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Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine / Wayne Grudem. p. cm. Includes index Syste. Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof [PDF]. Certain pages from this book are designed for use in a group setting and. Chapter 1. Creativity and Problem Solving. Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof. Thanks to lesforgesdessalles.info, Berkhof's classic theology text is now freely (and legally) available here. Berkhof () was born in the.

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Now that my Systematic Theology is again being reprinted, the Preface can be very brief. It is not necessary to say much about the nature of the work, since it has. lesforgesdessalles.info | You can read Berkhof's Systematic Theology online using the table of contents to the left, or download the book (pdf | ePub). In ePub,.mobi lesforgesdessalles.info formats For decades, Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology has remained one of the most important and widely-used systematic.

Guy Davies. In the Middle Ages too there was a tendency. While this argument does point to the existence of a holy and just being. The Doctrine of the Angels in History B. The former belong to the essence of God as considered in itself.

Ritschlian theology might seem to call for still another starting point. Neither one of these can be called very successful. A similar attempt was made by Breckenridge. A striking example of it is found in the work of O. At the same time there are several theologians who in Strong distinguishes between theology and Christian theology.

In that sense the Bible does not prove the existence of God. Scripture proof on this point does not come to us in the form of an explicit declaration.

It is useless if the searcher believes that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. The closest it comes to a declaration is perhaps in Heb.

De Deo I. This does not mean.. Kuyper speaks as follows of the attempt to do this: While Reformed theology regards the existence of God as an entirely reasonable assumption. The question may be raised. There is no sense in speaking of the knowledge of God. And it is unsuccessful if it is an attempt to force a person who does not have this pistis by means of argumentation to an acknowledgment in a logical sense.

The assumption is not merely that there is something. But this faith is not a blind faith. In view of this fact some go so far as to deny that there are people who deny the existence of God. Jesus said. This does not mean. The words of Paul are very much to the point in this connection: Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? The former are simply godless persons. As stated above. This may and has assumed various forms in the course of history.

It is found even among the most uncivilized nations and tribes of the world. It should be remarked. The preparation for this work. It is the latter denial that we have in mind particularly here. Ruler of the destinies of individuals and nations. It is customary to distinguish two kinds. God is seen on almost every page of Holy Writ as He reveals Himself in words and actions. The unbeliever has no real understanding of the Word of God. This revelation of God is the basis of our faith in the existence of God.

It is this intensive knowledge. Such people are often quite conscious of the fact that they are out of harmony with God. There can be no doubt about the existence of practical atheists.

Theoretical atheists are of a different kind. Flint distinguishes three kinds of theoretical atheism. Psalm There is no God. But it should be borne in mind that agnosticism respecting the existence of God. They seem to take a secret delight in parading their. They are not necessarily notoriously wicked in the eyes of men. It is deliberately blind to and suppresses the most fundamental instinct of man. They seek to prove by what seem to them conclusive rational arguments.

The latter are. At the present time thousands of these practical atheists belong to the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. In view of the semen religionis implanted in every man by his creation in the image of God. These often go hand in hand. This practical or intellectual suppression of the operation of the semen religionis often involves prolonged and painful struggles.

In the last analysis atheism results from the perverted moral state of man and from his desire to escape from God. They are usually of a more intellectual type and attempt to justify the assertion that there is no God by rational argumentation. However the real atheist is the dogmatic atheist.

Such an assertion may mean one of two things: Other theories not only leave room for God. It excludes the God of Scripture. There is a far greater number who theoretically set aside any and every god.

An immanent and impersonal God. Materialistic Monism in its various forms and atheism usually go hand in hand. Now there are very few atheists who do not in practical life fashion some sort of god for themselves.

When David Hume expressed doubt as to the existence of a dogmatic atheist. Theism has always believed in a God who is both transcendent and immanent. Deism removed God from the world. It boldly declares that all is God. Pantheism merges the natural and supernatural.

