The Description Of God

A short explanation of the description of God, as given by the Church.

Waterfall-9God is an essence, that is, a thing which neither springs from, nor depends upon any thing else, but exists of and by itself alone, and is the cause of existence to every thing else. God is for this reason called Jehovah, as if to say, that He exists from Himself, and causes all other things to exist.

Spiritual; that is incorporeal, invisible, and imperceptible to the senses; also, living or existing from Himself, and giving life to all things else.

Objection 1.  But God has often appeared to men; therefore His nature cannot be spiritual in the sense just explained.  Answer.  God, in these appearances, merely assumed a bodily form for the time, without exhibiting His proper substance, which no man has or can see.

Objection 2.  But He was seen face to face.  Answer.  This, however, does not mean that God was perceptible to the natural eye, but that there was a clear perception of Him by the mind.

Objection 3.  But the Scriptures very frequently attribute to God the various parts and members of the human body.  Answer.  These representations of God are to be understood figuratively, as spoken after the manner of men.

Objection 4.  But it is said that man was made in the image of God. Therefore, God cannot be spiritual, as explained above.  Answer.  The image of God, in which man was created, consisted not in the shape or form of the body, but in the essence of the soul, in its powers and integrity.

Intelligent.  The human mind, with the notions or general conceptions which it has, which are from God, proves that He is endowed with this attribute. “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear?” (Psalm 94:9)

Eternal;  that is, having an existence without beginning or end. “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.” (Psalm 90:2)

Different from all creatures and things.  God is not nature itself, nor matter, nor form, nor any part of nature, but the efficient cause of all things; neither is His essence mixed or blended with other things; it is different from and unlike any thing else.

Objection 1.  All things are from God; therefore they cannot be different from Him.  Answer.  All things are indeed from God, but only by having been created by Him out of nothing.

Objection 2.  We are the offspring of God.  Answer.  But only in respect to a resemblance of properties, and by creation.

Objection 3.  The saints are born of God.  Answer.  This is, however, by regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

Objection 4.  We are made partakers of the divine nature, according to the Apostle Peter. (2 Peter 1:4)  Answer.  This means nothing more than that God dwells in us, and that we have a conformity with Him.

Objection 5.  Christ is God, and has a divine body.  Answer.  But this is by virtue of the hypostatical union and glorification.

Incomprehensible.  God is incomprehensible;  1. As it respects our thoughts or knowledge of Him.  2. In the immensity of His essence.  3. In the communication of His essence, in number one and the same.

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