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Incommunicable Attributes

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2021 12:01 am

Incommunicable Attributes

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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July 8, 2021 12:01 am

Because God has created us in His image, we bear several characteristics and attributes that resemble His. But God has other attributes that we do not share. Today, R.C. Sproul introduces those attributes of God that are called incommunicable.

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On Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul explains the attributes of God. We are dependent beings we are created beings, but God is not dependent not created, not finite, but he has the power of being in and of himself. He doesn't derive it from something else to Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday time we would have been thank you for being with us, you and I are made in God's image. There are things that make us unique from other creatures, godlike qualities that we have to some degree. Yet there are attributes of God that only he possesses.

We just heard Dr. RC scroll referred to one of them God's omnipotence fact that he is all-powerful, but there are others, and understanding them gives us a greater appreciation for who God is, when he declares in his word. I am the Lord, and there is no other. Sometimes when I go in the store and want to make a purchase or in the bank and want to cash a check paper will request some form of identification, usually open up my wallet and show them my picture on my Florida driver's license and on the side of that license and thousands. What color my eyes are what color my hair is and all that sort of thing. How old I am in another words what is being done here in trying to identify me as a person. Is that a list of particular characteristics or traits are listed there and we call these characteristics or traits or idiosyncrasies that the fine a human being there attributes when we study the doctrine of God. One of the most important things were concerned with is an understanding of his attributes, and so we seek to look at the specific characteristics of God such as his holiness is immutability is infinity, and so on. All these different things that we say about God in order to gain a coherent understanding of who he is now at the beginning of such an endeavor. We recognize a couple of important things.

One distinction that is made in theology with respect to the nature of God is the distinction between the communicable and the in communicable attributes of God on Atlanta Georgia.

We have a communicable disease center where the focus of attention there is to study those diseases that are easily transmitted from one person to another that we might say are contagious and when we talk about that which is communicable, we mean that which is able to be transferred from one to another. Now in our next session we will look at some of the communicable attributes of God that refers to those attributes that God possesses that we need to some degree can process as well. But today were going to look at the incommunicable attributes in brief, and this term incommunicable attributes defines those attributes of God that cannot be transferred to a creature, even God cannot communicate these characteristics of his own being, to those things that he made in simple terms were asked the question frequently. Is it possible for God to create another God will of course not. Unless we change the definition of the term God because the problem God would have in creating another God is that the creaturely God by definition would be created would be a creature and not independent, not eternal, not immutable, they would lack the necessary attributes that describe God so there certain attributes and even God couldn't transfer from himself to a creature while a second introductory idea that we have to have. Besides, this distinction between incommunicable and communicable attributes of God is the important principle of understanding that God is a simple being, simple to understand, not simple in the sense of being simplistic or easy. But what is meant by that is that God is not made up of parts. I have distinctive body parts, toes and feet than legs in the knee bone connected to the ankle bone. All that we can talk about my liver and my pancreas and kidneys and heart and lungs, and so on, and I made up of so many parts of bone and so much flash. All of this put together makes me a single creature made up of distinctive parts, but God is a simple being in the sense that he is not a complex being made up of 5 pounds of immutability 5 pounds of the tonality, 5 pounds of infinity, 5 pounds of sovereignty and so on. Is not a little bit of this and a little bit of that all mixed together or built together like we would construct a house, but rather we say theology is not so much that God has attributes as that he is his attributes and that he has his attributes sorry is his attributes in an un-divided simple way love again. One of the practical ramifications of that well we might say that, for example, the God is holy and we might also say that God is just that we might also say that he is immutable and we might also say that he is impotent.

But here's what that means that his omnipotence is always a holy omnipotence and immutable omnipotence and eternal omnipotence of an infinite on that is all of the other character traits that we use of the straw. God also would define what we mean by his omnipotence, and by the same token, God's terminology is an omnipotent ethernet and his holiness is an all-powerful omnipotent holiness to see me, but it's not like he's made up of one square of omnipotence.

