The Attributes of God: Simple

Psalm 145:8–9 (ESV)
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

In our last post, we looked at the triune nature of God. Today, we look at another of his attributes. God is simple. When you hear that you may be wondering how that could be true. How can the eternal, triune God who created all things and sustains them at every moment be simple? He seems rather complex!

It is important to understand what theologians mean when they say that God is “simple”. When we speak of God’s nature as simple, we are saying that it is undivided. When we think of God being good and just and holy and merciful, all of those things are true of God at the same time. He is not sometimes gracious and other time just. He is gracious and just. Consider the words of Augustine:

For God to be is the same as to be strong or to be just or to be wise, and to be whatever else you may say of that simple multiplicity or that multiple simplicity, whereby his substance is signified.… That which is justice is also itself goodness, and that which is goodness is also itself blessedness.

So, when we think of God, we must not think of him as one. All of his attributes come together in a “multiple simplicity”. He is always fully God and always fully good and just and merciful and holy and love. What a wonderful thing to think about today!


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