Rafed English

The Attributes of God

Adapted from: "Three Topics in Theological Philosophy" by: "Dr. Ahmad Ahmadi"

Hitherto, some of the proofs of the existence of God were discussed. We shall now examine briefly the attributes of God, an issue which is one of the most important topics of theology, and which, if properly understood, can remove doubts of those who negate His existence and resolve their difficulties.

The attributes (sifat) of God are of two kinds: affirmative (thubu­tiyyah) and negative (salbiyyah). The former kind of attributes are posited for God, and the latter are those which are negated of Him.

Likewise, the affirmative attributes are of two kinds: attributes of Essence, and attributes of Divine Acts.

The attributes of Essence are those which are inherent in His Essence by Itself, without taking into consideration His relation to creation, and, therefore, always qualify It. For example, the attribute of power is an attribute of Divine Essence, because power is an inherent quality of God; it cannot be affirmed of Him at one time and negated at another.

However, the attributes of Acts are those which, with respect to the relation that exists between the Divine Essence and any one of God's creatures, are derived from that relation, and it is obvious that whenever one side of this relation‑here, that particular creature undergoes a change, then the attribute applicable to the other side‑in this case, God‑also changes. For example the attribute represented by the epithet `Provider' (al Razzaq) is derived from the relation between God, as the Provider, and His creatures, who are provided by Him.

Now, whenever a creature (which is one side of the relation) provided and maintained by Him dies, then that relation also ceases, and pro­vidence of God with regard to that creature comes to an end.

It should be remembered that although numerous attributes, affirmative and negative, are mentioned in revealed religion and in theological philosophy, they all are reducible to a single affirmative and a negative attribute. That single affirmative attribute is that God is complete perfection (i.e. every imaginable quality of perfection is attri­butable to Him); and the single negative attribute is that God is devoid of every imaginable defect or shortcoming.


Share this article

Comments 0

Your comment

Comment description

Latest Post

Most Reviews