A Heart Marked by the Excellence of God

“Man is said to be after the image of God, not as regards his body, but as regards that whereby he excels other animals…by his reason and intelligence.”

St. Thomas

Very happy to share with you a new article in the series on the “Excellence of God.” Enjoy it!

Having understood that the mark of God’s excellence is the image of Him impregnated within the soul of the human being; and even more so, having understood that Jesus is the living image, the exact reproduction of God the Creator Father; the precise path has been traced to elucidate how the heart of God is reflected in the heart of the human being.

Let us consider here the reasoning of St. Thomas, which reads as follows:

“Man is said to be after the image of God, not as regards his body, but as regards that whereby he excels other animals. Hence, when it is said, Let us make man in our image and likeness, it is added, And let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea (Genesis 1.26). Now man excels all animals by his reason and intelligence; hence it is according to his intelligence and reason, which are incorporeal, that man is said to be according to the image of God.” (Piper, Desiring God 1971)

St Thomas

John Piper, in his study “The Image of God”, shares the following support in this line:

“The early church fathers were quite agreed that the image of God in man consisted primarily in man’s rational and moral characteristics, and in his capacity for holiness.” (Piper, Desiring God 1971)

Thus, God has deposited in the heart of the human being a part of His being, establishing a great difference between the creation of man and woman; and the other created beings, such is the case of the animals, who do not carry within themselves the image of the Triune Creator God.

According to the analysis of David Casas and Russell Fuller, in their article “God’s Image – The Difference Maker,” when examining how man is similar to God, it is excludeH of course the physical body since God is Spirit (John 4:24). And, on the other hand, creature limitations are excluded since God is infinite, eternal, and immutable in all His attributes (Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6; Jeremiah 23:24). On the other hand, man resembles God by having a free, rational, and personal spirit, which includes, say the authors, a conscience with the law of God written in his heart; therefore, man can rule over nature in a similar way as God reigns.[1]  Let us quote Romans 2 here to support this truth:

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:14-16)

Therefore, the heart of the human being is not only marked by the image of God, but the very law of God has been written in it. And this, without exception, all human beings, men and women; boys, and girls; healthy and sick; without socioeconomic distinction. Absolutely all of us are bearers of the image of God; and we all carry the law of God written in our hearts. In the same way for both believers and unbelievers. All human creation, without exception!

The fact that man resembles God, that his heart bears God’s mark of excellence, has at least three profound implications.

According to the study by Casas and Fuller, the following are said implications,[2]  which we will detail one by one.

1. The Image of God Establishes Human Dignity

Here it is possible to expose the atheistic and the pantheistic thought. According to the cited authors, by denying the image of God, atheism diminishes human dignity and reduces man to a fortuitous or casual event, as if he were an evolutionary product of matter, or a simple animal. Pantheism, on the other hand, denies the image of God and instead diminishes human dignity by exalting all of nature as a manifestation of God.

The Scriptures, however, testify to the dignity of man. Being created in the image and likeness of God, he is positioned above all nature. For this purpose, let us quote two very appropriate passages:

“Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsand crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:5-6)

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

2. The Image of God Establishes the Sacredness of Life

The authors point out that atheist cultures reject the sacredness of life while devaluing the lives of the born and unborn as state policy. However, the Word of God protects the sacredness of life in its laws. And with respect to this subject, what is stated in Genesis 9:6 has been sufficiently discussed before (in previous articles). God decrees that if someone commits murder, the murderer must still lose his life, because man is made in the image of God. The authors here emphasize that the crime is really a direct assault against God. In fact, in a situation, such as the one exposed in Genesis 9:6, God will personally search for the murderer and will hold him responsible.

Along these lines, it is interesting how John Calvin observed that because man is the bearer of the image of God, God considers Himself “violated in his person”, in other words, “the victim”. Therefore, he says, you cannot harm another human being without harming God Himself.

The authors conclude that God created the sacred life of man. If this life is destroyed, there is no other way than divine judgment.

3. The Image of God Establishes the Necessity for God’s Redemption

If man would not have the image of God in his being, in his heart, the plan of redemption simply would not exist. It should be clarified that the above does not imply that possessing the image of God entitles sinners to redemption, but redemption requires that sinners have been created in His image.

