Of God, the Knowledge of God & of his Attributes

“I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no saviour.”

Isa. 43:11

“To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?”

Isa. 40:18

“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty…”

Ex. 34:6,7




On God as Pure Act

On the Affections of God

On Absolute & Relative Attributes

That Wrath & Hatred are Not Properly in God

On Divine Simplicity



Order of Contents

On the Freedom of God
Historical Theology





Musculus, Wolfgang

Common Places of the Christian Religion 1560

‘Of God’
‘Of the Name of God’
‘Of the Nature of God’
‘Of the Sufficiency of God’
‘Of the Omnipotency of God’
‘Of the Will of God’
‘Of the Truth of God’
‘Of the Goodness of God’
‘Of the Lovingness of God toward Man’
‘Of the Mercy of God’
‘Of the Justice of God’
‘Of the Providence of God’
‘Of the Presence of God’
‘Of the Anger of God’
‘Of the Judgments of God’
‘Of the Knowledge of God’

Calvin, John

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1

Ch. 10  Attributes
Ch. 13.1  Essence
Ch. 17.2  Providence
Ch. 18.3-4  Will

“John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion…  is the all-time classic on the Reformed doctrine of the knowledge of God.  The entire structure of Institutes is organized around how God is to be known as Father, Son and Spirit.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide, p. 3

Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, trans. J. K. S. Reid (London: James Clarke and Company, 1961), pp. 105-09, 182-85

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – Part I, Ch. 12, ‘Of Sundry Things Attributed unto God, and the Holy Trinity; where his Godhead is proved to be in the Son and in the Holy Ghost’  in Common Places (1576), pp. 99-110

Students of Geneva – Chs. 1-9  of Propositions and Principles of Divinity (God, Trinity, Father & Son, Holy Ghost, Attributes, Omnipotency, Knowledge, Will, Love & Mercy)  1591

These were disputations held under the presiding of professors Theodore Beza and Anthony Faius.

Ursinus, Zacharias – ‘Concerning the One True God’ & ‘Of God the Father’  in Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 121-140  Buy  d. 1583, 1591, translated by  George W. Williard

Zanchi, Jerome – ‘Observations on the Divine Attributes; Necessary to be Premised in order to our Better Understanding the Doctrine of Predestination’ prefixed to The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination, pp. 1-37  trans. Augustus Toplady  1769

Zanchi (1516-1590)

Polanus, Amandus – pp. 1-14  of Substance of Christian Religion Soundly set forth in two Books, by Definitions and Partitions…  Buy  ToC

This work was translated into English in 1595 and is available by way of fascimile.



Bucanus, William – ‘Of God’, pp. 1-7  of Institutions of Christian Religion Framed out of God’s Word, and the writings of the best divines, methodically handled by questions and answers, fit for all such as desire to know, or practice the Will of God  ToC  1st ed. 1602

Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Trelcatius, Jr., Lucas – Book 1, ch. 3, ‘Of God & the Attributes of God’, pp. 51-81  of A Brief Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinity, Wherein, the truth of every place is proved, and the sophisms of Bellarmine are reproved  ToC 1610  2nd ed.

Trelcatius Jr. (1573-1607) was a professor of theology at Leiden.  Robert Bellarmine was a prominent Roman Catholic apologist. 

Rogers, Thomas – Article 1, ‘Of Faith in the Holy Trinity’, pp. 35-46  of An Exposition of the 39 Articles

Rogers (1553-1616) was an Anglican clergyman and, unfortunately, an early opponent of Nicholas Bownde in the Sabbatarian controversy.  Augustus Toplady praised Rogers’ Exposition.

Ames, William – Chs. 4-7 of The Marrow of Sacred Divinity  1623  

Becanus, Martin – Summa Theologiae Scolasticae  (d. 1624; Leiden, 1683), pp. 23-24  tr. Michael Lynch

First Tract on God & the Divine Attributes,


Q.1, ‘Whether the Divine Attributes are to be Distinguished from the Nature of the Thing Among Themselves & from the Divine Essence?’, pt. 1, 2, 3

Becanus (1563-1624) was a Romanist Jesuit and professor of theology.

Downame, John – Book 1, ch. 1, ‘Of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost’  in The Sum of Sacred Divinity Briefly and Methodically Propounded: More Largely and Clearly Handled and Explained  ToC  1625

Polyander, Rivet, Walaeus, Thysius – Disputation 6, ‘About the Nature of God and his Divine Attributes’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology  Buy  1625

Wolleb, Johannes – Book 1, ch. 1, ‘Of the Essence of God’  in Abridgment of Christian Divinity  Buy  1626

This work is also in ‘Reformed Dogmatics: Seventeenth-Century Reformed Theology’, ed. John Beardslee.

Ball, John – pp. 60-82  of A Short Treatise containing all the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion, by way of questions and answers…  1631

Ussher, James

A Body of Divinity, or the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion  Buy  modified by Hastings Robinson (1645; London, 1841)

Ch. 2, ‘Of God & his Attributes, Perfection, Wisdom & Omnipotence’
Ch. 3, ‘Of God’s Goodness & Justice, & the Persons of the Trinity’
Ch. 4, ‘Of the Unity of God, & the Persons of the Trinity’

Cheynell, Francis

The Divine Trinunity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit  1650

Ch. 1, ‘The Godhead is Spiritual, Infinite, Incomprehensible’

Ch. 2, ‘God is the First, Eternal and Independent Being, the Fountain of all Being and Well-Being, & therefore cannot but Be, Exist, and persist in Being’

Cheynell was a Westminster divine.

