What would you say is the fundamental attribute of God (attribute being an aspect of his character and person)?
I think historically it has been God’s holiness. Not a few theologians have thought this to be the case, especially given Isa 6:3 and Rev 4:8. Note that the angels did not sing “good good good” or “gracious gracious gracious” or “peace, peace, peace” is the Lord God Almighty..”
But I was reading through my copy of Stanely Grenz’ Theology for the Community of God (Eerdmans, 1994) and he notes the fundamental attribute of God as his love. He writes:
In that God is love apart from the creation of the world, love characterizes God. Love is the eternal essense of the one God. But this means that trinitarian love is not merely one attribute of God among many. Rather, love is the fundamental “attribute” of God. “God is love,” is the foundational ontological statement we can declare concerning the divine essence. God is foundationally the mutuality of the love relationship beween the Father and Son, and this personal love is the Holy Spirit.”
Because throughout eternity and apart from the world the one God is love, the God who is love cannot but respond to the world in accordance to his own eternal essence, which is love. Thus, this essential characteristic of God likewise describes the way God interacts with his world. “Love,” therefore, is not only the description of he ternal God himself, it is likewise the fundamental characteristic of God in relationship with creation (72).
He goes on to note attempts to put God’s holiness as a primary attribute were to defend his wrath and judgement – but to be honest, I didn’t necessarily see it that way. I tend to think that the holiness of God highlights his transcendance over and above the world and his separateness from it than it does emphasize his wrath and judgement. Therefore, because he is holy, in that he is separate from and above the things of the world – he is pure light and truth and love and so on. But perhaps I am missing something?
What say you?