It is tremendously interesting how Casas and Fuller explore this topic. And they say that God’s purpose for sending His Son in the likeness of man was to renew the image of God in humanity through the Gospel. Let’s examine Ephesians 4:

“and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)

In fact, Christians have been known and predestined to conform to the image of His Son, according to Romans 8:

“For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)

Thus, the gospel, once received, renews the image that was marred both by Adam’s sin and by our own sin so that the believer can “bear the image of the heavenly”:

“Thus, it is written, ´The first man Adam became a living being´; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45,49)

Image of beautiful young couple drinking coffee while walking by

Because God created us in His image, thus being crowned with glory and honor, and because of His infinite grace toward us undeserving sinners, God sent His Son to redeem us.

As human beings, we are tremendously privileged because our hearts have been marked with the very image of the invisible God. He has bestowed upon us dignity and holiness. He has instilled courage in us, regardless of our condition.

And not only that, but in the midst of our sinful condition, a condition that separates us and breaks communion with our Creator; and because of this, we are judged, singled out or discarded by our environment; it is amazing to know that He Himself has prepared the way for our redemption and restoration. Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, is such a way. And here it is worth quoting 2 Corinthians:

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Thus, for all the above, it is clear that Jesus is the image and fullness of God; therefore, human beings reestablish the image of God in their hearts, in His being, while Christ becomes the very center of their lives.

The excellence of the heart of God was definitely impregnated in our heart, now it is we who must expand the heart of God wherever we go.[3]


[1] David Casas and Russell Fuller, “God´s Image – The Difference Maker,” Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/are-humans-animals/gods-image-difference-maker/

[2] David Casas and Russell Fuller, “God´s Image – The Difference Maker,” Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/are-humans-animals/gods-image-difference-maker/

[3] Cecilia Yépez, “Excellence Stems from the Heart – Part 2”, Blog “Towards Excellence”, https://towardsexcellence.org/2017/04/10/excellence-stems-from-the-heart-part-2/

Jesus, the Image of the Invisible God

The Triune Creator God intends that a similar sense of fellowship, obedience, and love be the hallmarks of human relationship with Him, and that humans are united in love.

Now, to understand even more about the image of God, we will address the character of Jesus and his actions, since He is the perfect example of what human nature should have been. Again, and as presented by Erickson, we will refer part of his analysis for the purpose of this study, thus:[1]

  • Jesus had a perfect fellowship with the Father. A magnificent example of this is seen in John 17, through which it is affirmed that Jesus and the Father are one (v. 21, 22). Also, that Jesus glorifies the Father and that the Father glorifies Jesus (v. 1, 4, 5, 22, 24).
  • Jesus obeyed the Father’s will perfectly. And for that matter, it is important that we quote a couple of passages, like this:

“Jesus said to them: My food is that I do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34)

“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30)

Crown of thorns, hammer, bloody nails on ground. Good Friday, Passion of Jesus Christ. Christian Easter holiday. Top view, copy space. Crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus Christ. Gospel, salvation

“…Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away f from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

In these three shared passages, Jesus’ total submission to the Father is observed during his earthly life, such submission even in the Garden of Gethsemane, submission that led him in obedience to death and death on the cross.

  • Jesus always displayed a strong love for human beings. Again, let’s share a couple of passages for the respective analysis:

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ´I am willing; be cleansed´.” (Mark 1:41)

“When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ´Do not weep´. ” (Luke 7:13)

“Then Jesus said, ´Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do´.” (Luke 23:34)

We observe here Jesus’ concern for the lost sheep of Israel, his compassion and sorrow for the sick and suffering in general, as well as his patience and forgiveness for those who have failed.

The Triune Creator God intends that a similar sense of fellowship, obedience, and love be the hallmarks of human relationship with Him, and that humans are united in love. Erickson emphasizes that we are fully human only when we manifest these characteristics.

