THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
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THE DOCTRINE OF GOD Attributes and Works. KEY TERMINOLOGY. Attributes : to ascribe to the Lord those things that are his, Psalm 29:1,2, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name” Perfections : the “things” ascribed to God by way of eminence, I Peter 2:9, “declare the praises of him”

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THE DOCTRINE OF GOD

Attributes and Works


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KEY TERMINOLOGY

  • Attributes: to ascribe to the Lord those things that are his, Psalm 29:1,2, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name”

  • Perfections: the “things” ascribed to God by way of eminence, I Peter 2:9, “declare the praises of him”

  • Properties: the things that are God’s, with reference to the persons of the Trinity

  • Predicates: God’s attributes in relation to Creation

Doctrine of God 2


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THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

  • To speak of God is to speak of his Attributes

  • His attributes are real, not merely descriptive:

    • God is more than loving; God IS LOVE

    • Attributes differ “neither realiter, nor nominaliter, but virtualiter” C. Hodge, ST, 1:373

  • God is not a composite of Attributes, but is a “simple” being

  • The Attributes are coextensive with his being- “Substance and attributes are inseparable.” C. Hodge, ST, 1:371

Doctrine of God 2


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ABSOLUTE

IMMANENT

INCOMMUNICABLE

NEGATIVE

NATURAL

METAPHYSICAL

INTRANSITIVE

RELATIVE

TRANSIENT

COMMUNICABLE

POSITIVE

MORAL

ETHICAL

TRANSITIVE

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

Doctrine of God 2


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ABSOLUTE

Attributes considering the essence of God in itself

Self-existence, immensity, eternity

IMMANENT or INTRANSITIVE

Those which do not “go forth,” such as

Immensity, simplicity, eternity

RELATIVE

Attributes considering the essence of God in relation to creation

Omnipresence, Omniscience

TRANSIENT or TRANSITIVE

Those which go forth and produce effects outside of God, such as

Omnipotence, benevolence, justice

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, Berkhof

Can we have knowledge of God in himself?

Doctrine of God 2


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NATURAL, NON-MORAL or METAPHYSICAL

Attributes that belong to the constitutional nature of God, as distinguished from his will

Self-existence, simplicity, infinity

NEGATIVE

Those in which something is denied

Simplicity, infinity, eternity, immutability

MORAL, ETHICAL

Attributes which qualify God as a moral being

Truth, goodness, mercy, justice, holiness

POSITIVE

Those in which something is affirmed

Power, knowledge, holiness, justice, goodness and truth

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, Berkhof

Are not moral attributes natural to God?

Doctrine of God 2


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INCOMMUNICABLE

Attributes for which there is nothing analagous in the creation, such as

Aseity, simplicity, immensity, eternity

COMMUNICABLE

Attributes to which the human spirit bears some analogy, such as

Power, goodness, mercy, righteous- ness

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, Berkhof

Does this distinction withstand scrutiny? Grudem suggests “less shared or more shared” as distinction

Doctrine of God 2


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God in relation to creation

Spirituality

Intellectual

Knowledge

Wisdom

Veracity

Moral

Goodness

Holiness

Righteousness

Sovereignty

Will

Power

CATEGORIES OF ATTRIBUTES

  • God in himself

    • Self-Existence

    • Immutability

    • Infinity

      • Perfection

      • Eternity

      • Immensity

    • Unity

      • Oneness

      • Simplicity

Doctrine of God 2


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THE ATTRIBUTES per Shorter Catechism, Q. 4

  • God is

    • A Spirit, Infinite, Eternal, Unchangeable in his being

  • Wisdom

  • Power

  • Holiness

  • Justice

  • Goodness

  • Truth

Doctrine of God 2


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THE WORKS OF GOD

  • The Decrees of God

  • Creation

  • Providence

  • Miracles

Doctrine of God 2


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THE WORKS OF GOD

Opera Ad Extra-

God in relation

to creation

Opera Ad Intra- God in

himself

Ad Extra

Emanent: Execution of Decrees

Works of God

Ad Intra

Immanent: Decree

Doctrine of God 2


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Definition: “The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

The Final Cause of all is the Glory of God, Antecedent Will

The means towards those ends are the Consequent Will of God

The Decree is the determination to employ those ends

THE DECREES OF GOD

Doctrine of God 2


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ELECTION according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