It often speaks of God as the hidden ground of the phenomenal world. There are several false conceptions of God current in our day. Absolute subjective Idealism may still leave us the idea of God. His His earlier and his later representations of God seem to differ somewhat. Through Schleiermacher the tendency to make God continuous with the world gained a footing in theology. The attributes we ascribe to God are in this view merely symbolical expressions of the various modes of this feeling of dependence.

These views of Schleiermacher. Toward the end of the century. He completely ignores the transcendent God. God has an environment. He eliminates from God the metaphysical attributes of self-existence. During the nineteenth century. It often seems as if his distinction between God and the world is only an ideal one. He must be thought of as limited in knowledge or power. Bradley regarded the God of the Christian religion as a part of the Absolute. Brunner would seem to be quite correct.

Because of the evil that is in the world. The existence of a larger power The statement is repeatedly made that. Leuba is of the opinion that this illusion of God has served a useful purpose.

James conceived of this power as personal. If in prewar times the controlling pattern was that of an autocratic sovereign. And the New Psychologists inform us that the idea of God is a projection of the human mind.

The form which He assumes at any particular time depends.

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James Ward. It is said of Harry Elmer Barnes that he once said in one of his laboratory classes: The so-called Meliorists or Social Theologians reveal a tendency to identify God in some way with the social order.

Bergson added to this conception of James the idea of a struggling and growing God. Most of those who reject the theistic view of God still profess faith in God.

Hume called the law of causation itself in question. The fact that we have an idea of God does not yet prove His objective existence. Only the most common of these arguments can be mentioned here.

Kant stressed the untenableness of this argument. Samuel Clarke. In general it runs as follows: Every existing thing in the world must have an adequate cause. Some of these were in essence already suggested by Plato and Aristotle. It has been stated in its most perfect form by Anselm. This has been presented in various forms by Anselm.

In course of time certain rational arguments for the existence of God were developed. Hence there must be a unitary Agent that mediates the interaction of the various parts or is the dynamic ground of their being. This has also appeared in several forms. Some modern Idealists suggested that it might better be cast into a somewhat different form. But it is quite evident that we cannot conclude from abstract thought to real existence.

The material universe appears as an interacting system. He argues that man has the idea of an absolutely perfect being. In his estimation this argument is far superior to any of the others. While this argument does point to the existence of a holy and just being.

This may be one of the reasons why it is more generally recognized than any other. That this being was the Creator of the world does not necessarily follow. Since the phenomenon is universal. Modern theology also uses it extensively. Kant regards this argument as the best of the three which were named. The Social Theologians of our day reject it along with all the other arguments as so much rubbish. In the main this takes the following form: Among all the peoples and tribes of the earth there is a sense of the divine.

Just as the other arguments. It may be stated in the following form: The world everywhere reveals intelligence. Kant took his starting point in the categorical imperative. This is also a causal argument. It is superior to the cosmological argument in that it makes explicit what is not stated in the latter. It is the one on which he mainly relies in his attempt to prove the existence of God. Some argue from the disparity often observed between the moral conduct of men and the prosperity which they enjoy in the present life.

In answer to this argument. Their conviction respecting the existence of God does not depend on them. What accounts for the general sensus divinitatis in man? Are there nations or tribes that are entirely devoid of it? Can the position be maintained that there are no atheists? Should present day Humanists be classed as atheists? How should we judge of this criticism? Why is modern theology inclined to give the study of man rather than the study of God precedence in theology? Does the Bible prove the existence of God or does it not?

If it does. Since his day many philosophers and theologians have discarded them as utterly worthless. While they do not prove the existence of God beyond the possibility of doubt.

If many in our day are willing to stake their faith in the existence of God on such rational arguments. They have some value for believers themselves. No one did more to discredit them than Kant.

The Idea of God. The Problem of God. The Phil. The Christian Idea of God. The God of the Liberal Christian. The Doctrine of God. The Philosophy of Rel. The Knowability of God A. They had advanced very little beyond the old Greek idea that the Divine Being is absolute attributeless existence. In the fourth century Eunomius.

