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God's Solution Ministries
Saturday, October 23, 2021

Systematic Theology Questions and Answers

 

1.    What are the three possible explanations of Creation?

(i)    The universe of eternal and self-existent. However, this is impossible as the universe, made up of matter, which was made and reflects the ‘characteristics of a produced substance’ from a complex arrangement of different materials.

(ii)  The universe emanated from God’s substance. This is not feasible as God is pure and holy, on the other hand the universe is corrupted and defiled by chaos.

(iii) God created the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo).

The only logical and reasonable conclusion is to believe and accept that God made the universe and all living things out of nothing, meaning the created was created by something outside the created as the author of life. Noting that the lower cannot account for the higher, although the higher can account for the lower and ‘a supernatural origin of the universe is the only sensible conclusion’.

 

2.    Is the Bible a book that can be believed?

It is not inappropriate to ask if the Bible can be believed. The Bible can be trusted as reliable based on a number of objective observations:

The Bible answers the ultimate and important questions of life, resolves the lonely mystery of existence and instructs men on how they can live forever.

The Bible provides a solution for sin by providing a way of salvation. Notwithstanding the nature and type of sin, there is hope and healing in Christ and everyone, young, old, rich or poor can find a message of salvation and hope by believing in the Bible.

 

3.    Is the Bible Harmonious?

Yes, the Bible is very harmonious despite having very diverse authors. This demonstrates its supernatural origin, since it is cumbersome to get any set of people to state the same story without wide disagreements. However, the Bible does not have a problem with its truthfulness, objectivity or legitimacy. It presents a constant story in spite of being written by forty diverse men from different backgrounds including traders, tax collectors, fishermen, warriors, shepherds, chiefs, doctors, peasant, itinerants, kings, scribes, statesmen, fruit sellers, chiefs and scholars. Most of the holy writers did not meet, wrote these accounts over a time span of 1500 years and yet produced a harmonious work. The Bible expresses one story about God, the human race, the human heart, sin, the way of salvation, the destiny of men and the world as well as human duty and obligation.

 

4.    What are the three main theories as to Free agency?

The soul has the capacity to make choices, it is therefore reasonable to ask if man is a free agent, the theories are as follows:

(i)    Fatalism teaches that ‘all events are determined by a blind necessity’. The individual has no capacity to make choices, since man has no freedom and no self-determination. Things must continue the way they are without the option of changing. Fatalism demolishes all morality and responsibility as there is no free agency.

(ii)  Self-determination states man is free to choose, however, his choices are not influenced by his other faculties, such as knowledge, feelings, conscience, desires, inclinations meaning that it is okay for man to act irrationally.

(iii) Free agency teaches that man acts out of his own volition, based on his nature as guided by his knowledge, desires, feelings, inclination and character. He is not compelled to act by some external power.  The Bible instructs that man is a free agent, enjoins him to choose wisely and will be held responsible for his choices and actions

 

5.    What does anti-theistic Materialism mean? What are the major objections to materialism?

Materialism postulates that ‘All is matter, all is spirit, all is both matter and spirit’. There is no distinction between matter and spirit or matter and mind. Therefore under this theory, God does not exist, equally there is no angel, devil, hell, heaven, human soul and immortality, the grave is the end of man’s existence. However, there have been some objections to materialism, the first being that innate to man is the belief that life does not end in the grave, for example as seen in funeral ceremonies. Further, rationally, life must come from life; evidence of an intelligent design and designer exists and obviously human life consisting of body and spirit is not made from a ‘proper chemical combination of material particles.

 

 

 

6.    What is the core teaching of Deism?

Deism postulates that there is a personal God who made the world, established the natural laws that govern it and then abdicated all responsibility for managing it and relationship with His creation. Hence, there is no control, revelation, miracle, incarnation, supernatural manifestation, providence and no involvement by God in men’s affairs. Man’s has to depend on his own reasoning since God has nothing more to do with the world He created.

