Systematic Theology

Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God, Volume 1

Katherine Sonderegger
Copyright Date: 2015
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Systematic Theology
    Book Description:

    The mystery of Almighty God is most properly an explication of the oneness of God, tying the faith of the church to the bedrock of Israel’s confession of the lord of the covenant, the lord of our Lord Jesus Christ. The doctrine of divine attributes, then, is set out as a reflection on Holy Scripture: the One God as omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, and all these as expressions of the Love who is God. Systematic theology must make bold claims about its knowledge and service of this One lord: the Invisible God must be seen and known in the visible. In this way, God and God’s relation to creation are distinguished—but not separated—from Christology, the doctrine of perfections from redemption. The lord God will be seen as compatible with creatures, and the divine perfections express formally distinct and unique relations to the world. This systematic theology, then, begins from the treatise De Deo Uno and develops the dogma of the Trinity as an expression of divine unicity, on which will depend creation, Christology, and ecclesiology. In the end, the transcendent beauty who is God can be known only in worship and praise.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-9665-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Publication Credits
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xxvi)
  6. Part I. The One God

    • § 1. The Perfect Oneness of God
      (pp. 3-22)

      The Christian doctrine of God begins, is governed by, and finds its rest in the call to the One God, the One Lord of Israel. This call is issued first by Moses to the Israelites, gathered east of the Jordan, east of the land of promise. Rabbinic tradition calls this commandment theShema, from the Hebrew for “hear,” and there is scarcely any commandment more central that this to the pious observance of Judaism. Jesus exemplifies this piety by citing the Shema when challenged about the law. After citing the divine manifestation to Moses that begins the great liberation of...

    • § 2. The Divine Oneness as Foundational Perfection
      (pp. 23-46)

      The Oneness of God beckons us into the mystery of God. There is no contemplation of the supreme Oneness of God without taking to prayer. To attempt to speak of the One God whose nature is without form or similitude is to strive to name, approach, and worship the God who is unapproachable Light, Holy Fire, and Goodness; around this One is thick darkness. We pray that God’s entire Goodness may shield us and in that shielding, pass by so that we may know the mystery of this God. The relationship between this divine predicate, that is, and our knowledge...

  7. Part II. The Omnipresent One

    • § 3. The Perfection of the One LORD’s Hiddenness: His Omnipresence
      (pp. 49-148)

      We begin our exposition of the Divine Perfection of Omnipresence by a fresh treatment of the foundational confession, that God is One. God is the Hidden One. As we explored the fundamental structure of Divine Unicity—that God’s Oneness and Freedom is paired with a rejection of idolatry—through the witness of Scripture, so too we explore the divine Hiddenness, the divine Invisibility, through its revelation in the Old and New Testaments. Now, it may appear that such a teaching cannot,by definition, be revealed, even in, or perhaps especially in, inspired Scripture. For it appears nearly self-evident to us...

  8. Part III. The Omnipotent One

    • § 4. The Perfection of the One LORD’s Holy Humility: His Omnipotence
      (pp. 151-332)

      As the Invisible and Hidden One, the Lord God is humble. He is the Lowly One. He is the One Lord who takes on the form of a slave. And in all these acts He is most holy, the Holy One. Even as the One Lord is omnipresent, so is He omnipotent. The Mode of His power, His superabundant Omnipotence, is Holiness in Humility, a holy Lowliness. That the Pantocrator is the Lowly One is an astonishing gift, taught to us by sign in creation, by word and sign, in Holy Scripture. The Omnipotence of God overspreads the whole earth,...

  9. Part IV. The Omniscient One

    • § 5. The Perfection of the One LORD’s Spiritual Nature: His Eternal Omniscience
      (pp. 335-382)

      The One Lord, Almighty God, is Spirit, now and always. He, this very One, is Subject in all His Objectivity: in Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all. This Light that courses through infinite spaces is alive, personal. Just such Living Fire isSelf-Presence: it is eternally self-possessed and luminous. This personal Radiance is God’s own knowledge, His perfect, benevolent, and subjective Life. It is Wisdom, holy Wisdom. God’s dynamic Power is not other or otherwise from His Wisdom; rather, to speak properly of Omnipotence is to encounter and think upon the Light of Wisdom, to think...

    • § 6. Methodological and Transcendental Questions in Divine Omniscience
      (pp. 383-414)

      The first truth we must articulate in this upper-level reflection on the doctrine of Omniscience is this—a surprising one, perhaps: that in Deity itself, in the Divine NatureA Se, God is beyond sex, beyond gender. It is fitting, in truth, to develop this aspect of the Divine Perfection—its Reality beyond gender—in the doctrine of Divine Knowledge just because knowledge, the act of knowing, is a deeply personal act, and one that lies beyond gender. Beyond—not against! When we speak of inwardness, of subjectivity, even agency we quietly incorporate the language and act of knowledge: knowing...

    • § 7. The Doctrine of Illumination
      (pp. 415-466)

      For one final time in the doctrine of Omniscience, we must think through carefully this mysterious mingling of subjectivities, the indwelling and undoing and mixing of Divine and humanI’s. In this final pass through the mixture of subjectivities, we catch up the threads of so much that has gone before: of representation and the problem of grounding; of the Communication of the incommunicable and perfect God; of the Eternal Knowledge who is the Lord and our knowledge of Him; and of His hidden and sovereign Presence in our poor world of chance and change. Now, we have already found...

  10. Part V. Final Things

    • § 8. The Perfection of Divine Love
      (pp. 469-504)

      “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love,” the author of 1 John tells us (1 John 4:8). We begin our reflections here. In this sublime Perfection we come to the end of our treatment of the Divine Reality and its Attributes. At our close, it may be fitting to cast a glance backward over the journey taken. Many pages past, we began the entire doctrine of the Divine Perfections with an open ear for the fiery Presence of the One Who Is; it extolled the Oneness of God. Just so we now round out this...

    • § 9. The Divine Perfections and the Exegesis of Holy Scripture
      (pp. 505-530)

      Finally, we must ask here our last question: Just how can we read these texts, as we have so far, as testimonies to the Divine Attributes, as disclosure of Divine Oneness on the earth? How can we move across Scripture as we have, from the Pentateuch to the Prophets, from Isaiah to Jeremiah, from there to the apostle Paul, to his several letters, and to the Gospels, across the Synoptics to the luminescent Gospel of John? How can these varied witnesses be taken as commenting on the Divine Attribute and Reality of Oneness? Something more than “canonical criticism” is at...

  11. Index
    (pp. 531-539)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 540-540)