Outline of Attributes of God

Different religious traditions assign differing (though often similar) attributes and characteristics to God, including expansive powers and abilities, psychological characteristics, gender characteristics, and preferred nomenclature. The assignment of these attributes often differs according to the conceptions of God in the culture from which they arise. For example, attributes of God in Christianity, attributes of God in Islam, and the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Judaism share certain similarities arising from their common roots.

God in philosophy of religion

Main article: The Attributes of God

The philosophy of religion recognizes the following as essential attributes of God:

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Abrahamic religions

Main article: God in Abrahamic Religions 
See also: The Attributes Of God According To The Old Testament

Christianity

Main article: Attributes of God in Christianity
See also: God in ChristianityGod in Catholicism, and God in Mormonism

When we speak of the attributes of God in Christianity, we are talking about those characteristics that helps us to understand who He truly is.

The most common way to classify God’s attributes divides them into:

  • Incommunicable attributes (traits that God doesn’t share or “communicate” to others)
  • Communicable attributes (traits that God shares or “communicates” with us).

God’s incommunicable attributes

  • Aseity (God is so independent that he does not need us)
  • Eternal nature (God is infinite, but we are finite)
  • Holiness (He is separate from sin and incorruptible)
  • Immanence (divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world)
  • Impassibility  (God does not experience pain or pleasure from the actions of another being)
  • Immutability (he never changes, but we do)
  • Infinity (God includes both his Eternity and his immensity)
  • Impeccability (God cannot sin)
  • Incomprehensibility (Acatalepsy; God is not able to be fully known)
  • Incorporeality (Not composed of matter; having no material existence)
  • Mystery (God only reveals certain knowledge to the human race. “God is ultimate mystery.”)
  • Omnibenevolence (“unlimited or infinite benevolence”
  • Omnipotence (All powerful, Almighty)
  • Omnipresence (God is everywhere at once, but we can only be in one place at a time)
  • Omniscience (God has the capacity to know everything including the future)
  • Oneness (The oneness, or unity of God refers to his being one and only)
  • Simplicity (God is not partly this and partly that, but that whatever he is, he is so entirely.)
  • Transcendence (Wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all known physical laws)

God’s communicable attributes

  • Goodness (“God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval.”)
  • Graciousness (“the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it”)
  • Jealousy (God “zeal to protect a love relationship or to avenge it when broken”)
  • Justice (God is just, and we’re capable of justice)
  • Love (God is love, and we’re capable of love)
  • Knowledge (God has knowledge, and we can have it, too)
  • Mercy (God is merciful, and we’re also capable of mercy)
  • Mission (Christian Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God)
  • Righteousness  (God’s holiness, to his justice, or to his saving activity)
  • Providence (God‘s intervention in the Universe. God’s care for the universe)
  • Sovereignty  (God being in complete control as he directs all things)
  • Trinity (The relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit described in the Bible)
  • Veracity (“God, who does not lie.”)
  • Wrat (“God’s wrath is his love in action against sin.”)

Judaism

Main article: Thirteen Attributes of Mercy
See also: God in Judaism and Divine Providence in Judaism

The single attributes are contained in the verses as follows:

  1. יְהוָה YHVH: compassion before a person sins;
  2. יְהוָה YHVH: compassion after a person has sinned;
  3. אֵל El: mighty in compassion to give all creatures according to their need;
  4. רַחוּם Raḥum: merciful, that humankind may not be distressed;
  5. וְחַנּוּן VeḤanun: and gracious if humankind is already in distress;
  6. אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם Erekh appayim: slow to anger;
  7. וְרַב-חֶסֶד VeRav ḥesed: and plenteous in kindness;
  8. וֶאֱמֶת VeEmet: and truth;
  9. נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים Notzer ḥesed laalafim: keeping kindness unto thousands;
  10. נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן Noseh avon: forgiving iniquity;
  11. וָפֶשַׁע VaFeshah: and transgression;
  12. וְחַטָּאָה VeḤata’ah: and sin;
  13. וְנַקֵּה VeNakeh: and pardoning.

La illaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah

Islam

Main article: Attributes of God in Islam and God, His Essence And Attributes
See also: Allah and God in Islam

Islam’s most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhid. God is described in the Qur’an as:

“Say: He is God, the One; God, the Eternal, the Absolute; He begot no one, nor is He begotten; Nor is there to Him equivalent anyone.”.”

According to the religious methodology or the basic principles of religion, the Attributes of God in Islam consist of certain transcending and blessed concepts—whose transcendence and blessedness come from the Being Whom they describe; these describe God Almighty and are, in one sense, regarded as the veils of the Divine Essence. These blessed concepts, mentioned as the Attributes of the Divine Being, are either in the form of nouns, infinitives, adverbs, or of adjectives.

Attributes of God in Islam divided into 5 categories;

The Attributes of God in Islam

The Attributes of Exemption

God Almighty is absolutely free or exempt from any:

  • need
  • defect
  • fault
  • shortcoming
  • impotence
  • poverty
  • neediness
  • the need to eat or drink
  • to beget or be begotten

The Essential Attributes

  • (The All-Holy, Self-) Existence (Wujud)
  • Oneness (Wahdaniyya)
  • Having No Beginning (Qidam)
  • Eternal Permanence (Baqa’)
  • Being Unlike the Created (Muhalafatun lil-hawadith)
  • Self-Subsistence (Qiyam bi-nafsihi)

 

 

Affirmative Attributes

  • Life (Hayah)
  • Knowledge (‘Ilm)
  • Hearing (Sam‘a)
  • Sight (Basar)
  • Will (Irada)
  • Power (Qudra)
  • Speech (Kalam)
  • Making Exist (Takwin)

The  Attributes of Action

  • Creation (Khalq)
  • Originating Uniquely (Ibda’)
  • Producing (Insha’)
  • Giving Life and Reviving, and Causing to Die (Ihya’ and Imata)
  • Providing (Tarziq)

 

God’s Figurative Attributes

  • Coming” in And Your Lord comes (89:22);
  • Self-Establishment” in The All-Merciful, Who has established Himself on the Supreme Throne (20:5), which means God’s subjugating the creation to His command, manifesting His Sovereignty, Grandeur, and Power;
  • Avoidance” in God avoids but completing His light (9:32);
  • Self” in He has bound Himself to mercy (6:12), And I have attached you to Myself (20:41), and in the Prophetic saying, “You are as You have praised Yourself;” and the Prophetic quotation from God, “Surely I have made wrongdoing unlawful for Myself.”
  • Wrath” in God has become wrathful with them (4:93), which means punishment and condemnation;
  • Hand” in verses such as God’s hand is over their hands (48:10), and All grace is in God’s hand (57:29), which means power, ownership, control and disposal, and help;
  • Face” in verses such as Everything is perishable except His Face (28:88), But there remains forever the Face of Your Lord (55:27), and We feed you only for the sake of God’s Face” (76:9), which means the Divine Being Himself or God’s approval and good pleasure.
  • Saying” in verses like: When your Lord said to the angels (2:30);
  • Speaking” in His Lord spoke to him (7:143);
  • All-Hearing, All-Seeing” in the Divine declaration, Surely God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing (22:75);
  • Companionship” which is understood from God is with You (47:35); and
  • Footing” in They have a sure footing with their Lord (10:2),
  • “Asking” in “He asks the angels;”
  • Ordering” and “Prohibiting” in the Prophetic sayings where we see the phrases “He orders” and “He prohibits;”
  • Witnessing” in the sayings where the phrase “He witnesses” is mentioned;
  • Moving Speedily” in the sayings such as “He moves speedily to respond with favor;”
  • Approaching” in such sayings as “He immediately approaches with favor;”
  • Descending” in the sayings such as “He descends to the heaven of the world,” and several other concepts such as:
  • Loving, Becoming Wrathful, the Best Form, Exhilaration, Smiling, Grasping, Contracting, Expanding, Struggling, Feeling Wonder, Showing Care, Heed and Sensitivity, Being with or Companionship” in the Prophetic say­ings where we see the phrases, “He loves; He becomes wrathful; He is seen in the Best Form; He exhilarates; He smiles; He grasps; He expands; He struggles; He feels wonder; There is none more careful and sensitive than God,” and “I am with him when he mentions Me,” respectively.

