SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II
Robert J. Dunzweiler, Professor
These class notes are primarily intended to anticipate, prepare for, and facilitate class discussion of the areas covered by the course. They are not exhaustive, and should not be treated like published materials. This stipulation should not deter the further use of these notes, however, since a secondary purpose of their preparation is to provide a compendium of doctrinal constructions suitable for use as resource materials for teaching and preaching. Of course, reproduction of any sizable portion of these notes should be made by permission only; and quotations from them should be appropriately credited.
Outline of the Contents of these Notes
THE WORKS OF GOD
I. THE DECREES OF GOD 4
A. Statements of the Doctrine 4
B. Scriptural Background to the Doctrine 5
C. Development of the Doctrine 7
D. Objections to the Doctrine 9
II. CREATION 15
A. Creation in General 15
B. Creation of the Unseen Spirit World 24
C. Creation of the Material World 40
D. Creation of Mankind 46
III. PROVIDENCE 54
A. Statements of the Doctrine 54
B. Scriptural Background to the Doctrine 57
C. Development 71
IV. MIRACLES 76
A. Statements of the Doctrine 76
B. Scriptural Background to the Doctrine 77
C. Development of the Doctrine 86
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I. THE CONSTITUTIONAL NATURE OF MANKIND 88
A. Statements of the Doctrine 88
B. Dichotomy 91
C. Trichotomy 94
II. THE ORIGIN OF THE SOUL-SPIRIT IN THE INDIVIDUAL 103
A. The Theory of Preexistence 103
B. The Theory of Creationism 104
C. The Theory of Traducianism 105
III. THE ORIGINAL STATE OF MANKIND 111
A. The Image of God in Mankind 111
B. The Original Condition of Mankind 115
IV. THE COVENANT OF WORKS 122
A. Statements of the Doctrine 122
B. Outline of the Covenant 123
C. The Present Force of the Covenant 124
V. THE NATURE OF SIN 127
A. Statements of the Doctrine 127
B. Meanings of the Term "Sin" 130
C. A Definition of Sin 135
D. Distinctions in the Doctrine 136
E. Exclusions from the Doctrine 140
VI. THE ORIGIN OF SIN AND THE FALL OF MANKIND 143
A. The Origin of Sin 143
B. The Fall of Mankind 144
VII. THE RESULTS OF THE FALL 148
A. Immediate Results of the Fall, to Adam and Eve 148
B. Long range Results of the Fall, to Adam's descendants 148
1. The imputation of Adam's guilt to his descendants
2. The impartation of Adam's corruption (depravity) to his descendants
C. Practical Questions concerning Sin, for Discussion 170
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I.. THE PLAN OF SALVATION 177
A. Schemes of Soteriology Compared and Contrasted 177
B. The "Five Points" in Modern Evangelical Theology 184
C. Order of the Soteriological Decrees 190
II. PREDESTINATION 208
A. statements of the Doctrine 208
B. Development of the Doctrine 218
1. Election 218
2. Reprobation 235
C. Objections to the Doctrine 249
III. THE COVENANT OF GRACE 286
A. Statement of the Doctrine 286
B. Development of the Doctrine 228
IV. THE PERSON OF CHRIST 294
A. Statements of the Doctrine 294
B. Development of the Doctrine 301
1. The Deity of Christ 301
2. The Humanity of Christ 307
3. The Union of the Two Natures in One Person 314
4. The Temptability and Peccability of Christ 320
C. Aberrations from the Doctrine 330
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THE WORKS OF GOD
I. THE DECREES OF GOD
A. Statements of the Doctrine
The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter III, Article 1. states:
God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
Charles Hodge, in volume 1, part 1, chapter 9 of his Systematic Theology states:
"The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass." Agreeably to this statement: (1) The end or final cause contemplated in all God's decrees, is his own glory. (2) They are all reducible to one eternal purpose. (3) They are free and sovereign, determined by the counsel of his own will. (4) They comprehend all events.
-- Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology in three volumes. Reprinted. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952), p. 535.
Archibald Alexander Hodge, in chapter 10 of his Outlines of Theology states:
The decree of God in his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition. The several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore styled Decrees.
-- Archibald Alexander Hodge, Outlines of Theology, revised. Reprinted. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957), p. 200.
William G. T. Shedd, in chapter 6 of the section on Theology (Doctrine of God) in volume 1 of his Dogmatic Theology, states:
The consideration of the Divine Decrees naturally follows that of the divine attributes, because the decrees regulate the operation of the attributes. God's acts agree with God's determination. Hence the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 7, defines the decrees of God to be "his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass." God does not act until he has decided to act, and his decision Is free and voluntary.