Col 1-15_engAnd so, we human beings who are bearers of the divine image, learn from Jesus, the image of the invisible God. The apostle Paul makes this clear in chapter 1 of his Epistle to the Colossians:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)

And in fact, Colossians also corroborates it, in chapter 2:

“For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)

It is extraordinary to understand through Scripture (Colossians 1:15-17) the great creative power of Jesus; and at the same time, how Jesus divests himself of this great divine power and incarnates himself, so that He comes to dwell on Earth and not only that, but also humbles himself and gives his life for the sin of humanity. Jesus existed before the foundation of time. Jesus reveals God to us and teaches us human beings, bearers of God’s image, how to act as such bearers. Philippians 2, is a very good example:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…” (Philippians 2:5-9)

Returning to Colossians 1:15, it is important to highlight that when speaking of Jesus as the “image of the invisible God”, in the Greek the word εἰκών [eikon] means that He is the exact projection, the photograph, the very reproduction of the invisible God. Jesus Christ himself said it in John 14:8-10, that he who has seen Him has seen the Father. Therefore, Roberto Miranda affirms that whoever has seen Jesus in his person, in his character, in his perfect power, in his glory, in his perfect Word, in his teachings he has definitely seen the Father. The essence of Jesus is the very essence of the Father.[2]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 533-534.

[2] Roberto Miranda, “La imagen del Dios invisible”, leondejuda.org, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_31l_MPYFE

God’s Mark of Excellence – His Image

The soul is precisely the one that was sealed with the mark of excellence of our Triune Creator God, because it was made in His image:

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27).

Wernher von Braun, in fact, recognized the human soul as God’s masterpiece. And it is in the human soul that God has impregnated the image of Him:

“Scientists now believe that in nature, matter is never destroyed. Not even the smallest particle can disappear without a trace. Nature knows no extinction, only transformation. Would God have less respect for His masterpiece of creation, the human soul? Every person receives the gift of life on this earth…The knowledge that man can choose between good, and evil should bring him closer to his Creator…” (Federer 2016)

As true as Von Braun’s analysis is, great theologians and scholars throughout history have seriously and deeply studied what concerns the “image of God.” And the Word itself gives us some portions in both the Old and New Testaments.

We have previously quoted Genesis 1: 26-27, which fundamentally have to do with God’s intention to create the human being and, in fact, with His concrete action.

Also, in Genesis 9 we find another verse where the “image of God” is alluded to, thus:

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God is man made.” (Genesis 9:6)

Erickson comments that in Genesis 9 murder is prohibited on the grounds that the human being was created in the image of God. Although this passage does not mention that humans still bear the image of God, it is clear that what God has done before is still in effect, even after the fall.[1]

TongueLet us now quote a passage from the New Testament where the subject in question is also referred to; and through which the Scriptures evidence that the human being is created in the image of God, even after the fall.

“[The tongue] with it we bless the God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:9)

Erickson in his book “Christian Theology” presents some views about the nature of the image of God. However, he concludes by indicating that, since there are various interpretations, this is an indication that there is no direct statement in the Scriptures on the subject. Therefore, reasonable inferences must be drawn from what little the Bible says on this subject. And here we share the most relevant, according to Erickson’s analysis:[2]

  • The image of God is universal within the human race. If the passages Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9-10 are analyzed; we observe bans on killing and cursing, respectively. And these prohibitions apply without limitation to all mankind, on the basis that mankind was created in the image of God.
  • The image of God has not been lost as a result of sin or specifically the fall. Thus, returning to the analysis of the prohibitions on murder and the curse, they apply to both sinners and pious believers. Thus, the presence of the image and likeness in non-believers is assumed. If this is the case, it means that the image of God is something that is inseparably connected with humanity.
  • There are no indications that the image is present in one person to a greater degree than in another. Superior natural endowments such as a high level of intelligence; it is not evidence of the presence or of a certain degree of the image.
  • The image refers to the elements in the human composition that allow the fulfillment of human destiny. It is about the powers of the personality that somehow make humans like God, that is, beings capable of interacting with other people, of thinking, reflecting and having a will. God’s creation had a definite purpose: Humans were destined to know, love, and obey God, and to live in harmony with other human beings. And Erickson emphasizes that humans are most fully human when they are active in these relationships, fulfilling God’s purpose. He mentions here also that the attributes of God which are sometimes referred to as the communicable attributes constitute the image of God. And he points out:

“Humanity as humanity has a nature that encompasses everything that constitutes the personality or the self: intelligence, will, emotions. This is the image in which humans were created, allowing them to have the divinely intended relationship with God and with other humans, and exercise dominion. (Erickson 2003)

  • It is interesting that Erickson also mentions the thought of Karl Barth, who says that the image is present in the human as long as it is human. And he looks at the image of God not only consisting of the vertical relationship between the human and God, but also horizontally between human beings. The image is related to the fact that God created a being who, like Himself, can be a partner.

