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Geisler, Norman Systematic Theology, Vol.

Introduction Read pages 17-24 Week One Session One

What is an attribute of God?
• A characteristic than can be attributed to God’s nature. • An essential trait of God.

The Importance of the Truth of God’s Attributes
• All basic theological truths depend upon God’s attributes. • Knowing the “true” God helps us identify the “false” gods. • Being in error on God’s attributes has consequences. • Spiritual growth is build upon our concept of God. • A commitment to what is not ultimate, will ultimately be spiritually unsatisfying

Be prepared to comment on the following statement.
“What you think of God is the most important thing about you.” A. W. Tozer

How many attributes does God have?
• Geisler proposes 20 nonmoral attributes of God, 5 nonmoral characteristics of God, and 3 moral attributes of God. • Many theologians use terms like communicable and non-communicable attributes. Communicable attributes were those shared by humans, such as love holiness. Non-communicable attributes are those that exclusive to God, such as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.

Nonmoral Attributes of God Also called metaphysical attributes

Nonmoral Characteristics of God
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Sovereignty Transcendence Immanence Omnipresence Ineffability

Moral Attributes of God
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Holiness Justice Jealousy Perfection Truthfulness Goodness

Moral Characteristics of God
1. Mercy 2. Wrath

How are God’s Attributes Predicated
• Only three possible ways to predicate (ascribe) 1.Univocally—attributed entirely the same way it is attributed to creatures. 2.Equivocally—to use attributes of God in an entirely different way. 3.Analogically—attributed in a similar way.

“Analogous God-talk is the only meaningful way to speak of God.” Geisler, p. 23 There are two basic types of analogy: extrinsic and intrinsic. 1.Extrinsic analogy is an analogy where only the effect, not the cause, has the characteristic properly. 2.Intrinsic analogy is an analogy where both effect and cause possess the characteristic.

Geisler says the analogical attribution is the only option

Reasons for Metaphorical Attributes of God
Metaphors . . . 1. inform us what God can do, not what He is. 2. communicate what God is like in an indirect and non-literal way. 3. Are often evocative, even though they are not literally descriptive, that is, they do not literally and directly describe God.

Kinds of Metaphorical Descriptions of God
1. Anthropomorphisms—depict God in human form, such as having eyes. 2. Anthropopathism—picture God having changing human feelings like anger and grief. 3. Anthropoieses—attribute to God human actions, such as repenting and forgetting. None of these are intended as literally true, and to take them as such can lead to serious error.