Chapter 4: Charnock on God's Attributes
Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) is best known for his big book "Existence and Attributes of God."
Theologians often categorize this study by looking at God's names, being, attributes, work and persons (of the Trinity).
Some used the humanist model of examining a topic: whether it is, what it is, of what sort it is.
We'll just look at the what and what sort here.
- God is a spirit, without a body.
- God is simple. Not made up of multiple parts, whether Persons of the Trinity or listed attributes of God. "Whatever is in God is God" (61). This one is hard to grasp with the mind, like the Trinity, but nonetheless true.
- God is eternal. There is no measure of time in God, no succession of events in Him, no past present or future to Him. He "has every moment at once" (63). I liked John Frame's take on this, which I read recently and can be found not too far below on this blog. While it's true that God is outside of time, we must also assert that for God to be "with us" in a meaningful way, He can experience or know what it means for us to wait, to regret and other things that involve time. Jesus does this in the Incarnation, of course.
- God is immutable; He does not change. If He could, He would be imperfect. Why does the Bible sometimes say He changes His mind, or "repents," then? This accommodates our limited understanding of what God is doing, it doesn't deny His foreknowledge or prove He makes mistakes.