It is impossible to make distinctions between God, His essence, and His attributes. YHWH (“I AM THAT I AM” or “He Who Is,” Ex. 3:14) exists as a self-existent (Rom. 1:23; 1 Tim. 6:16; Jn. 5:26), eternal (Deut. 33:27), infinite (Psa. 139:7-10; Isa. 46:9,10; Jer. 32:27), immutable (Psa. 102:25-27; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17) Spirit (Jn. 4:24). If He ceased to be any of these, He could not be God. In other words, YHWH’s essence (i.e., that which makes Him what He is) could not be anything other than what it is. And, that which makes Him what He is, of course, are His attributes. Therefore, it is never correct to think of YHWH apart from His essence or attributes—viz., God does not have an essence, but is, instead, His essence; He does not have attributes, but is, instead, His attributes.
For example, the Bible tells us that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8,16). It informs us that God’s love is great (Eph. 2:4), eternal (Jer. 31:3; Eph. 1:4-5), infinite (Eph. 3:18-19), and dependable (Rom. 8:35-39). Nevertheless, what the Bible does not say about the essence or nature of God is just as important as what it does say. Although the Bible teaches that God is His attributes and characteristics, it does not teach that any particular attribute of God is God. In other words, the Bible is not saying, and has never said, that “Love is God.” On the contrary, what the Bible teaches is that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8,16). Clearly, then, the Bible instructs us that God is His attributes and characteristics. Anyone who believes the Bible believes this. Consequently, God is, has been, and always will be Who and What He is at this very moment.
Ontologically (i.e., by reason of His Being), “I AM THAT I AM” or “He Who Is” (Ex. 3:14) cannot be anything other than what He is. He is, as we have shown from Scripture, self-existent, eternal, infinite, and immutable. Thus, He cannot be anything less and still be God. This is surely part of what YHWH was saying about Himself when He said, “I AM THAT I AM.”