The Divine degree relates only to God's opera ad extra or transitive acts. it does not include those immanent activities which
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occur within the essence, and result in the three trinitarian distinctions. All this part of the Divine activity is excluded from the Divine decrees, because it is necessary and not optional. God the Father did not decree the eternal generation of the Son, nor did the Father and Son decree the spiration of the Holy Spirit. The triune God could no more decide after the counsel of his own will to be triune, than he could decide in the same manner to be omnipotent, or omniscient. The Divine decree, consequently, comprehends only those events that occur in time. God foreordains, "whatsoever comes to pass" in space and time. That which comes to pass in the eternity of the uncreated essence, forms no part of the contents of God's decree.
William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, in three volumes. Reprinted. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.), pp. 393-394.
B. Scriptural Background to the Doctrine
1. Psalm 33:11 -- The psalmist says that the plan (or purpose or design or scheme) of the Lord stands forever. Here the word עֵצָה Is used. Verse 10 tells us that at the same time the Lord nullifies the schemes of nations and frustrates the plans of the people.
2. Isaiah 46:10 -- God declares at the beginning of history the events that will come to pass. He can do this because His plan or purpose (עֵצָה) will be established, and His good pleasure (חֵפֶץ) will be accomplished.
3. Luke 22:22 -- Our Lord says that His betrayal and death have been decided or appointed or determined (ὁρίζω) presumably by God.
4. Acts 2:23 -- Jesus was put to death by the men of Israel at the hands of heathen executioners, but He was delivered up to this death by the determined (ὁρίζω) plan (βουλῇ) and foreknowledge of God. The Father predetermined that wicked men would put His Son to death.
5. Acts 4:28 -- Here we are told that Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel did to Jesus whatever God's hand and plan (βουλῇ) predetermined (προορίζω) to occur. The Father predetermined that wicked men would put His Son to death.
6. Acts 17:26 -- God has appointed the rise and decline of nations, and has determined (ὁρίζω) the boundaries of their habitation, including their migrations from one place of habitation to another.
7. Romans 9:23 -- Here God makes ready beforehand (προετοιμάζω) those vessels of mercy whom He calls from among both Jews and Gentiles.
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8. I Corinthians 2:7 -- Paul speaks God's revealed wisdom (which Is concealed from the unregenerate), which wisdom was predetermined (προορίζω) by God before the ages.
9. Ephesians 1:5 -- Before the foundations of the world, God predetermined (προορίζω) us to adoption as His sons, and this was according to the good pleasure (εὐδοκία) of His will (θελήμα)
10. Ephesians 1:9 -- God made known to us His will (&i.?1,L4c), which had previously been concealed, which was according to His good pleasure (εὐδοκία) which He intended (προτίθημι) in connection with Christ.
11. Ephesians 1:11 -- We (believers) were predetermined (προορίζω) to be made an inheritance in connection with Christ, according to God's purpose (πρόθεσις), who makes all things work according to the plan (βουλὴ) of His will (θελήμα). Here it would appear that God makes all persons, objects, actions, and events, whether good or evil, to contribute toward the fulfillment of His plan, part of which is to form an inheritance of a chosen people, redeemed through Christ.
12. Ephesians 2:10 -- God created us anew in Christ Jesus for good works. in addition, He made ready beforehand (προετοιμάζω) that we should walk in good works. He prepared them for us, and us for them.
13. Ephesians 3:11 -- The purpose (πρόθεσις) of God, which has been made in Christ Jesus, determined that the wisdom of God, which had been hidden, should now be revealed, partly through the apostle Paul.
14. II Timothy 1:9 -- God has saved us and called us to Himself, not on the basis or condition of our works, but according to His own purpose (πρόθεσις) and grace, which was granted us before the ages of time.
15. Hebrews 6:17 -- God, in order to assure the heirs of His promise, that they may have confidence in the hope set before them, added to the unchangeable nature of His plan (βουλὴ) an oath to confirm His word.
16. 1 Peter 1:20 -- Christ was foreknown (προγινώσκω) as the Redeemer, the atoning Lamb, before the foundation of the world. This presupposes a prior determination.
17. Revelation 4:11 -- Because of God's will (θελήμα), all things existed and were created. He called them into being for His purposes.
18. Revelation 13:8 -- Here the book of life Is mentioned. This book is employed in the white throne judgment in Revelation 20:12. Those not found written in the book of life are cast into the lake
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of fire (20:15). in Revelation 17:8 we find that those whose names are in the book of life had them written there from (or since) the foundation of the world. And here in Revelation 13:8 the book is called the book of life of the slain Lamb; and those who worship the beast are identified as those whose names have not been written in the book of life from (or since) the foundation of the world. This emphasis comports with that found in Ephesians 1:5 and I Timothy 1:9.