Binning, Hugh – Sermons 7-13  in The Common Principles of the Christian Religion  in Works  Buy  1653

Lyford, William – Ch. 2, ‘Errors Against the Nature & Essence of God, and Against the Trinity, Answered and Cleared’  in The Instructed Christian, or the Plain Man’s Senses Exercised to Discern Both Good and Evil, being a discovery of the Errors, Heresies, and Blasphemies of these Times, and the Toleration of them…  †1653

Leigh, Edward – Book 2, ‘Of God’ & 3, ‘Of God’s Works’  in A System or Body of Divinity  1654

Perkins, William – ‘Of Theology’  in An Abridgement of the Whole Body of Divinity  1654  by Thomas Nicols, being extracts from Perkins’ writings (by Nicols) laid out in systematic form  

Norton, John – Chs. 1-5 (Essence, Trinity, Christ, Decree, Efficiency)  of The Orthodox Evangelist, or a Treatise wherein many great Evangelical Truths are Briefly Discussed, Cleared and Confirmed  1654

Norton (1606-1663) was a New England puritan who wrote the biography of John Cotton.

Lawson, George – Chs. 3-9  of Theo-Politica, or, a Body of Divinity containing the Rules of the Special Government of God  Buy  1659

Arrowsmith, John – Aphorisms 3-5  in A Chain of Principles  1659

Pearson, John – pp. 23-106 of ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth’  in An Exposition of the [Apostles’] Creed 1st ed. 1659  See also an analysis of this section by W.H. Mill.

Pearson (1613–1686).  This exposition of the Apostle’s Creed was the most widely used Anglican body of divinity in the post-Restoration (1660) Church of England.  Pearson was somewhat reformed.

Baxter, Richard – A Treatise of the Knowledge of God and the Impression which it must make upon the Heart; & its Necessary Effects upon our Lives  (London, 1664)  ToC  being the first treatise in The Divine Life in Three Treatises  (London, 1664)

Owen, John

Ch. 12, ‘Self-Abasement Before the Majesty of God’  in Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers  in Works, 6.63-70

Ch. 4, ‘Of the Attribution of Passions and Affections, Anger, Fear, Repentance unto God’ & Ch. 5, ‘Of God’s Prescience or Foreknowledge’  of Vindiciae Evangelicae; Or the Mystery of the Gospel Vindicated and Socinianism Examined  in Works, 12.108-140

Ch. 5, ‘Whether the Will and Purpose of God may be Resisted, and He be Frustrate of his Intentions’ of A Display of Arminianism  in Works, 10.43-52

A Dissertation On Divine Justice, pp. 482, 500-24, 541-69, 583-97, 618-24  in Works, vol. 10

‘The True Nature of Gospel Forgiveness–Its relation to the Goodness, Grace and Will of God…’  in A Practical Exposition Upon Psalm 130, on v. 4, pp. 398-404 in Works, vol. 6

Sermon II  of The Strength of Faith in Works, vol. 9, pp. 37-45

Polhill, John

Chs. 3-6  of A View of Some Divine Truths  1678

The Divine Will Considered in its Eternal Decrees, and Holy Execution of Them  (London, 1673)

Polhill (c.1622-c.1694) was a hypothetical universalist.

Leighton, Robert – Lecture 7, ‘Of the Being of God’ in Theological Lectures  in Works, vol. 4  d. 1684

Leighton (1611-84) was a reformed, evangelical and pious Scottish bishop.

Watson, Thomas – pp. 30-76 of A Body of Practical Divinity  Buy  d. 1686, lectures on the Shorter Catechism

Turretin, Francis

Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James Dennison, Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1992-97), vol. 1, 3rd Topic, Questions 5-22, pp. 187-253

‘Can the divine attributes be really distinguished from the divine essence?’
‘Is the distinction of attributes into communicable and incommunicable a good one?’
‘The Simplicity of God’
‘The Infinity of God’
‘The Immensity of God’ 
‘The Eternity of God’
‘The Immutability of God’
‘The Knowledge of God’
‘Middle Knowledge’
‘The Will of God’
‘The Justice of God’
‘The Goodness, Love, Grace & Mercy of God’
‘The Power of God’
‘The Dominion & Sovereignty of God’  



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – Ch. 3, ‘The Essence of God’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 1, pp. 83-138  Buy  1700, translated by Bartel Elshout

Howe, John

‘The Attributes and Perfections of the Divine Being in Nine Lectures on Mt. 5:48’  in The Principles of the Oracles of God  in The Works of the Rev. John Howe, Complete in Two Volumes, vol. 2 (New York: John P. Haven, 1835), Lectures 17-25, pp. 1103-1132

Howe (1630-1705) was an English dissenting minister.

Ch. 2, ‘God’ & Ch. 3, ‘Attributes of God’  of Christian Theology: Selected and Systematically Arranged  ed. by Samuel Dunn  1836  522 pp.

This is an anthology of Howe’s writings put together as a systematic theology by Dunn.

Witsius, Herman – Dissertations 4-7  of Sacred Dissertations on the Apostle’s Creed, vols. 1  Buy

Gastrell, Francis – Book 1, ‘Of the Existence & Attributes of God’  in The Christian Institutes: being a plain and impartial account of the whole faith and duty of a Christian  1709

Gastrell was a reformed Anglican.  

Edwards, John

Theologia Reformata: or, The Body and Substance of the Christian Religion, vol. 1  1713

On the First Article of the Creed

Discourse 1, ‘The Being of God’, Heb. 1:6
Discourse 2, ‘The Divine Attributes’, Ps. 8:9
Discourse 3, ‘Of God’s Providence’, Mt. 10:29-30; 1 Pet. 5:7

John Edwards (1637–1716) was a reformed Anglican, the son of Thomas Edwards, who wrote the famed book ‘Gangraena’ in the 1640’s.

Pictet, Benedict

Christian Theology  d. 1724

Book 1, chs. 1-3
Book 2, chs. 1-8

Pictet was the Swiss professor of divinity in Geneva after Turretin.  He was the last to hold the orthodox faith there before the rise of the Enlightenment.

