I’ll briefly review what we have talked about up to now in our series on God and His attributes.
First, we discussed His incommunicable attributes ( those that are not found in humans):
- His Independence (Self-Existence)
- His Immutability (Changelessness)
- His Infinity
- His Simplicity (Unity)
Last week, before proceeding further, I shared the Westminster Shorter Catechism definition of God which is simple and to the point, even if it is in old English! It gives a better feel for the unity of God…that all His attributes are in one person and in balance. I linked you to the former posts if reviewing them will give more clarity.
Now, let’s start on the communicable attributes of GOD. These are the attributes that can also be found in humans in an analagous way. Because we are not infinite or holy like GOD is, we will not have that basis for the attributes that He has. In us, the communicable attributes are only a glimmer of a picture of what they are in an infinite, holy and eternal GOD!
My Version of a Communicable Attribute looks very different from God’s
I hadn’t thought about it in this way before, but in GOD, that dimension of incommunicable attributes affects the dimension of each of His communicable characteristics. When I look at an attribute like love in a GOD who is intrinsically infinite, eternal and unchangeable, it is going to look completely different than it will in a human who doesn’t have those attributes! It will be like the difference between a one dimensional scene and a 3 dimensional scene. It is almost impossible to compare the two!
When I think about it, it is almost unimaginable for me to think that I could begin to love another person in the way GOD would. I can barely conceive what that would even look like! Yet, GOD tells us to do it, promises us the resources, and encourages us in our attempts to give that kind of love. I think we need to realize our attempts, though well intentioned will still fall far short of perfection…and surely the perfectionism that hounds so many of us.
I need to look at my self-righteous heart however, and realize that any time I am able to love another person in any way that even for a second resembles GOD’s way of doing it, even if for a moment, I have been able to glorify GOD. It isn’t because I did it in my own energy, but that I was able for a few minutes to forget my own agenda and think of someone else because of the work He has done in my heart.
Definition of Knowledge
But back to the topic! We’re talking today about His knowledge. It is defined by Berkhof as that perfection by which He, in an entirely unique manner, knows Himself and all things possible and actual.
He knows everything. He not only knows everything that is, but all that is possible. He knows every detail of everything happening in heaven, on earth, and in hell! Daniel 2:22. There is nothing He misses in a blink or as His “back” is turned. He doesn’t forget one detail or piece of knowledge. Not only that, He never makes an error. He never changes His mind or forgets…anything! Psalm 139. Yes, that is what it is like to be GOD and not human!
He not only knows what can be seen, He knows and understands motives, thoughts, and even motives behind motives. That is not only good to know if you want Someone who is watching out for you, Job 23:10; it is also a very scary thing. He knows every motive of my heart, not just the ones I want to admit to myself! Isaiah 65:24.
What is the truth of this for everyday life?
GOD knows me from the beginning of my life to the end. He knows my every failure, everytime I would please Him, yet He chose me to be His child anyway. There is something very encouraging about that.
He knew, long before I did, that I couldn’t live the Christian life. He didn’t choose me because I was going to be little miss perfect Christian. He chose me because He loved me. There wasn’t anything good or desirable about me. He just loved me and showed His grace to me in Jesus Christ. Considering all the people throughout all the ages of history to whom He could have done that to, it is pretty amazing that He did…to me!
My response can only be one of worship, praise, thanksgiving and gratitude.
What about you?