Miracles are often perceived to be God revealing himself and answering prayer. Some Christians believe that God meets with them directly, through worship or prayer. They might feel the presence of God when they are praying, or have a prayer answered. Some Christians say that when they worship they feel the presence of the Holy Spirit , which is the power of God at work.
Connecting with the Divine
For the Christian receiving these special revelations, God is a personal and living God. They believe God still communicates with his followers and treats them as individuals. No more important words have ever been uttered or written. Compton, the physicist, calls them the most wonderful words ever written. All else in the Bible stands or falls upon the validity and truthfulness of these words.
Study of the person and work of God is of inestimable importance and value for all who would know the truth. Without a proper understanding of Him and His plan, everything else in the Bible and in life becomes hazy and meaningless. The world becomes a strange, mad, and painful place and life in it is a disappointing and unpleasant business for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you.
In Search of God
This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. Christ who was sent to be both the revelation of God to man and the reconciliation of man to God declares that knowing God is the essence of eternal life. But by eternal life Christ was not simply speaking of gaining an entrance into heaven, but of knowing and experiencing an eternal quality of life now, a life of meaning, purpose, and usefulness to God and mankind with peace and joy.
All the real issues and questions of life ultimately find their answer in the knowledge of God which comes to man through Jesus Christ and the Scripture, Genesis through Revelation. Before moving into the specifics of the doctrine of God, a few things should be said about theology as a whole.
That which the living and written Word reveals is theology—a discourse on the specific subject of God. Though the word theology is never found in Scripture, it is Scriptural in character. In the use of the term theology several types develop depending on how the Word is used. Theology proper contemplates only the Person of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existence and attributes without reference to the works of each person of the trinity.
This is a part of systematic theology. For our knowledge of God to be accurate, the primary source must be the Bible, the special revelation of God, and the primary method must be the literal inductive method which is founded on a careful study of Scripture especially in the original languages in which it was written, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. A true and accurate systematic theology must also be an exegetical theology and a revealed or scriptural theology. This is primary.
Too often the study of theology is man-centered, i. This does not mean we ignore the writings of these men as they have sought to represent what the Scripture teaches, but our final conclusions need to be based on Scripture itself as much as is humanly possible. These are the categories which should form a part of any system of systematic theology:. This is the study of the Bible, i. This is the study of the essence, being, and trinity of God.
This is the study of angels, fallen and unfallen. This is the study of man, his creation, make-up, innocence and fall. This is the study of sin, its nature, derivation and classifications. This is the study of the church, universal and local. This is the study of prophecy and last things.
Dispensations may also be included. This involves the study of the Person of the Holy Spirit. In rationalism reason becomes the sole guide in discovering and learning about God whether in Scripture or in nature. Here the supernatural is generally explained away by human reason and its bias against the supernatural, i. This is the system of pursuing knowledge through observation and experiment.
In the empirical system, everything must be checked out through the senses. One must be able to smell, see, touch, hear, or taste in order to know or come to a bonafide conclusion. The empirical method or the empiricist is one who depends on experience or observation alone, without regard to theory or faith. This is complete confidence in someone or something expressed in a non-meritorious way. Faith is the primary and Biblical means of perception Heb. Faith is the means by which we understand spiritual phenomenon. Spiritual phenomenon is an infinite subject beyond the experience and reason of man.
An Impersonal Creator: Understanding Deism
But faith is an infinite means of perception which alone is able to grasp the infinite. By the faith means of perception, a person reads the Bible, sees a fact of spiritual phenomenon and accepts it by faith. This becomes spiritual fact or truth by which an individual operates and has confidence. But is this rational? Does one have to put his brain in neutral with the faith means of perception? Children humbly accept a lot of things as true by faith, but always because they have confidence in a person, parent, or teacher.
Faith begins with someone higher and greater than ourselves where rationalism and empiricism do not. They begin and end with man. So we read in Scripture that nature sings out the fact of God, giving constant evidence not only for the reality of God, but for something of the nature of God Ps. The Bible holds fantastic evidence that its source is in God and that God has given us this book without error.
However, reason alone or rationalism, because of its bias, would say this cannot be true because it is supernatural, and this is unreasonable. Or empiricism alone would say—I have not observed it so it cannot be true, or unless I observe it, it cannot be true.
Thomas, who doubted at first, may have been an empiricist John , This is perception by faith. The following are a few of the false views about God. These are either a product of rationalization or the failure of men to accept the Word of God by faith or both. These systems reveal the truth of 1 Corinthians But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Atheism is open and positive denial of the existence of God Ps. It does not refer to a mere ignorance of God, but applies to one who considers himself informed on the claims and evidence for the existence of God and who emphatically denies them. This is one who denies the absolute existence of God. This is the person who simply doubts the existence of God, but firmly denies His providential dealings and the care of God for the things of this world.
However, this person in effect denies the being of God for he strips Him of His omnipotence, wisdom, mercy, justice and righteousness. Because of their desire to be uncontrolled in their lust patterns. This kind of atheist is sometimes called a Deist. In every atheist there is a moral twist see Ps. He denies God because he wants freedom from any responsibility for his sin. He is like the person who does not want to come to the light because his deeds are evil John By this we refer to a secret or partial atheism which is present in the majority of the world.
These do not actually deny the being of God, but by their actions and lifestyle, by their evil and neglect of God, or by the denial of certain aspects and rights of His divine and sovereign Being over them, they deny Him and act as though there were no God. Titus They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him , being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.
In reality it is an unwillingness to accept any of the sources of the knowledge of God innate, tradition, nature, revelation , and an unwillingness to act in faith.
Instead, it says I cannot know. This is the system which tries to explain everything by physical causes which can be observed and understood. It denies and excludes any spiritual causes. Materialism is closely related to empiricism. Polytheism is a system of theology which believes in many gods.
It has been claimed by unbelievers and by many evolutionists that all men were first polytheists and then evolved to monotheism. But the Bible shows that polytheism is a product not of evolution but devolution and degeneration.
The idea found in evolution that monotheism, or the belief in one God, is a refinement of polytheism is contrary to the record of the Bible and even recent discoveries archaeologically. Scripture shows that polytheism is the product of man turning away from God and is specifically related to the deceptions of Satan as it is found in the false religions of the world.
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Polytheism is in no way similar to the biblical doctrine of the trinity which teaches that God is three in personality, but one in essence. This is the belief that God is in everything and that everything is God. This system confuses God with nature, matter with Spirit, and the creation with the Creator.
Also, pantheism must not be confused with the omnipresence of God.