 

7.    What are the attributes of God?

An attribute is a true distinguishing mark of God’s divine nature. The attributes include:

(i)            Omnipresence: God fills all space and permeates all things with His invisible and immaterial substance even though he is separate and distinctive from all other things, this nature allows God to reveal Himself in special ways at times to specific people.

(ii)          Infinitude: God is not limited, and is constrained only by His own nature and will.

(iii)         Eternality: God is self- existent and eternal in nature, independent, has existed from all eternity and will continue to exist to all eternity future, He has no beginning and end.

(iv)         Immutability: God does not change over time; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

(v)          Sovereignty: God has supreme power and authority, created all things and rules over all things as He pleases. Due to God’s sovereign nature, He can do all things and answer prayer.

(vi)         Transcendence: God is matchless and is above , apart and beyond the physical things He has created.

(vii)        Immanence: God works within and through His creation, revealed in the way He works; as man works on matter from outside, God works on matter from within.

 

8.    Explain the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead

There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the three of them are one God as they are the same in substance, equal in power and glory. This is proved in the scripture as personal pronouns are used for each of the persons in the Godhead and each of them are severally and separately referred to as God. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Baptism is performed in the name of all three persons in the Godhead (Matthew 28:19). Scriptures show one person of the Trinity sending another, the Father sends the son (John 16:5) and the Father and the Son sends the Spirit (John 15:26). God is severally declared as one God in the Bible, Jesus claimed divinity and divinity of claimed for Him, the Holy Spirit is also recognized as God.  The doctrine of Trinity was opposed by advocates of Arianism, Semi-Arianism, Sabellianism and Unitarianism. However, the early Church Fathers vigorously defended the faith and doctrine from early times. These include Justine Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hyppolytus and Origen.

 

9.    How do God’s decrees make Foreknowledge Possible?

The Bible makes it clear that God knows all things, past, present and future including all the possible alternatives. “The reason God knows all things is because He wrote the program”. The question arises that is everything decreed or just foreseen?

The plausible answer is that all things are actually decreed and not only foreseen, since God cannot foresee anything unless He has decreed it. According to David Clark, “Only that is foreknown which is certain, and that only is certain which is decreed. God’s decree cannot rest on an undecreed event for then certainty would rest on uncertainty which is impossible”. Essentially, what is foreknown must first be predetermined. What is predetermined must be purposed. What  is purposed is purposed because of the Divine will and not due to unforeseen events.

 

10. What is a covenant?

A covenant is a binding promise or agreement between two or more people based on specified conditions. There are usually benefits for fulfilling the terms of the covenant and negative consequences for disobeying or disregarding the terms of the covenant.

 

11. What are the six presuppositions of Soteriology?

The six building blocks of Soteriology are:

(i)            God is sovereign in His rule.

(ii)          God is foundational to salvation as the Creator, Ruler and Savior

(iii)         Man’s capacity for good and evil makes him responsible to His Creator.

(iv)         God’s will and man’s obligations are expressed in the covenant of works.

(v)          God’s law demands perfect obedience.

(vi)         God is perfect and as a result requires perfection in His Moral Law.

The above indicates that God’s law cannot be lowered to make room for man’s weaknesses, since that approach would be against God’s nature. The law has to be fulfilled to the last letter. At the same time mercy cannot prevent justice from being applied, otherwise there would be dissonance among God’s attributes. In this scenario, how will souls be saved? The solution calls for a cleansing atonement that shows mercy and justice while maintaining the harmony of the divine nature.

 

12. Explain the covenant of Redemption

Out of God’s good pleasure, God elected the fallen sinners to everlasting life so as not to allow all mankind to perish in the state of sin. This was made possible through a covenant of grace that would save a sinner through a Redeemer. The Redeemer would carry the punishment of sin by becoming a substitute for the sinner to fulfill the requirements of the law, thereby justifying and acquitting the sinner through faith in the Redeemer. This restores the soul into God’s favor, sanctification and eternal glorification. This covenant between God the Father and God the Son was first mentioned at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden when a Redeemer was promised in Genesis 3:15.

