After my first year of college I worked as a nursing assistant on a postpartum unit. I had a two-week orientation and then off I went to help the new mothers. I’m not sure how much help I was at first because I had much to learn.
Back then, mothers and babies received much different care than they do today. Mothers were usually sedated during delivery, and at birth their babies were whisked away to the newborn nursery. When the mother woke up and the nurse brought her the baby, I often watched as the mother carefully inspected her child. She unfolded the soft pink or blue blanket and took a long look at her baby’s face, hands, fingers, feet, and toes, carefully checking to be sure that her baby was “perfect.” But sadly that wasn’t always the case, and parents grieved when the unexpected happened and their precious child had visible flaws.
According to A.W. Tozer, perfection means to be “complete in your nature”. He says, “That which is perfect lacks nothing it should have, and has nothing it should not have”. We really can’t think of God as being perfect because he is completely different and separate from all other beings. Tozer says that “when we apply perfection to God, we mean that he has unqualified fullness and completeness of whatever he has. He has unqualified plenitude of power. He also has unqualified fullness of wisdom. He has unqualified knowledge. He has unqualified holiness”. In Isaiah 40:25, God asks, “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” God is incomparable.
However, in Scripture God is often referred to as perfect, and in Matthew 5:48 we are told to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. Tozer says that God uses the same word for perfect in the Bible when referring to himself and when referring to people because there is not another word to use that we will understand! We refer to people as being perfect when they are the best they can be, but God is complete in all of his attributes; he is uncreated excellence and perfection.
So when you think of people and things as being perfect, just remember that you are comparing them to a standard of excellence that you hold for others like them. But as you consider God, remember that he, and he only, is truly perfect and worthy of our worship.
by Jane Hall, NCF Director
This is the eleventh post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in “The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart.”