Theology

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Ceron Pugh | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 14 2011 8:31 AM

Please help me with the following:

1. Defining Theology, and the necessity for the study of God

2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

Thank you

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steve clark | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 9:04 AM

Hi Ceron,

i am not a preacher or seminary student, but in your Logos4 library you may find one of the following books which might help you with your 2 questions.

  • Concise theology
  • The Moody handbook of theology
  • Systematic theology
  • A survey of Bible doctrine
  • Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine

 

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Matt Hamrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 9:11 AM

Welcome to the forums Ceron.

The most basic definition is "the science or study of God and the relations between God and the universe." Do you use Logos Bible Software? If so, look for theology books in your package and you will find definitions on all theological docrines. If no base package, theology is a broad term for defining and we need more info on what you are asking.

As far as supporting the argument scriptually that God exists, look in your Bible. I would focus on Genesis, Psalms, the Gospels, Acts, and some of Paul's writings. If you need to be inspired, go outside and take in the existence of God from nature. Your second point is something you need to study from the scriptures. There is nothing stronger than your own study to get your own answers.

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Alan Charles Gielczyk | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 9:37 AM

1. Definition of theology-Theos=God, Logos=Word-theology=Words about God

Necessity for study-Westminster Shorter Catechism Q & A 1-

Q-What is the chief end of man

A-Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

We cannot enjoy Him if we don't know Him

We cannot know Him if we do not know about Him

We cannot know about Him if we do not study Him

2. I don't think you meant exactly what you said but if you did this is easy

Gen. 1:1 "In the beginning God..."

Posts 3
Ceron Pugh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 10:06 AM

Are there any resources in Logos I can review?

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 10:15 AM

Ceron Pugh:

Please help me with the following:

1. Defining Theology, and the necessity for the study of God

2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

I'm sure you will get a lot of good answers to your first question (two three already) but your second question is problematic. Believers forget sometimes that non-believers do not hold the Scriptures in high regard. They will, in fact,  hold the Bible in lower regard than extra-Biblical sources. To attempt to convince someone that God exists by showing how the Bible states it as fact assumes they believe the Bible is inspired (by a deity they do not believe in? Surprise

Apologetics  deals with arguments relating to God's existence, the question of sin and suffering, origins and so on. I thoroughly enjoy apologetics for the argument's sake, but unless someone is seeking truth I don't think you can argue someone into placing faith in God. There is a book that I found as a free PDF download : Apologetics in Conversation  that gives a good perspective on the use of apologetics. The rest of  this web site has other interesting books. Logos offers lots of good material in the apologetics vein. Some is in all the base packages while other add-on collections focus entirely on apologetics (i.e. Norman Geisler.).

If someone already believes in God's existence and wants to see what God says in the Bible your approach is with good Bible doctrine. Logos also has a lot of material to instruct the non-combative seeker. After reading Vincent Cheung's Apologetics in Conversation, I think you will appreciate both methods for answering a skeptic. There is a time and place for apologetics. It plants seeds for future consideration but only God can quicken a lost soul and the truth in the scriptures is how He does it.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 10:32 AM

Ceron Pugh:

Are there any resources in Logos I can review?

Lots of good stuff. What Logos package do you have?

Logos has one website (the WBSA link at the top of this page) that is freely available to everyone.

WBSA = What the Bible Says About is handy for giving Bible based answers. Don't  expect someone hostile to the idea of God's existence to give as much credence to Bible verses.

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Ceron Pugh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 11:42 AM

Silver edition

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Matt Hamrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 1:41 PM

Hi Ceron,

You have Strong and Hodge Systematic Theology. I cannot recall but I think one of them has several definitions on theology; ie. Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Systematic Theology, etc.

You also have Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. This a theology book from Calvin and may help you.

You have Packer's Concise Theology.

And there is Shedd's Dogmatic Theology.

Any of these will help you define theology.

In any theology book when you read about the doctrine of God's existence it will give you bible verses.

Apologetics is defense of the faith. It's different than theology, but we must have sound doctrine to defend the Christian faith. I hope this helps you.

 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 2:14 PM

Ceron Pugh:
Silver edition
Here are some resources you already have in your base package that might be of interest:

  • Apologetics Study Bible  
  • Christianity on the Offense 
  • Defending Your Faith Difficulties in the Bible:
  • Alleged Errors and Contradictions
  • Engaging the Closed Mind
  • Soul of Science
  • The Truth about World Views          
  • Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles Ryrie

(I am sure there are some that escape me for the moment.)

Books NOT in your base package:

When it comes to doctrine & theology, I hesitate to make a list because I will invariably leave out a very important work and possibly include one that other users will say is worthless. I like reading theology so my favorites include authors I do not agree with 100% and frequently oppose each other's views. That said, I find a few authors so well-written and so understandable they ought to be read by everyone. Here are

  1. Reformed Dogmatics by Herman Bavinck
  2. Louis Berkhof Collection (the whole collection, it's filled with wonderful titles.)
  3. The Faith Once for All: Bible Doctrine for Today by Jack Cottrell
  4. Works of Cornelius Van Til  (40 volumes)
  5. Norman L. Geisler Collection (14 vols.)
  6. The Norman L. Geisler Apologetics Library (13 vols.)
  7. Systematic Theology (4 vols.)