To Calvin. At the same time they also confessed that God revealed Himself in the Logos. In some passages he even speaks of the revealed God as still a hidden God in view of the fact that we cannot fully know Him even through His special revelation.

The Scholastics distinguished between the quid and the qualis of God. The same general ideas were expressed by the Reformers. The early Church Fathers spoke of the invisible God as an unbegotten. And it feels that it has no answer to the question of Isaiah. Luther speaks repeatedly of God as the Deus Absconditus hidden God. And if this is true. The transcendence of God is soft-pedaled. Reformed theology holds that God can be known.

There could be no reverence. This denial is generally based on the supposed limits of the human faculty of cognition. The fundamental position is that the human mind is incapable of knowing anything of that which lies beyond and behind natural God is brought down to the level of the world.

It is the most sacred relation between man and his God. Religion necessarily presupposes such a knowledge. It is over against this trend in theology that Barth now raises his voice and points out that God is not to be found in nature. In his strong statements respecting the hidden God he uses the language of Luther rather than of Calvin. At the same time it is maintained that man can obtain a knowledge of God that is perfectly adequate for the realization of the divine purpose in the life of man.

Special revelation in the sense of a direct communication of God to man is denied. If man were left absolutely in the dark respecting the being of God. To have such a knowledge of God would be equivalent to comprehending Him. He asserts that the human mind knows only that which is conditioned and exists in various relations. According to him man can know nothing but physical phenomena and their laws. Says he. His senses are the sources of all true thinking.

Sir William Hamilton. All our ideas of Him are. The Scotch philosopher. It was especially Kant. Hume has been called the father of modern agnosticism. The reasoning of these two men did not carry conviction. From this it followed. As a rule agnostics do not like to be branded as atheists. He did not deny the existence of God.

But Lotze already pointed out that phenomena. We cannot be sure that there is any reality corresponding to the attributes we ascribe to Him. His agnosticism resulted from the general principle that all knowledge is based on experience.

He proceeds on the assumption that there is some reality lying back of phenomena. Theological speculation represents thought in its infancy. Mental phenomena can be reduced to material phenomena. The Scholastics spoke of the via negationis by which they in thought eliminated from God the imperfections of the creature. We know only that which bears some analogy to our own nature or experience: We meet with agnosticism also repeatedly in modern Humanism.

Even the phenomena of immediate consciousness are excluded. While we must accept the existence of some ultimate Power. Other agnostics. But this position proceeds on the unwarranted assumption that partial knowledge 4 The Twilight of Christianity.

Inconsistently he devotes a great part of his First Principles to the development of the positive content of the Unknowable.

This ultimate reality is utterly inscrutable. In many cases the differences are the very things that arrest our attention. Harry Elmer Barnes says: While it 5 6 7 The Karl Barth Theology.

Even after the revelation man cannot know God. Revelation and Response. The laws of perception and thought are not arbitrary. Says he: In manifesting Himself to us He is farther away than ever before. In the process of knowledge we distort and colour them. Barth seems sometimes to be speaking of a God of Whom we can never know anything. Some are inclined to look upon the position of Barth as a species of agnosticism. In a sense it is perfectly true that all our knowledge is subjectively conditioned.

But though it is true that much of what we predicate to God is negative in form. Our knowledge of God. God comes to man. It is said that we know the objects of knowledge. But this is not true. Without such correspondence. In the study of all other sciences man places himself above the object of his investigation and actively elicits from it his knowledge by whatever method may 8 p. But in view of all that Barth has written this is clearly not what he wants to say. The revealing God is God in action.

Therefore the threein-oneness of God is also inconceivable to us. When He says that even in His revelation God still remains for us the unknown God. His assertion. In this sense the three-in-oneness of God.

