Posts Tagged With: God

J. H. Heidegger on The Usefulness of The Natural Knowledge of God to The Unregenerate

In the contemporary debates between proponents of presuppositional vs. classical apologetics, it is often asserted that the classical apologetic arguments, which are based on what can be known of God from nature and human reason, are of no use.  In contrast to this viewpoint, the classical Reformed theologians, while affirming that such arguments drawn from natural theology cannot save anyone; affirmed that they are nonetheless useful:

heidegger“Even though it is not salvific, comments Heidegger, the natural knowledge of God (notitia Dei naturalis) ought not to be dismissed as useless:  it leaves the contentious and obstreperous among the unregenerate without excuse before God (Rom. 1:20) and provides those not yet regenerate but searching in nature for God and salvation with the capability of sensing and discovering the presence of God (Acts 17:27).”  Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol I, p. 304.

Here, as quoted by Muller, the Swiss theologian Johann Heinrich Heidegger affirms two uses of natural theology to the natural unbelieving man.  First of all, it leaves him without excuse for sin, thereby magnifying the justice of God in condemning sinners.  Secondly, it gives him a sense that there is a God who exists.  While of course this sense of God’s existence derived from a natural knowledge of God will not save him, it may serve to help awaken him to his condition (i. e. being under God’s condemnation) and in this way prepare the ground for the saving good news of the Redeemer when he hears it.  So, while the transcendental argument of the presuppositionalists has its place in apologetics; the classical arguments drawn from natural theology have their use as well, even for the unregenerate.

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The Aseity of God: God is God All by Himself

An important topic that answers some questions raised to me by a Buddhist in a recent conversation.

Jemar Tisby

The old folks used to say, “God is God all by Himself.”  In theological language these saints are describing God’s aseity.

I don’t generally like to use theological jargon outside of the classroom, but the word “aseity” got me excited.  I first heard of the term while studying systematic theology in seminary.  Immediately I latched onto the word because it finally gave me a name for one of the first principles of God.  His independence.

Aseity Means God’s Independence

Herman Bavinck in his Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2describes God’s aseity this way.

“The first thing Scripture teaches us concerning God is that he has a free, independent existence and life of his own that is distinct from all creatures.”

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God…”  These initial words of Scripture contain the concept of aseity.  The Bible gives no explanation for where God came from.  It simply assumes His existence…

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