By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST NEWS Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (October 20, 2015) — If you were to walk down a busy street and ask people what they believe about God, you’d probably get many answers: “I don’t believe there is a god,” someone would reply. “I’m not sure what I believe,” someone else may opine. “I think there is a God, but he or she is unknowable,” another would quip. “I think there is a God, and God can be known,” someone chimes in.
All these views about God have names, summarizing a particular worldview he or she adheres, such as atheism, agnosticism, deism, and theism. Generally speaking, the belief that there is a God is a theistic worldview. Though there are various shades of theism (pantheism, monotheism, pantheism, etc.), the historical definition as proposed by Dr. Norman Geisler is that “theism is the worldview that an infinite, personal God created the universe and miraculously intervenes in it from time to time.” We call this form of theism, Biblical theism.
Biblical theism holds certain truths about God and creation. For instance, God is above creation (called transcendence). God is also involved in creation (we call this immanence, His presence within the universe). Put another way, God is beyond the world and in the world: God works from without and within. Biblical theism is different from other forms of theism that promote ideas such as God isn’t involved in the world (deism) or that God is conjoined with the world (panenthiesm).
Biblical theism has some basic ideas attached to them. Dr. Geisler reports them as follows:
One, God exits beyond and in the world; “the world was originated by God and it is conserved by him.”
Two, the world was created ex nihilo (from nothing); all that is was created by God for God’s purposes.
Three, because there is a God, miracles are possible. God can intervene and interact in specific ways, going beyond the natural order of things.
Four, people are made in God’s image. From the imago deo (image of God), humans have free will, worth, and purpose.
Five, there is a moral law. Since there is a God who is personal and moral, there is a moral fabric to life. This moral law is “prescriptive, not merely descriptive, as are laws of nature.”
Six, there is an end, or goal, to life. All moral actions will receive rewards and punishments, bringing about ultimate justice in accordance with God’s purposes.
Though more can be said about Biblical theism, these six points help differentiate it from competing ideas that contest and clash with a Biblical worldview, helping the Christian grasp the God Who SAID (speaks, acts, intervenes, and delivers) “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:4).
For more information on issues important to the Christian faith, check out Veritas Evangelical Seminary: http://www.ves.edu/
All quotes from Norman Geisler are taken from The Big Book of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books.
Photo captions: 1) Norman Geisler. 2) Logo. 3) Brian Nixon.
About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon
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