A is for availability

A theological dictionary
God is “eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, holy, just, faithful, benevolent, merciful and gracious.” I can still rattle off those divine attributes learned in catechism class. Well-tutored Christians will remember learning that some of these attributes of God are “incommunicable attributes,” which means that they have no analogies among humans, who are not able to share the various “omnis.”

Others of God’s attributes are communicable, which means that humans can relatively and analogously share in them—by being merciful or gracious, for example. Karl Barth spoke of the incommunicable as belonging to the freedom of God and the communicable as belonging to the love of God.

Here is where we humans come in. Suppose an editorial board of a new theological dictionary invited you to nominate another communicable attribute. If they asked me, I’d at once nominate availability.


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