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History of Millennialism and Chiliasm in the Patristic Age

Apostolic and Ante-Nience Fathers in the Second Century

As Philip Schaff noted, “The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism.”[1] Important teachers of this include Pseudo-Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and many others.[2]

In many senses, the Jewish believe in a coming messianic kingdom appears to have been accepted and Christianized by these early fathers.[3] That is, that Christ would come again and reign for a thousand years, that

Out of the Apostolic Fathers, Barnabas is the “only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth.”[4] The Epistle of Barnabas chapter 15

Papias of Hierapolis also believed in a millennial reign, which he said was supported by Apostolic tradition.[5] According to his student, Irenaeus of Antioch, Papias remarked that:

“As the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, related that they had heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to these times, and say: The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand dusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five and twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, “I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me.” In like manner [the Lord declared] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear should have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds (quinque bilibres) of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass, would produce in similar proportions (secundum congruentiam iis consequentem); and that all animals feeding [only] on the productions of the earth, should [in those da’ys] become peaceful and harmonious among each other, and be in perfect subjection to man.”[6]

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr also expressed in his works a “millenarian hope,” which is based upon the prophecies of the Old Testament, but also Revelation 20.[7] In a most relevant passage from his Dialogues with Trypho, he mentions that others do not agree, but he must.

“Then I answered, “I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion [A literal millennial], and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise.” [8]

Irenaeus of Antioch

Irenaeus, in sharing his views on this, also noted, that this meant that when looking at the promise of the restoration of Israel, that a person shouldn’t allegorize that (Haer 5.35).[9] He argued that the reign of Christ here on earth was a reward for the trials of that the faithful have gone through, but also a preparation for the more glorious creation in heaven (Haer 5.32.1).[10]

Tertullian

Tertullian’s belief in the millennium was based in part on his reading of Revelation, but also on his Montantist beliefs.[11] It also appears that he had a more detailed work on the subject, De Spe Fidelium which has been lost.[12] But his belief can be gleamed from On the Resurrection 25 and Against Marcion 3.24; 4.29 as well as in other places.[13]

So for example, he wrote in Against Marcion: “But we do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem”[14]

The Montanist Sect

While it is hard to claim with any certainty, that the Montanist, were chiliasts, the fragments of a prophecy which is said to have been written by their founder, would appear to reflect such a belief.[15] Moreover, Tertullian, as noted above held to a chiliastic belief and defended it a work, written after becoming a Montanist.[16] (Refer to the above section for more detail).

Ante-Nience Fathers in the Third and Fourth Century

Third Century

Hippolytus of Rome

Hippolytus, who wrote the oldest known Commentary on Daniel, speaks of the world as coming to an end around 500 years, after the birth of Christ.[17] He further noted, that after this, there would a “thousand-year ‘Sabbath’” which awaited those who believed in Christ and was based upon what is seen in Revelation.[18] See (4.23 cf. 4.10)

Commodian

Commodian (Commodianus)’s views are seen in his work The Instructions of Commodianus in favor of Christian Discipline, 43, 44.[19] He mentions that for a thousand years “flames on the nations, and the Medes and Parthians” will burn before “they are delivered over to Gehenna.”[20] He further relates that after the resurrection, Christ will rule for Jerusalem and the saints will be revived and those who survived the Anti-Christ, “they themselves live for the whole time, and receive blessings because they have suffered evil things; and they themselves marrying, beget for a thousand years.”[21]

See below for Nepos of Egypt.