C. Development of the Doctrine
1. The decrees are one divine plan or purpose
The Scriptures consistently represent God's plan as being single. Yet the Bible also recognizes various aspects, parts, or phases, of that single plan. Thus, for example, we distinguish between the creative, providential, redemptive, and judgmental aspects of God's single plan and purpose.
2. The decrees are from eternity, yet are most free
The phrase "from eternity" may mean at least three things. It may mean that the decrees are eternal (i.e., that they never had a beginning, and were never formulated or framed). Or it may mean that the decrees were formulated in eternity: (I.e., before physics time began). Or it may mean that the decrees were formulated before the first act of creation (I.e., before the foundation of the world).
A number of theologians appear to lean in the direction of the first meaning, usually because of their view of God's alleged timelessness. However, if one takes the view that the decrees are eternal, and that there was no point in God's self experience when the decrees had their inception or began to be framed, then it would seem to follow that the decrees are in some sense necessary. If the decrees are necessary, then it would seem to follow that those items included in the decrees (I.e., those items that were decreed; e.g., creation and redemption) are also necessary. This means that it was necessary for God to create and to redeem, a conclusion that is rejected by orthodox theology.
If on the other hand the phrase "from eternity" simply means before the first act of creation, then the decrees can be seen to have been formulated most freely by God's own free determination and sovereign good pleasure, rather than out of some necessity Imposed on Him from outside of Himself or from His nature.
3. The decrees are divine opera ad extra ("works to the outside")
They are distinguished from the purely immanent works of God (opera ad intra) which speak of the dynamic interrelationships of the persons of the Trinity. The opera ad extra are works of the triune God which are realized in the works of creation, providence, redemption, and judgment. The decrees pertain to those works of God that bear directly on created reality.
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4. The end or final cause of the decrees is God's glory
In Aristotle's classification of causes (formal cause, material cause, efficient cause, final cause), the final cause is the end or goal toward which something moves, the fully developed character of an oak tree (for example) that an acorn will attain, or the purpose for which an artist creates. The final cause is determined at the beginning. Likewise, God's glory Is the goal or outcome determined by God at the formulation of His decrees.
5. The decrees are immutable
If God were capricious, or if He were unable to foresee some contingency, or if He were unable to carry out some aspect of His plan, then His decrees would need to be mutable, if He is to achieve His great goal. Since He is constant instead of capricious, omniscient instead of limited in knowledge, and omnipotent instead of limited in power, there is no need of change in His great plan.
6. The decrees embrace whatsoever comes to pass, evil as well as good.
This emphasis agrees with such Scriptures as Ephesians 1:11, Acts 2:23, and Genesis 50:20. In this last Scripture Joseph tells his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
7. The decrees are not addressed to man's obedience. They are concerned, not with what men should do, but with what they will do.
This emphasis calls for certain distinctions in the will of God. When discussing the will of God it is important to distinguish between what is and what ought to be (which in philosophy is called the distinction between the realm of being and the realm of obligation). The former is concerned with what in theology may be called the Determinative Will of God; the latter Is concerned with the Preceptive Will of God. The Determinative Will of God includes causative and permissive aspects (what God determines to cause and what He determines to permit); the Preceptive Will of God includes everything addressed to man's obedience, whether expressed in commands (precepts), exhortations, teachings, or examples.
8. The decrees must be distinguished from their execution
The decree to create is not the act of creation. The decree to redeem is not the act of redemption. Thus we distinguish between what may be called the Decretive and the Executive phases of the Determinative Will of God, or the decrees of God as framed before the foundation of the world, and as executed in time space history.
9. The decrees are efficacious
This simply means that what God decreed will most certainly come to pass, that nothing can thwart His sovereign purpose. This thought
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is expressed in Isaiah 14:24, 27 -- "The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, 'Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, . . . For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate It? And as for His stretched out hand, who can turn it back?' "
D. Objections to the Doctrine
Three major objections have been opposed to the doctrine as herein presented:
1. The decrees are destructive of man's free agency.
a. This objection states: "Man is a free agent with the power of rational self-determination. He can reflect upon, and in an intelligent way choose certain ends, and can also determine his action with respect to them. This we know by simple consciousness. But God's decrees predetermine whatever a man will do. Thus the decrees destroy free agency, and with it, human responsibility."
b. This objection may be responded to in the following ways:
(1) God clearly predicts that human beings will act in certain ways, yet those persons are held responsible for their actions.
(2) God foreknows as actual everything that comes to pass, yet certainty of futurition is not thereby destructive of free agency.
(3) God's decrees cannot properly be said to cause everything that comes to pass.
Some events are indeed caused by God; others are simply guaranteed certainty of futurition. This emphasis distinguishes between the causative and the permissive aspects of God's Determinative Will.