Willard, Samuel – Sermons 12-30 in A Complete Body of Divinity in 250 expository lectures on the assembly’s Shorter Catechism  1726,  d. 1707

Willard was a New England puritan.

Boston, Thomas – pp. 79-154  in A Complete Body of Divinity upon the Shorter Catechism, vol. 1  Buy  1732

Ridgley, Thomas – Questions 7-8  of A Body of Divinity, vol. 1  d. 1734

These were sermons preached through the Larger Catechism.

Tennent, Gilbert – Sermons 4-21 in Twenty-Three Sermons upon the Chief End of Man, the Divine Authority of the Sacred Scriptures, the being and attributes of God, and the doctrine of the Trinity, pp. 86-419  1744

Brown of Haddington, John – Book 2, ch. 1, ‘Of the Nature or Perfections of God’  in A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion  Buy  1782



Dwight, Timothy – Sermons 4-16  of Theology: Explained and Defended in a Series of Sermons, vol. 1  d. 1817

Dwight followed in the steps of the New England school after Jonathan Edwards.  He denied the imputation of Adam’s guilt to his posterity, but other than that, he was pretty good.  Joel Beeke has a very good introduction to his life and theology in the Solid Ground Christian Books reprint of this text.

Dick, John

Lectures on Theology  Buy  1834

Lectures 16-25
Lectures 26-27

Dick was an orthodox Scottish professor of theology in the Secession tradition.

Bogue, David – Lectures 4-23  in Theological Lectures, vol. 1  1849

Bogue was a Scot who became a congregationalist in England and wrote the 3 volume, History of the Dissenters.

Wardlaw, Ralph – Lectures 20-30  in Systematic Theology, vol. 1  d. 1853

Wardlaw (1779-1853)

Hodge, A.A.

Lecture 7, ‘The Attributes of God’  in Outlines of Theology  1860

A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.

Lecture 1, ‘God–His Nature and Relation to the Universe’  in Popular Lectures  Buy

Breckinridge, Robert – Book 3, God  in The Knowledge of God Objectively Considered, pp. 197-315  1869

Thornwell, James H.

Theological Lectures  in Collected Writings, vol. 1  Buy  1871

Lecture 2, ‘The Being of God’
Lecture 4, ‘The Nature & Limits of our Knowledge of God’
Lecture 5, ‘The Names of God’
Lecture 6, ‘The Nature & Attributes of God’
Lecture 7, ‘Spirituality of God’
Lecture 8, ‘The Incommunicable Attributes of God’

Dabney, Robert

Lectures 4-5  of Systematic Theology  Buy  1878

Vindicatory Justice Essential to God  1881  17 pp.  from Discussions, vol. 1: Theological & Evangelical, ed. C.R. Vaughan (Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1890), pp. 466-481.  Originally published in Southern Pulpit (April, 1881)

Hodge, Charles

Ch. 1, ‘God & his Attributes’  in Conference Papers 1879

Familiar Lord’s Day afternoon addresses to Princeton students, arranged in topical fashion

Part 1, Ch. 5, ‘The Nature & Attributes of God’  in Systematic Theology, vol. 1  1871

Heppe, Heinrich – ‘The Existence & Notion of God’ & ‘The Attributes of God’  in Reformed Dogmatics, ed. Ernst Bizer (1950; Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007), chs. 4 & 5, pp. 47-104

Shedd, W.G.T. – ‘Nature and Definition of God’ & ‘Divine Attributes’  in Dogmatic Theology (New York, 1888), vol. 1, ‘Theology’, chs. 1 & 5, pp. 151-194, 334-392

Vos, Geerhardus – Ch. 2, ‘Names, Being & Attributes of God’  in Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 1  Buy  1896

Bavinck, Herman – The Knowledge of God, from Our Reasonable Faith (1956), pp. 24-26

Macpherson, John – Chs. 14-20  in Christian Dogmatics  Buy  1898

Macpherson was an eminent professor of Free Church of Scotland.



The Catholic Encyclopedia – ‘The Nature & Attributes of God’ (1907-1912)  42 paragraphs

Berkhof, Louis – Part 1, The Doctrine of God: the Being of God, chs. 1-7  in Systematic Theology  Buy 

Helm, Paul

‘Eternal Creation’  Download

“The lecture provides a partial defence of the idea of the timelessly eternal creation of the universe, once commonplace among Christian theologians, but now widely disputed. On such a view God has ontological but not temporal priority over his creation. It is better to stress the negative aspects of divine timelessness than to think of it on analogy with temporal duration. Recent objections to the idea of causation being necessarily temporal are considered and rebutted. Some objections to the idea of God being in time are proposed. Finally, it is argued that the timeless eternity of God fits better with the Nicene doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son.” – Summary

‘The Impossibility of Divine Passibility’  in The Power and Weakness of God: Impassibility and Orthodoxy  Buy  pp. 119-40.  ed. Nigel M. de S. Cameron. Edinburgh: Rutherford House Books, 1990.

Pelikan, Jaroslav – ‘The Language of Negation’ & ‘The Lexicon of Transcendence’  in Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism.  Gifford Lectures Series  Buy  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), pp. 40-56, 200-14



Davidson, Matthew – ‘God & Other Necessary Beings’  60 paragraphs and a bibliography  in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online

“There are various entities which, if they exist, would be candidates for necessary beings: God, propositions, relations, properties, states of affairs, possible worlds, and numbers, among others. Note that the first entity in this list is a concrete entity, while the rest are abstract entities.  The main question we will address in this article is: Does God ground the existence of necessarily existing abstract objects?”

Samuel Rutherford’s answer to the question was ‘Yes’, and that abstract objects cannot exist without God.  This was contrary to the position of many Romanists and Arminians of his day.