Fourth Century

Victorinius of Pettau

Victorinius of Pettau beliefs are mentioned in his commentary on Revelation and in his work On The Creation of the World.[22] In On Creation of the World, Victorinus sees that each day of creation was likened to the amount of years given to the earth.[23] He notes how the Sabbath day has not been observed correctly and there will be an eighth day (of a thousand years) where it shall be.[24] “Wherefore, as I have narrated, that true Sabbath will be in the seventh millenary of years, when Christ with His elect shall reign.”[25] He states this more plainly in his Commentary on Revelation. “I do not think the reign of a thousand years is eternal; or if it is thus to be thought of, they cease to reign when the thousand years are finished.”[26]

Lactantius

Lactantius, belief is seen in his Divine Institutes (7.24) and Epitome of the Divine Institutes 71,72.[27] In the Divine Institutes, he makes constant references to the Sibylline chronicles. He expressly mentions his belief in the thousand years, following judgment and the resurrection “of the righteous, who have lived from the beginning, will be engaged among men a thousand years.”[28] In the Epitome again notes that Christ will reign in the Holy City with the righteous for a thousand years.[29] In addition, that Satan will “be imprisoned, that the world may receive peace, and the earth, harassed through so many years, may rest.”[30]

Methodius of Olympus

Methodius of Olympus’ Chiliast comments appears in his works Banquets of the Ten Virgins (9.5) and Discourse on Resurrection. [31] In the former he writes, of the millennium as the true Sabbath.[32] After the day of judgment he writes he’ll “celebrate with Christ the millennium of rest, which is called the seventh day, even the true Sabbath.”[33] Unfortunately, most of his works have not been translated. According to Roger Pearse:“Aglaophon or On the resurrection (Ἀγλαοφῶν ἢ περὶ ἀναστάσεως), in three books.  It refutes the idea of a purely spiritual resurrection. … A small piece is translated in the ANF.”[34]

Changing Views in Nience and Post Nience Fathers

During this period, the methods of interpretation began to shift. The teachers of this period shifted away from a literal interpretation of Revelation and a belief in a literal millennial reign of Christ. Origen is one of the first major opponents of Chiliasm, who viewed the belief as “a Jewish dream,” and preferred an allegorical meaning. [35] Others would join him, such as his student Dionysius the Great who opposed its revival under Nepos in Egypt.[36]

Within this period, as mentioned Nepos in Egypt revived some form of Chilism. Eusebius in 7.24 writes that certain Bishop of Egypt named Nepos taught those under him, an interpretation “in a more Jewish fashion” and that Nepos’ belief in the millennium was “of bodily indulgence on this earth.”[37] Nepos, evidently, wrote a work on his interpretation of Revelation called, Refutation of the Allegorists.[38] Presumably, this work reflected a literal interpretation of Revelation, against a more spiritual idea.

Eusebius then quotes a fraction of Dionysisus’ dispute with Nepos. It should be noted that except for his belief in Chilism, Dionysisus appears to have quite a high regard for this Bishop of Egypt.[39] Furthermore according to his report, Nepos’ book was highly regarded by the brethren in Arisone, and the work well written enough that it took him “three days in a row,” to convince them of a more allegorical approach.

According to what Dionysisus’ relates, Nepos taught that “Christ’s kingdom will be on earth” in a literal sense.[40] He writes of it more negative terms, but that is his point.

As Schaff noted, “crushing blow” came when Constantine converted and the Roman Empire became Christianized. No longer facing persecution and instead seeing a winning Christianity shifted the views of many.[41] This is really the same for both the Eastern and Western side of Christianity.[42] Negative views on such a belief are seen readily among writings of this period, such as Eusiebus of Caesarea, which calls such believes as having “small intelligence” (H.E. 3.39, 13; 7.24.1).[43]

The ODCC article mentions “Millenarianism came, however, increasingly to stress the carnal pleasures to be enjoyed during the thousand years of the saints’ earthly reign and eventually a revulsion against the whole concept set in, initiated by Origen and completed by St Augustine.”[44]

Within this time, period, Apollinarius of Laodicea, is also said to have expressed a chiliastic belief.[45] (His heretical views concerning Christ, however would not endure the position to others). “Epiphanius (anac. 77:36–38) states that Apollinarius expected persons to rise with resuscitated physical bodies and to observe both male circumcision and the Jewish dietary laws.”[46]

Augustine in his earlier career, expressed “an austere  version of the millennial hope” (Serm. Mai 94.4; Sermon 259.2; C Adim. 2.2).[47] For example, “Therefore, the eighth day signifies the new life at the end of the world; the seventh day, the future rest of the saints on this earth. For the Lord will reign on earth2 with His saints, as the Scripture says.”[48] Or as he noted in Answers to Adimantus “But just as we are told of that rest of God’s after the making of the world, so on the seventh day, that is, at the end of this age, we shall attain the rest that is promised to us after the works that we have in this life, if they are righteous works.”[49]

Augustine shifted away, however, from Chiliasm and instead formed a new theory which reflected the millennium as symbolic of the Church age. From that period, Chiliasm, was no longer a major belief and was often tied to heretics, even among the Reformers.[50]


[1] Schaff, 2:614.

