God’s Attributes

God’s Attributes September 9, 2003

I work on the assumption that all the attributes of God are Trinitarian, relational attributes. How does this work with an attribute like “holiness,” which, by most definitions, describes God as wholly un-related? The key is to notice that the language of holiness in Scripture describes things and persons claimed by God, or places where God is specially present. Holiness as a moral attribute describes a life in conformity with one’s being possessed, consistent with the claim that God has laid upon us. This can be applied to the inherent holiness of God: To say that the Father is holy is to say He is possessed by the Son and lives in conformity with that possession. Likewise, the Son is holy because He is possessed and claimed by the Father and lives in conformity with that claim. The Spirit is of both Father and Son, and thus is holy. There might also be some connection between notions of “holy place,” where God dwells in glory, and perichoresis, the mutual “dwelling-in” of Father, Son, and Spirit. Each person is “sanctified” by the indwelling of the other persons.

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