In the causative aspect, God determines to cause; in the permissive aspect, He determines to permit. He determines to cause all morally good states or actions in personal beings; He determines to permit all morally evil states or actions in personal beings.
Of course, the difficulty in this distinction is that Aristotle's four classes of causality (formal cause, material cause, efficient cause, final cause) are insufficient to explain the difference between cause and permission as used in this context.
John Calvin, in his treatise, A Defense of the Secret Providence of God, attempted to distinguish between proximate and remote (or ultimate) causes of sinful actions and states. He Identified the sinner as the proximate cause and God as the remote cause. But unless remote cause excludes responsibility, this distinction does not seem to be very helpful.
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J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. proposed a fifth category of cause (in addition to Aristotle's four) -- "chargeable creditable cause" -- and asserted that God Is not the chargeable cause of moral evil, but is the creditable cause of moral good. Of course, this is simply another way of saying that God is in no sense the Author of sin, but is the Author of all good.
In any case, God does not cause everything that comes to pass. He causes some things; He permits other things. And this distinction must be reflected in His decrees. Thus we may say that God determines to cause some things; others He determines to permit.
(4) Christ's acts were all most free; yet by God's decrees it was certain that He would continue to be holy, harmless, and undefiled, would fulfill God's perfect Law, and would go to the cross to accomplish our redemption.
c. In light of these considerations, "free agency" must be defined rather precisely.
A free agent is not one who Is free from all influences, external, and internal, but one who, in the midst of external forces and influences, freely acts in harmony with his previous thoughts and judgments, his inclinations and desires, and his character. A free agent is one who is free to determine to act in accordance with his disposition, inclinations, desires, and preferences -- in a word, in accordance with what he or she Is.
A free moral agent is one who is free to decide not contrary to, but in accordance with, his or her own moral nature.
This conception ties together human nature, human will, and human actions. Human beings will in accordance with their natures, and act, in accordance with their wills.
d. In this definition free agency Is not destroyed by the decrees. If the situation is defined in such a way that God is viewed as having decreed what human beings, acting from themselves, will do, then free agency is preserved, and responsibility with lt.
2. The decrees are destructive of all motivation to human exertion.
a. This objection states: "People will naturally say that if all things are bound to happen as God has determined them, they need not concern themselves about the future and need not make any efforts to obtain salvation."
b. This objection may be responded to in the following ways:
(1) Strictly speaking, the decrees are not addressed to human beings as a rule of obedience or action.
(a) The rule of action addressed to mankind's obedience is God's revealed Preceptive Will, found in the Law and in the gospel.
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Deuteronomy 29:29 states: "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
Romans 10:16 states: "However, they did not heed the glad tidings for Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' "
II Thessalonians 1:8 says: "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
(b) The decrees are known through (and therefore following) their realization.
The one exception to this principle involves those aspects of God's Plan which pertain to the future and which He has been pleased to reveal. However, as far as God's decrees respecting salvation, if a human being determines to make no efforts to obtain salvation, he will indeed discover that he Is one of the non-elect! The converse Is also true.
(2) This objection confuses the decrees with fatalism.
But fatalism is the doctrine that all events come to pass under the operation of a blind necessity. Fate Is unintelligent, is indistinguishable from material causation, and embraces no moral ideas or ends.
On the other hand the decrees are framed by a personal God in infinite wisdom, exclude all notion of physical necessity, and make moral Ideas and ends controlling in the universe. Nothing could be further from fatalism!
(3) This objection ignores the divinely ordained connection between means and ends.
(a) God has decreed both the end and the means to secure it.
The event is determined in connection with the means. If the end Is to be gained, then the means must be employed. If the means fail, then the end will also fail.
Thus God has decreed that harvest will come only as a result of sowing and reaping. If a man refuses to sow and reap, he will have no harvest (and should have no expectations of having one).
God has decreed that physical life will be sustained only as a result of eating food. If a human being refuses to eat, he will die.
God has decreed that answers to prayer will come only as a result of prayer. If a person refuses to pray, he or she will have no answers.
God has decreed that justification before God will come only as a result of the exercise of justifying faith. If a
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man refuses to believe, he will, remain under the condemnation and wrath of God.
(b) Once this connection between means and ends Is understood, it will be seen that this doctrine does not discourage effort; rather it encourages it.
If a person believes that it is God's all-embracing Plan that success will reward effort, he will be encouraged to exert such effort. Nothing is more conducive to the exertion of effort than the expectation of success; nothing Is more conducive to indolence and lethargy than the expectation of failure.
(c) Scripture records exhortations to the diligent use of means in order to gain the ends sought.
