This is a little series I’m going to be doing over the next year or two. It’s the fruit of assignments given in Systematic Theology here at Piedmont. I’ll be posting the Doctrinal Statements as I do them. Most likely I’ll go back and add to them as I get time. I think it is something I’m going to enjoy doing, and will benefit me sometime in the future.
I. The Knowledge of God – Christianity affirms that an eternal sovereign God exists, and that this God has made himself known through two main avenues.
A.General Revelation – Psalm 19.1-6 speaks of the voice of creation that goes out into the entire world and testifies of the One who created all things. Paul speaks of this revelation in Rom. 1.18-23. Knowledge of God is placed within all people by God (Rom. 2.14,15). But instead of seeking after this God, mankind rejected Him in favor of their sinful desires. It is this rejection that results in the condemnation of mankind, not rejection of the gospel. It should be noted that this type of revelation is not sufficient for salvation, as knowledge of and acceptance of Jesus Christ is needed for salvation (1 Cor. 15.3,4; John 14.6).
B. Specific Revelation – Where general revelation is nature attesting to the existence of God, special revelation is God revealing Himself. While throughout history God used various methods of giving man special revelation (ex. Dreams, Gen. 28:12-15; Angels, Ac. 7.53, Gal. 3.19), the primary methods of revelation today are the Scriptures, and Jesus Christ (Heb. 1.1,2) (since all that can be known of Christ today is in the scriptures, it can be said that special revelation is ultimately limited to the scriptures).
II. Attributes of God – Absolute attributes describe God within Himself, while the relative attributes describe God’s relation to the universe.
A. Absolute – Spirituality – John 4.24 declares God to be spirit, meaning that He does not have a physical body. It is wrong to try and make a physical representation or image of God (hence the commandment in Ex. 20.4). Self-existence – God does not need any outside elements for Him to survive. Contrast with humanity who depends on food, water, and air for survival. The Father has life within Himself (John 5.26). Immutability – means God cannot and will not change (Mal. 3.6; Jam. 1.17). Love – 1 John 4.8 tells us that “God is love.” Paul explains that God loves so much, that He would allow His Son to die for sinners in Rom. 5.8. Truth – Isa. 44.8-10; 45.5; Num. 23.19; Rom. 3.3,4. Goodness – Ex. 34.6; Matt. 19.17; Mark 10.18; Lu. 18.19; Ps. 27.10 Holiness – carries the basic idea of “set apart.” God transcends and is above all creation. He is morally pure and cannot have any relation with evil. Ex. 15.11; Is. 15.11; Lev. 11.44,45; Ps. 11.4-6.
B. Relative – Eternity – God is not limited to or bound by time. He sees all of time as one event, and is present in all past and future, as well as the present (Ps. 90.2). Immensity – God is not bound to space. He created all space and is above it, though he enters it to interact with humanity (1Kg. 8.27).
III. The Triunity of God – Within the Godhead there are three distinct personalities, existing as one God (Jn. 5.19; 8.28; 12.49; 14.10). The word commonly used is “essence.” The Trinity consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three have enjoyed perfect relationship for all of eternity. These three personalities are all equal in being, yet have an order of subordination within the head. The Father sends the Son and the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14.16,24,26; 16.5) and the Son is able to send the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16.7).