 

 

 

13. Explain the covenant of Grace

This covenant of grace between man and God freely offers salvation through Jesus Christ and life to sinners as long as they have faith that they would be saved. The covenant promises to give the Holy Spirit to all those ordained to eternal life to make them willing and able to believe. The covenant of grace replaces the covenant of works which man could not fulfill.

 

14. What is the doctrine of election as explained by A.W. Pink?

He explained that election means singling out, selecting, choosing, taking one person  and leaving the other. Election is that God singled out some specific people to be objects of His saving grace while some others have been left to be unsaved and will suffer the just punishment of their sins. Before the foundation of the world God selected out the fallen a specific number and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His son.

 

15. Explain the extent of the Elective Decree

(i)            God planned to save some, not all the people to be created who will fall into sin from a glorious state.

(ii)          God selected a Redeemer so the elect can be saved.

(iii)         The Redeemer, Jesus Christ, God’s son was sent to the earth Incarnation.

(iv)         The elect are atoned for by Christ.

(v)          God’s offer of salvation is presented to all men without discrimination.

(vi)         The saving gospel was proclaimed to all nations.

(vii)        As the gospel is declared in local meetings, the external call is made to individuals.

(viii)       The Holy Spirit persuades some of the hearers to accept the message and call.

(ix)         The Holy Spirit performs the work of regeneration in the hearts of those who were persuaded to enable them believe and accept the gospel. Therefore spiritual life comes before faith.

 

16. Provide the Summary of the Doctrine of Election

(i)            God decided from eternity past to save souls that He has chosen.

(ii)          The elective decree envisages men as already fallen.

(iii)         Election is from a life of sin and misery to salvation.

(iv)         Election is personal as it relates to an individual and brought to completion by the grace of God.

(v)          The Holy Spirit brings men into grace when, where and how He pleases through His desired means through an appeal to the mind and heart or by instant regeneration, constraining through persuasion or by applying a new nature to the individual.

(vi)         If men do not resist God’s grace and Spirit, they would be inclined to good.

(vii)        Men are lost when they reject the help and grace offered by God because of their sin and resistance to God and not because they have no chance to be saved.

(viii)       God can allow men to follow their chosen evil ways to their own destruction.

(ix)         God could also regenerate the renegade in His sovereignty.

(x)          The reasons as to why God does not save everyone, or allows some to go on in their own ways; is not known.

(xi)         Permission or allowing is considered a decree in theology.

(xii)        God as the Judge of the whole earth will do what is right and even grant mercy when it is not deserved.

 

 

17. What is cheap grace?

Cheap grace as defined by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is preaching forgiveness without the need for repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion with no confession, absolution with no personal confession. This is grace without discipline, grace with no cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate.

 

18. What is justification?

This is a legal term where an individual charged with a crime is declared to be not guilty before the courts. Spiritually, justification is God’s external act where He declares a sinner free and just of legal condemnation before the courts of Divine justice.

 

19. What is sanctification?

Sanctification is derived from the greek word “‘hagois’ means ‘to purify, to consecrate or set apart”. God’s free grace works sanctification in the life of the believer, enabling the believer to be renewed wholly after the image of God, dying to sin and living unto righteousness. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the primary agents through which sanctification works in the life of the believer, the believer is also responsible for some acts in the process. These include listening to and reading the word of God which makes sanctification effectual in the life of a Christian. The Christian has to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by abstaining from sin to grow in sanctification as no person can be more holy than he or she wants to be.

 

 

 

 

20. What is the key message of Security of the Believer and Election?

The doctrine of election supports the final security of the believer, such that no elect person will be lost. There is divine assurance that the elect will be justified and glorified, because the God who predestinates and calls to salvation will ensure that His children comes to glory. Therefore the perseverance of the saints from a human perspective is the preservation of the same from a divine point of view. The security of the believer is not a license to sin and produces humility knowing that we were adopted as children of God.