Since the doctrine of the Trinity has a well-established biblical foundation, the Protestant Reformers confessed the historic Trinitarian view of God codified in the great ecumenical creeds of the church. Yet, the Trinity is not the only aspect of the historic Christian view of God that the Reformers confessed. The Reformation’s understanding of God’s attributes was also essentially the same as that of Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Augustine, and other pre-Reformation thinkers. To get a better grasp of the historic Christian view of God’s attributes and their biblical foundation, we will now spend a few days looking at our Lord’s character with the help of The Attributes of God, a teaching series by Dr. R.C. Sproul.
At the outset, we cannot ignore that the study of God’s attributes has fallen on hard times in the church and culture. This is due in part to a shift from a focus on God in our worship to man-centered approaches that make little of the glory of the Lord. Moreover, religious skepticism that says we cannot know anything definitive about our Creator pervades Western culture. The idea that God has revealed Himself through His prophets and His Apostles is a ridiculous notion for many people. Even harder to believe is that salvation is found only in Christ (John 14:6). People are happy to think of Jesus as offering one way of salvation among many, but few are willing to see our Lord as God’s final revelation, believing that we are all finding our own path to God, however we conceive of Him.
In sum, many people have relegated God to the realm of the unknowable, and many professing Christians have followed suit. God, after all, is incomprehensible, is He not? Yes He is, but God’s being incomprehensible does not mean that He is unknowable. Without a doubt, God is far beyond our understanding. Our finite minds cannot fully grasp the depths of His being. Nevertheless, we can know something about God. Since we are created in His image (Gen. 1:26–27), we can know Him truly, if not fully.
We can know God, and Scripture calls us to pursue the knowledge of Him and His ways (Hos. 6:3; Matt. 11:27; John 12:45). Even so, as the psalmist tells us, God’s greatness is unsearchable (Ps. 145:3). When it comes to knowing God, there will always be more for us to learn, even in eternity. We will plumb the depths of His character, learning more and more that our Creator is infinitely more glorious than we could ever imagine.