If you were to ask me to describe someone I’m familiar with, I would start by naming the person’s attributes. An attribute is defined as “an inherent characteristic” or “a word ascribing a quality.” For example, if you asked me to describe my dad (Carl Williams), I would respond by saying that he’s organized, practical, protective, by-the-book, private, efficient, productive, hardworking, trustworthy, skilled, confident, decisive, and strategic. My description of how I remember my grandfather (Tom Williams) would include the following attributes: bold, vigorous, genuine, intense, self-reliant, admired, dominant, forceful, trustworthy, confident, decisive, and independent.
If I were to ask you how you would describe God, what would you say? Would you be able to name several of His attributes?
In Fr. John Hardon’s “Basic Catholic Catechism Course,” he named 12 of the attributes that are possessed by God, each of which is referenced in the Bible:
1. God is unchangeable – “For I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)
2. God is eternal – He is immortal with no beginning and no end. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, from everlasting thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)
3. God is omnipotent – He is almighty and all-powerful. “For with God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
4. God is omniscient – He is all-knowing. “For all things were known to the Lord God before they were created, so also after they were perfected he beholdeth all things.” (Ecclesiasticus 23:29)
5. God is omnipresent – He is everywhere. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24)
6. God is all-just – He rewards those who do good and punishes those who do evil. “For he will render to every man according to his works.” (Romans 2:6)
7. God is all-wise – “[Wisdom] reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.” (Wisdom 8:1)
8. God is all-good – “For everything created by God is good.” (1 Timothy 4:4)
9. God is all-merciful – “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8)
10. God is all-loving – “For you love all things that exist, and you loathe none of the things which you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.” (Wisdom 11:24)
11. God is all-holy – It is impossible for Him to sin. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
12. God is absolute veracity – He is all-faithful to the truth. Saint Paul referred to Him as “God who never lies.” (Titus 1:2)
This only scratches the surface of describing God Almighty. If we really desire to spend eternity with Him in heaven, we should set aside time each day to learn more about Him.