In Chapter 42 of ‘The Truth, The Way, The Life’, Roberts presents the attributes of God. The relationship of these attributes to the atonement is made very briefly, and basically states that the atonement of Jesus Christ must be in harmony with all of God’s attributes. This relationship is very similar to the discussion on inexorable law. But I found Roberts descriptions of the attributes quite interesting from a theological standpoint so I would like to review them.
Roberts breaks the attributes of God into two broad categories: Attributes of power, and moral attributes. First the attributes of power.
Roberts asserts that there never was a time when God did not exist, and there never will be a time when he will cease to exist. This attribute is said to be absolute with no limitations.
This has to do with God being unchangeable, and that he is the same today, yesterday, and forever. For Roberts this attribute is not absolute, or it would reduce God to a condition of being eternally static. God’s kingdom and glory continue to grow and expand, and in this way there is an eternal progress even for God. His immutability therefore is in regard to stability, and adherence to principle. It is clearly very important to Roberts that God will always act according to eternal law and principles, and not arbitrary caprice.
By this is meant all-powerfulness. Roberts puts limits on this as well. He states that it would be unthinkable that God would ever be overruled by a higher power. All that may or can be done by power conditioned by other eternal existences – duration, space, matter, truth, justice, reign of law – God can do. But these conditions limit the power of God.
By this is meant all-knowing. There are limits to this as well, as Roberts explains. God is not limited in his capacity to know things, and he knows all things that are knowable. But Roberts believes that the universe is not so much a ‘being’ as a ‘becoming’. And everything that is yet to become known – he will know it.
By this is meant everywhere present. In terms of God’s influence, or spirit, or power this may be true enough. But Roberts maintains that even for God, a body may not occupy two places at the same time.
Now for the moral attributes. These are the attributes that more closely relate to the atonement, and any understanding of the atonement must allow for these attributes with no compromises. These attributes do not have the same type of limitations as the power attributes, and it appears that Roberts feels that their only limitations is that they may not intrude on each other. The primary attributes of this category are holiness, truth, justice, mercy and love. It seems impossible to imagine a God who did not have all these qualities in perfection. Roberts attempts to show that his explanations and understandings of the atonement maintain a harmony with all the attributes of God.