[2] Schaff, 2:614.

[3] Schaff, 2:614.

[4] Schaff, 2:615.

[5] Schaff, 2:615-616.

[6] Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 33, Section 3, In ANF 1:562.

[7] Braian E. Daley, “Chiliasm” in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, 1:238

[8] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chap. 80, in ANF 1:239.

[9] Daley, 1:238.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Schaff, 2:618.

[12] Schaff, 2:618.

[13] Schaff, 2:618.

[14] Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 3, chapter 24, in ANF 3:342.

[15] Daley, 1:239.

[16] Daley, 1:239.

[17] Daley:1:239.

[18] Daley, 1:239.

[19] Schaff, 2:618.

[20] Commodian, Instructions, 43, ANF03

[21] Ibid., 44.

[22] Schaff, 2:618.

[23] Victorinus, Creation of the World, ANF07

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Victorinus, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 20.6, ANF07

[27] Schaff, 2:618.

[28] Lactantius, The Divine Institues, 7.9, ANF volume 7.

[29] Lactantius, Epitome of the Divine Institutes, 72. ANF7

[30] Ibid.

[31] Schaff, 2:618.

[32] Methodius, Banquest of the Ten Virigins, 9.5, ANF 6.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Roger Pearse, “The works of Methodius,” http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2011/10/28/the-works-of-methodius/ Accessed 5/5/2013.

[35] Schaff, 2:618-619.

[36] Schaff, 619.

[37]Eusebius, 7.24, in my eusebius book

[38] Ibid. Check with AYBD, ODCC, and Schaff?

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Schaff, 619.

[42] Daley, 1:329.

[43] Daley, 1.329.

[44] The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, s.v. “Millenarianism.”

[45] Daley, 1:240.

[46] AYBD, s.v. “Chiliasm.” Check.

[47] Daley, 1:240.

[48] Augustine, Sermon 259.2 in New Translations of the Church Fathers, 368-69.

[49] Augustine, Answers to Adimantus, A Disciple of Mani, 2.2 in The Works of Saint Augustine: The Maichean Debate, ed. Boniface Ramsey, (New City Press, 2006), 177.

[50] Schaff, 619.

[51] ODCC, “Millenarianism.”

 

 

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Short Devotional on Communion

Sidenote:

This is a little devo on communion I’m working on for Church, was going to do it yesterday, but have to wait until next time we do communion… So now I might tweak it a little, but figured why not post the original draft.

Short Devotional on Communion

Since Christ uttered those words, “Do this in remembrance of me,” Communion has been an integral part of the Church. This can be seen by the very fact that the Synoptic Gospels each relate this event, as well as Paul’s words to the Corinthians. Not to mention its various mentions in Acts. The New Testament quite clearly shows that Christ’s words’ “To do this in remembrance of me” were followed.

There have been those who have abused this command of Christ, have ignored it out rightly, or who have made more of it than they should have. Once again, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians highlights this true, if sad fact. An early mentioned from the Church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch, found himself having to encourage the Ephesians Church to: “Try and gather more frequently.”[1] For as John Wesley once preached “it is the duty of every Christians… because it is a plain command of Christ.”[2]

The Lord’s Suppers was also early on called the Thanksgiving, which is where the word Eucharist comes from. As noted it has always been an important part of the Church’s worship. Hence, the Didache, an early Christian documents devotes a significant portion to the Lord’s Supper. In it we see an early set of prayers associated with this important Christian worship. All of which include strongly thanking God, for allowing this act of Worship. For example: “We thank you father, for the life and knowledge which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.”[3] Or “We thank you, Holy Father, for your sacred name which have lodged in our hearts and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.”[4]

