God is unity.
I have been reading through John Gill’s works on the nature and attributes of God, and am struck with how perfect and united all of God’s attributes are.
Consider a few examples:
God is infinite: God is without bounds, immeasurable, uncontained and without limits. This necessitates two further attributes: Omnipresence and Eternity. Why? Because God is both unbound and without limits in everything, which includes both space and time.
What follows on from here? Well, if we consider that God upholds all things by His power, then that necessitates omnipotence – because God upholds everything, His power must extend to everything, forever into eternity.
What else? God is eternal, which necessitates immutibility – He hasn’t changed and cannot change because He is eternally the same – He never came into being, He has always existed. He was the same before creation, and will be the same into eternity future. Immutibility is also necessitated from God’s omniscience, because if God ever learned anything about Himself, then that would necessitate that God’s character itself had changed. If you deny immutibility, you must deny omniscience.
God is also infinite in his knowledge, because He has exhaustive knowledge of Himself, which, as we’ve already stated, God is infinite, thus His knowledge is infinite – but also that He knows all of creation from the beginning to the end, and everything that is in it. This means that God is incomphrehnsible, because to fully know God, who is infinite, would be to have infinite knowledge. God, because of divine simplicity, which is the attribute of God that says that the attributes of God are identical to God Himself, rather than some external metaphysical concepts that we create then say that God is that-( e.g, come up with an idea of eternity, or infinity and then say that God is that concept, which would be to derive a concept external to God Himself, and thus make it metaphysically prior or independent to God Himself) necessitates that there be only one infinity – that God’s own revelation of His character is the standard of infinity, therefore this further entails that God is incomprehensible- we will never fully know Him as He is – even into eternity future.
God’s omnipotence entails God’s omnibenevolance – because God gives life and breath to all – in Him we live and move and have our being, and every good and perfect thing comes from Him.
All of this to say, if you take just one of God’s attributes, it entails them all, because God is unity – you cannot have one and deny others, they all are united together in God.
God’s sovereignty – presupposes God’s omnipotence (which supports God’s omnibenevolance), omnipotence presupposes God’s infinitude, which is at the base of God’s eternality and omnipotence, which both relate to God’s omniscience, which relates to God’s incomprehensibility, which ties into God’s simplicity and God’s unity, which is necessary in God’s Triunity…I guess we could spend a while doing this! It doesn’t matter which part of the rollercoaster you get on, you stay on there long enough, and you’ll go round the whole thing.
So, how does this help us in apologetics? Simple – if a particular heresy denies an attribute of God – simply run through how that would change the other attributes, and destroy the unity therein, making the denied attribute necessary for the basis of making the denial itself possible, by showing the impossibility of the contrary. This can be done by demonstrating that if that denial is put into place, it destroys any ability of the person to hold any aspect of the rest of their system of theology, and as a result, everything that this theology would provide to their worldview, ie laws of logic, scientific laws and moral standards. Thus to argue against your position requires that your position be true at the outset.
For more reading, check out Gills work here:
Scroll till you find ‘A body of Doctrinal Divinity’, Gill does a fanastic job!
unity in diversity
Leave a Comment