We should have more confidence not just in the Gospel and Spirit, but also in the sheer obviousness of God’s existence—and not just God as such, but the God that Scripture presents in his power to create and sustain as well as his eternal existence and nature (and so simplicity, immutability, and so on). [Read more…] about We should have more confidence in the sheer obviousness of God’s existence
Existence probably is the best evidence that God exists. Why do we exist at all? Why at this moment do we exist? What logical causes hold together our existence even now (gravity, matter, etc.)? Every caused thing must have some logical cause here-and-now to exist. And if we trace the logical (not temporal) casual train, at one point we have to admit that some uncaused cause holds together existence even now.
To understand causation, Scripture gives us guidelines for how we should understand God and his relationship to the universe. And one particularly useful place to look is Acts 17. [Read more…] about Existence probably is the best evidence that God exists
The first article of the Belgic Confession (1561) affirms, “We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God.” This confession of God’s simplicity represents the common opinion of reformed theology as well as earlier Christian theology.
But divine simplicity as well as its attendant teachings (immutability, impassibility, timelessness) no longer enjoy such a consensus. Instead, a number of theologians now deny, ignorte, or redefine simplicity. Certainly, the principle of Sola Scriptura allows even the most central teaching of Christianity to undergo scrutiny. Yet I am persuaded that divine simplicity enjoyed such universal consensus because it is biblical, true, and coherent. God is simple.
To deny, ignore, or redefine this doctrine entails not only theological incoherency but also various other inconsisties when it comes to certain attendant doctrines—immutability, impassibility, infinity, triune relations, and monotheism. [Read more…] about Is God Simple?
A number of recent evangelical theologians have reshaped and redefined one of the most central doctrines of Christianity: the doctrine of God. In particular, the dogmas of divine simplicity, eternality, infinity, immutability, impassibility, and triune relations of origin have been widely redefined and even rejected.
Yet these doctrines have been a mainstay of biblical Christianity for centuries, for millennia. These teachings appeared in Christian confessions and in the great writings of Christian theology. Until the twentieth-century, almost every Christian thought they were biblical. But that is no longer the case.
This change confronts us with the question: can we trust our theology? Is it correct? Why are we biblical now but not then? What makes us right and them wrong? What confidence can we have in unshakeable revealed truth if we cannot agree on the central topic of Christianity anymore, namely, God?
Before answering that question, consider the following proofs for the above statements. The following paragraphs list the doctrines mentioned above and then cites evangelical theologians who either redefine or reject these doctrines. Afterward, I will reflect briefly on what this means and whether or not we can still trust evangelical theology. (Preview: we can) [Read more…] about Can We Still Trust Evangelical Theology?
God is good, loving, and merciful. And while this affirmation makes good sense, it does lead to the question of how God is good, loving, and merciful. We sometimes are good. Sometimes not. But God always is and does good. So when John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), he means something different than the phrase “Stephanie is a loving person.”
The traditional answer is bound up in the idea of God’s simplicity. In short, God simply is who he is (Exod 3:14). So that means God is love by nature. And the two terms are basically interchangeable. To say Love is to say God because Love defines God by nature. The nature of God is identical to his properties or attributes.
While most Christians had affirmed this answer (it appears in the Reformed confessions and early Christian thought), some have now challenged the idea that God is identical to his properties. [Read more…] about Is God Identical to His Attributes?
Christians across the ages have confessed God’s simplicity, and it also remains as a stalwart foundation for the reformed faith. The Belgic Confession (1561), for example, begins by affirming that God is “ single and simple spiritual being.” And Francis Turretin (1623–1687) remarks, “The orthodox have constantly taught that the essence of God is perfectly simple and free from all composition” (1992: 1:191).
Divine simplicity means that God has no parts or possibility. He is actually and always who he claims to be.
Yet some today reject divine simplicity as being nonbiblical and incoherent. Is it? [Read more…] about Some Say Divine Simplicity Is Nonbiblical and Incoherent. Is it?