One final thought from Phillip Melanchthon: “Participation in the Lord’s Table… is a certain kind of grace. For he says in Luke 22:20: “This cup… is the new covenant in my blood,” etc. In 1 Cor. 11:25 we read: “Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” This means that when you celebrate communion, you should be reminded of the gospel or the remission of sins. It is not, therefore, a sacrifice if it was given only as a sure reminder of the promise of the gospel. Nor does participation in the Supper destroy sin, but faith destroys it, and faith is strengthened by this sign. The sight of Christ did not justify Stephen when he was on the point of death, but it strengthened the faith through which he was justified and made alive. Likewise, participation in the Supper does not justify, but it strengthens faith as I have said above. All Masses are godless, therefore, except those by which consciences are encouraged for the strengthening of faith. A sacrifice is what we offer to God, but we do not offer Christ to God. But he himself offered up himself once and for all. Therefore, those who perform Masses in order to do some good work or offer Christ to God for the living and the dead with the idea that the oftener this repeated, the better they become, are caught in godless error. …

‘The function of this sacrament, however, is to strength us whenever our consciences totter and whenever we have doubts concerning God’s will toward us.”[5]


[1] Letter to the Ephesians, 13.1

[2] John Wesley, Sermon 101, “The Duty of Constant Communion.”, I.1

[3] Didache, 9.3

[4] Ibid., 10.2

[5][5] Melancthon: Loci Communes, “Particpation in the Lord’s Supper,” 145-46.

Worship Music

So I’ve had this here since the beginning of the year, and I’ve decided that I might as well just post it, I might actually come back later and fix up a few things, but probably not U.U

Preliminary Notes:

Before getting into the heart of this blog post, I wanted to give a brief background on my worship background.

I’ve grown up in a church which has by and large done “traditional” hymns as part of the worship service. Such things as Christian rock or of the sort weren’t gray area that was better not to talk about with the members of the congregation. And more contemporary forms of praise weren’t condemned, but neither really promoted. At times, there has been special music that was more contemporary in nature during a special service such as Christmas or Easter.

A few times in my younger years I had attended the Church of grandparents, of a Pentecostal background and there I exposed more to a worship service filled with drums, electric guitars, chorus, and the like. Certainly contemporary, though not usual, at least in my experience. At the Christian camp I attended throughout my teen years I was able to experience the wider gambit of Christian music, and there I would really say I was the most exposed to the common forms of contemporary praise music.

Largely, however, I have grown up around the hymns and these have spoken to me rather deeply.

In college, the various churches I attended and the chapel services, which I had to go to, the hymns were really not a part of worship music at all. What I had experienced in my teenage years at camp were now the norm and the hymns of my youth  the exception. Often when I did hear a hymn it was combined with something contemporary and changed completely.

In college, I had also visited Mass a few times and so I was able to experience that side of worship, where song was more traditional, but not in the vein of my faith tradition. I am now back at the church my youth while I am attending seminary and once more the hymns have become a distinct part of my worship.

A recent paper, and some recent reading has caused within me a desire to examine how my Church does worship. The sort of music that is played and so forth. I’m no expert in the matter and I doubt that whatever I think will actually have an effect on anything. Still I wish to get something out.

As I said, I am not an expert. I’ve never claimed nor desired to be called a worship pastor, although I feel I still have a duty to understand that side of things. I think worship music has a more profound effect on the life of believer than realized. Moreover, I do acknowledge that worship is not tied up in music, that there is more to how we respond to our in Worship than mere poetry and song, but as I said worship music is still an important part.

What I write now, then, are really reflections and thoughts, I admit I may be wrong on some things, or that I should be corrected on others. Yet, here is what I wish to express. Secondly, I must admit my displeasure at not having more sources to look at. Yet as this is reflection based on recent readings, this is what you get.