Eastern religions

Jainism

Main article: God in Jainism

Buddhism

Main article: God in Buddhism

Hinduism

Main article: God in Hinduism

Sikhism

Main article: God in Sikhism

Satanism

Main article: LaVeyan Satanism

African Traditional Concept of God

Main article: African Traditional Concept of God

New religious movements

Main article: The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception

Main article: Unitarian Universalism

Relationship with creation

Main article: Creator Deity 
See also: Prayer, Adoration, Atonement, Dua, Blessing, Thanksgiving, Supplication, and Worship

Prayer plays a significant role among many believers. Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.He is viewed as a personal God and there are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God. Prayer often also includes supplication and asking forgiveness. God is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance. Christian theologian Alister McGrath writes that there are good reasons to suggest that a “personal god” is integral to the Christian outlook, but that one has to understand it is an analogy. “To say that God is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God is human, or located at a specific point in the universe.”

Jews and Christians believe that humans are created in the image of God, and are the center, crown and key to God’s creation, stewards for God, supreme over everything else God had made (Gen 1:26); for this reason, humans are in Christianity called the “Children of God“.

Disputes

Various objections have been to certain attributes or combinations of attributes. The omnipotence paradox explores questions like, “Could God create a stone so heavy that even He could not lift it?” The problem of evil and the argument from poor design have been proposed to suggest that God cannot be omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient. Nevertheless, these criticisms have been robustly countered from the Scriptures by apologists from beginning from the early Church and throughout Church history. Some Christians overcome these objections by the notion of free will, in which God chooses not to control all that happens despite being able to because He considers freedom more important than an absence of suffering; by the notion that human experience is so limited that we are unable to fully perceive what a loving and fully powerful God “should” do at any one moment, and by the sheer fact that God, as transcendent creator of all logic and causality, is not bound by these restrictions Himself.

Another school of thought is that man is bound by his nature and his nature is always against God. In this understanding the sovereignty of God demands that a sinful humanity cannot do good apart from God, for to be reconciled to God would be an act of goodness outside of mans natural capabilities. In the act of faithfully believing the life, death and resurrection “for mans sin” by the shed blood of Jesus, the Son of God, till this is done goodness by God’s standard is impossible. Generally instead of Free will a holder of this view will take on a more presuppositionalist approach while at the same time apply simple logic is to any attempt at question God’s attributes/power/sovereignty. The presuppositionalist will proclaim the Gospel in the hopes God will grant the hearer a saving faith in Jesus despite this information and call to faith going completely against their natural inclinations. “Many are called, few are chosen” Matt 22:14, “all who where appointed to eternal life believed” Acts 13:48.

The Bible describes that every human inherently knows they need saving from their sin, from God’s just judgment against them, but refuse because of their sin committed and sinful nature. God calls all to believe but will only save the elect by conforming their heart to faith in Jesus, though it goes against their anti-God nature. All who deny Jesus are given over to what they want, the elect “chosen” on the other hand are given a new heart to believe.

Negative theology

Main article: Cataphatic Theology (Positive theology) and Apophatic Theology (Negative Theology)

Modern philosophy

Main articles: Process theology and Open theism

Posthuman

Main articles: Omega Point and Technological singularity

Phenomenological definition

The philosopher Michel Henry defines God from a phenomenological point of view. He says:

“God is Life, he is the essence of Life, or, if we prefer, the essence of Life is God. Saying this we already know what is God the father the almighty, creator of heaven and earth, we know it not by the effect of a learning or of some knowledge, we don’t know it by the thought, on the background of the truth of the world ; we know it and we can know it only in and by the Life itself. We can know it only in God.”

This Life is not biological life defined by objective and exterior properties, nor an abstract and empty philosophical concept, but the absolute phenomenological life, a radically immanent life that possesses in it the power of showing itself in itself without distance, a life that reveals permanently itself.

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