Adeyemi, Seni – ‘Ten Theses on the Essence & Attributes of God’  in ‘Sabbath School, WCF 2.1 (2): The Divine Essence & Attributes’  (2021)




Medieval Age

Anselm – Proslogium, or Discourse on the Existence of God

Anselm (1033-1109)



Morton, Thomas – A Treatise of the Nature of God  (London, 1599)

Morton (fl.1596-1599) of Berwick was reformed.



Preston, John – Life Eternal or, A Treatise of the Knowledge of the Divine Essence and Attributes, Delivered in 18 Sermons  1631

Stock, Richard – A Stock of Divine Knowledge, being a lively description of the divine nature, or, The divine essence, attributes, and Trinity particularly explained and profitably applied...  ToC  1641

Stock (c.1568-1626) was reformed and a puritan.

Charnock, Stephen – Discourses upon the Existence & Attributes of God, vol. 1 (Existence, Atheism, Spirit, Worship, Eternity, Immutability, Omnipresence, Knowledge, Wisdom), 2 (Power, Holiness, Goodness, Dominion, Patience)  (Robert Carter, 1853)

Bates, William  d. 1699

Works, vol. 1

The Existence of God

The Harmony of the Divine Attributes in the Contrivance & Accomplishment of Man’s Redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ

Puritan Sermons: The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, vol. 5  Buy  1659-1689

Sermon 2, ‘God Is’

Swinnock, George – The Incomparableness of God in his Being, Attributes, Works & Word  in Works, vol. 4, p. 373 ff.

Buchius, Paulus – The Divine Being and its attributes philosophically demonstrated from the Holy Scriptures, and original nature of things according to the principles of F.M.B. of Helmont  ToC  1693

Buchius (c.1657-) was reformed.



Hopkins, Ezekiel – Of Glorifying God in his Attributes  appended to The Doctrine of the Two Covenants  1712

Hopkins (1634-1690) was reformed and was an Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland.

Beveridge, William – The Being, Love, and Other Attributes of God; as Our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier: Illustrated in Twelve Sermons  (London, 1716)

Beveridge (1637-1708) was a reformed Anglican.

Wishart, William – Theologia: or Discourses of God, delivered in 120 Sermons, vol. 1 (ToC), 2 (ToC)  d. 1729

Wishart (1660-1729) was an influential Church of Scotland minister, professor and principal of Edinburgh University.  His work is similar to Charnock’s work.

Saurin, Jacques – Sermons, vol. 1, On the Attributes of God of the 8 vol., 1813, 2nd American edition, ed. Robinson

Saurin (1677-1730) was a famed, protestant French preacher.

Abernethy, John – Discourses Concerning the Being and Natural Perfections of God, in which that first principle of religion, the existence of the deity, is proved, from the frame of the material world, from the animal and rational life, and from human intelligence and morality. And the divine attributes of spirituality, unity, eternity, immensity, omnipotence, omniscience, and infinite wisdom, are explained, vol. 1, 2

Abernethy (1680-1740) was reformed and was an Irish, presbyterian minister.



Carson, Alexander – The Knowledge of Jesus, the Most Excellent of the Sciences  (New York, 1855)

“Carson’s volume is misnamed; it contains a classic presentation of God’s attributes with little focus on Christ until the last chapter.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide, p. 1

Phillip, Robert – The Eternal, or ‘The God of our Fathers’ as Revealed in his Word and Works  1874 

Bavinck, Herman – The Doctrine of God  Buy  407 pp.

“A scholarly exposition from the Reformed standpoint.” – Cyril J. Barber

Candlish, James S. – The Christian Doctrine of God  in ed. Dods & Whyte, Handbooks for Bible Classes & Private Students  (1888)  155 pp.

Candlish (1835–1892) was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland, the son of the leader, Robert S. Candlish.

Jukes, Andrew – The Names of God in Holy Scripture: a Revelation of his Nature and Relationships; Notes of a Course of Lectures  1889

Jukes (1815-1901) was initially a curate in the Church of England who became a baptist and then joined the Plymouth Brethren, though he would eventually leave them as well in founding an independent chapel.  He was an influence upon Hudson Taylor.

“…these devotional studies center in the Old Testament, are less complete than Stone’s Names of God [below], and are very pedantic.” – Cyril J. Barber



Pink, A.W. – The Attributes of God  1930

Baillie, John

Our Knowledge of God (Oxford, 1939)

“A moderately evangelical treatment which focuses upon religious experience and epistemology.”-  Cyril J. Barber

The Sense of the Presence of God 1961

Baillie (1886-1960) was the son of Free Church minister John Baillie (1829-1891) and was born in the Free Church manse in Gairloch, Wester Ross.  Baillie became a minister in the Church of Scotland and a professor of divinity in the University of Edinburgh.

Stone, Nathan – Names of God  (Moody Press, 1944)

“This work by a Hebrew Christian focuses upon the names of God in the OT and shows them to be rich in meaning and of great significance.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hoeksema, Herman – Reformed Dogmatics  Buy  This is now being published in a 2 vol. edition.

Hoeksema (1886-1965) was one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC), a Dutch denomination in America.

“Standard Reformed dogmatics often have valuable sections on the doctrine of God.  Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics…  is particularly moving on God’s attributes.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide, p. 1

Due to Hoeksema’s tendency towards hyper-calvinism, his significant errors regarding covenant theology and his adamant denial of common grace, this systematic is not entirely recommended.

“Hoeksema’s variance with the Westminster standards may be seen on many points of doctrine. But more that disagreement on a number of individual points, there is a systemic contrast. His opposition to the free offer is not incidental to his theology, but is integral to his wide-ranging reconstruction of covenant theology.” – Sherman Isbell, ‘Samuel Rutherford and the Preached Covenant’ in ed. Vogan, Samuel Rutherford – An Introduction to his Theology (Scottish Reformation Society, 2012)

Tozer, A.W.