Centered on God

At the outset of a discussion of worship music, I feel its imperative to see that worship is supposed to be for God. As stated by the Westminster Confession “Religious Worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone: not to angels, saints, or any other creatures.”[1]

Concerning the text of the music Marva Dawn in her book, wrote “Since we are concerned for the formation of the character of believers and community, I would say that this stage must be first. No matter how musically wonderful, pieces must be rejected if the text is theologically inadequate.”[2]

In many ways the following sections will probably repeat this time and time again as I reflect with other authors what is missing in our worship.

Worship as Edifying, not Evangelizing

How many people within my congregation are not saved? Moreover, if I were to take a look at the Church Universal how many people who attend Church for worship are not saved? Dawn I think rightly pointed out that too often, the worship service which is for God is made into a piece of evangelization, which should be reserve for a different service and another time.[3] “The point of worship is to worship God.”[4]

John MacArthur noted that gospel songs, which largely are considered “traditional” now, too often are evangelistic. That they differed from the hymns of an earlier generations as they “were expressions of personal testimony aimed at an audience of people, whereas most of the classic hymns had been songs of praised addressed directly to God.”[5] MacArthur further noted that while evangelistic songs have their place in the Church and they have helped in matters of evangelizes, they have gained too big a place.[6]

“The second common fault of music texts is synergism…. Here we must specifically reject songs that add our efforts to God’s saving work. Songs that stress our searching for God or our success at finding him ignore the total inability our sinful selves to want or to find God and miss the immense searching of God’s gracious love.”[7]

MacArthur once wrote correctly, I think, “neither the antiquity nor the popularity of a gospel song is a good measure of its worthiness. And the fact that a gospel song is “old-fashioned” is quite clearly no guarantee that it is suited for edifying the church.”[8]

Shallow Worship Music

Marva Dawn, following on a model provide by Thomas Gieschen describes a flaw that they call “sub-Christian thoughts,” music which while not in error, “do not proclaim any message about God or faith.” There are four subsets, according to Dawn, 1) Music that is “theologically correct, but shallow, 2) Music that is provides “disinformation,” 3) Music that “muddles Christian doctrine,” and finally 4) Camp Song Music.[9]

While not getting as detailed as Dawn did on these issues, (please cf. pp. 170-74), she highlights, rightly I feel, that there needs to be substance to what we sing. Our music needs to be more than technically true, it needs to be as God-honoring as possible, often I think this involves music that is far deeper than most of the songs sung today, and that includes both contemporary and traditional circles.

At times I do feel that it is proper for it help stretch the minds of the worshiper, that as we worship God we think of what God has done for us. That we don’t have “Wonder Bread” worship, that while correct is too filled with “sentimentality” to really such much of anything.[10] There was a time, when the songs sung in worship  had behind them “a deliberate, self-conscious, didactic purpose.”[11] But where is this now?

Do we ever really think about the words that we sing? How often is our worship music filled with verses that says one thing, but does another, i.e. we claim in song that we will worship God, but in truth never does.[12] How often is it muddled where we sing in one verse about God the Father or the Holy Spirit, but equate the two distinct personalities of the trinity with Christ’s distinction as savior?[13]

Finally Campfire songs, fun songs that are not incorrect, but neither are they really worship centered, songs that the congregation may be “getting into it – instead of into God – so we could hardly call it worship.[14] Too often our experience during the music portion of worship asks to only feel God, to get into the spirit of the room, but never to ponder too long.[15]

Should not the music of worship engage our whole being? We are called to love God with all our “heart, soul, and mind,” and yet when we go to sing we wish to engage only sectors.[16]

There are songs which we sing which have more to do with a person’s “personal experience and feelings,” than they do God, songs which give sure enough some sort of praise, but it is rather weak both in content and in direction.[17]

Concluding

What am I to make of all of this so far? Looking at these previous sections, and seeing how much I’ve already written, I feel as though I might want to take time to reflection what I’ve written so far. Certainly, there is more to speak of concerning the music of worship. There is more to speak of worship in general. What of different services for different tastes or variety within one services, and other issues?