Only upon the free grace of revelation does it depend that the former conceivability. God reveals Himself exactly as the hidden God. This can easily be interpreted to mean that we learn by revelation merely that God cannot be known.

By His revelation we learn to know Him in His operations. He strongly stresses the fact that God is the hidden God. The following passage in The Doctrine of the Word of God. Kuyper calls attention to the fact that theology as the knowledge of God differs in an important point from all other knowledge.

To the conceivability in which God exists for Himself it is not only relative: But even in this revelation God appears only as the hidden God. The conceivability with which it has appeared to us. Alongside of the archetypal knowledge of God. Barth also stresses the fact that man can know God only when God comes to him in an act of revelation.

God has made Himself known. Revelation is always something purely subjective. In other words. And when we speak of revelation. The latter is related to the former as a copy is to the original. It is given once for all in Jesus Christ. The position must be maintained. All our knowledge of God is derived from His self-revelation in nature While there are elements of truth in what Barth says. There is nothing surprising in the fact that God can be known only if.

Even after Psychology has made a rather exhaustive study of man. He asserts that there is no way from man to God. The Holy Spirit searcheth all things. Without revelation man would never have been able to acquire any knowledge of God. In a measure this is also true of man. It is not something in which God is passive. Alexis Carrell is still able to write a very convincing book on Man the Unknown.

He reveals Himself. It is not. And even after God has revealed Himself objectively. This is not a strictly logical distinction. Acquired knowledge. He did not deem it necessary to consider this as innate in the sense that it was consciously present in the human mind from the start.

It denotes a knowledge that necessarily results from the constitution of the human mind. It does not arise spontaneously in the human mind. Reformed theology also rejected the doctrine in that particular form. On the one hand this cognitio Dei insita does not consist in any ideas or formed notions which are present in man at the time of his birth.

Barth on the other hand denies the existence of any such knowledge. It is a knowledge which man. It was in this form that Locke rightly attacked the doctrine of innate ideas. The doctrine of innate ideas is philosophical rather than theological. A distinction is usually made between innate and acquired knowledge of God. It is supernatural when it is communicated to man in a higher.

The substance of revelation was regarded as natural. The distinction thus applied to the idea of revelation is primarily a distinction based on the manner in which it is communicated to man.

Day unto day uttereth speech.

His doings unto the children of Israel. The mode of revelation is natural when it is communicated through nature. On the basis of these scriptural data it became customary to speak of natural and supernatural revelation. In Protestant theology natural revelation was often called a revelatio realis. Of the latter it gives abundant evidence in both the Old and the New Testament. Turn ye from your evil ways. He hath declared Him.

Hence it became quite common in the Middle Ages to contrast reason and revelation. For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen. In course of time. It is a knowledge that is not rationally demonstrable but must be accepted by faith. This knowledge is supplied by special revelation. Revelation and Inspiration. In his opinion the mysteries. Thomas Aquinas. Special revelation is rooted in the redemptive plan of God. There was considerable difference of opinion respecting the relation of these two to each other.

A more common distinction. Ewald in his work on Revelation: If there 9 p. He held. The one has in view to meet and supply the natural need of creatures for knowledge of their God. In view of the eternal plan of redemption it should be said that this special revelation did not come in as an after-thought.

Others denied that the authority of supernatural revelation was complete. Man became intoxicated with a sense of his own ability and goodness. In Schleiermacher the emphasis shifts from the objective to the subjective. When the chill winds of Rationalism swept over Europe. The fact remains. Their view of the matter may be represented as follows: As a result of the entrance of sin into the world.

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The logical demonstration. God did two things. In His supernatural revelation He republished the truths of natural revelation. In the former one assents to something because it is revealed. In order to remedy the matter and to prevent the frustration of His purpose. Barth even calls it the reconciliation. Revelation never exists on any horizontal line. It is a witness to. All truth to-day rests on its power of appeal to the human mind. And if His revelation is also continuous — as it is —.