Acts 27:22-24, 30-31 -- "And yet now I urge you to keep your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' And as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship, and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, 'Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.' "
Philippians 2:12-13 -- "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who Is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
Ephesians 2:10 -- "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
(d) The following line of reasoning could be employed:
If there is a divinely ordained connection between means and ends;
And if, in order to afford to human beings the greatest conceivable freedom of action, God had ordained no means;
Then how could God, with any degree of assurance of fulfillment, ordain ends, and how could those ends be secured?
Yet Scripture clearly teaches that God has ordained certain ends, and that those ends will be secured;
Arid if God has ordained a connection between those ends and definite means, then those means must also be ordained, if the ends are to be secured.
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Therefore God must have ordained the means as well as the ends.
3. The decrees make God the author of sin
a. This objection states: "If God is viewed as having decreed whatever comes to pass, and if there Is sin in the world (as there most certainly Is), then God must in some sense be responsible for sin in the world."
b. This objection may be responded to in the following ways:
(1) Responsibility for the real authorship of sin in the world must be fixed in Satan, and in Adam and Eve, not God.
God did not create the devil as such; He made a holy and free angelic spirit who abused his liberty, freely sinned, and thus made himself the devil.
God did not create sinful human beings; he created free moral beings who were themselves the authors of sin in the human race.
(2) In meeting this objection the causative and permissive aspects of God's all embracing Plan must be maintained.
God does not determine to cause evil desires or choices or actions in human beings; he determines to permit them.
He decrees sin in the sense of determining to create, preserve, and restrain those who, in their own self chosen courses, will to do evil. God does not determine to efficiently produce sin; he determines to permit sin. And His decrees guarantee certainty of futurition.
(3) The principle sometimes enunciated to the effect that an agent Is responsible for whatever his act renders certain, and that therefore God cannot decree sin because his decree renders the occurrence of sin certain, must be opposed.
Although God judicially abandons some human beings to their sins and gives them up to a reprobate mind, thereby rendering certain their continuance in sin, yet He, Is not responsible for their evil deeds; they are.
Although God leaves the fallen angels to themselves, and thereby renders certain their continuance in rebellion, yet He is not responsible for their sin; they are responsible.
Although God leaves the wicked to their destiny in Sheol, and thereby renders certain their continuance in Impenitence, yet He is not responsible for their wickedness; they are responsible.
In all these cases God simply decrees to permit, as certainly future, those sinful actions which men and angels, from themselves, decide to perform.
(4) A distinction must also be drawn in the concept of permission.
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God permitted wicked men to crucify our Lord, but He did not give them permission to do so.
Acts 2:23 -- "this man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."
God permitted Adam and Eve to fail, but He did not give them permission to do so.
Genesis 2:16,17 -- "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.' "
God permitted Judas Iscariot to betray his Master, but He did not give him permission to do so.
Matthew 26:24 -- "The Son of Man is to go, Just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."
He permitted Joseph's brothers to sell Joseph into Egypt, but He did not give them permission to do so.
Genesis 50:20 -- "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
Permission in the sense of the permissive aspect of God's decrees Is quite distinct from permission in the sense of God condoning or God tacitly approving a sinful action. God permits (decrees) what He does not permit (approve). Such permission does not make God Author of sin, or make Him responsible for causing it. Although He disapproves of sin and hates it, He nevertheless permits it in His universe.
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A. Creation in General
1. Statement of the Doctrine
The Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 7, states:
This good and almighty God created all things, both visible and invisible, by his eternal Word, and preserves the same also by his eternal Spirit; as David witnesses, saying, 'By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth' (Psa. 33:6); and, as the Scripture says, 'All things that the Lord created were very good' (Gen. 1:31), and made for the use and profit of man.
Now, we say, that all those things do proceed from one beginning; and therefore we detest the Manichees and the Marcionites, who did wickedly Imagine two substances and natures, the one of good, the other of evil; and also two beginnings and two gods, one contrary to the other a good and an evil.
The Belgic Confession, Article 12, states:
We believe that the Father, by the Word that is, by His Son created of nothing the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him, giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator; that he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence and infinite power for the service of mankind, to the end that man may serve his God.
The Irish Articles of Religion, section 18, states:
In the beginning of time, when no creature had any being, God, by his word alone, in the space of six days, created all things, and afterwards, by his providence, doth continue, propagate, and order them according to his own will.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 4, section 1, states:
It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible of invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Charles Hodge, in volume 1 of his Systematic Theology, states:
The Scriptural doctrine on this subject is expressed in the first words of the Bible: "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The heavens and the earth include all things out of God. Of which things the Scriptures teach that they owe their existence to the will and power of God. The Scriptural doctrine therefore is, (1.) That the universe is not eternal. It
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began to be. (2.) It was not formed out of any preexistence or substance; but was created ex nIhilo (3.) That creation was not necessary. It was free to God to create or not create, to create the universe as it is, or any order and system of things, according to the good pleasure of his will .