Yet let’s take a note of the music we use in worship with the above in thought. In his article, MacArthur noted, and rightly I feel that “As a matter of fact, traditionalist critics who attack contemporary music merely because it is contemporary in style – especially those who imagine that the older music is always better – need to think through the issues again.”[18]

How is our music directed toward God? I can think of so many songs where “I” is there too often. “I could sing of your love forever,” for example. Yet while wonderful for me to declare what I can do to praise God, why not just praise God. “Holy is the Lord God almighty.” I really think that worship songs, no matter how new they are or hold they may be, should have at the heart of them the clear truths of the faith.

(This is where I gotten too, like I said, at some point I might take the time to finish my concluding thoughts)…


[1] Westminister Confession, chap. 21, sec. 2.

[2] Dawn, 170.

[3] Dawn, 171.

[4] Dawn, 171.

[5] MacArthur, 112.

[6] MacArthur, 115.

[7] Dawn, 171.

[8] MacArthur, 115.

[9] Dawn 172-73.

[10] Dawn 172.

[11] MacArthur, 116.

[12] Dawn, 173.

[13] Dawn, 173.

[14] Dawn, 174.

[15] MacArthur, 116.

[16] MacArthur, 116.

[17] MacArthur, 115.

[18] MacArthur, 114.

Creatorem Caeli et Terrae: Creator of Heaven and Earth

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” – Ephesians 1.3

Personhood:

We can see that God the father is a person through a variety of different passages within the New Testament. For example he is Self-aware, he’s shows moral, the father even shows distinctiveness; (In this order note: John 4.23; Luke 10.21; John 14.16;) Moreover he shows intelligence and emotion (Matthew 6.8; 1 John 4.9-10). He even has several differing actions (just to mention a few) such as speaking, giving, blessing, punishing, and even forgiving. (See Matthew 3.17; John 14.16; Ephesians 1.3; Hebrews 12.6-10; Matthew 6.14) (Barackman 129).

Relationship:

The Old Testament it litter with the idea that the Father, is the father of the Israel, the nation (Cambron 53). This relationship of the Father of Israel is one which is political minded as well as personal (that “spiritual”) minded (Ryrie 35.) God does declare in Exodus 19.5 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;” The nation as whole receiving certain benefits because of the Mosaic covenant, while precious few others having a personal relationship (see Deuteronomy 7.6-11 and Psalms 103.13) (Barackman 131).

(Take note of Deuteronomy 32.6; Exodus 4.22 Isaiah 63.16, 64.8; etc.). Moreover he is the Father of Creation, as Acts 17.29 indicates: “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” That all men (that is creation) are the offspring of God (Ryrie 35).

In another sense the Father is the father of Christ noting Matthew 3.17 (Ryrie 35). This relationship which we share with the Father is one which is different from that of the relationship which he shares with the Son noting John 20.17 (Barackman 131).

The Father is now also the father of Believers. John 1.12-13 relates to us: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (See also Romans 8.14-17; Galatians 3.26)

Works:

Creation: The Father in the work of creation of is involved in the process of all things coming from with him (as appose to Jesus’ coming through) (Barackman 131). As Paul writes “yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” – 1 Corinthians 8.6. (Note Also Revelation 4.9-11 specifically verse 11).

Election: The Father seems to be deeply involved with election it is Father who seems to be chooser and and adopter of the saved (Ryrie 35, Barackman 133). (See 1 Thessalonians 2.13-14; Ephesians 1.3-6) This predestination (as Paul records in Romans 8.29) also includes conforming to image of Christ (Barackman 133).

Salvation: The Father is the one who choose to send his Son to this world as Jesus remarks: “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,” John 5.37 (Ryrie 35). God is the one who has given Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, noting John 3.16 and 1 John 4.10. Moreover it would seem that Jesus’ work as done were works given to him by the father and are works done through him (Barackman 133). As Jesus once again remarks“For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” – John 5.36b (see also John 5.19; 14.9-11).