Revelation is an act of grace. He is particularly interested in the subject of revelation. This view has become quite characteristic of modern theology. What is called revelation from one point of view. The revelation of God was given once for all in Jesus Christ: The present tendency is to draw no sharp line of distinction between revelation and the natural reason. But through whatever mediation the word of God may come to man in the existential moment of his life.

This recognition is effected by a special operation of the Holy Spirit. Barth does not recognize any revelation in nature. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God. Revelation is always God in action. Says Knudson: Since God is always sovereign and free in His revelation. God speaking. The same may be said. System of Chr. Mankind is not in possession of any infallible revelation of God. Can the doctrine of innate ideas be defended? Is the distinction between general and special revelation an exact parallel of the preceding one?

What different views were held as to the relation between the two? How does revelation differ from human discovery? Does Barth believe in general revelation? How does he conceive of special revelation? It is no wonder that Barth is in doubt as to the possibility of constructing a doctrine of God. Revelation and the Holy Spirit. In what sense can we speak of the hidden or unknown God in spite of the fact that He has revealed Himself? How did the Scholastics and the Reformers differ on this point?

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What is the position of modern theology? Why is revelation essential to religion? How does agnosticism differ theoretically from atheism? Is the one more favorable to religion than the other? How did Kant promote agnosticism? What form did agnosticism take in Positivism? What other forms did it take?

Systematic Theology (Louis Berkhof)

Why do some speak of Barth as an agnostic? How should this charge be met? Is theology possible without revelation? If not. Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages. Collected Works I. God the Creator.

Revelation a Symposium of Aulen. The Being of God as Unity and Trinity. Baillie and Martin. The Christian Conception of God. Others prefer to consider the Being of God in connection with His attributes in view of the fact that it is in these that He has revealed Himself.

The only difference would seem to be that some seek to distinguish between the Being and the attributes of God more than others do. This is done. Relation of the Being and Attributes of God Some dogmaticians devote a separate chapter or chapters to the Being of God. This difference of treatment is not indicative of any serious fundamental disagreement between them.

It would consist in an enumeration of all the known attributes of God. This is the more common method. This merely names the characteristics of a person or thing. They are all agreed that the attributes are not mere names to which no reality corresponds. The Bible never operates with an abstract concept of God. But this rendering is very doubtful. An indication of the very essence of God has been found in the name Jehovah.

John 4: The Being of God is characterized by a depth. On the whole it may be said that Scripture does not exalt one attribute of God at the expense of the others. In the Middle Ages too there was a tendency. The two ideas derived from these passages occur repeatedly in theology as designations of the very Being of God. And this has been interpreted to mean self-existence or self-contained permanence or absolute independence.

Another passage is repeatedly quoted as containing an indication of the essence of God. It may be true that now one. During the trinitarian controversy the distinction between the one essence and the three persons in the Godhead was strongly emphasized.

Gregory of Nazianze. In some cases one attribute was The words of the Belgic Confession are quite characteristic: And in some cases the language used is so strong that it seemingly allows of no knowledge of the Being of God whatsoever. His nature or essence. The Reformers and their successors also spoke of the essence of God as incomprehensible.

The question then is.

Systematic Theology, by Louis Berkhof

Thus Thomas Aquinas spoke of His aseity or self-existence. They stressed the unity. An sit Deus? Quid sit Deus? What is God? What is the nature of His inner constitution? What makes Him to be what He is? In order to answer that question adequately. And if we consider the second question entirely apart from the third.

And the consensus of opinion in the early Church. It became quite common also to speak of God as actus purus in view of His simplicity. In this paragraph it is particularly the second question that calls for attention. The question of Zophar. At the same time they who use it. His attributes.

Misunderstanding can easily result from a failure to understand the exact question under consideration. Calvin too speaks of the Divine essence as incomprehensible. We cannot comprehend God.

In dealing with our knowledge of the Being of God we must certainly avoid the position of Cousin. By this he means that even in His revelation God has not manifested Himself entirely as He is essentially.