But while it has ever been the doctrine of the Church that God created the universe out of nothing by the word of his power, which creation was instantaneous and Immediate, I.e., without the intervention of any second causes; yet it has generally been admitted that this Is to be understood only of the original call of matter into existence. Theologians have, therefore, distinguished between a first and second, or Immediate and mediate creation. The one was instantaneous, the other gradual; the one precludes the idea of any preexisting substance, and of cooperation, the other admits and implies both. There is evident ground for this distinction in the Mosaic account of the creation . And the Bible constantly speaks of God as causing the grass to grow, and as being the real author or maker of all that the earth, air, or water produces. There is, therefore, according to the Scriptures, not only an immediate, instantaneous creation nihilo by the simple word of God, but a mediate, progressive creation; the power of God working in union with second causes.
-- Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, in three volumes. Volume 1. Reprinted (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1952), pp. 553, 556-557.
Augustus H. Strong, in volume 2 of his Systematic Theology states:
By creation we mean that free act of the triune God by which in the beginning for his own glory he made, without the use of preexisting materials, the whole visible and invisible universe.
-- Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology, in three volumes. Volume 2. (Philadelphia, The Judson Press, 1956), p. 371.
Louis Berkhof, in his Systematic Theology states:
Creation in the strict sense of the word may be defined as that free act of God whereby He, according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, in the beginning brought forth the whole visible and invisible universe, without the use of preexistent material, and thus gave it an existence, distinct from His own and yet always dependent on Him.
-- Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology Fourth Revised Edition (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1959), p. 129.
2. Scriptural Background to the doctrine
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a. Genesis 1:1-2:4
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7 And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8 And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9 Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth"; and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17 And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that Is was good.
19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."
21 And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.
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25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after Its kind; and God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for good"; and it was so.
31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
2 And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
4 This Is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.
b. Nehemiah 9:6 -- "Lord, you have made the heavens, and the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all on it, the seas and all in them.'
c. Psalm 19:1 -- "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the sky is declaring the work of His hands."
d. Psalm 124:8 -- "Our help Is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
e. Psalm 146:5-6 -- "How blessed is he whose help Is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God; Who made the heaven and earth, The sea and all that Is in them; Who keeps faith forever;"
f. Isaiah 40:26, 28 -- "Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars,
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The One who leads forth their host by numbers,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power
Not one of them Is missing.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable."
g. Isaiah 42:5 -- "Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and Its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people of it,
And spirit to those who walk in it,"
h. Isaiah 45:18 -- "For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made It, He established it and did not create it a waste place, But formed it to be inhabited), I am the Lord, and there Is none else.'
i. Jeremiah 10:12 -- "It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens."
j. John 1:1 3, 10 -- '"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being . . . . He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him."
k. Acts 17:24-28 -- "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of you own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.' "
l. I Corinthians 8:5-6 -- "For even if there are so called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.' "
m. Colossians 1:16-17 -- '"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether
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thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He Is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
n. Hebrew 11:3 -- "By faith we understand that the worlds (or ages) were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."
o. Revelation 4:11 -- "Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created."
p. Revelation 10:5-6 -- "And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there shall be delay no longer."
3. Development of the Doctrine
a. Creation Is a free act of God
This implies three ideas:
(1) Creation is not a necessary act of God
Creation does not arise out of some necessity in God's nature (e.g., His omnipotence or His love)
In the absolute sense, necessity is only true in the opera ad intra (relationships within the godhead). In the conditional sense, necessity is true in the opera ad extra (works out of the godhead). This is true because the opera ad intra are based upon the divine nature; the opera ad extra are conditioned on the divine decrees. Thus creation does not spring from a necessity arising from God's nature, but does spring from a necessity arising from God's decrees.
(2) Creation Is not an act out of a need within the godhead that had to be satisfied.
God did not create anything because He needed It. God does not need anything; everything needs Him.
Before creation, God did not need anything; He was perfectly self sufficient and self fulfilled. Within the Trinity there is always perfect oneness, perfect fellowship, perfectly sufficient objects of love, and perfect satisfaction.
God did not create other rational beings because He was lonely, or because He felt He needed someone to talk to, or someone to love, or because He had a compulsion to express His omnipotence.
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(3) Creation Is an act arising out of God's sovereign good pleasure.
God created all things according to the counsel of His will, out of His good pleasure.
Ephesians 1:11 -- "also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,"
Revelation 4:11 -- "Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created."
b. Creation is a temporal act of God
Three ideas are intended by this point:
(1) By "temporal act" is meant that it Is not an eternal act. Creation Is not an eternal bringing into being of that which is not the Creator. God said, "Let there come into existence!" and it was so.
