Knowledge of God’s attributes gives us discernment in daily life. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present – three attributes which characterize his sovereignty over creation, providence and salvation.
The Bible paints an intimate portrait of God’s character, depicting Him as good, gracious, and reliable for Christians. In this article we will look at three characteristics He possesses – omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence – to better understand Him.
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Omnipotence is the fundamental characteristic of all three deities that outlines their power.
God’s omnipotence can be seen most vividly in creation; He spoke and it happened (Genesis 1:1-3).
God is all-powerful; however, His omnipotence cannot go beyond its limits; He cannot do something contrary to His Holy character like lying (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2).
Mathematically speaking, omnipotence can also be described mathematically; one line of thought suggests that an omnipotent agent can bring about any state of affairs they desire except those which would require logic for them to bring about (recursive omnipotence). Unfortunately this explanation of omnipotence leaves room for some odd paradoxes to surface;
God is all-knowing, meaning he can see everything there is – including the past, present and future; nothing surprises Him! This characteristic allows Him to maintain control over creation while protecting human liberty.
Understanding God’s role in permitting evil will require understanding how He allows for its existence; however, we will discuss this further later.
One further motivation for including omniscience as one of God’s attributes comes from perfect being theology, as advocated by St. Anselm. This view asserts that God is the greatest possible being, with greatness defined as anything “than which no greater can be imagined”. Knowledge falls under this definition and many reformed theologians have distinguished between “communicable” and “incommunicable” attributes of god.
God is present everywhere in nature; both as the eternal sustainer of the cosmos, as well as in an intimate way, among those who call out to Him (Letter 137).
God does not exist only as a distinct part of space, rather, He permeates all areas and events of our lives (Psalm 139:7-13 and Jeremiah 23:23-24).
All of God’s attributes are intrinsic to who He is as an entity. From his omnipresence and power to knowledge and love, they all interlink. Holiness and love cannot be divorced from these other characteristics of His nature. Furthermore, His character remains undivided: there are no contradictory characteristics in Him at all–He simply is who He declares Himself to be.
God embodies omnipotence – His unlimited ability to do anything He pleases – through creating and upholding the universe, including creation. Scripture affirms this truth: nothing is beyond His control – including disobedient or sinful acts (Psa 115:3).
Some philosophers have advanced an interpretation of omnipotence that defines it as the power to create any state of affairs imaginable, including impossible ones; however, this interpretation is dubious given the evidence provided by Aquinas and Maimonides who both contend that agents who possess this kind of omnipotence would never be capable of creating impossible states since such states would never exist anyway.
The three “omni” attributes–omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence–offer an all-inclusive portrait of God as our all-ruling Lord and Lordship. Understanding these aspects is essential to comprehending His role in Creation, Providence and Salvation – essential aspects of Christian belief and practice.
God is an omniscient being who knows everything there is to know – past, present and future events alike as well as every thought circulating throughout time and space. Additionally, He is present everywhere at once – He knows everything that goes on at any moment in history as well.
Omniscience is the hallmark of any god and often seen as necessary to explain divine providence; however there may be different views that don’t require this quality in God.
Omniscience is an inexact concept, and therefore not discussed here in detail. One reason may be that there’s some doubt whether God’s knowledge consists of beliefs or independent propositions; nonetheless, its content must be true for God to predict how his plans will play out.
God is known to exist everywhere at once. Because He embodies all life on Earth, He can interact with it at will – He truly is its source and essence.
Some philosophers have attempted to provide an explanation of God’s omnipresence, yet these accounts fall short because they assume an omnipresent being has physical presence at all locations simultaneously, without taking into account that an immaterial being cannot physically exist anywhere at one particular moment in time. Therefore, understanding His omnipresence requires grasping the Trinity doctrine of Triune God: three distinct persons can participate in one activity without losing their identity or power and this helps explain His participation in every circumstance while keeping His power intact.
Omnipotence is the attribute of God that symbolizes his infinite power. This attribute can be seen throughout scripture and during creation of the universe; additionally it manifests as He limits or allows governments and leaders to take their own course.
According to some, omnipotence should be understood in terms of maximal power sense; that is, an agent’s overall powers cannot possibly be exceeded by any other being (Hoffman & Rosenkrantz 2010). Another definition for omnipotence might include ability plus opportunity sense of “can”.
God is omnipotence gives believers comfort that nothing is impossible for Him, giving us assurance that nothing can get in His way of providing for and protecting us from harm. Through this attribute of his, he provides for us and protects against evil forces.
God’s omniscience is essential when considering providence; this attribute enables Him to orchestrate events to achieve His predestined goal.
This attribute of God can be understood in different ways. One interpretation holds that His knowledge encompasses knowing all true propositions; proponents of this view argue that, unlike human limitations, His perception does not suffer the same restrictions and therefore His knowledge is qualitatively perfect.
God’s omniscience can also be understood in terms of His sovereignty: he knows exactly what his creatures will do and can predict their behavior based on past actions and character traits; He also predicts every choice and event his creatures make – something made possible through His omnipotence and omnipresence.
Omnipresence is an incredible characteristic of God that allows Him to remain present everywhere, at all times. This attribute allows Him to interact with his creation in ways He would be unable to otherwise.
Omnipresence can be understood in different ways, but is typically defined as the ability to be physically present everywhere at once. This contrasts with near-omnipresence which refers to being almost present everywhere at once.
God does not need to work at being Omnipresent; He simply is. Omnipresence is essential for His sovereignty as He cannot be limited by anything that He has made – including people’s free wills.
Omnipotence, in its literal definition, means all-powerful. God uses his omnipotence to do anything that needs doing – making things happen and even permitting evil acts for His purposes (Psalm 115:3).
Some philosophers claim that omnipotence refers to a being’s power to bring about any state of affairs imaginable – necessary or otherwise – but other thinkers like Aquinas and Maimonides disagree with this definition of power. Furthermore, coexistent omnipotent agents may not always bring about similar results at once, necessitating an improved definition (Hoffman & Rosenkrantz 2010).)