theology stated, “In the teaching of the Bible, God is both infinite and personal: he is infinite (transcendent) and personal (immanent): he is infinite in that he is not subject to any of the limitations of humanity, or of creation in general. He is far greater than everything he has made, far greater than anything else that exists. But he is also personal: he interacts with us as a person, and we can relate to him as persons. We can pray to him, worship him, obey him, and love him, and he can speak to us, rejoice in us, and love us.Apart from the true religion found in the Bible, no system of religion has a God who is both infinite and personal.”
Also, here is a quick article from Blue Letter Bible: https://blogs.blueletterbible.org/blb/2011/09/08/the-attributes-of-god-immanent/ (13)
The Immutability of God refers to his unchanging nature. Got Questions does have an article that can explain the concept even more if needed (14)
Numbers 23:19, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Ravi Zacharias, “When God is our Holy Father, his immutability does not terrify us; this attribute of God leaves us full of awe and gratitude . . . immutability is only torturous if there is no guarantee of goodwill.”
RC Sproul gave a beautifully comprehensive sermon/speech about the immutability of God called, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: The Immutability of God”
How Each Question Overlaps:
After looking through the different content and resources on these words, ask yourself, “what are some overall themes that have appeared in each of these questions that can be cross applied?”
For my answer to this question, I noticed a lot of overlap between the content of omnipotence, omniscience and sovereignty. They all related to the power, knowledge, and authority that God has and throughout the different articles that were mentioned there were common themes like how great God is, the concept of election, and especially trusting God through difficult times.
There was also a bit of overlap between God’s Transcendence and his Immanence. This could give you the option to talk about God’s relationship and connection to his creation.
At this point, I can introduce our first option for organizing and creating the cards…
Option 1: Combine 9,10, and 13 into one card and 11 and 16 into one card.
Each of these cards that you would make would use they key word of each question as a point in the group card (for example, to combine 9, 10, and 13, you would have your three points be God’s omniscience, God’s Omnipotence, and God’s Sovereignty). For the second grouping of cards 11 and 16 two of your points would be God’s Transcendence/Immanence and God’s Immutability with the third point being some additional idea to tie them together.
*while I think that this is certainly a reasonable way to organize these cards, I think that the second way is more useful…
Option 2: Create a general outline with one interchangeable point
Instead of explaining what this might look like, I’ll just show you how I would organize my speech.
Defining God’s _________
When We Lose Sight of God’s _________
How We Can Remember God’s ___________
So what we have here is a general outline that we can adapt to each card in the category of God’s Character. Have your first point be a specific card to the topic at hand. This point will need to define and provide a certain amount of general significance to the word that the card is asking you to define. And then turn your second point into a generic, yet meaningful, discussion of what it looks like to go through difficult times when we forget about who God is. This card should avoid making any specific mentions to a certain card because you want to be able to use this card across all of the topics without any adaptations. Finally, your last point will also be a more generic card but it will have room for a couple Bible verses that are specific to the word of the topic that you drew. It needs to talk about general steps to remembering God’s Omniscience/Transcendence/Sovereignty while also being specific. A great way to do this that is mentioned above is to leave some space for specific Bible verses that relate to the specific word you are talking about.
I know it can seem a bit overwhelming when you look at all of this content that you have been given on this category in apologetics but my goal through this article is that you would have most every piece of content that you could ever need on this category. I hope that this article can be a one-stop resource for you to find everything you might need to write cards on this topic. I encourage you to read what sounds interesting from the different sources that are provided in this article and use what sticks out to you to combine and create the perfect cards.
- https://www.gotquestions.org/God-omniscient.html. Got Questions: Got Questions is a marvelous and reliable source to look to when trying to find explanations to theological or apologetical issues.