The Pursuit of God

The Knowledge of the Holy 1961 

Tozer (1897-1963) was not reformed.  He was an American Christian pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor.  He received two honorary doctoral degrees.

Henry, Carl – God, Revelation and Authority, 6 vols.  Buy  1976-83  Volumes 2, 5 & 6 are especially relevant.

Henry was an influential evangelical of the mid-1900’s and professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.  His work is massive, philosophical and something of a bedrock in its field.

Muller, Richard – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3  Buy  1987

Muller is one of the world’s leading reformed historians.  This set is why.  Muller analyzes and summarizes both the reformation and later puritan theology of the 1500-1600’s in the layout of the first part of a systematic theology.

Packer, J.I. – Knowing God  Buy

“If you have never read a book (other than the Bible) about God and His attributes, begin with Packer’s.  It’s already a classic.  Part 1 deals with the blessings and benefits of knowing God; Part 2 with who God is in His attributes; Part 3 with the effect God’s being and attributes should have on our lives.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide, p. 2

Storms, C. Samuel – The Grandeur of God: a Theological and Devotional Study of the Divine Attributes  Buy  1984

“Tozer is the most inspiring; Pink, the most experimental; Packer, the most practical; Storms, the most theological.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide, p. 2

Frame, John M. – The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God  in A Theology of Lordship  (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1987)  455 pp.  ToC

Bray, Gerald

The Attributes of God: an Introduction  Pre  (Crossway)

The Doctrine of God  Buy  1992

God is Love: a Biblical and Systematic Theology  Buy  2012  768 pp.

‘The Trinity: Where do we go from here?’  in ed. McGowan, A.T., Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology  Buy  2007  365 pp.

editor, We Believe in One God (Ancient Christian Doctrine)  Buy  2009  201 pp.

Bryant, Al – Sermon Outlines on the Attributes of God  Pre  (Kregel, 1993)

van den Brink, Gijsbert – Almighty God: a Study of the Doctrine of Divine Omnipotence  in Studies in Philosophical Theology  Pre  Buy  (Pharos, 1993)

Ch. 2 is a historical survey from the early Church to the 1600’s.  The book also includes a conceptional analysis and a systematic evaluation of the doctrine in chs. 3-4.

Helm, Paul – Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time  Buy 1997



Olsson, Philip R. – Timelessly Present, Compassionately Impassible: a Defense of Two Classical Divine Attributes  PhD diss.  (Claremont Graduate University, 2021)  380 pp.

Beeke, Joel & Paul Smalley – Reformed Systematic Theology, vol. 1: Revelation & God  Buy  2019

Barrett, Matthew – None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God  Buy  (Baker, 2019)  304 pp.

This work has been commended by reformed authors such as, Carl Trueman, Scott Swain and J.V. Fesko, as well as Tim Challies.



On the Freedom of God

Aquinas, Thomas – Contra Gentiles, Bk. 2

23, ‘That God does not Act by Natural Necessity’

24. ‘That God acts conformably to His wisdom’

25. ‘How the omnipotent God is said to be incapable of certain things’

26. ‘That the divine intellect is not confined to limited effects’

27. ‘That the divine will is not restricted to certain effects’

28-29. ‘How dueness is entailed in the production of things’

30. ‘How absolute necessity can exist in created things’





Lubbertus, Sibrandus – Second of the Theological Disputations, On God and his Attributes  (Franeker, 1609)

Lubbertus (c.1556-1625) was a Dutch, reformed theologian and was a professor of theology at the University of Franeker for forty years from the institute’s foundation in 1585. He was a prominent participant in the Synod of Dort (1618–1619).

Thysius, Sr., Antoine – Sixth of the Theological Disputations, on the Nature of God & the Divine Attributes  (Leiden, 1620)

Thysius (1565–1640) was a Dutch, reformed theologian and professor at the University of Harderwijk and the University of Leiden.

Diodati, Giovanni – A Theological Disputation On God  (Geneva, 1625)

Diodati (1576-1649) was a Genevan-born Italian, reformed theologian and translator. He was the first translator of the Bible into Italian from Hebrew and Greek sources.

Luthardt, Christoph – A Theological Disputation on the Attributes of God in General, and Those which are Incommunicable in Specific (Bern, 1662)

Luthardt (1590-1663) was a reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Bern, Switzerland.

Wyss, David – A Theological Disputation on the Divine Attributes, in General & in Specific  1676

Wyss (1632-1700) was a reformed professor of philosophy, Hebrew, theology and catechetical theology at Bern, Switzerland.

Roy, Albert  (1663-1733)

Of the Existence of God, or Against Atheism

Of the Unity of God & of Polytheism

Of the Intelligent & Spiritual Nature of God

Of the Eternity, Existence from Himself & Immutability of God

Of the Omnipotence of God

Of the Omnipresence & Immensity of God

Of the Truthfulness of God

Of the Knowledge of God

Of the Will of God

Roy (1663-1733) was a reformed, professor of Hebrew, Catechesis and theology at Lausanne, Switzerland.



Zanchi, Jerome – Of the Nature of God, or of the Divine Attributes, in 5 Books (Heidelberg, 1577)  719 pp.

Zanchi (1516-1590) was an Italian, protestant Reformation clergyman and educator who influenced the development of Reformed theology during the years following John Calvin’s death.