Our father’s relationship with us is also as a disciplinarian of his children as Hebrews 12.9: “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”

Titles and Names in the Old Testament

We see the Father referred to as several different titles by the prophets the “Ancient of Days” in book Daniel (note 7.9,13,22), the “Holy One,” “Lord” even “Redeemer of Israel” in Isaiah (48.16, 49.7). The name Yahweh also seems to be of use for the personal name of the Father as seen in Psalms 2.7; 110.1; Isaiah 48.16. (Barakman 134).

Titles and Names in the New Testament:

The Father is the most common title given to most given title to him in the New Testament (Matthew 5.48; Ephesians 3.15; Revelation 1.6). The word Lord is used of the father (Greek terms Despotes and Kurios) denoting his absolute power, authority and ownership. (See Luke 2.29; Acts 4.24; Matthew 11.25; Revelation 11.17; etc.) Paul in 1 Timothy 1.1 even declares God as Savior (Deliverer): “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” The New Testament doesn’t seem to assign any sort of personal name about the father, but quotations from the OT do refer to Yahweh (Barackman 134).

Work Cited:

Barackman, Floyd H. Practical Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2002. Pp. 129-134

Bible. English Standard Version.

Cambron, Mark G. Bible Doctrines; Beliefs That Matter. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1973. P. 53

Ryrie, Charles C. A Survey of Bible Doctrine. Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1972. P. 35

Creatorem caeli et terrae

Credo in Deum: I Believe in God

Credo in Deum:

There is only one God, as Moses in the Decalogue dictates “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6.4).

Revelation by Works:

God reveals himself in a variety of ways that do show that he does indeed exist.  Of the first way is that it presupposes that God proves himself is in his works.  The existence of the world begs the question of what created it, what was the cause for the creation of the cosmos (Ryrie 11).  Moreover doesn’t the writer of Hebrews 3.4 say “(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)?”  Cambron puts it rather nicely “There is a Cause or Power behind everything.  There must be a maker or Creator” (22).  (This would be part of the cosmological argument).

The very world that surrounds us calls to the fact that God does indeed exist and this existence, Psalms 19.1 relates to us:  “The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”   Saint Irenaeus once wrote “For by means of the creation itself, the Word reveals God the Creator; and by means of the world [does He declare] the Lord the Maker of the world;”[1] God has shown himself in nature, and the order which nature seems to exhibit, the teleological argument (Barackman 41).

Then there is the anthropological argument, where it can be argue that we have morals and a sense of personhood because God had created them to reflect him (Barackman 41).  There is built into this the question of where man got these “qualities,” which would point to God (Cambron 22).

Revelation by Words:

Another primary way which God has reveals himself is in his words.  This is how God reveals himself today and its very nature naturally assumes God to be (Barackman 39).  Genesis 1.1 itself declares “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Basically it assumes that God is, and makes no real argument for him.  However it shouldn’t be said just because of the assumption of God in the Bible, that they don’t “argue God’s existence” (Ryrie 15).  (As pointed out by such passages as Psalm 19, Isaiah 40.26, or even Acts 14.17).

Attributes of God:

God is indefinable and we may only try to describe him in so far that he has revealed himself (Barackman 39).  But the following is what he has chosen to reveal to us:

We know that God is Omniscience that is that he knows everything that has happened, and that will happen or even might happen (Ryrie 18).  As John once wrote “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3.20.  This omnipresence is one which is from the man to creatures to even things (Cambron 35).  (See 1 King 8.39; Psalm 94.11; 147.4; Matthew 6.8; 10.29; 11.21; etc.). We know also that God is Omnipotent that is All Powerful.  This power of God is over nature, over man, even over the spiritual beings and yes over death as Revelation 20.14 states “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”(Cambron 34-35).  (Also Genesis 18.14a; Haggai 2.6; Daniel 4.35; Matthew 19.26; James 4.12-15; Apocalypse 19.6).  God is everywhere he is Omnipresent.  Basically God is “everywhere present,” though that is not to say he is in everything (Ryrie 24). (Note Psalm 139)

