The Attributes of Divine Persons
E W Rogers, Oxford
A PERUSAL OF PSALM 139 will show clearly that God is omnipresent and omniscient. It is remarkable that Jonah did not quote this Psalm: it was far too pertinent to his state and actions - it condemned him. He quoted several other Psalms but not this. Add to these attributes that of omnipotence declared plainly by the existence and maintenance of creation, and we apprehend in feeble measure what an immense God is ours. He is 'from everlasting to everlasting', Ps. 90. 2, -eternal in His being. He is 'Jehovah: I change not'. He is immutable.
If, as we have shown, in our last article, the Son and the Spirit are equal in every respect in their essential Being with the Father, we may expect to find these attributes ascribed to them in the Holy Scripture.
Some vital references
Will you go to the trouble to turn up and ponder the following passages:
Touching the eternal Being of the Son, see John 1. 2; 8. 58; 17. 5; Rev. 1. 8, 17, 18; 22. 13.
Touching His immutability, see Heb. 1. 11-12 and 13. 8. We take much comfort in this, for to have a variable Saviour would destroy all sense of assurance.
Touching His omnipresence, see John 3. 13; Matt. 18. 20 and 28. 20. Though it should here be remarked that many boast in this fact, yet their behaviour hardly indicates that they are inwardly convicted of its reality. The 'Real Presence' of such a holy Person should produce awe and reverence.
Touching His omniscience, read Matt. 11.27; John 2. 23-25; 21. 17; Rev. 2. 23. What a thought! How easy it is to write these words, but how terrible (but for die constant efficacy of the cleansing blood of Christ) is the thought!
Touching omnipotence, read John 5. 17; Heb. 1. 3; Rev. 1. 8; 11. 7. How easy it is to fall into Israel's sin and to limit the Holy One by saying 'Can He?'. Turn to Mark 9. 23 and see Revised Version. 'If thou canst'. Note how the Lord repels the idea of questioning His power.
Mark 13. 32 constitutes a difficulty with some, for they fail to reconcile the statement of that verse with the fact of the Lord's omniscience. Yet if one can affirm that there is only one thing which He does not know, it is an amazing affirmation of the immensity of what He does know. Let us suppose a partnership business, in which all have an equal share both of capital, and profits, and knowledge of affairs. But A is in charge of the stocks, B of the staff and C of the sales. Were you to ask B anything about the stocks he would disclaim know¬ledge, not essentially but administratively, for that is not his department. So, too, 'times and seasons the Father hath set in His own authority', Acts 1. 7, and therefore of the 'day and hour knoweth no man, not the Son, but the Father'. Besides, a voluntary refusal to know certain things for certain purposes does not bespeak ignorance, else we must say that Paul was ignorant of all else 'save Jesus Christ and him crucified' (see 1 Cor. 2. 2). The word 'know' does not only connote knowledge, it may imply acknowledgement.
Some, too, have found John 5.19 and 5. 30 incongruous with the affirmation of the Lord's omnipotence. But there is more than one kind of inability: there is such a thing as moral inability and it is of this that these two verses speak. It was morally impossible for the Lord Jesus to act independently of His Father. It was not an utter incompetency to do whatsoever He would. Else what shall we say? That One through whom all things were made could not do certain things within the 'all things' - things of a relatively insignificant nature? If He could do and did the greater, much more so the less.
Our Lord Incomprehensible
We should never forget that the Lord Jesus is incomprehensible to all save the Father, Matt. 11. 27. The Son reveals the Father to whom He will, but remains unknown in His fulness to all but the Father. The reason for this is that in Himself there are united two whole and perfect natures, deity with all its attributes and humanity with all its sinless characteristics. To the human reason these may appear to be contradictory. If He is omniscient why did He ask questions? If omnipotent, why did an angel strengthen Him? If omnipresent why, when on the mountain top was He not also on the lake? All such questions are resolved when we admit that we cannot explain His inscrutable person. The Father knows. We cannot, but we believe.
The Holy Spirit
Further, these divine perfections are also attributes of the Holy Spirit. Let the reader consult for His omnipresence Psalm 139. 7. For His omniscience 1 Cor. 2. 10 and II, His omnipotence is evidenced in Luke 1. 35; John 16. 13; Ps, 104. 30. In Heb. 9. 14 His eternal being is affirmed. To write at length on the Holy Spirit would far exceed our present space or intention, but this we may add. He is the inspirer of Scripture and what knowledge this assumes! He is the immediate agent in regeneration and what a miracle that is! See John 3. 6 and Titus 3. 5. He is spoken of in connection with the resurrection of the believer's body, Rom. 8. 11. What power will that display!
The harmonious working of all three Persons of the Godhead is one of the fascinating studies of Holy Scripture. We have referred to Luke 15, and 1 Peter 1. 2. But ponder the first fourteen verses of Ephesians 1 and note how these Persons all co-operate, doing their respective parts to bring into eternal effect the counsels of the Godhead. Note how in Hebrews 9. 14 (a) the Lord Jesus by (b) the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to (c) God. The value of these articles on the 'Fundamentals' will lie, not in the mere reading of them, but in the resort thereafter to our Bibles to develop for the nourishment of our own souls the truths, a bare outline of which we have sought to sketch.