Table of Contents

Book 1

1. Of the Necessity of the Knowledge of the Attributes of God
2. Of the Layout of the Whole First Book
3. Of the Term, Distinction and Difference of the Divine Names
4. Of the Ten Divisions of the Divine Names
5. Of the General Use of All the Divine Names
6. Whether any name may be conjoined to God which from created things may be discerned and may become known to us
7. Whether any name that may be fitting to God, that [Greek], of Him may be predicated?
8. Whether some names may be properly declared of God?
8. Whether so many various names which are spoken of God, may so far conflict with his unity & simplicity?
8. Whether all names which are predicated of God are synonyms?
8. Whether it be becoming to call God by the names of the most vile creatures?
9. Whether that which is predicated of the creatures, all the same may even be able to be predicated of the Creator, & vice-versa?
10. Whether that which is predicated of God, & yet at the same time of the creatures, may be predicated univocally, equivocally, or truly analogically?
11. Of the True Signification of the Principal Names of God & of the use of the varied sentiment of the Doctors
12. Of the name Elohim
13. Of the name YHWH
14. Of the name I Am
15. Of the name Shaddai
16. Of the name Theos & Deus
17. Of the name Kurios, or Dominus
18. Of the names by which God is described in Ex. 34

Book 2

1. Of the Nature of God in General
2. Of the Simplicity of God
3. Of the Eternity of God
4. Of the Immutability of God
5. Of the Life of God
6. Of the Immensity & Infinity of God
7. Of the Perfection of God
8. Of the Blessedness of God

Book 3

1. Of the Omnipotence of God
2. Of the Knowledge [Scientia] or Wisodm, & Foreknowledge of God
3. Of the Truth of God
4. Of the Will of God  297

I. Whether a Will is Truly & Properly Attributed to God in the Scriptures?  298

II. Whether the Will of God Ought to be Sought into by us & in what way it may able to be known by us?  302

III. Whether it is only one will or whether it may truly be multifold?  And if multifold, in what way multifold?  And further, whether there are many wills?  307

IV. Further, of what is the will of God?  Of good only, or truly also of evils?  And hence whether it is the cause of all things?  317

V. Further, what difference is there between the will by which it wills good things and by which it wills evil things?  We are not able, in fact, to simply exclude the will of God from evil, unless we deny his foreknowledge and omnipotence, and by that his providence and deity.  332

VI. In what way He wills: whether out of necessity or truly in all liberty?  332

VII. Whether those things which He wills, He may establish by necessity so that they may be and may come about?  335

VIII. Whether God may will some new thing, or whether whatever He wills, He may have willed from eternity?  336

IX. Whether the will of God may be impeditively changed, or whether it may be wholly immutable, and hence whether it may always come about?  338

X. Whether the will of God ever conflicts with itself , when He commands something which yet He does not will to come to be, or whether the same may always abide in consistency to Him?  345

XI. Whether a cause to the divine will ought to be inquired into & whether such is able to be?  348

XII. Whether God’s will may always be just & the rule of all justice?  370

XIII. Whether our wills hold in conformity to the divine will, & by what way that may be?  369

XIV. What is it to do the will of God?  371

XV. Whether the will of God may be able to be a will of any created substance, so that the will in Christ, by which God so willed, may have been one and the same with that by which the man so willed?  375

Book 4

1. Of the Goodness of God
2. Of the Grace of God
3. Of the Love of God
4. Of the Mercy of God
5. Of the Righteousness [or Justice] of God
6. Of the Wrath of God
7. Of the Hatred of God
8. Of the Lordship of God

Book 5

1. Of the Providence of God
2. Of the Predestination of God
3. Of the Book of Life

Broecker, Frederik – An Antidote to Principal Errors, Comprehending a Tract on God, or of the Nature and Attributes of God… (Amsterdam, 1612)  102 pp.

Broecker (-1627) was reformed.

Sachse, Karl – A Disquisition on the Essential Attributes of God, Infinite & Uncreated, None of a Finite & Created Nature by a Participative Communication, Against Balthasar Meisner  (Frankfurt, 1616)

Sachse (1558-1616) is listed as reformed by PRDL, though it is also noted there that this is uncertain.  Meisner (1587-1626) was Lutheran.

Maresius, Samuel – Book 1, ‘Of God & his Attributes’  in The Hydra of Socinianism Expunged, vol. 1  (Groningen, 1651)

1. An addition to the Tract on God  1
2. That God is demonstrated to be from the universal nature of things  3
3. That God is demonstrated to be by the working of his world  8
4. It is Demonstrated in Proceeding in the working of the world that it is understood that God is  21
5. It is displayed that God is out of things proper to Man  49
6. It is displayed by things that God is out of those things which are, or come, before nature  59
7. Of the Names of God  73
8.  Of the Name El  75
9. Of the Name Eloah  77
10. Of the Name Adon & Adonai  84
11. Of the Name the Tetragram, vulgarly Jehovah, & something also of the name Jah  89
12. Of the Name Shaddai  113
13. Of the Name Theos  115
14. Of the Name Kurios & Despotes
15. Some Description is given of Deus  147
16. The Distinguishing of the Divine Attributes  152
17. Of the Unity of God  154
18. Of the Eternity of God  171
19. Of the Life of God  195
20. Of the Intellect of God  201
21. Of the Will of God  203
22. Of the Ability of God  220
23. Of the Power of God  242
24. Of the Wisdom of God  320
25. Of the Holiness of God  393
26. Of the Blessedness of God  473
27. Of the Magnitude, Immensity & Omnipresence of God  477
28. Of the Goodness & Gentleness [Clementia] of God, & of its opposite, Severity  500
29. Of those which are Affections in God by likeness (Of the Quasi-Affections of God)  533
30. Of the Love, Grace & Mercy of God, & of their Contraries, of Hate & Wrath  545
31. Of Desire, Hope & Joy, & the contraries of them which are attributed to God in the Sacred Scripture  578
32. Of the Decrees of God  604

Wittich, Christoph – Anti-Spinoza, or an Examination of the Ethics and Commentary of Benedict Spinoza on God and his Attributes (Amsterdam, 1690)

Wittich (1625-1687) was a German-born Dutch theologian. He is known for attempting to reconcile Descartes’ philosophy with the Scriptures.