(2) By "temporal act" is meant that it Is an act of God which occurs at a point in the sequence of God's own ongoing self-experience. There is a point before He begins to exert power to bring the universe into being, then there is a point after He begins to create.
(3) By "temporal act" Is also meant that it Is an act of God which brings into existence the time dimension of the physical universe, with Its feature of duration measured by physical movement and change.
c. The triune God is the author of creation
All three Persons are authors of the work, albeit from a different aspect.
(1) All things are created out of the Father
I Corinthians 8:6 -- "yet for us there Is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him;"
(2) All things are created through the Son
I Corinthians 8:6 -- "and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."
John 1:3 -- "All things came into being through Him δι' αὐτοῦ);"
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Colossians 1:16 -- "For by Him (ἐν αὐτῷ) instrumental use) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him (δι' αὐτοῦ) and for Him."
(3) All things are created by the agency of the Holy Spirit
Genesis 1:2 -- "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Job 26:13 -- "By His Spirit the heavens are made beautiful."
Psalm 104:30 -- "Thou dost sent forth Thy Spirit, they (the animals) are created; And thou dost renew the face of the ground."
d. Creation gives to all created beings a distinct, yet dependent, existence.
When God created, He brought into existence something that was not Himself. His creatures are created beings they have an existence distinct from His. His creatures are created beings; they are totally dependent on Him for their existence.
e. The concept of creation may be studied under distinct conceptions, which differ according to the use of primary or secondary efficiency and the employment of or non employment of preexisting materials.
(1) Creation ex nihilo means the bringing into being that which Is not God, using neither previously existing materials nor secondary causes. This is the primary sense of creation, in which God creates the original energy of the universe from nothing, or in which He creates spirits from nothing.
(2) Immediate creation means the bringing into being of that which is not God, using previously existing materials, but not secondary causes. God creates form out of matter (or form in matter).
(3) Mediate creation means the bringing into being of that which is not God, using both previously existing materials and secondary causes. God creates formed matter through creatures to whom He gives powers and abilities to reproduce His actions and to think His thoughts after Him, and to produce works of genuine sub creativity that reflect His goodness, His truth, and His beauty.
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4. Theories that oppose the doctrine of creation
This view holds to the eternity of God and the eternity of matter, and thus dismisses the idea of a creation without the use of previously existing matter.
But what is the problem with the eternity of matter? One problem is that Is makes matter equally ultimate with God (in the ontological sense), in which case matter is self-sustaining. This appears to be contradicted by such Scriptures as Colossians 1:17, where Paul writes: "And He (Christ) Is before all things, and by Him all things hold together (or endure)."
Of course, dualism could attempt to avoid the charge that is makes matter equally ultimate with God by arguing that matter can be viewed as being eternally dependent on God. But then we must ask the question, in what sense Is matter dependent upon God? Is it dependent on God for its existence? Obviously not, if matter Is eternal. Then what does "dependent" mean?
This view holds that the universe Is of the same substance as God, and Is the product of the overflow of the fullness of His being. Proposed by Plotinus, this view destroys the very idea of creation itself, and thereby does away with the Creator-creature distinction.
c. Creation from eternity
This view holds that, since there is no time with God, and since God created the universe with time or into time, therefore His initial act of creation must have occurred in eternity, and must therefore be eternal. Thus creation Is an eternal act.
But what is an eternal act? Does it mean that God's initial act of creation has no effect for aeons before the coming into being of the matter energy complex, and then no effect afterwards? Or does it mean that God's initial act of creation is an eternal act of bringing into being the matter energy complex, thus ruling out any real beginning or ending of the universe? How then shall we understand Scriptural revelation, which speaks of a beginning and a consummation?
d. Naturalistic Evolutionism
This view holds to the eternity of matter. it contends that the appearances of the structured universe, of life, and of man are all products of natural forces operating randomly in time. It denies the necessity, the existence, and the meaning of a Creator.
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B. Creation of the Unseen Spirit World
1. Statements of the Doctrine
The French Confession of Faith, Article 7, states:
We believe that God, in three co-working persons, by his power, wisdom, and incomprehensible goodness, created all things, not only the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, but also invisible spirits, some of whom have fallen away and gone into perdition, while others have continued in obedience. That the first, being corrupted by evil, are enemies of all good, consequently of the whole Church. The second, having been preserved by the grace of God, are ministers to glorify God's name, and to promote the salvation of His elect.