A good first read for your second question would be: God Doesn't Believe in Atheists. by Ray Comfort. Be sure to look at related resources on the description pages. You can often save money by buying a collection of the same author or subject. This will also start you on a never ending discovery of new books you think you just "gotta have."  I hope you find something that meets your needs.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 2:18 PM

Ceron Pugh:
2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

The problem of scripturally supporting the argument that God exists has already been indicated.  It should also be noted that one cannot prove that God exists.  On the other hand, neither can one prove that God does not exist.  In fact, to say that God exists is actually contradictory if one understands God in the Christian sense.  This is because there is no necessary link from the creation to God.  In Christianity it is held that God is completely separate from the creation and calls it into being.  To say that God exists is therefore to say that God is a part of creation (a pagan view).  That there is or is not God who created the universe is therefore a presupposition with which one comes to the scriptures.  The scripture may say that the fool says that there is no God, but that does not indicate that one can prove God.  God is "wholly other" and can only be accepted as he is when God himself lays it upon one's heart.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Tim Finlay | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 3:39 PM

George, I think your comments "To say that God exists is actually contradictory if one understands God in the Christian sense" and "To say that God exists is therefore to say that God is a part of creation" need some important qualification, perhaps by adding the phrase "in the same way that we exist" in each case. God is certainly not "a being among other beings" and if that was your point, I completely agree. Traditional Christianity holds to classical theism, which posits that we are contingent beings whose existence is derived from God who is Being Itself, who exists necessarily etc. For Catholics, that there are sound arguments for classical theism is a tenet of Vatican I. Many, perhaps most, Protestants also hold that there are sound arguments for classical theism. It may well be that a person can only accept those arguments through an act of grace operating upon the person's will. But that does not negate their being sound arguments for classical theism which the human intellect can comprehend.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 5:05 PM

Ceron Pugh:
1. Defining Theology, and the necessity for the study of God

Faith seeking understanding.etc. from Anselm

Ceron Pugh:
2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

Such arguments are usually circular. Presuppositional apologeticsis the only thing I know of that might try.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 9:32 PM

While I appreciate what you're saying George (truly); I like a simpler method.

Look at a painting.  Does it or does it not prove the existence of a painter?

Now look at creation.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 9:56 PM

Thomas Black:

While I appreciate what you're saying George (truly); I like a simpler method.

Look at a painting.  Does it or does it not prove the existence of a painter?

Now look at creation.

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?  Or, what has the creation to do with the creator?  You cannot reason from the composition of water to that of earth.  There must be some necessary connection between the two.  Unless you wish to say that creation is of the nature of the diety, there is no necessary connection. To the pagans the dieties were of the nature of the world.  Such is not the case with the Christian faith.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 10:10 PM

MJ. Smith:

Ceron Pugh:
2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

Such arguments are usually circular. Presuppositional apologeticsis the only thing I know of that might try.

Agreed. My first response to this question offered Vincent Cheung's books because he is a Presuppositionalist.  If a person spent lots of time delving into this branch of apologetics I would recommend they balance it with extensive reading of Cornelius Van Til.

I think Ravi Zacharias is a synthesis of the two. I really wish we had his works in Logos.

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 14 2011 11:09 PM

Thomas Black:
Look at a painting.  Does it or does it not prove the existence of a painter?

While I am a fan of natural theology, I think the issue is a bit more complex than that. We might suggest a Logos search on "natural theology".

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 15 2011 10:08 AM

MJ. Smith:

Thomas Black:
Look at a painting.  Does it or does it not prove the existence of a painter?

While I am a fan of natural theology, I think the issue is a bit more complex than that. We might suggest a Logos search on "natural theology"

I would start that search in these resources:

  1. Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design
  2. The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design
  3. Hugh Ross / Reasons To Believe Collection (9 vols.)
  4. Day One Creation and Science Collection (10 vols.)

And if we are in dialogue with someone who will consider scripture:

  1. Encountering the Divine: Theophany in Biblical Narrative
  2. The Philosophy of Revelation

disclosure: in case it has not become obvious already; I'm a Presuppositionalist too. Coffee

                   Sometimes I am even a Prepositionalist! Confused

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 15 2011 11:20 AM

Super Tramp:
I would start that search in these resources:

Those you recommend are those which seek to reason from the creation to the creator and who think they have succeeded.  This involves the legitimacy of general revelation.  Karl Barth was most emphatic in denying that there was any legitimate knowledge of God to be derived by human reason from general revelation so, if you wish to examine the contrary view, read Barth.  Some would start with Rom 1:18-23

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

They would claim that Paul indicates that a natural theology based on general revelation is possible.  Note, however, that it is not something which is clearly deducible by man by his own efforts unaided "because God has shown it to them."  Without God implanting it in his heart, man cannot mount Jacob's ladder to attain a knowledge of God.

 

 

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 15 2011 11:49 AM

George Somsel:
Those you recommend are those which seek to reason from the creation to the creator and who think they have succeeded.

I know. (I did give disclosure, didn't I?) Any good Presuppositionalist would exclude other approaches because they are unsustainable. I do have Barth's Church Dogmatics but intentionally did not list it for that reason. Both Van Til & Cheung are Presuppositionalists. One must presuppose truth exists before they can reason; anything less is indefensible.

I agree with MJ's original answer to question 2:

MJ. Smith:

Ceron Pugh:
2. Supporting the argumment scripturally that God exists.

Such arguments are usually circular. Presuppositional apologeticsis the only thing I know of that might try.

I think Clark, Van Til, Cheung, & Ray Comfort all succeed at answering this objective when the others fail.  Big Smile

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