Holtzfus, Barthold – A Theological Tract on God, Attributes and the Divine Decrees, Three Academic Dissertations  1707  210 pp.

Holtzfus (1659-1717) was a reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Frankfurt.

Table of Contents

1. Of the Existence of God & of the Engrafted & Acquired Conceptions, & so of Atheism  1
2. Of the Essence, Definition & Perfection of God  15
3. Of the Divine Attributes in General  24
4. Of the Unity, Simplicity, Spirituality, Invisibility & Ineffigability of God  30 
5. Of the Truth, Goodness, Primacy & Independency, Infinity, Incomprehensibleness, Eternity, Immensity, & Immutability of God  40
6. Of the Life, Intellect & Knowledge [Scientia] of God  55
7. Of the Distinctions in Divine Knowledge [Scientiae], in Theory & in Practice, Natural & Free, of the Knowledge of Simple Intelligence & Vision, & so of Conditional, Middle Knowledge & of the Wisdom of God  71
8. Of the Will of God & of the Distinctions of the Divine Will  106
9. Of the Affections Attributed to God in Scripture  127
10. Of the Virtues of God  152
11. Of the Power, Glory & Blessedness of God  176
12. Of the Actions & Decrees of God  181




Naude, Philippe – La Souveraine perfection de Dieu dans ses divins attributs et la parfaite intégrité de l’Écriture… défendue… contre toutes les objections du manichéisme répandues dans les livres de M. Bayle (Amsterdam, 1708)

Naudé (1654-1729).

“But the Divines…  have endeavored to answer all difficulties alledg’d by him [Mr. Bayle]…  Mr. Naude, a learned mathematician of Berlin, and Mr. Placette of Copenhagen, eminent for his learning and piety [in his Response a deux Objections de Mr. B. 8 vo. 1707], have answered on the principles of the Calvinists…” – Anonymous, Vindication of the Divine Attributes, p. 7



Historical Theology

Ancient to Modern

Gwatkin, Henry Melville – The Knowlege of God & its Historical Development, vol. 1 & 2  (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1906)  ToC

“…is a rather sketchy series of lectures notable for its bias against scholastic developments, whether medieval or post-Reformation, for its rather shallow philosophizing, and for its frequent neglect of the sources.” – Richard Muller, PRRD (2003), 3.24

Kirk, Kenneth E. – The Vision of God: the Christian Doctrine of the Summum Bonum; the Bapton Lectures for 1928  (Longmans Green, 1934)  ToC

This is mainly, in 8 lectures, a survey of the doctrine from the Old Testament to the early 1900’s.



Ancient to Medieval

Sweeney, Leo – Divine Infinity in Greek & Medieval Thought  Ref  Buy  (P. Lang, 1998)  576 pp.

“This volume was inspired by Etienne Gilson’s query, made in the early 1950s, as to why medieval authors spoke of God’s being as infinite, a statement found neither in Judaeo-Christian scriptures nor in Greek philosophy…  It concludes that infinity is predicated of God not only extrinsically, but also intrinsically: His very being is infinite – a predication resting on an Aristotelian theory of act/potency or on a Platonic version of participation.”


Early Church to 1600’s

van den Brink, Gijsbert – ch. 2, ‘Historical Location’  in Almighty God: a Study of the Doctrine of Divine Omnipotence  in Studies in Philosophical Theology  Pre  Buy  (Pharos, 1993), pp. 43-115


The Early Church

Tolley, William Pearson – The Idea of God in the Philosophy of St. Augustine  PhD diss.  (NY: Richard R. Smith, 1930)  220 pp.  ToC


Medieval Church to the Post-Reformation Era

Pesch, Otto Hermann – The God Question in Thomas Aquinas & Martin Luther  Buy  Ref  (Fortress Press, 1972)  38 pp.

Muller, Richard – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: the Rise & Development of Reformed Theology, ca. 1520 – ca. 1725, vol. 3 (The Divine Essence & Attributes)  2nd ed.  Buy  (Baker Books, 2003)  600 pp.


Medieval Church


Sweeney, Leo – ‘Bonaventure & Aquinas on the Divine Being as Infinite’  The Southwestern Journal of Philosophy,
vol. 5, no. 2, Aquinas & Bonaventure (d. 1274) (Summer, 1974), pp. 71-91

Balas, David L. – ‘A Thomist View on Divine Infinity’  Pre  in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, vol. 55 (1981)

Goff, J. Isaac – ch. 8, ‘Divine Infinity in Bonaventure’s Disputed Questions on the Mystery of the Trinity’  Pre  in Ordo et Sanctitas: The Franciscan Spiritual Journey in Theology and Hagiography  (Brill, 2017), pp. 165-85

Maurer, Armand – ch. 16, ‘The Role of Infinity in the Thought of Francis Meyronnes’  in Being & Knowing: Studies in Thomas Aquinas & Later Medieval Philosophers  (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990), pp. 333-61



Hankey, W.J. – God in Himself: Aquinas’ Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae  Ref  Buy  in Oxford Theology & Religion Monographs  (Oxford Univ. Press, 1987)  196 pp.  See the Introduction.

“…Roman Catholic scholars have tended, however, to isolate his [Aquinas’s] philosophical theology from its neo-Platonism, while others have treated the various parts of his Summa Theologiae without regard to their historical context.  Dr Hankey’s main contention is that Aquinas was less of an Aristotelian than is commonly supposed, and that a proper appreciation of his work requires us to take fuller notice of his reliance on neo-Platonism…  The author supports his position by making a careful analysis of the first 45 questions of the Summa Theologiae.”