Mischievous boy covered with paints

As this boy is dirty, covered with paints; so does sin in us, the image of God. 

It is good to highlight here a synthesis of the study by Miguel Núñez, who states that the image of God has not been lost. Yes upset, disfigured, trampled, distorted; but it definitely has not been lost. By definition, he says, the image of God cannot be lost because God exists permanently. What distorted it is sin. As human beings we have a mind with which we think, just like God; emotions we feel; one intelligence, one spirit, existence, all this just like God. And in terms of soul destruction, we are not going to die, just like God. The human being will go to hell or to the presence of God, depending on whether he is a believer or not; but he will continue to exist, just like God. So, what distorts the image of God is the sin that entered man. The sinful nature affected as long as the mind was darkened, it distorts the perception of the reality of what the human being sees. Likewise, the feelings were affected, the human being has become egocentric, tries to satisfy his own needs selfishly. Before the fall, we would have lived in the presence of God, and we would not have had the deviations that we now have.

Dr. Núñez refers to two biblical passages that were also mentioned earlier in this chapter, Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9. Both passages, he says, occur after the fall. And God continues to affirm through them about the existence of the image of God in man. The image of God remains in us, and the seriousness of a crime, domestic violence or abortion basically lies in the fact that human beings are bearers of the image of God; if it were not in us, we could die just like the animals and nothing would have any consequence, he concludes.[3]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 519.

[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 519-533.

[3] Miguel Núñez, “¿Es el hombre pecador aun la imagen de Dios?” Edificando,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaKE_9n-G_M

Excellence Begins in the Heart of the Human Being – Introduction

“Everything that God is and does is marked by excellence.”

Andreas Köstenberger

As always, first, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/05/15/la-excelencia-comienza-en-el-corazon-del-ser-humano-introduccion/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited.

So now, let me begin by sharing that a few years ago, I had the opportunity to venture a submarine trip in Hawaii. A short but surprising journey to the bottom of the sea, where the wonders of the marine realm only seen on the small and big screens, became a beautiful reality. This incredible experience simply confirmed me that wherever we are, we will always be surrounded by beauty and magnificence.[1]

But not only that, it was an extraordinary experience, as it led me to an unfathomable reflection. Just as even in the depths of the sea the Triune Creator God left His mark of excellence; likewise, the Triune Creator God left that same mark of excellence and even superior, in the depths of the heart of the human being, the pinnacle of His creation.

Andreas Köstenberger, in his book “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” states:

TE-Andreas Köstenberger-eng“Systematic theologies generally do not list excellence as one of God’s attributes…however, for excellence can be viewed as an overarching divine attribute that encompasses all the others. Everything God is and does is marked by excellence.” (Köstenberger 2011)

And as we have also noted in the previous articles, the mark of God’s excellence is present in all of creation, consequently in humans.

Wernher von Braun, the renowned German scientist who brought us into the space age, laid the groundwork for cell phones, satellite radio, the Internet, GPS, and Doppler radar. But not only that, especially he held a firm belief in the Creator God of the Bible. And we precisely quote Von Braun because after his conversion to Christianity he was a strong proponent of the Christian faith and creationism, thus defending that creationism was a feasible scientific theory for the origin of the universe, life, and man.[2] He stated:

“To be forced to believe…that everything in the universe happened by chance—would violate the very objectivity of science itself. Certainly, there are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of a man or the system of the human eye?” (Bergmann 2014)

Science with all its advances is still amazed at the extraordinary structure, composition and functioning of the human body, as it is the case of those who study the human brain and all the complexity that it entails, which, without a doubt, continues to leave tremendously astonished those who tirelessly, advancing in investigation after investigation, do not stop until they specify the magnitude and depth of this organ.

According to an article from the “Institute of Creation Research,” researchers found the rosehip ethereal neuron, and Sherwin, its author, says:

“…in postmortem samples and in sections of brain tissue from surgical procedures. Interestingly, this newly discovered neuron is not found in mice. They are unique to humans, and rosehip neurons can activate a unique set of genes in that single type of brain cell.” (Sherwin 2018)

TE-Human BrainExtraordinary as the brain is, although small in its physical structure, just 3 pounds if we talk about the brain of an adult, it manages the information of 1000 supercomputers. The brain is like a communication center, and it has a computer, a library, and a video camera all in one. And the more the brain is used, the better it becomes![3]

Isn’t it fascinating? But there is still something much more fascinating in the human being, something highly impenetrable. His soul! Why? Because the soul represents the very being of a person.