The Belgic Confession, Article 12, states:
He also created the angels good, to be his messengers and to serve his elect: some of whom are fallen from the excellency, in which God created them, into everlasting perdition; and the others have, by the grace of God, remained steadfast, and continued in their primitive state. The devils and evil spirits are so depraved that they are enemies of God and every good thing to the utmost of their power, as murderers watching to ruin the Church and every member thereof, and by their wicked strategems to destroy all; and are therefore, by their own wickedness, adjudged to eternal damnation, daily expecting their horrible torments. Therefore, we reject and abhor the error of the Sadducees, who deny the existence of spirits and angels; and also that of the Manichees, who assert that the devils have their origin of themselves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been corrupted.
The Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 7, states:
Among all the creatures, the angels and men are most excellent. Touching angels, the Holy Scripture says, "Who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire" (Psa. 104:4); also, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?' (Heb. 1:14).
And the Lord Jesus himself testifies of the devil, saying, "He that hath been a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
We teach, therefore, that some angels persisted in obedience, and were appointed unto the faithful service of God and men; and that others fell of their own accord, and ran headlong into destruction, and so became enemies to all good, and to all the faithful, etc.
2. Scriptural background to the doctrine
a. The unseen spirit world includes all angelic beings, who are created by God
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Psalm 148:1 2, 5 -- "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him In the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created."
I Kings 22:19 -- "And Micaiah said, 'Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.' "
Psalm 103:20-21 -- "Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His Word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will."
Colossians 1:16 -- "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him."
b. Angelic beings are spirits (persons), and are incorporeal
Hebrew 1:13-14 -- "But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'Sit at my right hand, until I make mine enemies a footstool for Thy feet'? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?"
Ephesians 6:12 -- "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
c. Angelic beings are more powerful than human beings, but are finite
II Peter 2:9 11 -- "then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord."
Matthew 24:26 -- "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
I Peter 1:10-12 -- "As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you thru those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven -- things into which angels long to look."
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d. Angelic beings are classified as good and evil
(1) Good angels
(a) Archangels (ἀρχάγγελος)
Jude 9 -- "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.'"
Revelation 12:7 -- "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war."
Daniel 10:13, 21 -- "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia . . . . However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince."
Daniel 8:16 -- "And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulal, and he called out and said, 'Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.' " (Note: although Gabriel Is not explicitly called an archangel, yet he appears to be viewed as one)
Daniel 9:21 22 -- "While I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. And he gave me instruction and talked with me, and said, 'O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.'"
Luke 1:19, 26 -- "And the angel answered and said to him, 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,"
Revelation 8:2 -- "And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them." (perhaps these are also archangels)
(b) Cherubim (כְּרֻבִים)
Genesis 3:24 -- "So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life."
Exodus 25:18 22 -- "And you shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other
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end; and you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at Its two ends. And the cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I shall give to you. Arid there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel."
Psalm 99:1 -- "The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!" (also Psalm 80:1)
Hebrew 9:3 5 -- "And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of Incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with told, in which was a golden Jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tablets of the covenant. And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail."
(c) Seraphim (שְׂרָפִים)
1 In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth Is full of His glory.'
4 And the foundations of the threshold trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5 Then I said, 'Woe Is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.'
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7 And he touched my mouth with it and said, 'Behold, this has touched your lips; and your Iniquity Is taken away, and your sin Is forgiven.' ''
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(d) Principalities, powers, thrones, dominions
Ephesians 3:8 10 -- "To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places."
Colossians 1:16 -- "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him."
Ephesians 1:19 21 -- "These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come."
I Peter 3:22 -- "(Jesus Christ) who Is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."
(2) Evil angels
Genesis 3:1 5 -- "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.' ' And the serpent said to the women, 'You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"
John 8:44 -- "You are of you father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies."
I John 3:8 -- "the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil."
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Ephesians 2:1 2 -- "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that Is now working in the Sons of disobedience."
Matthew 25:41 -- "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Ne, accursed ones, Into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;"
Revelation 12:9-10 -- "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who Is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night."
Revelation 20:1 3, 7-10 -- "And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him Into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time . . . . And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
(b) The other fallen angels
II Peter 2:4 -- "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell (ζόφου) and committed them to pits of darkness (ταρταρώσας)
Jude 6 -- "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day."
(c) Evil spirits, demons
Mark 1:34 -- "And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was."
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James 2:19 -- "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder."
Matthew 8:31 -- "And the demons began to entreat Him, saying, 'If You are going to cast us out, send us Into the herd of swine."
Matthew 12:22 -- "Then there was brought to Him a demon possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw."
e. The good angels perform a variety of services for God and His people
Psalm 104:20-21 -- "Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will."
Hebrews 1:13-14 -- "But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet'? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will Inherit salvation?
Psalm 34:7 -- "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them."
Luke 16:22 -- "Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom;"
Luke 15:10 -- "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Matthew 18:10 -- "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for i say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who Is in heaven."
Revelation 5:11-12 -- "And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.'"
f. Satan and the evil angels have power to perform a variety of disservices to God and His people