Another square holiness. He is altogether holy altogether omnipotent altogether immutable. The is his attributes that nevertheless we make this distinction between the incommunicable and the communicable attributes that some people don't even think that this is a very helpful distinction in the shy away from my think is very important because when the most critical things we can do as Christians is to come to a clear understanding about the difference between God and any creature and no creature can ever possess an incommunicable attribute of Almighty God was talking about some problems with some folks were having in relationships. The other day and the gentleman I was talking with lactamase as well you know we have here and I said what said he said we had been problem.

I knew what he meant they were speaking in colloquial manner when he said we haven't been problem most people would think you green beans, lima beans, whatever, but he was simply saying what we have human being propped up and consider this a problem with this is problems of human beings have with each other because were a fallen race of people mistreatment by being problem he was making a play on the word human being. Now when we talk about the difference between God and creatures.

Most common distinction we make is that we are human beings and God is called the supreme being. This is our common way of speaking.

God is the supreme bank. We are human being, not what were getting at here is the idea that there must be something I have in common with everything else that exists. I I am Roger, is this piece of chalk is God is so that we all are to some extent beings.

And yet there's something special about God. With respect to his being that when we think of this, and we look we see a common idea here of being and the difference in the qualifying adjectives that describe the being.

You would think that the real difference between God and man would be out here, but in reality, the real difference between God and everything that is made is this right here as I was indicating earlier we stand out of being where derived beings we are conditional beings we are dependent beings we are created beings, but God is not dependent not created not a finite, but he has the power of being in and of himself. He doesn't derive it from something else. We say in God we live and move and have our being. God doesn't say in man I live and move and have my being. He got along without us before he met us. They can get along without us. Now he never needed us to survive or to be and yet we cannot survive for an instant without the power of his being upholding our being is the idea here is that when God creates us not undersea create us and by virtue of his being the maker of who we are means that we are dependent upon him for our very existence from the beginning with the idea biblically.

Is that what God creates. He sustains he preserves and I am is dependent upon God for my moment to moment being for my continuing to exist as I was for my original existence and again this is the supreme difference between God and us, and that God has no such dependence upon anything outside of himself.

Now that I've mentioned already, Bertrand Russell's insight that he had when he was in his late teenage years when he read an essay from John Stuart Mill in which Mill argued against the classical cosmological argument for the existence of God in which the thinkers reason this way every effect must have a cause and we would reason back from the facts that we see now back to the ultimate cause who was God and the Bertrand Russell said when he was growing up he was very much persuaded by that rational argument until he read this essay by Mill in which Mill said will, if everything has to have a cause, then obviously God has to have a cause and so when we get back to God.

You can't stop there. You gotta keep asking the question who cause God and this was an epiphany for Bertrand Russell uses it in his book why not a Christian, and for the rest of his life. He rejected the existence of God on the basis of this insight from John Stuart Mill, which involved a false understanding of the law of causality. The law of cause and effect says that every effect must have a cause. Not that everything that is must have a cause really requires a cause is in effect and it requires one, by definition, because that's when effect is something that is caused by something else. And so the question is does God require cause. Not if he has his being in and of himself. Not if he is eternal and self existent again.

There were two little boys having a discussion and one blue boy said that the little boy would actually come from voice of God made the tree all board of that like come from God made the lake were those flowers come from God made those flowers or did you come from God made me all right. Where did God come from, and the little boy said God made himself less forcibly profound but is profoundly wrong because even God cannot make himself for God to make himself God would have to be before he was that he can't do that so it's not that God is self-created. That's what we don't want to say about God. Nothing can create itself.

God is not self-created.

God is self existent. This gets us.

I think the most amazing and profound element for aspect or attribute of God himself.

My favorite attribute in God.

If I can have one is found in the word see when I realize that the vast majority of people who have not studied theology. The technical level, probably never in their lives heard that word before associating and this is where I think and I just feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend so many years studying theology and see the benefits therein. But when I say that word.