Wass, Meldon C. – The Infinite God & the Summa Fratris Alexandri [the Summa of Brother Alexander]  (Chicago, 1964)  101 pp.  ToC

Alexander’s Summa was published in 1245.  According to Leo Sweeny, it contains “a rather highly advanced theory of divine infinity”.

Hoenen, M.J.F.M. – Marsilius of Inghen: Divine Knowledge in Late Medieval Thought  in Studies in the History of Christian Thought, Vol. 50  Buy  Ref  (Brill, 1992)  287 pp.

Wippel, John F. – The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas: From Finite Being to Uncreated Being  Pre  in Monographs of the Society for Medieval & Renaissance Philosophy, no. 1  (Catholic Univ. of America Press, 2000)

Vater, Carl A. – Divine Ideas: 1225–1325  PhD diss.  (Catholic University of America, 2017)  595 pp.

Absract:  “A theory of divine ideas was the standard Scholastic solution to the question ‘How does God know and produce creatures?’  Such a theory was only held to be successful if it upheld the nobility of God’s perfect knowledge without violating his supreme simplicity and unity.  The theories of divine knowledge coming from philosophers like Aristotle, Avicenna, and Averroes, which posit no divine ideas, uphold divine simplicity, but seem to compromise the nobility of divine cognition because they are forced to say either that God does not know creatures at all, or that he only knows them in a universal (and therefore imperfect) or indeterminate way.  They also seem to compromise divine causality because they have to posit either necessary (as opposed to voluntary) or mediated (as opposed to immediate) creation.  Yet, positing multiple ideas in God as Augustine does seems contrary to divine simplicity.

Faced with these difficulties, the medieval Schoolmen were forced to articulate very precisely how God can know and create a multiplicity of creatures without jeopardizing the divine simplicity.  A complete explanation of how God knows and produces creatures requires the Schoolmen to answer a number of questions…  These questions cause Scholastics to articulate clearly, among other things, their positions on the nature of knowledge, relation, exemplar causality, participation, infinity, and possibility.”


From the Reformation to the Modern Era

te Velde, Dolf – The Doctrine of God in Reformed Orthodoxy, Karl Barth & the Utrecht School: a Study in Method & Content  Pre  Pre 2  (Eburon, 2010; Brill, 2013)


On the Reformation

On Calvin

On God

Warfield, B.B. – ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of God’  in Calvin & Augustine  ed. Samuel Craig  (P&R, 1971)


On the Knowledge of God


Warfield, B.B. – ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God’  in Calvin & Augustine, ed. Samuel Craig  (reprint, Philadelphia: P&R, 1956)

Muller, Richard – Duplex cognitio dei’ in the Theology of Early Reformed Orthodoxy’  (1979)  12 pp.  The article can be read for free if one opens up a JSTOR account.

The Latin means ‘the two-fold knowledge of God’, referring to Calvin’s phrase and idea that:

“…in the fashioning of the universe as in the general teaching of Scripture the Lord shows himself to be simply the creator.  Then in the face of Christ he shows himself the Redeemer.”



Kantzer, Kenneth S. – John Calvin’s Theory of the Knowledge of God & the Word of God  Ref  a Ph.D. diss. (Harverd Univ. Press, 1952)

Kantzer (1917-2002) was a professor of biblical and systematic theology and academic dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) from 1960-1978.

Dowey, Jr., E.A. – The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology  (1952; reprint, NY: Columbia Univ. Press, 1965)  275 pp.  ToC  Tinged with Neo-Orthodoxy

Parker, T.H.L. – The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God: a Study in the Theology of John Calvin (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1952)  130 pp.  ToC  Tinged with Neo-Orthodoxy


On the Power of God

Steinmetz, David – ‘Calvin & the Absolute Power of God’  in Calvin in Context  Ref  (Oxford, 1995)


On Justice

Schreiner, Susan – ‘Exegesis & Double Justice in Calvin’s Sermons on Job’  in Church History, 58, no. 3 (Sep., 1989), pp. 322-38

“Briefly, the concept of double justice posits a higher hidden justice in God which transcends the Law and could condemn even the angels.  This idea appears in Calvin’s works before the sermons on Job but always grows out of his fascination with Job 4:18, namely that even the angels are not clean in God’s sight…  which proved that creaturely justice cannot satisfy the justice of God…  But when he tried to develop double justice as a hermeneutical key to the book of Job as a whole, the text led him in a direction he did not want to go.” – p. 322


On Knox

Kyle, Richard – ‘The Divine Attributes in John Knox’s Concept of God’  Ref  in WTJ 48:1 (Spring 1986), pp. 161-72


On Arminianism

Muller, Richard – God, Creation & Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources & Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy  Buy  Ref  (1991)  309 pp.


On the 1600’s


Truman, Carl – ‘John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice: An Exercise in Christocentric Scholasticism’  in Calvin Theological Journal 33 (1998), pp. 87-103

Shimko, Timofey – ‘John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice: Scholasticism in Subservience to Theology’  a seminary paper  (2018)  10 pp.

On pp. 1-3 Shimko surveys scholars on the apparent shift in Owen to more Thomistic metaphysical conceptions of God, which may have led to his change of opinion on whether God must punish sinners, and whether a substitutionary atonement is consequently necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

Beck, Andreas J.

‘Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676): Basic Features of His Doctrine of God’  in eds. Willem J. van Asselt & Eef Dekker, Reformation & Scholasticism: An Ecumenical Enterprise  Ref  (Baker Academic, 2001), pp. 205-26

‘God, Creation & Providence in Post-Reformation Reformed Theology’  in eds. Lehner, Muller, Roeber, The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, 1600-1800  (Oxford, 2016), pp. 195-213



Van Ruler, Han – The Crisis of Causality.  Voetius & Descartes on God, Nature & Change  Ref  (Leiden: Brill, 1995)




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