HOT TOPIC: God's Nature vs His Character

michael_legna's picture

In another thread we veered off ending up discussing the Nature of God esepcially His omniscience and omnipotence.

I hold that God is ALL powerful and ALL knowing and He just chooses not to do somethings and to not know certain things when it suits His plans.

The other side of the argument is that there are certain things God cannot do, like sin. That it is not just Him choosing to not sin but that He is completely incapable of sin, that it is an actual limit to His omnipotence and omniscience.

This thread is meant to give all an opportunity to present arguments for either side.

I will begin by posting a few responses to the last few posts of one other poster in the previous thread.

michael_legna's picture

God chooses to define truth and His nature as well

JeffLogan said -
The foundation for this position addresses the question, "Is God Righteous, or does He merely refrain from sinning?"

ML said -
You misunderstand the definition of righteous if you think it requires the inability to sin. If one is capable of sinning and then completely refrains from sinning they are righteous. The reason no man is righteous is not because they are capable of sin, but because they actually sin. If man could refrain from sinning they would be righteous.

Jeff replies -
I don't misunderstand at all. Man is capable of sin, as is every created being. We have the evidence in Adam and Lucifer. So your definition of righteous does pertain to man. But God is neither man nor a created being. God is the Source of righteousness. He is the vine from which all men draw. He is the good tree of Jesus' parable which cannot produce bad fruit. Man is the bad tree which cannot produce good fruit.

You push the analogy too far because we do know that good trees can produce bad fruit, it happens all the time in nature. You cannot draw absolute conclusions about the divine based on creation because it is but a pale reflection of that majesty.

JeffLogan said -
God cannot even be tempted with evil and that is why Jesus took upon Himself the likeness of our sinful flesh--so he could be tempted in every way as we are tempted. Yet, He did not sin.

I think you are interpreting this verse as well in isolation because scripture does indicate God can be tempted.

Gen 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Mal 3:15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Luk 4:12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

JeffLogan said -
But remember. Sin happens in the heart. It doesn't require and outward act. Your wording in your definition leads me to believe you are speaking only of sin which manifests itself outwardly. But you yourself contended in another post, where you argued concerning the moral law, that one can keep the intent of the law even though one breaks the letter of the law. As you reasoned there, sin happens in the heart. It doesn't require an outward behavior.

NIV Matthew 5:28 But I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman
has already committed adultery in his heart. ...

So this seems to contradict how you define righteousness here if you imply that a man can be sinful inside as long as nothing spills out.

I am not being inconsistent here because I was not referring to sin as only those outward actions, I see sin as the inward intent and decisions as much or more so as sin as the outward actions. So to for God. He has the capability of wrong intent He just never has one.

JeffLogan said -
But if I take it another way, then we have a man who is capable of sinning yet refrains himself in both thought and deed. But this is impossible. Man cannot refrain from sinning because his nature is unrighteous. Unless that man is partaking of the Source of righteousness, which is Christ, he has no righteousness.

Wrong again as I have shown you repeatedly the verse which show even the gentiles can become a law unto themselves with out the law and that we can please God with our works. What is needed is Gods grace, but that is given before we are converted and regenerate.

JeffLogan said -
But in either case, man's righteousness is drawn from God. We are not righteous in and of ourselves. We are only righteous as we partake of God's righteous character.

NIV 2 Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Participating in the divine nature is not just good works, it is so much more than that and I agree that conversion which culminates in our having glorified bodies and partaking of the beatific vision does require what you say, but that is way down the road of salvation. It is not achieved through good works.

JeffLogan said -
But, again, since Christ says that no one is good but God, and that He Himself is the Truth.

Is this all you are going to do is bring up the same verses over and over again once I have already responded to them? The point Christ was making here was that if the individual could see He was good (based on the miracles He performed) then the individual had to see that He was God.

All of God's creation is good he said so in Genesis.

Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

To claim that creation itself is flawed and cannot be good is one of the oldest heresies ever introduced into Christianity.

JeffLogan said -
Then since He is God and He is sovereign it must also be that whatever God says is truth and whatever He does is right.

But that is not the question before us - it is not whether everything is good or not it is whether it is good by choice or by force. Your view is that God has no choice in being good. The problem is - if we judge on human terms that position would take all the virtue out of such a god.

JeffLogan said -
Even if God does something you think is wrong it is still right because He is God. And even if God says something you think is a lie it is still the truth because He is God.

I agree but again that does not address the question - which is does He do these right things which seem wrong to us because He wants to or because He has to?

JeffLogan said -
God proclaimed of Himself that He speaks no idle words but whatever He says comes to pass.

AV Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

Since God is sovereign He gets to define what is truth and what is right. He has chosen to make Himself the standard. And, He reveals Himself to mankind in word and deed so that all may judge. And the judgment will be, "Thou are worthy...Holy, Holy, Holy!"

But now you argue against yourself by saying God chooses to act the way He does. You started out by claiming he had no choice (that it was His nature) and now you say He chooses to make Himself the standard. By doing so he defines sin and truth, He does not have sin and truth define His nature.