God is Holy.  God’s holiness is an intrical part of who he is, it cannot be separated from what he is (Ryrie 19).  God’s holiness is pure, there is no evil, no darkness to be found within it, every work he has done, every law set up is filled with his holiness (Cambron 49,51).  (See 1 Peter 1.15; 1 John 1.5)  His holiness is intertwined with his Righteousness.  Why Holiness dealt with his character, righteousness deals with how that played out with man, God is just (Ryrie 19).  (See Psalms 19.19; 116.5; 145.17’ Jeremiah 12.1; Acts 17.28,31).  Love too is a key part of who God is, and that while he may be just, he is loving.  (Ephesians 2.4-5; 1 John 4.8).   Truth (John 14.6; Romans 3.4)

God is Eternal and is infinite.  In basic with these two attributes we know that God is time driven nor does he have an end (Ryrie 23).  God is without a starting point as he is also without an ending point (Barackman 51).  For as Jeremiah once said: “But the Lord is the true God;  he is the living God and the everlasting King.” – Jeremiah 10.10a.  (See Genesis 21.33; Deuteronomy 33.27; Psalms 90.2; Acts 17.24 and 1 Kings 8.27; Acts 17.28).  Immutable, God does not change.  This change includes that of who he is, what he does (Cambron 39).  God declared to Malachi: “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” – 3.6.  (Note Also Isaiah 46.9-10; Hebrews 6.17; James 1.17).  (When God says that he repentant in various spots within the scriptures it is the from man’s viewpoint which it is written, and thus we see “apparent repentance,” (Ryrie 24)).

Triune God

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28.19.  God is a triune God, who exists as three unique and individual persons, the Gather, the son, and the Holy Ghost.  The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible nor is explicated stated, yet the doctrine is well attested to by various evidences (Ryrie 31).  The idea of the Trinity is not understandable, but this does not mean that it is false (Cambron 27).

Various verses that point toward the trinity as followed: John 6.27; Romans 1.7; 1 Peter 1.2 God as the Father; Matthew 9.4; 28.18,19; Mark 2.1-12 (God is only Sin forgiver); John 1.1, 14; 20.28; Romans 9.5; Hebrews 1.8  God as the Son; Acts 5.3-4; 1 Corinthians 2.10; 3.16 Holy Spirit As God (Ryrie 31, Barackman 62).

Each member of the Trinity is “wholly God,” each are distinct persons with their own activities, but they share one divine nature together, as noted in the beginning God is one.  One nature three persons.  (Barakamn 62,64)

Names of God in the Old Testament:

Elohim, a generic Hebrew word for deity.  Elohim seems to denote greatness of rank, or unlimited power of God, the Hebrew root El indeed meaning strength or power (Barackman 66).

Adonai, a Hebrew term for Lord, master.  Often it is used together with Yahweh as Adonai Yahweh (Lord God; Lord Yahweh).  This title seems to be one which is connected with a sort of personal relationship and of one of authority, sort of a master over a servant (slave) relationship (Barackman 66).

Yahweh, the Hebrew personal name for God.  God declared to his prophet: “I am[Yahweh]; that is my name;” (Isaiah 42.8a). This name is not title, but indeed a personal name, although its meaning is uncertain, it seems to steam form HWH, “to be,” and seems to be indicated in Exodus 3.13-14 (Barackman 66-67).

Names of God in the New Testament:

Theos a generic Greek term for God.  When alone God may refer to the Trinity, but if the passage includes “the son,” then it mostly likely denotes the Father, but at times it is used of Jesus and the Holy Ghost (Barackman 68).

Kurios a Greek term for Lord.  Often found in the Septuagint, (also New Testament Quotations’ of Old Testament) as the translation of Yahweh and Adonai both.  In the New Testament is often (but not always) connected to Jesus, and seems to have the same feeling as Adonai in the Hebrew (a Master-Servant relationship) (Barackman 68).

Work Cited:

Barackman, Floyd H. Practical Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2002. Pp 31-69

Bible. English Standard Version.

Cambron, Mark G. Bible Doctrines; Beliefs That Matter. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1973. Pp. 22-51

Ryrie, Charles C. A Survey of Bible Doctrin. Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1972. Pp. 11-31


[1] (from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)