Class #5: God is incomprehensible and his substance is indivisible. Luther says, “We are at our wits’ end when we try to define God.”1 God’s essence and attributes are not separate. God is not loving, as if it were a changeable attribute. The Scriptures tell us that “God is love” (1 john 4:8). He can’t be otherwise–and not sometimes, but always. Furthermore, when the Scriptures predicate something about God, that attribute is not the same attribute when it is applied to a created thing. Though angels are spirit and “God is spirit” (Jn 4:24), they are quite different is substance.
As creatures, we admit that God is unsearchable without His Word. We need to be content with what God has revealed about Himself. Now we know in part (1 Cor. 13:12). However, what we do know is taught us by the Spirit and we have been correctly instructed in the knowledge of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We can be sure that we “know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor 2:12-16).
Handout: The Definition of God Handout b
- Christian Dogmatics, p.439, footnote 72.