03 January 2014

"The attribute without which God cannot be God"

by Frank Turk

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Frank back in July 2012. It was the first in a series of posts on the Goodness of God.

As usual, the comments are closed. 
We are studying the attributes of God...and there is quite a list of things guys like Tozer and Pink and Berkhof tell us about the qualities of God. When we consider this God we are talking about from the Bible, we’re talking about the Omnipotent God whose very words speak the created order into being.

He’s the Transcendent God, the Holy God who is utterly unlike us.

He is the Self-existent God and the immutable God who does not need us for anything, and who has no needs to speak of, and who never changes.

He is the Omniscient God who knows everything, and cannot be taught anything – he’s never surprised or somehow set back on his heels so that he has to resort to Plan “B”.

He is an utterly just and righteous God who cannot abide sin and must punish the guilty.

They say that some attributes of God are incommunicable and some are communicable – that is, some are virtues which God alone possesses, and others are traits or virtues which we can emulate even though we will never get them perfectly right. And they say that all of these attributes, which are somehow distinct, are also not at all discrete – so you can’t really talk about God’s Just character, for example, without talking about His Long-Suffering. You can’t talk about his Omniscience without talking about this Immutability, and so on.

But in some sense, then, our expectations of God might be to hope that, at best, he ignores us. Because when we compare ourselves to Him, He might mean a lot of trouble for us.

Asking God for help could be like being the Tin Man asking Oz the Great and Powerful for help –
Me: um, God? May I have a new heart please?

And he’d be right to say that to us – or to say nothing at all to us, to simply leave us to our disobedience, to our trouble, to our ultimate destination of whatever it is he might have decided it to be.

So what hope do we have in this world if the only person or authority who can help me that has all power, all knowledge, and who never changes? Shouldn’t I only expect him to treat me like the not-much-of-nothin’ that I am?

But one attribute, it seems to me, is the category without which God cannot be God. And it’s the one which we, sadly, somehow see as the preschool attribute of God – the one we hand over to children because they cannot mistake it or break it. I'm talking about the Goodness of God.