If I asked you to describe God, what would you say?
Love? Eternal? Sovereign? Holy?
Typically, people have a handful of God’s attributes that come to mind when thinking of Him. They may be the traits that were emphasized when we were kids, or maybe they were truths that ministered to us during particularly difficult times.
Regardless of how these particular attributes rose to the top of our mental lists, there is danger in viewing God through the lenses of a handful of characteristics rather than seeking to allow Scripture to flesh out the full character and nature of God.
First, we are prone to idolatry. I don’t mean physically bowing down and worshiping carved images. I mean we like to create a god that matches up with our own thoughts and desires. Ultimately, we like to create gods in our own image rather than vice versa. When we stress a handful of God’s attributes to the neglect of others, we run the risk of worshiping a false god, one of our own creation. God is that multi-faceted Diamond whose beauty must be observed and admired from all angles. The Scriptures present the various angles to view the Lord of the universe. He inspired every page of the Bible for a reason: His special revelation to mankind. Therefore, it’s our duty to study the various ways God has described Himself through His Word. That’s how we ensure that we are worshiping the one true God.
But there’s another danger here: Our views of God impact other theological areas.
For example, look at Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. In this book, Bell makes love the overriding attribute of God, and this leads him to deny the eternality of hell. After all, how could a truly loving God sentence someone to eternity in hell with no hope of rescue? You see, Bell does not balance God’s love with His holiness or justice, and it has led him into heresy. Sin must be punished because God is also just, and eternity in hell is justifiable in light of our sins against an infinitely holy God.
As I said before, our views of God impact other theological areas. Even misbalanced views of God can lead to grave theological error. We must be careful not to hold one attribute, no matter how biblically based, in primacy over others when Scripture does not do so.
So how do we keep from having an unbalanced view of God? One simple way is to pay close attention as you do your daily Bible reading. Notice what the OT narratives, Paul’s epistles, or the Bible’s apocalyptic literature reveals about the character and nature of God. Let every portion of Scripture speak to you. Also, consider picking up a book about God’s attributes, which can expand your thinking about God. A good place to begin would be A.W. Pink’s Attributes of God. It’s reasonably short and will give you a solid overview of God’s attributes.
Are your thoughts of God able to cope with all His statements and acts that are revealed in the pages of Scripture? If not, maybe your God isn’t big enough. Let Scripture dictate our views of God, not your whims or life experiences.