In His Relationship with Creation

[Scott Oliphint] is not primarily concerned with “God in himself” but with “God in his relationship with creation.”10


10
“The first thing that we want to highlight about the characteristics of God, therefore, is that a basic distinction must be maintained between the Triune God as he is and exists in himself (i.e., the ontological Trinity) and God as he condescends (i.e., the economic Trinity). The theological (i.e., biblical) reason for this distinction is that it is obvious that before anything was created, there was and has always been the Triune God.” Oliphint, God With Us, 2nd ed., 16; emphasis his. See Oliphint, God With Us, 13. The noted distinction between God in his Triune essence (i.e., the ontological Trinity) and God in his relations to creation (i.e., the economic Trinity) is critical for understanding what covenant characteristics are. The distinction is not in God; there are not two Gods or one God with two natures; rather, the distinction is one made in theological predication to differentiate between the character of God as God, on the one hand, and the character of his works and relations ad extra, on the other. For Oliphint, covenant characteristics are critical for understanding the latter; and for affirming that these works and relations do not alter or subtract from the former (i.e., God as God). See Oliphint, God With Us, 9, 13, 29, 40, 43, 182; for his self-conscious method of dealing with God’s attributes first as related to himself and second as related to creation. After affirming, as he does repeatedly, the absolute essential independence of God, Oliphint writes, “… when we look at God’s condescension throughout Scripture, certain things are beyond controversy. First, there can be no question that God appears to his people from the beginning. These appearances of God entail that he is making himself known by way of properties and qualities that would otherwise not belong to him.” Oliphint, God With Us, 182
 

Matt Fortunato, Reconsidering Covenant Characteristics: A Study on God, Creation, and The Mediating Son, pg. 9-10