“Can you find out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
It is higher than heaven—what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth
and broader than the sea.”
Job 11:7-9 ESV
The more I read and study about GOD, the more I find how difficult it is to separate His attributes. I guess it is like someone you know. When you first meet them, you get to know them a bit at a time. You don’t know much about them. You discover that they have a great sense of humor or are rather Eeyorish. You find they are often quite loving and tender hearted or tend more toward self-centerdness. You learn the areas where they have become embittered, the areas where they could have, but didn’t…and why.
But a friend you have known for years…or your spouse? How do you introduce them? You think of them in their totality, not by their individual characteristics. Often, you might choose the parts about them that you know your audience will be interested in, and tell about those parts because you can’t begin to introduce the whole person in a way that a stranger will even appreciate.
The more I learn about GOD, the more I feel that way. He is so complex and vast! There is just too much to “introduce”! Splitting Him up into separate characteristics is a way of covering the many facets of Him, but it is still a very stilted and artificial way of introducing Him to others.
Getting to know more of GOD stretches us and teaches us how huge He is!
Of course, my illustration falls down in some ways at this point, because in GOD, there are characteristics that I have never seen in a human before, much less in the balance they exist in Him! In many ways, I’m working blind. I have experienced a variety of aspects of His character that have been meaningful to me at different times in my life, but if I only present those aspects to you, I could be in danger of introducing a false GOD to you. You might get a totally wrong picture of Him!
So I read what others have learned, I grab Scripture it is based on…because that is what is wholly dependable and true. And I pass it on to you as well as I can. I may also share with you ways in which I have seen GOD show Himself in my life. And realize that my introduction of GOD to you is much like the blind men describing to each other, what the elephant was like. What I learn is true, but doesn’t convey the richness of who GOD is. At some point, you have to take what GOD’s Word tells you and what others tell you from experience and learn it for yourself.
For this week’s topic, I found the most help from Knowing God by J.I. Packer.
The third in our series of incommunicable attributes is His Infinity. To review, the four incommunicable attributes are:
- God’s independence–self-existence/self-sufficiency.
- God’s immutability–entire freedom from change that leads to entire consistency in action.
- God’s infinity–freedom from all limits of time and space. ie. His eternity and omnipresence.
- God’s simplicity–there are no elements in Him that can conflict so, unlike man, He cannot be torn different ways by divergent thoughts and desires.
A GOD who is not limited by time or space?
Imagine what the implications of this are! Do we think about this when we think about GOD…other than knowing it as an intellectual fact? This is one of those places when our poorer brothers and sisters have an advantage over those of us who are more affluent. Which takes in the majority of Americans compared to the world at large!
They see a need and take it to GOD because they don’t have back-up resources like many of us do. How many of us try to answer our own prayers before we get desperate enough to ask GOD to intervene?
I know I’m not the only person guilty of this! It may be as simple as putting something on a credit card when I don’t have the money for it…in order to “answer” my own prayer. It may involve manipulating others to do something I want done.
Whatever it is, I don’t see myself as totally bereft of resources to answer many needs and I try to solve them BEFORE asking GOD! At other times, when I’m really desperate, I try to figure out solutions after I have started praying, but I really don’t want to let go and allow Him to be in charge of an out-of-the-box answer to prayer. That could be downright scary couldn’t it?
Our concept of a GOD who is not limited by anything at all is not the One we pray to, too often.
Barriers such as time and space don’t limit Him either!
He is not limited by time. He is not limited by space. He sees the end from the beginning of ANY circumstance or situation including my life and yours. He is in control of dealing with every aspect of the prayer. It may be the answer, the people and situations involved in that answer. It may be the sanctification issues that must be dealt with in order to answer it in the way that is best for all concerned. He even has planned our how the generations to come will be affected.Thinking about this attribute of GOD can be mind-blowing!
Other elements involved in this attribute, and some overlap other attributes we have talked about, or will in the future. They include:
- Everything that has to do with His nature is without measure or quantity!
- His absolute perfection is also included in His infinity. Job 11:7-11; Psalm 145:3.
- Of course, His eternity is included here too. Psalm 90:1-6; Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:20-21. For GOD, there is only an eternal present. There is no past, no future. To Him it is all present.
- His immensity describes His being outside the limits of space. He transcends all of space while being present in every point of space with His whole being. Imagine…if you can! I Kings 8:26-28; Isaiah 66:1-2; Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49; Acts 17:27-28.
I feel like I have only scratched the surface on this, but think on the linked Scriptures. Grab one of the linked books to read more and find yourself stretched. The more I learn, the more I am reminded of the hugeness of GOD…in ways I don’t often think about.