Coming soon “God’s Mark of Excellence,” an extraordinary topic.

[1] Cecilia Yépez, “Excellence Stems from the Heart – Part 1”, Blog “Towards Excellence”, https://towardsexcellence.org/2017/02/28/excellence-stems-from-the-heart-part-1/

[2] Jerry Bergman, “Wernher von Braun: The Father of Space Flight,” Institute of Creation Research, https://www.icr.org/article/wernher-von-braun-father-space-flight

[3] Donald B. DeYoung, “Thinking about the Brain,” Institute of Creation Research, https://www.icr.org/article/thinking-about-brain/

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD – Communicable Attributes

“If God’s genuineness is a matter of His being true and veracity is His telling of the truth, then His faithfulness means that He proves true…God’s faithfulness is demonstrated repeatedly throughout the pages of the Scripture. He always fulfills what He has said He will do.”

Millard J. Erickson

As for the study of incommunicable attributes, we will now follow the classification proposed by Nyenhuis for communicable attributes; of course, including contributions from other scholars, so that it allows us to have a broad and properly supported idea for each attribute.

But as always, first, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/04/10/los-atributos-de-dios-atributos-comunicables/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited. Most Bible verses are from ESV unless otherwise indicated.

So, communicable attributes, Nyenhuis points out, instead give us knowledge of God’s being, while we experience an analogy of His virtues. It should also be noted that the incommunicable attributes qualify the communicable ones; so that these in essence are different in God and different in the human being. God, for example, is infinite and immutable in love, in justice, in wisdom.[1]

And so, Nyenhuis specifies:

little-girl-closed-her-eyes-praying-in-a-field-h-2021-09-01-13-46-02-utc

“What we find in the human being is an echo or reflection of the attribute and is not, in this sense, the original attribute. Echoes and reflections are often weak and disfigured; however, they give us a basis for a knowledge of the reality of God.” (Nyenhuis 1990)

Let us focus then, in the study of the following nine communicable attributes.

  1. God’s Love

God’s love, says Nyenhuis, is the most central attribute of God. In fact, this attribute qualifies all the others, but it must be understood that the others also qualify love.[2]

Chapter 4 of 1 John brings us even more clarity to understand this attribute of God, thus:

“…God is love”. (1 John 4:8)

Dr. Miguel Núñez points out that the Bible not only affirms that God loves us; but also and especially emphasizes that “God is love”. And when the Word says that “God is love”, it means that God is going to love us forever.[3]

By saying that “God is love” we are declaring that this is its essence; therefore, it will not change under any circumstances.

And perhaps the most extraordinary and at the same time humanly incomprehensible of this attribute is that the love of God is giving and sacrificial. John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 explain it very well. It is truly incomprehensible and difficult to accept that, since we are sinners, God the Father sends his Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, to give us salvation and eternal life in His presence. Inconceivable in human parameters, but a profound spiritual truth!

And Jesus also said:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Erickson here highlights that Jesus did indeed die for His friends, who surely loved Him and appreciated what He did for them. But He also stresses that Jesus died for His enemies, who despised and rejected Him.[4]

And this is what makes the big difference between the application of this attribute by God and by us, the human beings. God’s love is totally selfless and seeks the good of his creation; not his own. On the other hand, we human beings, imperfect, often seek our own good and not that of our neighbor.

Erickson illustrates this very well, taking the case of an employer and his employee. The employer is surely interested in the good health of his employee because that way he will produce more and better for him.[5]

  1. God’s Grace

Grace, then, is nothing other than the unmerited love of God towards the human being lost in sin. The grace of God, says Nyenhuis, is His benevolent and undeserved attitude towards the sinner.[6]  Which and if the sinner accepts it, comes to a happy end, that is, the salvation of his soul.

