BIBLICAL THEISM DEFINED: That which may be known about God from Nature
and the Word of God. The term Biblical indicates that this theism is primarily
from the Bible. Theism is the belief in the existence of a personal, knowable
Theissen defines theism as follows: "The belief in one personal God,
both immanent and transcendent, Who exists in three personal distinctions,
known respectively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (Thiessen, Henry C.;
"LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949,
Theissen introduces us to two terms that we should discuss.
Immanent = ".....to remain in place.....remaining or operating within
a domain of reality or realm of discourse....." (By permission. From Webster's
Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc.,
publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Transcendent = 1 a: exceeding usual limits.....3 : transcending the
universe or material existence....." (By permission. From Webster's Ninth
New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher
of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
So, what does Immanent mean? He is here, He is not on vacation, He is
not dead! HE is a real God that is here and present, watching over His
So, what does "transcendent mean? He is bigger than all of His creation.
So, if we speak of an immanent and transcendent God we are speaking
of a God that is bigger than all of creation, a God that is in control
of the creation that he has created.
The Bible is the Revelation of God to man. The Revelation from the Word
supports all information which we can gain from our reason, or from all
of Naturalistic theism.
If at any time reason fails to complement the revealed Word then reason
must bow to the truth of the Word. The Word is complete, final and trustworthy.
THEISM IS SEEN IN OUR SIMILARITY TO OUR CREATOR IN PERSONALITY: Not
only has God revealed Himself to man, but God has created us in His own
image. We have many of the same traits such as love, truth, faithfulness,
holiness, and justice. We must admit that we have these traits in far lesser
amounts than God. We handle these traits in a lesser manner than God, and
we have distorted these traits through our sin.
THEISM IS SEEN IN OUR SIMILARITY TO OUR CREATOR IN SPIRIT: God is spirit,
Jo. 4:24, "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit and in truth."
What does it mean that we are to worship Him in spirit? Might we find
in this verse, there is lesser value to outward manifestations of worship
than inward worship? The clapping, the hand waving, the swaying may be
worship to some, however the spirit is the center of worship, not the body.
We need to bring our souls to the Lord rather than attempting to get His
attention with our bodies.
I was in a worship service where the special music was given by a hip
swinging, finger snapping blonde that did a nice job with her music. She
was visibly disgusted with the congregations reaction to her "performance"
and as she left the platform and walked briskly down the aisle to the back
door, she very clearly commented on the deadness of the congregation, and
their lack of worship. The young lady was not only very arrogant in her
actions and thought, but she was very judgmental. People worship in different
ways and she did not allow for methods of worship other than her own, if
indeed, her method was correct.
God created us in His image, Gen. 1:26, ". . .Let us make man in our
image. . . ." Be careful how you talk about other human beings. We are,
every one, created in God's image. If we reflect too harshly on any man,
we may reflect on his creator.
THEISM IS SEEN IN OUR SIMILARITY TO OUR CREATOR IN THE THOUGHTS OF BIBLICAL
WRITERS: Some of the writers of Scripture used what is called anthropomorphisms.
The writers of the Bible at times picture God as having human characteristics.
I will just list some of these for your future study. (Deut. 33:27, God
has arms; Jo. 10:29, God has hands; Isa. 66:1, God uses a footstool; II
Chr. 16:9, God has eyes; Ps. 11:4, God has eyelids; Isa. 59:1, God has
arms and ears; Isa. 58:14, God has a mouth; Ex. 33:11,20, God has a face;
II Sam. 22:9,16, God has nostrils.)
Though God does not have these physical features it is indicated that
He can surely perform the functions of these features. (See, hear, speak,
These should give to us a special affinity to our God! We aren't worshiping
a tree, nor a limb of a tree, nor a statue, but almighty God! We are like
THEISM IS SEEN IN OUR SIMILARITY TO OUR CREATOR IN OUR POWER TO REASON:
If we reason then it is logical that the Lord also reasons. It can be safely
assumed that His reasoning is always correct while ours may or may not
THEISM IS SEEN IN OUR SIMILARITY TO OUR CREATOR IN BEING: There are
a number of areas where we are similar in being.
We have intellect, sensibility and will. God also has intellect, sensibility
and will. Again our traits and God's traits are not equal in quantity,
clarity or proper use, however we are in His image in these areas.