Speaking of the knowledge of the quid and of the qualis of God. On the one hand he distinguishes between the Deus absconditus hidden God and the Deus revelatus revealed God. They convey to us at least some knowledge of what God is.

Luther uses some very strong expressions respecting our inability to know something of the Being or essence of God. But this knowledge cannot be obtained by a priori methods. We know God only in so far as He enters into relations with us. But in so far as God reveals Himself in His attributes. Apart from the revelation of God in His attributes.

There is a difference between an absolute 14 Inst. It is perfectly true that this knowledge of God is possible only. It is in part a knowledge of the absolute nature of God as well. To say that we can know nothing of the Being of God. But we can at least know Him in so far as He reveals Himself in His relation to us. Some of them even went so far as to say that each attribute is identical with every other attribute.

Neither can they be regarded as something added to the Being of God. It will not do at all to say that man knows only the relations in which God stands to His creatures. Can we know God as He enters into relations with the world and with ourselves? God has entered into relations with us in His revelations of Himself. It would not even be possible to have a proper conception of these relations without knowing something of both God and man. It was further asserted by the Scholastics that the whole essence of God is identical with each one of the attributes.

The question. The Scholastics stressed the fact that God is all that He has. This is a very dangerous extreme. The attributes cannot be considered as so many parts that enter into the composition of God. Neither is it correct to say that this knowledge which we have of God is only a relative knowledge.

While it may be said that there is an interpenetration of the attributes in God. He has life. Orr says: They realized that the theory of the Nominalists. Thomas Aquinas had the same purpose in mind. His knowing is His willing. The Realists. It is possible to go even farther and say with Shedd. They were afraid that by assuming real distinctions in Him.

His love is His righteousness. At the same time they sought to safeguard the unity and simplicity of God by maintaining that the whole essence is in each attribute: God is All in all. How do the philosophical views of the essential Being 16 17 Dogm.

And since they are essential qualities.

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They are essential qualities of God. The attributes are real determinations of the Divine Being or. These qualities cannot be altered without altering the essential Being of God. It would be a mistake to conceive of the essence of God as existing by itself and prior to the attributes. All in each. How can we distinguish between the being. It was characteristic of the Nominalists that they obliterated all real distinctions in God.

According to them the perfections of the Divine Being exist only in our thoughts. Why is it impossible for man to comprehend God? Does Calvin differ from them on this point? Did Luther share the Nominalist views of Occam. Calvin and Calvinism. God the Creator from the Barthian standpoint. What erroneous views of the attributes should be avoided? What is the proper view? Collected Works. Manual of the Hist. The Chr. Could we have any knowledge of God. How did the Reformers. View of God and the World.

This usage is due to the fact that in oriental thought a name was never regarded as a mere vocable. In the most general sense of the word. They are given by God Himself with the assurance that they contain in a measure a revelation of the Divine Being. In order to make Himself known to The Names of God A.

Because the Incomprehensible One revealed Himself in His creatures. This was made possible by the fact that the world and all its relations is and was meant to be a revelation of God. O God. On the one hand we cannot name Him. They are anthropomorphic and mark a condescending approach of God to man.

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God is the Incomprehensible One. For us the one general name of God is split up into many names. How can this be explained? It is a designation of Him. The names of God are not of human invention. It is only because God has revealed Himself in His name nomen editum.

To know the name of a person was to have power over him. The most simple name by which God is designated in the Old Testament. Later on it was largely supplanted by the name Jehovah Yahweh. God had to condescend to the level of man. Then the world does not reveal. From what was said about the name of God in general it follows that we can include under the names of God not only the appellatives by which He is indicated as an independent personal Being and by which He is addressed.

The These names are not yet nomina propria in the strict sense of the word. Bavinck bases his division of the names of God on that broad conception of them. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. The Domain for Truth. Posts Comments. Dissertation in PDF: Free on PDF: Share this: Reddit Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest.

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