The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not the God of the philosophers. - Blaise PascalI have heard it taught that if God ever stopped being omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent, he would not truly be God. I have heard it said that God is the being such that it is impossible to imagine a greater being. Who knows; that may be true, but the Bible does not say that. The Bible teaches us of a God who creates, a God who adopts a people, a God who acts to save humanity from our own wretchedness. The philosophers are interested in "omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent"; the Bible is not too interested in that. To construct that God, someone had to be looking for those attributes and chase down texts from which they could be deduced. The Bible is interested in God's faithfulness, his mercy, his compassion, and his love. If we're looking at what the Bible teaches about God, those are the plainer things.
This brings us to the cross. This week, Holy Week, we who follow Jesus face the heart of our faith: Jesus' radical challenge to our man-made ideas about God's glory. If God is defined as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent -- and immortal, while we're on the subject -- then that guy dying on the cross can have nothing to do with our ideas about God. And the philosophers who follow Christ often hurry to protect their glorious hypothetical idols from the threat of the reality of Jesus' cross.
What is essential to God's being? What is God's real nature? Is it "omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent" -- or is it his overwhelming love for his people? Which is the real nature of God, and which is just accidental and could have been otherwise? If Jesus' birth did not answer the question clearly enough, his execution does. The cross says that the essential part of being God is not being omnimax -- power without limit, knowledge without limit, presence without limit. The cross says that the essential part of being God is love without limit. Even to the extent of giving up the power, and the immortality, to reach a weak and dying world.
For those who are interested in philosophy: Yes, without getting into technical jargon in the main post, I am questioning whether the essence of God involves his omnimax characteristics, or whether those are what the philosophers would call "accidents" -- non-essential traits that might have been otherwise, that can be lost without really altering the nature of things. Or to be more exact, I think the cross -- the necessary end of the incarnation -- challenges whether the omnimax characteristics are really essential to what it means to be God. If God intends to reveal himself to the world through Jesus, then God means that who he really is can be revealed better in the cross than in another way. And if we look elsewhere for the glory of God, we do it at the expense of what God wanted to show us.