30,000 Foot Overview
Ever since the Fall of humankind in Genesis 3, we've faced and often continue to plunge into the temptation of both mistaking ourselves to be God as well as possessing the attributes that belong to Him and Him alone. And here’s the deal–trying to be God always results in disaster. Always.
In this short, 4-part blog series entitled "Know Your Limits" my aim is to highlight three doctrines that when wrongly understood and applied will inevitably lead to burn out, frustration, and anxiety. However, when rightly understood and applied, these doctrines can lead to real life, peace, freedom, and productivity that are both enjoyable for us and glorifying to God.
Theological Groundwork: Communicable and Incommunicable Attributes of God
The Bible teaches us that human beings are made in the "image of God” (Gen. 1:27) which is very different from saying “human beings are God.” Systematic theologians offer us several ways to help us understand the distinction between God the Creator and the human image-bearers he has made. One of the ways is by calling attention to what are known as the “communicable” and “incommunicable" attributes of God. The communicable attributes are those that God shares (communicates) with us, though analogically.* Examples include our ability to be and express goodness, justice, honor, rationality, love, etc. Though we don’t carry out any of these perfectly like God; they do point to the One in whose image we are made.
And yet, God doesn’t share all of his attributes with us. He is also the transcendent Creator and establishes plenty of distinction between us and Him by hanging onto his “incommunicable” attributes. Three of which we’re going to take a brief look into are:
Omniscience: Knowing Everything
Omnipresence: Being Everywhere
Omnipotence: Possessing Limitless Power
The moments when we attempt any of these prove disastrous. And yet, letting God be God brings the Christian life, peace, and real joy. Stay tuned as we dive into these jaw-dropping truths in Scripture.
*Michael Horton defines the communicable attributes as “those attributes that may be predicated of God and humans (though only analogically), such as love, mercy, and justice”, Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, 992.