God’s Special Attributes

A discussion on another blog got me to wondering about something I’ve never considered before … exactly where did the beliefs that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent originate?

I think most everyone, both within and without the religious community, would agree these qualities are synonymous with God … yet I’m quite sure the words aren’t used anywhere in the bible.

Certainly theologians would say there are INDICATIONS of these attributes within the scriptures, but that doesn’t explain where the use of these words originated … and by whom?

Anyone?

P.S. At the above-referenced blog, some feel that in order for humans to have free will, God cannot be omniscient. An interesting thought …

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21 thoughts on “God’s Special Attributes

  1. As usual, man has endeavored to define god in his own image. After all, what else can man do? Those terms are terms which you would relate to a finite being, not an infinite one. Almost by definition, an infinite being cannot think or act. That’s why we were created.

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      • I don’t have trouble with that part of the story. I see it as a pun by God showing the people their great tower is so puny, it can barely be seen from heaven. I puzzle at verse 6:

        ‘And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.’ (Genesis 11:6).

        It sound like God is feeling threatened.

        In a similar way I find the references to God changing his mind, such as in regard to the flood, regretting he appointed Saul King, whether or not he would wipe out Israel after the Exodus Golden Calf incident seem at odds with God’s unchanging nature.

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        • Don’t get me started, I could go on for days, and have.

          But the thing about the Tower of Babel fable, is that not only was it based on a Mesopotamian ziggurat, but was clearly not inspired by any god who created the universe, as such a god would have known that oxygen thins the higher one goes, and so rather than confusing languages and scattering people, a REAL god would have cocked back in his Laz-E-Boy with a plate of hot nachos on his lap and a cold Bud parked on a nearby cloud, and laughed his ass off as, on his big-screen, he watched the stone masons pass out from oxygen deprivation.

          Of course a writer who had never been higher than a two-story building, would have no way of knowing that.

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  2. There is a school of thought that the Greek concepts, especially those of Plato were influential in the development of the Church’s theology. There is quite a debate about the extent to which the concept of Jesus as the eternal Word was an attempt to write the story of Jesus is a way that picked up on existing Greek thought and terms.

    Around 1,000 years later during the scholastic period great thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas applied the principles of Aristotle to their theology.

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  3. Great article, Nan!

    …..man has endeavored to define god in his own image…..
    …..Considering we created it…..
    …..he had to “go down” to check out the tower of Babel.he had to “go down” to check out the tower of Babel…..

    I like to quote these thoughts from previous comments because, together with the title of this post, they are some of the reasons why I have always found it impossible to accept God – at least the Judeo/Christian/Islamic God. The stories in the Old Testament trigger my doubt [does it sound arrogant to say that actually I do not doubt but am almost certain?]: “If God talks, acts, gets angry at a tower, is satisfied, commands to be obeyed, pleased, worshipped; if he has human attributes, he cannot be the Supreme Being who is said to have created the universe. Imagining such a Being seems to me as difficult as understanding the existence of Self-Replicating Molecules. Until when will the question ‘who created what?’ remain a circular one?
    Greetings.-

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree, Federico. The Christian says God created everything … the doubter then asks who created God? And around and around we go.

      Thanks for stopping by! Always enjoy your input.

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    • If you do, though, would you only print mine the one time – “he had to ‘go down’ to check out the tower of Babel…..” – as twice is a bit redundant, and I hate redundancy! I hate redundancy!

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  4. Tautology of pleonasms is irritating indeed. I apologize, archaeopteryx1 ! I failed to check text after copying-and-pasting it to and from Word.
    Promise to be more careful.-

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