Catechetical Sermon: What Is God? (Part 2), Baptist Catechism 7

Q. 7. What is God?

A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. (John 4:24; Ps. 147:5; Ps. 90:2; James 1:17; Rev. 4:8; Ps. 89:14; Exod. 34:6,7; 1 Tim. 1:17)



We are returning to Baptist Catechism 7 because it is such an important question and the answer is very rich. The question is, What is God? I should briefly remind you of what I said last Sunday. This is a question about the nature of God. What it is he? That is the question. In the previous sermon, we focused our attention on the first four words of the answer: “God is a spirit…” He is not a physical being. He is invisible. He does not have a body. He is not composed of parts. He is simple. Today we will go a little further. 


God Is Infinite, Eternal, And Unchangeable

Our catechism goes on to speak about God’s attributes. A better term would be perfections. With God, his attributes are perfections. God is love. God is wisdom. God is power, etc. The words “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable” help us to see that all of God’s attributes are in fact perfections. 

The word infinite helps us to see that God is without limits of any kind. When we say that something is finite, we mean that it is limited. You and I are finite creatures. But God is infinite. He is without limits. 

The world eternal is about time. When we say that God is eternal we mean that he is without time. There is no succession of moments in God. He does not have a past or future. He simply is. 

The word unchangeable reminds us that God cannot change. So there are some things God cannot do! He is in no way limited in power or wisdom, etc. But he is limited by his own perfections. He cannot be less than God. He cannot contradict himself. God cannot change. If God were to change for the better – if he were to grow in knoweldge, for example – it would mean that he was less than God before. If he were to change for the worse – if his Almighty Power were to diminish – he would cease to be God Almighty. There is no room for change in God because he is infinitely and eternally perfect in every way.

I should probably acknowledge that I’m touching on profound truths and I am doing so very rapidly this morning. There is more to say than what I can say in this limited time. 

These three words – infinite, eternal, and unchangeable – are to be carried along and applied to each one of the seven perfections of God that are mentioned in our catechism. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable wisdom. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his power. Ect, etc. The seven perfections mentioned in our catechism are God’s being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. 

I think the first three perfections mentioned should be grouped. We might call them essential perfections of God. These belong to God essentially. They are his being, wisdom, and power. The last three also seem to go together. We might call these relative perfections. Why? Because we cannot conceive of them apart from the existence of a creature to whom God relates. They are his justice, goodness, and truth. God is just, good, and true… to his creatures. And so, we refer to these perfections as relative. I do believe that God’s holiness is mentioned right in the middle of this list for a reason. God is perfectly pure and holy in his essence, and therefore, he is always perfectly pure and holy in his relations toward us. Stated differently, God always does what is just, good, and true, because he is perfectly holy in his being, wisdom, and power. 

You should know that under these seven perfections, many other perfections could be listed. 

Also, I should mention that there is a danger in discussing the attributes or perfections of God like this. It can give the impression that God is composed of many parts – that he is a collection of his many wonderful attributes or perfections. No, God is simple. Everything in God is God. For example, we may say that God’s love is his justice. In him, they are not distinguished. We must divide God up and talk about his perfections one at a time because we are limited in our capacity. We can only think about one perfection at a time. 

Dear brothers and sisters, there is a sense in which God is incomprehensible to us. We can know him truly. These things that we are saying about him are true things revealed in God’s Holy Word. But our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable one. Our language strains under the weight of the task as we attempt to speak of him. 

So, let us proceed with caution as we consider the seven perfections of God that our catechism lists. Today we will only consider the first three. 


God Is Infinite, Eternal, And Unchangeable In Being

Firstly, our catechism teaches that God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being or existence

It is under the category of God’s being or existence that we could talk about his aseity or his self-existence. God exists a-se, which means, of himself. God depends upon no one and nothing for his existence. No one made God. No one sustains God. God exists of himself. This is why he revealed himself as “I AM” to Moses. God is the one being who simply is.  

I think you can see that God is a being, and you and I are beings, but we are very different beings. Stated differently, God exists, and we exist, be our existences are very different. God exists a se, of himself. I hate to break it to you, friends. You and I do not exist a se, of ourselves. We are very dependent and needy creatures. You were brought into this world by parents and through a mother. You were nurtured while a helpless babe. You cannot exist apart from this world. You need air, food, water, and shelter. It would be very difficult for you to exist apart from society. Ultimately, it is God who created you and sustains you continuously. The Scriptures are true, “‘In [God] we live and move and have our being’… ‘For we are indeed his offspring’” (Acts 17:28, ESV).

It is under the category of God’s being or existence that we could also talk about his omnipresence. God is infinite in his existence. He is in all places at all times. This is why the Psalmist said, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Psalm 139:7–8, ESV).

Again, we may stress the great difference between God’s existence and ours. We exist, but we are finite. We are limited by our bodies. We can only be in one place at one time. And even if we were to consider the soul of man, though it is hard to put into words, I’m confident that our souls are limited too. Our souls, when separated from our bodies at death, do not become infinite and omnipresent.  

It is under the category of God’s being or existence that we could also talk about his eternality. God exists. He always has and always will. As has been said, there is no succession in God. He does not have a past or future. He simply is. This is why the prophet has said, “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One?” (Habakkuk 1:12, ESV). God exists in eternity. 

It is under the category of God’s being or existence that we should also talk about his immutability. It is not merely that God does not change, he cannot. You and I change constantly. That is because we are finite creatures living in time and space. God cannot change. As James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, ESV)


God Is Infinite, Eternal, And Unchangeable In Wisdom

Secondly, God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his wisdom. 

I will not spend so much time on this perfection or the next. I think what has been said already in this sermon will enable you to think about this perfection too. 

It is under the category of God’s infinite, eternal, and unchangeable wisdom that we may speak of his omniscience. God is perfectly wise because he knows all things. He knows himself perfectly. He sees everything with perfect clarity. The future is as clear to him as the past and present. And he knows the future, not because he has the ability to see the future, but because he has decreed it. Friends, think of it. God has never learned anything. No, his wisdom is perfect. It is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. 

Isaiah 46:10 says that God declares “the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…’” (Isaiah 46:10, ESV)

Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5, ESV).

In Psalm 139:1-6 King David reflects on God’s omniscience, saying, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:1–6, ESV)


God Is Infinite, Eternal, And Unchangeable In Power

Thirdly, God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his power. 

Here we may speak of God’s omnipotence. God’s power is unlimited. This is true in eternity. Never has God grown stronger or weaker. God speaks in Jeremiah 32:27 saying, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, ESV)

Here we may also speak of God’s sovereignty. He is Lord Most High. Nothing is outside of his sovereign power and control. Listen to Psalm 47:2: “For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2, ESV). So his expansive and complete is his sovereignty that not a hair falls from our head, nor a sparrow to the ground, apart from his will (see Matthew 10:28-31).



We will continue our consideration of the perfections of God next Sunday. May I suggest to you, by way of conclusion, that these perfections of God ought to be a great comfort to those in Christ Jesus? If you have faith in Christ Jesus, God has set his love on you. He has reconciled you to himself. He invites you to call him Father. And your Father in heaven is “a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.” 

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