Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The simplicity of God

Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, defines God's simplicity-calling it God's unity-as follows: "God is not divided into parts, yet we see different attributes of God emphasized at different times." He goes on to write,
We would not want to say the attributes are only characteristic of some part of God, but rather that they are characteristic of God himself and therefore characteristic of all of God ... Nor should we think of the attributes of God as something external from God's real being or real self, something added on to who God really is ... Rather, we must remember that God's whole being includes all of his attributes: he is entirely loving, entirely merciful, entirely just, and so forth.
In his stellar book on the condescension of God, God With Us, K. Scott Oliphint also addresses the simplicity of God:
What id God was composed of parts, or of a part? Imagine goodness as part of God's character such that it is not identical to him, but in some way actually composes his character. What, now, must be true of his goodness? Since it is not identical to him, it must be something other than him. If it is something other than him, then it must be outside of him, at least initially. Not only so, but if God is essentially good, and goodness is not identical to him, then he depends on goodness to be who he is essentially. Thus, God is dependent on something besides himself in order to be who he is essentially. Were that the case, God would not be a se; he could not be independent. (64)

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