And this is where the attributes connect, or qualify each other. Nyenhuis says:

“One of the most remarkable characteristics of grace is that it is unmerited…God loves the sinner even though he cannot provoke love. God loves because God is love. (Nyenhuis 1990)

It is well here to remember the truth of Ephesians 2:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God’s grace is definitely an unmerited gift from Him to His creation. And when this gift, the gift of the forgiveness of sins, is received by the sinner; there is absolutely nothing to boast about. The greatest thing, the salvation of his soul and everything else that goes with it, is an unmerited gift from his Creator.

  1. God’s Mercy

There are two important terms to consider: Racham, in Hebrew; and Eleemon, in Greek; both mean to have compassion. Therefore, God’s mercy can also be called compassion.[7]  In other words, it is God’s love towards the one who is suffering the consequences of sin; in a sense, mitigating the pain caused by sin.[8]

Here are two biblical texts that help us better understand this attribute:

“The Lord passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, ´The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”  (Exodus 34:6)

 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)

Exodus 34:6 and Hebrews 2:17 illustrate the concept of this attribute very well; and by the way, the meaning of the original terms (Hebrew and Greek) above, in relation to the compassionate heart of our God.

  1. God’s Patience

The patience of God also called long-suffering. This is seen in the fact that God “endures” the wicked and those who challenge Him. God postpones punishment, so He gives sinners a chance to repent. Examples of God’s patience are found in the following texts: 2 Peter 3:3-9; Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34.[9]

  1. God’s Sovereignty

God’s sovereignty is limited solely and exclusively to His own will. This also entails the absolute superiority and omnipotence of God. In other words, God is accountable to no one; He just plans it and executes it. This is how Nyenhuis describes it and emphasizes that it is above the law. In fact, the law in the broad sense is an expression of the will of God.[10]

And as Chris Poblete says and illustrates:

“Sovereignty speaks of the divine control that God has over everything that happens. There is nothing beyond the control of His loving hand: neither the designs of the wicked (not even the plans of the evillest dictators in history), nor the way the earth works on itself apparently against the lives of men (like earthquakes), not the workings of demons (or even Satan), and not my own free will.” (Poblete 2011)

Certainly Romans 8:28,38-39 are a clear affirmation of the sovereignty of God. Everything, absolutely everything helps the children of God for good, according to His purposes; and not only that, but there is nothing beyond the control of the sovereign hand of God. This is how Poblete understands it.[11]

  1. The Truth of God

God is true and God is true in the revelation of Him. If God were a liar, Nyenhuis explains, humanity’s existential situation would be chaotic and desperate. This attribute is what allows us to distinguish the true God from idols, which, as Psalm 115:3-8 points out, have eyes and do not see; they have ears and do not hear; They have a mouth but they don’t speak. And a tremendous aspect of truthfulness is God’s faithfulness, which is the basis of our trust.[12]

In fact, other scholars classify faithfulness itself as an attribute, let’s see what Erickson says about it:

TE-MErickson-english“If God’s genuineness is a matter of His being true and veracity is His telling of the truth, then His faithfulness means that He proves true…God’s faithfulness is demonstrated repeatedly throughout the pages of the Scripture. He always fulfills what He has said He will do.” (Erickson 2003)

In the book of Numbers, we find a very inspiring portion that suits the theme:

God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has He said, and will He not do it?
    Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”  (Numbers 23:19)

God always does what He has said He will do; and this is what brings complete peace, to those who have put their trust in Him.

  1. God’s justice

Nyenhuis in his analysis points out that justice is God’s perfection insofar as he complies with all the standards that God sets for Himself. In fact, there is no standard or guideline above God. God is the one who pronounces the sentence on His own acts.

Nyenhuis also highlights God’s remunerative justice. This refers to the fact that God rewards and rewards according to the conditions and promises that He Himself has established. A clear example of this is the Word found in 1 John 1:9.

On the other hand, Nyenhuis continues in his analysis and presents retributive justice. This has to do with the punishments that God imposes because of sin. Justice is an expression of God’s wrath against sin. God is undoubtedly just that He does not overlook the sins of His people and therefore, in His place, He punished His Son Jesus. The application of justice is fundamental to our salvation. Surely, God’s justice must be satisfied through Christ, or through the sinner.[13]

Now, Erickson points out that as far as justice is concerned, God not only acts in accordance with His law, but also administers His kingdom in accordance with it. It also means that God administers His law fairly, never showing favoritism or partiality.[14]