Referring back to the arguments from reason for God's existence, we
found that in the Cosmological thought God possessed a self-determining
will. In the Teleological thinking we saw that God had a mind to produce
design and power to enact that design. In the Anthropological thinking
we saw that God has sensibility. All of these are qualities of God's creation
Let me list a few miscellaneous items that show that we are similar
to our creator in being. God is intelligent: Ps. 147:5, Acts 15:18, Heb.
4:13. God possesses sensibility - He is love: I Jo. 4:16. Because God has
personality, we then can fellowship with Him. Matt. 11:27 mentions that
Christ reveals the Father to the believer. Jo. 14:16-17, 26, mention that
the Holy Spirit is within us for comfort and instruction. It also mentions
that we may know Him. Jo. 15:26 mentions also that the Comforter will come.
I Jo. 1:3, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that
ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the
Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ."
THEISM IS SEEN IN THE GENERAL REVELATION OF NATURE: This is information
that we can gain from nature concerning God.
1. We can see His glory Ps 19:1.
2. We can see His handiwork in creation, and His power would also be
indicated Ps 19:1.
3. We can see His eternal power Rom. 1:20.
4. We can see His nature Rom. 1:20.
5. We can see His providential control of nature Acts 14:17.
6. We can see His goodness Matt. 5:45.
Biblical theism in most listings covers the personality and attributes
of God. I would like to take just a brief overview of the entire field
of Theology Proper before we get into a detailed look at some of God's
The basis of this outline comes from Dr. Augsburger, president of Denver
Baptist Bible College. (He is with the Lord now.) I have adapted it extensively.
I might interject something entirely off the subject, but important to
us as Believers. Dr. Augsburger was very special to me when I was his student.
I learned much from him, but never got around to thanking him for his efforts
on my behalf. One day as I was working on this section for the first time,
I decided that I should call him and thank him for being my teacher and
for the things that he had taught me.
I picked up the phone and found a number for him. I called, but there
was no answer. I became quite busy and forgot to call back. A few days
later I heard that he had gone to be with the Lord. I was too late. Say
your thank-you to people while you have opportunity. Tell the people God
has used in your life how important they were to your spiritual life -
before you find it is too late.
I. EXISTENCE OF GOD
There are seven channels through which God has revealed Himself.
A. The material and animal creation: Ps 19:1-4, Rom. 1:19-20.
B. The nature and makeup of man: Gen. 1:26-27, Acts 17:28-29.
C. The direct revelation to man: Gen. 6:13.
D. The miracles: Deut. 4:33-35, Jo. 10:38.
E. The life of God's people: I Peter 2:9.
F. The Bible: Heb. 1:1, II Tim. 3:16.
G. The Lord Jesus Himself: Jo. 1:18, Jo. 14:8-9.
II. Attributes of God
1. He is living: Deut. 5:26, Heb 10:31.
2. He is intelligent: I Sam 2:3, Prov. 3:19-20.
3. He is purposive: Isa. 14:26-27, Eph. 3:11.
4. He is active: Dan. 6:27, Jo. 5:17.
5. He is free: Dan 4:35, Eph. 1:11.
6. He is conscious of Himself: Exod. 3:14.
7. He is an emotional being: Psa. 5:5, Isa. 63:9.
8. He is Spirit: Jo. 4:24.
B. Unity: Isa 44:6, Mark 12:29
1. He is self-existent: Jo. 5:26.
2. He is eternal: Deut. 33:27, Isa 57:15.
3. He is unchangeable: Mal. 3:6, James
4. He is omnipresent: Psa 139:7-10, Jer.
5. He is Omniscient: Job. 37:16, I Jo.
6. He is omnipotent: Matt. 19:25-26, Rev.
7. He is perfect: Psa 18:30, Matt 5:48.
8. He is infinite: Ps. 147:5, Ps. 40:5.
9. He is independent: There is no other!
10. He is Incomprehensible: Ps. 145:3, Rom.
1. He is Holy: Isa. 6:1-5, I Pet. 1:15-18.
2. He is true: Jo. 17:3.
3. He is love: I Jo. 4:7-10.
4. He is just: Rom. 3:26.
5. He is faithful: Deut. 7:9, I Thes. 5:24.
6. He is merciful: Deut. 4:31, II Cor. 1:3.
1. He is the Father: Jo. 6:27.
2. He is the Son: Jo. 10:30.
3. He is the Spirit: Jo. 15:26.
III. The decrees of God
We will be looking in great detail at the decrees of God in coming studies.
We need to understand through all of this that the God that we have discussed
should be easier to serve, follow, and worship than the chair that we are
He is the creator of all we are and have, and all that we are and have
is due to His action and love. How can we do less than love Him and act