Soteriological

Absolute and Unconditional

Applies to all acts/ events re salvation

Basis of human act of faith

PREDESTINATION AND ELECTION

  • PREDESTINATION

    • Cosmic

    • Absolute and Unconditional

    • Extends to all events in detail

    • Basis of all human action

Doctrine of God 2


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Psalm 139:16, “ according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”

Psalm 33:11, “the plans of the Lord stand firm forever”

Isaiah 14:24, “the Lord Almighty has sworn, Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand”

Ephesians 1:5,11 “he predestined us . . . In accordance with his pleasure and will . . . . having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”

BIBLICAL DATA: DECREE OF GOD

Doctrine of God 2


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THE DECREES OF GOD according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Includes even the minute details, Matthew 10:29,30, “not one of them [sparrows] will fall . . . apart from the will of your Father”

  • Includes the wicked acts of men

    • Luke 22:22, “the Son of Man will go as it has been decreed”

    • Acts 2:23, “this man was handed to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge”

    • Acts 4:27-28, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen”

  • Are Immutable, Isaiah 14:24,27, “I have purposed, so it will stand” (Cf. 46:9-10)

Doctrine of God 2


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THE DECREES OF GOD according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Human responsibility: WCF 3.1 “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby

neither is God the author of sin,

nor is violence offered to the will

of the creatures, nor is the liberty

or contingency of second causes

taken away, but rather established.”

Doctrine of God 2


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CALVINISM-HYPER-CALVINISM according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7CONTINUUM

100%

The sovereignty of God

Doctrine of God 2


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PELAGIANISM-ARMINIANISM according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7CONTINUUM

100%

HumanFreedom

Doctrine of God 2


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COVENANTAL CALVINISM according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

100%

HumanFreedom

200%

Solution

The sovereignty of God

100%

Doctrine of God 2


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WORKS OF GOD: CREATION according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • The Father creates, Hebrews 1:2

  • The Son creates, John 1:3

  • The Holy Spirit creates, Genesis 1:2

  • The biblical concept of creation is an action of God alone in which he brings into existence that which had no existence prior to his creative word.

Doctrine of God 2


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THEORIES OF CREATION according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Old Earth

    • Day-Age- Each day is a period of indeterminate time

    • Literary Framework- There is a literary process at work

      • Paralleling days 1-4, 2-5, 3-6

      • God accommodating himself to our ability

  • Young Earth

    • Mature Creation- Appearance of Age

    • Flood Geology- Catastrophism explains the geological phenomena

Doctrine of God 2


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IRREDUCIBLE MINIMUM according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7IN CREATION

  • All that is came from the hand of God

  • All life forms came, ultimately, from the the creative power of God

  • Adam and Eve were created by the direct act of God

Doctrine of God 2


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WORKS OF GOD: according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7PROVIDENCE

  • “God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.” S.C. Q 11

Doctrine of God 2


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PROVIDENCE according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Creation anticipates Providence

  • All Christians profess belief in providence; Calvinists extend it to every detail of life

  • Providence means that God enters into his creation and upholds it- preservation and government

  • Providence is universal and all-inclusive

    • Ordinary Providence, Jonah 1:3, the boat

    • Extraordinary Providence, Jonah 1:4, great wind

    • Supernatural Providence, Jonah 1:17, the fish

Doctrine of God 2


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MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Agency and Responsibility (second causes) are established by God’s providence

  • Biblical Examples:

    • Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”

    • Isaiah 10:5ff, “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger . . . I send him against a godless nation . . . But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind”

    • Acts 27:22-25, “keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost . . . it will happen just as he (God) told me”

Doctrine of God 2


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MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • The Moral (Revealed/Preceptive) Will of God- tells us what pleases God

  • The Decretive (Secret) Will of God- this is what God has decreed to come to pass

  • Choices ordained by God are nonetheless real choices- herein lies the paradox!

  • Necessity versus Compulsion, ICR 2.3.5, “Therefore if the fact that he [God] must do good does not hinder God’s free will in doing good; if the devil, who can do only evil, yet sins with his will- who shall say that man therefore sins less willingly because he is subject to the necessity of sinning?”

Doctrine of God 2


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MIRACLES according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

Doctrine of God 2


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MIRACLES according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

  • Definition: “a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself”

  • Purpose- always related to redemption; signs of authentication

  • Appearance- at times of revelatory activity (Exodus, prophets, incarnation, apostolic period)

  • Miracles are exceptions to the normal providential activity of God (God’s acts by “fiat” rather than by precedence)

Doctrine of God 2


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THE DOCTRINE OF GOD according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” S.C. Q. 7

Attributes and Works


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