I have chills go up and down my spine was just saying that word communicates to me something about the character of God that makes me want to fall my face right now in a posture of all in reverence and adoration OCSC unity of God refers to having his existence in and of himself. This is what defines supremacy of the supreme being, but God is not a creature but go out and and this is unimaginable, unimaginable. If you choke off my oxygen supply for a few minutes I die. If you take away water for a few days I die, you take away food for a few more days I die or give me a disease that can kill me quickly.

Our lives are fragile and susceptible to all kinds of dreadful things that can destroy content die. There's nothing that he's dependent upon for his being. This is what I meant earlier when I said he has the very power of being in enough himself the very thing we don't have. That's why we're so fragile. That's why we're so frightened because as human beings we are creaturely beings were dependent beings and we wish we had the power to keep ourselves alive forever, but we don't.

But God has that power of his own being in the power of any other being enough, himself, is what Paul says in him we live and move and have our being and God alone has acidity God and God alone has self existence. The power to be eternally on his self some limited associate very quickly. I think that reason alone compellingly demands that there be such a being who possesses this or nothing could possibly exist in this world. If anything exists now that tells us that there never could've been a time when nothing existed because if there ever was a time when there was absolutely nothing in what could be now, nothing less talk about our universe came into being 17 billion years ago. Unless you're going to talk in terms of the nonsense of self creation, because nothing can create itself, and if there was a time that there was nothing if it were 17 billion years and six months ago there was nothing. What would there be now, nothing regular possibly be enough. Nothing point is there is something and if anything exists now at all. This piece of chalk my shoe. This room in which we are and that means that somewhere, somehow something must have the power of being dependent.

There always had to be be when nothing could possibly be the sponsorof chalk screams of the CFP of God, and you won't find that acidity in the truck and you won't find it in me.

These are things that are not communicable dislike God cannot communicate his eternal reality to creature because anything that has a beginning in time is by definition not eternal. We can be given eternal life going on forever in that direction, but we can't get it retroactively because we all are birthdates and we are not eternal creatures. A turn analogy as such is an incommunicable attribute immutability goes with acidity because God is eternally what he is and who he is.

This is the basis of his being incapable of mutation.

We as creatures who are made in space and time are mutable creatures. We are not in mutable creatures and we are finite creatures. We are not infinite creatures. God could not create another infinite being, because there there may be many infinite lines and so on. There can be only one infinite being. It's a contradiction in terms of talk terms of two infinite beings if were talking about being being infinite and so we see how these attributes of God point to the way in which God is either from us the way in which he is different from us and the way in which he transcends us in the way in which he is greater. We and why we owe him glory and honor and praise for his greatness.

You know, we cheer the Michael Jordan's of this world we stand up and give all kinds of accolades to people who excel for a moment and then I heard no more. And yet the one who has to very far being in love himself and eternally, to whom every one of us is absolutely dependent and should owe our everlasting gratitude for every breath of air that we take in this world doesn't receive the honor and glory from his creatures that he so richly deserves. The one who is supreme deserves the dance and the worship of those as we look ahead to next Lord's day, and certainly provides us with great motivation to worship God with all that we have. He is certainly worthy of your listening to Renewing Your Mind and another message from Dr. RC Sproul sweeping overview of systematic theology we call the series, foundations, RC titled it foundations because it provides a framework for understanding who God is and how it works and how he reveals himself in his word. There are 60 lessons in the series.

More than 23 hours of teaching and for your donation of any amount we will be glad to send you the eight DVD set, you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.org just a reminder Renewing Your Mind is easily accessible in a variety of places that you confided in the legionnaire app or you can have it delivered to you by email every day. If you go to our website you'll see a list of ways the program can be delivered directly to you and again, that website is Renewing Your Mind.org tomorrow we will wrap up the highlights of doctors Pro series and that he will add to what we learned today with a lesson on those attributes that God has graciously shared with us his communicable attributes as frightening here on Renewing Your Mind


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