  1. The Holiness of God

According to the study of Dr. Miguel Núñez, “holy” means separated and free from corruption. God is free from corruption, he emphasizes. And he also highlights that God is a being apart from the rest of creation. God has set apart for Him those who are His children, he affirms.[15]

Thus, the essential idea of ​​God’s holiness, says Nyenhuis, is His moral excellence or perfection, that is, the infinite distance between Him and all impurity, sin, or contamination. If one thinks about concepts like honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, trustworthiness, purity, dignity, and others; put all this and more, including when one refers to the holiness of God.[16]

  1. The Wisdom of God

According to some thinkers, wisdom is considered to be a kind of intelligence. Thus, the wisdom of God is that intelligence of God through which He determines all things and leads them to Himself.

Nyenhuis stresses that wisdom is evident in creation, providence, and redemption. And indeed, the Psalmist praises God’s wisdom when he considers His works.[17]

Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)

And in this line, Dr. John MacArthur invites us to reflect on the depth of God’s wisdom, thus:

“Consider creation, from the unlimited number of galaxies in the universe to the distinctive structure of a single atom; from the grandeur of a blue whale to the intricacies of countless microscopic creatures that live in a pond. One attribute of God stands out above all others in the display of creation: His wisdom.” (MacArthur 2011)

Each element of creation was certainly brushed with the wisdom of the Creator God.

Now the number of God’s attributes varies somewhat according to the study of theologians or scholars who present it. And in the comparative studies that the reader may do, he will find slightly different proposals, although established on the same basis that has been used in this research. In fact, analyzing the character of God is a vast, endless, and fascinating subject, and from this side of eternity we will hardly understand who God is in its entirety.

On the other hand, throughout this study, it has also been seen that the incommunicable attributes qualify the communicable ones; and also some attributes, especially among the communicable ones, qualify each other. So, the number of attributes can surely vary.

But what matters here is not the number of God’s attributes as such. What matters is that, through the study of them, we have the understanding about who the Triune Creator God is and the depth of His nature, the depth of the nature of His Being.

Certainly, the study of the character attributes of the Triune Creator God takes us to a higher level. Having gone through the different moments of creation; and even, having looked at a few wonders of the natural world that surround us today; we have no choice but to stop for a moment, raise our gaze to infinity and recognize that in every brushstroke of creation the Triune God is present.

Infinitely extraordinary, infinitely perfect! The Creator is infinitely perfect! And as great and magnificent as the universe looks, how much more will the Maker of it be! The Creator does not depend on anyone for His existence at all; however, every microparticle in the universe depends on an order from the Creator for any movement.

But we do not depend only on a great telescope to realize the immensity of the Triune Creator God. Yes, He transcends space and time because He simply made them and is not confined to them.

But, descending to Earth as such, we observe that, just as the Triune Creator God breathed life into the first human being – Adam; likewise, he has breathed the breath of life into his present creation. Every time we get up, after a pleasant night of rest, we can do nothing but thank God for a new dawn, full of life and health! How self-evident it is here to recognize that God’s perfect love is indeed infinite, beyond our comprehension!

At this point, it is worth remembering here the Word of James 1:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no change, no shadow of variation.” (James 1:17)

The signature of excellence of the Triune Creator God is stamped throughout the universe; and although some have wanted, but no one will be able to eliminate it:

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You.” (Nehemiah 9:6)

[1] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 93.

[2] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 94.

[3] Miguel Núñez, “Los atributos comunicables de Dios,” Coalición por el Evangelio, https://www.coalicionporelevangelio.org/articulo/los-atributos-comunicables-dios/

[4] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 319.

[5] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 319.

[6] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 94.

[7] Miguel Núñez, “Los atributos comunicables de Dios,” Coalición por el Evangelio, https://www.coalicionporelevangelio.org/articulo/los-atributos-comunicables-dios/

[8] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 94.

[9] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 94.

[10] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 114.

[11] Chris Poblete, “The Attributes of God: Sovereignty,” Blue Letter Bible, https://blogs.blueletterbible.org/blb/2011/10/28/the-attributes-of-god-sovereignty/

[12] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 115.

[13] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 116.

[14] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 314-315.

[15] Miguel Núñez, “Los atributos comunicables de Dios,” Coalición por el Evangelio, https://www.coalicionporelevangelio.org/articulo/los-atributos-comunicables-dios/

[16] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 136.

[17] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 138.