S1 Attributes of God

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This sequence introduces you to God's attributes. When we describe the attributes of someone, we can say that someone is strong, or very intelligent. But what are God's attributes? 

Omnipotent

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:48pm

Omnipotent means 'all powerful'. We express our belief in God being all powerful through the creed, "We believe in God the Father, Almighty." Science teaches that energy (and matter) cannot be created. This is expressed through the law of the conservation of energy. Since God created the universe out of nothing, he must be all powerful. To create a particular object out of nothing would be to bring into existence a certain amount of matter which could be scientifically worked out to be a certain amount amount of energy (using E=mc2). But there is an infinite difference between nothing and something. It's not like an existing empty space surrounded by the rest of the universe, but an absolute nothing of not anything, not even an existing 'nothing'. Therefore, God must be infinitely powerful to be able to create something from nothing. If God can create something from nothing, then God can create whatever he likes.  

God is also logical. There are some things which are impossible to God. God cannot sin (more about this later). God cannot create aburdities. An absurdity is something illogical, eg a square circle. God's infinite power has the ability to create all possible things, the number of which cannot be counted and so is also infinite in possibility. 

Omniscient

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:48pm

Omniscient means God “knows everything” (1 Jn 3:20 see CCC 208). God has infinite, unlimited knowledge. God knows where every electron is in the whole universe every instant of time for all time and space. We think of one thing at a time. God thinks of an infinite number of things at a time. God has already thought every possible thought good or bad. God knows every possible choice you could ever possibly make and what would happen if you made different choices, and not just for you but for all of humanity for all times and all the possibilities, which is nothing compared to God’s knowledge. Since he has already thought every thought, there is nothing new to God. God is above time and space and therefore knows already everything that will happen for all time already. If one of these points were not true, then he would not know something, and therefore not have infinite knowledge. 

God knows what will ultimately make you most happy in this world and wants to lead you to the greatest fulfillment. He wants to guide you to your true happiness, which is your true vocation.

Omnipresent

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:48pm

Omnipresent means ‘all present’ or ‘present everywhere’ (CCC 2671). Where is God? God is in heaven yet we also say God is with us now. God is transcendent, which means he is above time and space since he is infinite. God created time and space so he is beyond time and space. This is part of the meaning of the word transcendent. God being infinite can't be contained in a limited time and space. We call this 'place' eternity. Eternity is actually not a time or place in the ordinary sense of the word, but beyond place and time. It sounds like a contradiction, but it is just a way for us to try to talk about where God is. God is beyond all time and space, but he is not distant.

God created the universe out of nothing, but it does not continue to exist by itself, separate from God. God keeps it in existence. Everything relies upon God. If God were not thinking of the universe then it would cease to exist. Which means it is not just that God is present everywhere, but that God keeps all places in existence. Jesus says, "even the hairs of your head are all counted." (Luke 12:7). God doesn't just count your hairs, but keeps them in existence. 

God's presence is always one of love. All that is good comes from God and he wants to pour more goodness into our lives. He is ever watchful and waiting to pour more grace into our hearts.

Infinite

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:48pm

God is infinite. Since we have discussed God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence we have a better appreciation of God being infinite. God being infinite must be perfect in everyway. If God lacked something, then he would not be infinite. So he doesn't just have infinite power, knowledge and presence, but must be infinite in everyway. God lacks nothing. He has perfect joy, happiness, goodness etc. Knowing God is infinite is the key to understanding so much more about God. 

Mystery

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:48pm

“God is mystery” (CCC 206)

We are finite, limited. God is infinite, therefore we can never fully understand God. God will always be a mystery, but a mystery we can know something about.

“All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".” (CCC 41)

It is possible that “God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason” (DV 6).